Fullerton Offers Wrap-up of Legislative Session
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
Carol Fullerton announced last month her re-election bid for the Georgia House of Representatives, District 153. Fullerton was sworn in as representative in January 2009. During her terms in the House, she has served on five committees: Health & Human Services, Higher Education, Natural Resources & Environment, Economic Development & Tourism, and Utilities, Telecommunications & Energy. The most recent legislative session ended in March.
"We pass too many laws each year yet most of them are helpful in some way, but some of them are not necessary and often are just a political play," Fullerton said in summarizing the session.
Benefits for Albany
Among the positives were laws that reduced the energy sales tax on Georgia manufacturers and extended to certain aircraft the exemption on taxes paid on agricultural machinery. Both laws support local Albany businesses.
"P&G in Dougherty County is the second largest consumer of electricity in the state. Lowering the energy sales tax supports their business and makes Georgia more competitive in attracting new industry," Fullerton said.
"Company officials at Thrush Aircraft asked the delegation if their aircraft, which are only used in agricultural pursuits, could be treated the same as other agricultural machinery. We checked with the applicable Committee Chairmen to see if this would be useful. They agreed with us that it should be included in the category. We talked to Legislative Counsel to have the proposed law composed and it passed both Houses. It helps local businesses keep jobs in Albany and helps the Georgia economy."
Other local legislation allowed Dougherty County to maintain its status requiring the probate judge to be an attorney. This was recommended by the current judge, the Dougherty County Commission and the Superior Court judges. In addition, a statewide system of accountability courts was created. According to Fullerton, these types of courts, which include mental health and drug courts, are more efficient in managing cases involving non-violent offenders.
"Albany was the first in the state to have this type of court thanks to Superior Court Judge Steve Goss. It's been widely acclaimed and copied across both the state and the nation, besides providing good publicity for Dougherty County," Fullerton added.
Fullerton cites the reapportionment map as one of the top disappointments in the last year. "We lost several representatives and a senator, which is unfortunate for southwestern Georgia. The region will have fewer votes in the future on issues when we look at Atlanta/North Georgia versus South Georgia interests."
A Bid for Re-Election
Fullerton cites infrastructure projects such as the widening of Highway 133 from Albany through Moultrie to Valdosta and other T-SPLOST projects as priorities for the future.
"While I would have preferred funding these projects another way, T-SPLOST seems to be the only way for funding for the near future. Albany has two large projects on the list. We need both of them so I recommend voting for this referendum," Fullerton said.
As the economy continues to recover, Fullerton hopes to get funding added back to issues like health care and education. While campaigning for re-election, she is spending time with constituents, businesses, military and other leaders in her district to get updated on their issues now and for the upcoming session of the General Assembly.
"I'll be meeting with officials at the Marine Corps Logistics Base, local businesses, members of the local agricultural community, area pastors and citizens to become educated about new issues facing them or updates on current ones. I encourage businesses, citizens and community leaders to call or write about any issues they might have so we can drive future committee and General Assembly work in the right direction."
Carol Fullerton can be reached at email@example.com.