Tanner, Gooch discuss bills passed in 2019 General Assembly

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Sen. Steve Gooch of Dahlonega and State Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville were the featured speakers at last night’s Dawson County Republican Party Meeting at the Bowen Arts Center.

Gooch represents 200,000 north Georgia residents, including those in Dawson, White, Lumpkin, Union and Forsyth counties. The district is made up of about 75 percent Trump voters.

“It’s the most conservative district in the state senate and the third most conservative in the country,” he said. “So, it’s pretty easy for us to go down there and vote a conservative agenda cause that’s who we are and who we try to represent back home.”

Sen. Steve Gooch

He said he had took some heat from liberals for his vote in favor of the fetal heartbeat bill – the bill that bans abortions as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat — but added, “I was proud of my vote on that heartbeat bill, saving hundreds of thousands of unborn children. It was probably the best vote I had taken in my nine years in the senate.”

Gooch also talked about passing enabling legislation to create business courts in the state. The legislation will allow businessmen and women to take a case directly to a business court rather than the Superior Court. “A lot of business issues are highly specialized and not many Superior Court judges have business experience,” he said. “In a business court, they would be able to bring in experts that know a lot about the subject matter.”

Another issue he has spearheaded for several years is the expansion of high-speed internet access to rural communities. He and other legislators who understand that high-speed broadband internet service is essential to schools, businesses and hospitals made it a priority this year. They passed legislation that allows power companies and phone companies to begin selling internet service in rural areas.

Rep. Kevin Tanner

Tanner also weighed in on the fetal heartbeat bill, saying, “I have several in Lumpkin County who are very much opposed to that legislation. There is no way I could ever change their mind and I’m very much pro-life and there is no way you could ever change my mind. It’s a moral fiber issue for me.”

Tanner worked hard on getting new voting machines for the state. The bill passed in the House along party lines with Democrats opposed. The new machines, which will cost between $150 million and $200 million, will allow voters to cast a ballot electronically, print out a copy for their approval then scan it to have it recorded.

“I have yet to be able to get my democrat colleagues to give me a reason they would be opposed to that particular machine,” Tanner said. “The reality is (opposition) is coming from the national party that they should oppose the legislation. I will say this, it is proven statistically that the best way to rig or cheat in an election is paper ballots. If you want to stuff ballot boxes and rig an election, paper ballots are the best way to do that. These machines make it very difficult if not impossible for that to happen because if there is an audit, there is a trail we can follow.”

Tanner has been a champion of mental health reform in Georgia which has led to the creation of a behavioral health reform and innovation commission made up of 23 members. Four will be legislators but the majority will be experts in the field of mental health.”

“The problem is once you graduate from a mental health court, there is no follow up,” he said. “If you have schizophrenia, or you have bipolar, or acute depression, you have to be followed your entire life to make sure medication is being taken and you’re not having an episode.”

Last night’s meeting was the first since the election of a new slate of officers at the County Convention. The new officers include Seanie Zappendorf (chairperson), Mike Berg (first vice chair) Pepper Pettit (second vice chair), Dale Smart (secretary) Katie Hulsebus (treasurer) and Norman Samples (committee member at-large).

Among the elected officials who attended the event were Mayor Mike Eason, Commissioners Julie Hughes-Nix, Sharon Fausett, City Councilman Stephen Tolson and former Commission Chairman Mike Berg.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Tanner updates citizens on busy week in General Assembly

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Voting machines, Georgia’s mental health system and transportation issues were very much on the mind Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) when he spoke at a breakfast meeting with constituents Saturday at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame (GRHOF).

Tanner holds these meetings throughout the 40 days the Georgia General Assembly is in session, alternating between the Wagon Wheel restaurant in Dahlonega and GRHOF.

The House voted 101-72, mostly along party lines last week, to replace the state’s old voting machines with new ones that print paper ballots at a cost of $150 million. The new machines, Tanner explained, use touchscreens, printers and optical scanners. Voters can select a candidate on the touchscreen, print the ballot out to review, correct any error, then insert the ballot into a separate scanner for tabulation.

“Probably the most controversial issue from a partisan view that we have taken up this session is the voting machine bill,” he said. “There has been a lot of talk by everyone on changing how our voting machines work.”

The House Governmental Affairs Committee held a number of very contentious, very, very long and well-attended meetings last week.

“I can tell you that everyone in elected office in Atlanta has felt a whole lot of pressure from their constituents to make a change in the voting process – Democrats and Republicans.”

Tanner also has been concerned about Georgia’s mental health issue for some time. Last week, he introduced a bill to create the Mental Health Reform and Innovation Commission.

“We will be working on this with the Governor’s Office, Lt. Governor’s Office, the Speaker and the Supreme Court,” he said. Each will make four-year appointments to the commission if the bill is signed into law.

“There has been a lot of excitement about this. I have had visits this week from several mental health court judges. The advocacy community is very excited about this also. It’s very much needed in our state. We need to take a deep dive into our mental health system with a group of experts. What I like about this commission is it will have 21 members, but only four legislators all the others are experts in this area. Hopefully we will be able to get that legislation through committee on Tuesday and voted out Thursday and over to the Senate.”

Tanner, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, has been working to identify ways to remove transportation barriers in the state. To address the issue, he has introduced a bill that would create the Department of Mobility and Innovation which would replace the Georgia Regional Transportation Agency (GRTA).

“Right now we have six separate agencies involved in transportation at the state level. This would streamline that process down to one agency and one commissioner. It can be transformational if we are able to make it happen.”

 

 

The bill would provide public transit throughout the state, including some small, rural pockets of the state, especially in south Georgia.

The bill aims to provide a steady source of income by charging some transportation services a 50-cent fee on all rideshare, taxi and limousine trips and a 25-cent fee on shared trips instead of a sales tax, which some companies like Uber and Lyft have not paid anyway and are currently in litigation.

Tanner said both companies are very supportive of the bill replacing a sales tax.

“For one thing,” he said, “if the court finds in the state’s favor, they would be charged at the highest rate. But also, by putting the money into mobility they understand it actually helps their companies.”

The change could generate up to $60 million in new revenue.

Tanner said the money would help pay for a couple of pilot programs. One would use a tax credit to incentivize employers to provide transportation options such as a vanpool for employees who lack reliable transportation. The other would offer direct aid to unemployed residents in middle and south Georgia who need a way to get to work.

Thursday is Crossover Day — the 28th day of the 40-day legislative session is the last day for bills to move from one chamber to the other — and still have a clear path to becoming law this year. It’s created by a Senate rule.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

Author

Speaker David Ralston & Rep. Kevin Tanner to Discuss Dawson County Priorities in the FY 18 State Budget

Community

Speaker David Ralston

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Kaleb McMichen
Friday, July 14, 2017 (404) 656-5020
  kaleb.mcmichen@house.ga.gov


Speaker David Ralston & Rep. Kevin Tanner to Discuss

Dawson County Priorities in the FY 18 State Budget

ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) will discuss Dawson County priorities included in the Fiscal Year 2018 State Budget on Wednesday, July 19, at 2:00 p.m. at the Dawson County Board of Education Office.

 

WHO:            House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge)
Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville)

WHAT:          Discussing Dawson County priorities in the FY18 State Budget

WHEN:          Wednesday, July 19
2:00 p.m.

WHERE:       Dawson County Board of Education Office
28 Main Street
Dawsonville, Ga. 30534

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