Representative Rick Jasperse speaks to the Rotary Club. Education, health care, cannabis oil, gun control, religious liberty and casino gambling to be center stage in Atlanta.
By Max Caylor
“Following Governor Deal’s Amendment 1 defeat by voters he will be rolling out Plan B to address failing schools in Georgia as one of his main agenda items,” said District 11 Representative Rick Jasperse speaking at Rotary last week highlighting the 2017 legislative session.
The former County Agent elected to the House in 2010 emphasized Governor Deal’s commitment to education noting, “he made overhauling the school funding formula the centerpiece of his 2014 re-election campaign and then pivoted to a decisive plan for the state to take control of failing schools.”
“Deal’s Plan B is top secret but may address giving students more leeway to transfer from failing schools,” Jasperse said. He illustrated the situation with stats showing Georgia has 68,000 students attending 128 schools in chronically failing districts.
Jasperse mentioned the politics of the upcoming governor’s race could highly influence legislation. He said, “potential contenders like Rep. Tom Price and Senator David Purdue are highly involved with President-elect Trump and will likely stay in Washington and that will open the door for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp and dark horse state Senators Burt Jones and Michael Williams to contend for the office.
“The Medical Marijuana crowd is turning toward adding “recreational use and Peake’s medical cannabis bill is getting a lot of fan fair,” added Jasperse.
Jasperse said 20 percent of the state’s budget is spent on medical care and, more than likely, there will be a special called session this summer to address our fiscal bottom line. He quoted Rep. Terry England, head of the Houses’s budget committee, stating, “we really have no clue what to expect from Trump’s overhaul of the Affordable Care Act.”
The group learned there is a well-funded push for Casino Gambling in Atlanta and other cities in Georgia along with horse betting and other parimutuel betting to fund Hope scholarships.
“It is up to students to do their work and with Hope it is basically free now,” stated Jasperse when asked about the possibility of free college for students. The representative believes in merit and need-based scholarships.
Rotary learned that the state Chamber of Commerce is pushing to enact legislation to grow the state’s economy and maintain Georgia’s four-year ranking as the number one state for commerce. Also, they want to emphasize “everyone is welcome to do business in our state,” remarked the speaker.
On the religious liberty front Jasperse believes “we will pass pastor protection but after that it is a toss-up.” He thinks many religious liberty bills will be introduced and added, “if we do nothing on the religious liberty issue and pass casino gambling it is a good recipe for an angry electorate in 2018.”
Many heard for the first time about the Georgia Space Flight Act in Camden County (Woodbine- St. Mary’s) which was enacted last year which defines procedures for space flight in Georgia. The bill allows Georgia to compete in the $300 billion commercial space market.
“I expect to see all type of bills dealing with gun control such as campus carry, banning assault weapons and requiring training before obtaining a weapon or carry license,” Jasperse said. In addition, the six-year lawmaker shared news that a military base study committee has been meeting for four years to help assure the state’s bases are not lost.”
“I want to hear from you and for you to visit the Capitol” said Jasperse, who won re-election by 86 percent.
He suggests contacting him directly by email or phone and not through a block which says send this to your representative.
See also “Legislative session priorities from Sen. Steve Gooch, page 6A.