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January 10, 2014

Legislators pushing bills with Baldwin impact

MILLEDGEVILLE —

The 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly begins Monday, Jan. 13.  

Already lawmakers tab this upcoming session as “the fast and furious,” as it is expected to be one of the quickest in years. 

Each annual session starts on the second Monday of January and lasts no longer than 40 “session” not calendar days.

Most state legislature sessions extend through March and oftentimes into mid-April. This year will break the norm due to changes in election schedules.

The 2014 federal primary date now set for May 20 creates a domino effect on the state legislative session. One of the first pieces of legislation expected would change the state elections to coincide with the federal elections placing qualifying for federal and state offices from March 3 through March 7.  

“I see it as a plus for us to do it on that date. To conserve money for the state we might as well let them all happen at the same time,” District 25 Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) said. “If you get out in March, you still have April and May to run a campaign.”

Those in the state House, Senate and all constitutional officers such as the governor and lieutenant governor running for re-election will not want to stay in session long.

State House Rep. Rusty Kidd (I-Milledgeville), District 145, agrees with the fast paced expectations at the capitol.

“We’ll get through in March this year. My guess is around the 20th,” Kidd said.

State lawmakers can’t raise money for their re-election campaigns while in session. Opponents back home are eligible to raise campaign funds during that time, which adds an interesting wrinkle to the 40 days.

Because it’s an election year, Kidd predicts there “won’t be many controversial issues brought up.”

“(Gov. Nathan Deal) wants to make everybody happy this year, and obviously so do the politicians,” the state representative said. “It’s unfortunate that the No. 1 thing politicians are after is getting re-elected. That’s not my agenda. My agenda is to do what’s right for the people.”

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