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Cherokee Lawmakers Tout Ethics, Term Limits, Guns at Forum

The delegation on Monday shared with residents what bills they are supporting or introducing during the 2013 legislative session.

Cherokee County's legislative delegation on Monday was greeted with about 50 residents who filed into the Cherokee County Historic Courthouse in downtown Canton to hear what pieces of legislation they plan to champion.

Lawmakers during the session, which is already halfway over, shared with the audience which bills they've endorsed, sponsored or introduced.

The forum was hosted by the Cherokee County Republican Party. State Senator John Albers (R-Roswell) was not able to attend the forum. 

State Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Hickory Flat)

  • wants to see a "basic" ethics reform bill passed.
  • sponsoring a bill that would bar any person from seeking or holding public office if they have defaulted on their taxes. 

State Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville)

  • plans to introduce a bill that would "preserve" the freedom of religion
  • introduced Senate Bill 74, which authorizes military-trained 18- to 21-year-olds to be issued a Georgia weapons carry license.

State Rep. Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton)

  • sponsoring local legislation that would add a $5 fee to every Cherokee County State Court filing. The money would be used to make technology upgrades for the court.

State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) 

  • would like to introduce legislation that would create a temporary opportunity zone for the entire state for two years, which would lure jobs and companies to move to Georgia. 
  • introduced Senate Bill 141, which would replace Georgia's current medical malpractice system with a no-blame, administrative model. 
  • plans to co-sponsor a bill that would support phasing out Georgia's income tax. 

State Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) 

  • has introduced House Resolution 5, which is a bill that would amend the Georgia Constitution to impose term limits.

State Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta)

  • plans to sponsor a bill that would prohibit taxpayer subsidies for the installation of solar panels. 
  • sponsored House Bill 153 which allow local counties and cities to tax less than one percent for SPLOST programs.
  • sponsored House Bill 2, which would make the new car title fee set to go into effect on March 1 tax deductible.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs)

  • wants to introduce a bill that would bar taxpayer dollars being used for lobbying purposes.
  • plans to sponsor Caldwell's bill implementing term limits.

Legislators also expressed their commitment with protecting 2nd Amendment rights for Georgians.  

One resident, Jack Staver of Woodstock, asked the legislators if they would support eliminating a $325 fee lobbyists currently have to pay to obtain a badge when the visit the capitol.

Another resident, Cherokee County School District teacher Michael Sinco, asked how lawmakers feel on a proposed bill that would expand the Georgia tax credit scholarship initiative, which he described the program as being "cloaked in secrecy." 

Lawmakers, specifically Caldwell and Hill, said they were hesitant to give definite answers on where they stood on those two pieces of legislation or any bills currently under consideration in the Assembly. 

Tell us: what issues do you want Cherokee County legislators to support or introduce during the 2013 legislative session?

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