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Week 2: Starting Strong

By SEN. GREG KIRK (R-AMERICUS)

The second week of the 153rd Legislative Session was both eventful and thrilling for me. The General Assembly resumed after a long weekend of celebrating the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and we soared into a full agenda of budget hearings, preaching and legislation introductions.   As I reflect over the past week, I know our strong start will lead to important progress by the end of our 40 days.
Every day we meet in session, before we begin any official work, we hear from pastors, chaplains and preachers from around our great state. I had the distinct privilege of acting as our Chaplain of the Day on Wednesday, January 20. To have the opportunity to encourage my fellow senators and elevate them in their pursuit of happiness, both personally and acting as representatives for our constituents, was a great honor and responsibility that I do not take lightly. I hope you all know we have your best interests in mind as we carry out our senatorial duties.
I introduced the First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia this week both to the Senate and the press. I am devoted to leading this bill through to becoming a law by the end of our legislative session. The bill’s purpose is to “live and let live” in regards to beliefs and tolerance on the definition of marriage.
I addressed the Senate on Wednesday, as a point of personal privilege, to present a brief overview of the First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia bill before its first reading on Friday. I held my very first press conference on Thursday, January 21, to talk more fully on the impact of the bill. Ultimately, the bill offers protection to you as citizens of Georgia who view marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman without fear of judgment, persecution or criminalization. I want to protect religious beliefs and continue to respect the diversity in our state without conflict. The First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia does not oppose the Supreme Court’s ruling nor does it interfere with the right to legally marry in any way. My hope is for all Georgians to continue their pursuit of happiness without discrimination, but rather with tolerance, protection and acceptance.
Budget hearings also began this week after Governor Deal introduced his plans for the 2017 fiscal year throughout his State of the State Address. Once we receive a proposed budget from the governor, we spend much time and effort breaking down all expenses, divvying up state funds and allocating money in the most efficient and responsible way possible. We work tirelessly on the budget and promise to appeal to the needs and desires of our state and to you as constituents.
We had a successful second week at the Capitol and I look forward to representing you all through the next 34 days of session. Please call or email me with any questions or concerns and I look forward to keeping you updated on all the great progress we will make in 2016.
Sen. Greg Kirk represents the 13th Senate District which includes Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Lee, Tift, Turner, and Worth counties and portions of Sumter and Wilcox counties. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.5258 or email at greg.kirk@senate.ga.gov.