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Local lawmakers set sights on firearms, employment bills
by Bill Baldowski
January 15, 2014 04:34 PM | 1894 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Having served in the House of Representatives since 2003, District 61 State Rep. Roger Bruce, D-Atlanta, has seen numerous sessions gaveled to order.

However, this year, he said he is excited about getting back to work under the Gold Dome and said he is ready for any legislative battles which may come, despite the Democrats again being in the minority.

“The minority party always has a tough time,” said Bruce, who served as the chairman of the Douglas County legislative delegation in 2013.

One of Bruce’s key pieces of legislation this year is a bill designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs or business owners to start a business in the state.

Bruce said he does not believe the jobs offered by business concerns coming into the state from other areas generate the type of positions that would put the most Georgia residents to work.

“Most of the companies that are relocating or expanding into the state are bringing their own employees with them,” he said.

“If we want to positively impact our state’s employment picture, we need to always encourage businesses coming here to hire here.”

This marks the second legislative session for District 68 State Rep. Dustin Hightower, R-Carrollton, and he has big plans for it.

“I plan to co-sign one of the strongest Second Amendment, pro-gun bills which has been produced in years,” he said of a revised House Bill 512.

Hightower said the country’s founding fathers viewed the right to bear arms as a “God-given right.”

“I will fight to protect the Second Amendment with everything I have,” Hightower said.

“As a strong, outspoken supporter of our Constitutional right to bear arms, I support legislation that goes to re-establish and protect our right to bear arms.”

Hightower said he believes when a governmental entity restricts law-abiding citizens from carrying a firearm, “we are putting them at a great disadvantage when it comes to protecting themselves against those who do not respect the law or the lives of others.”

“The reading of the Second Amendment has always been simple for me as it says the right for people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” he said.

District 67 State Rep Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville, said that in addition to his support of the Campus Carry Bill, which would allow responsible, licensed Georgians 21 years of age or older to carry a firearm on college campuses, he is also supporting House Bill 707.

This bill would prohibit the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act or, as Gravley termed it, the “unaffordable care act,” by any local municipality, state agency or political subdivision of the state of Georgia -- citing state sovereignty rights in the 10th Amendment.

“States like Missouri and South Carolina are following Georgia’s lead by introducing similar legislative measures,” he said.

Bruce said he is concerned that this year’s legislative session includes fewer opportunities for senators and representatives to gather public comment on the budget which, he said, is always one of the top issues each session.

Lawmakers are expected to work to pass the 2014-15 budget and adjourn by mid-March, which is at least a month earlier than normal. A federal judge ordered federal primary elections to be set May 20, placing the deadline for qualifying in early March, and Georgia is expected to follow.

Bruce said he hopes lawmakers will make decisions on bills not on patrician politics but how they will positively impact the state.

“I hope partisanship does not enter into legislation designed to serve our constituents,” he said.

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