Political Notes — New committees on tap for House, Senate

[private]New committees are being created in both the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives to focus more attention on two issues of growing importance.

In the House, Speaker David Ralston is forming a “transportation and infrastructure committee” that will handle issues related to transportation funding and will be administrative attached to the appropriations committee.

“Transportation now is an increasingly big deal, as it should be,” Ralston said. “Transit’s an important part of that. I think we have to recognize that transit is not only part of congestion mitigation, it’s economic development.”

No chairman or members have been announced for the new committee, which is the same situation with the new senate committee, a task force set up by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to advise the legislature on dealing with the fallout from the upcoming repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“Obamacare does need to be repealed and replaced,” Cagle said. “That’s the reason we’re announcing the task force.”

Lawmakers will be looking to see what happens in Congress first before moving too far on this particular issue.

“We’re like every other state — we have to wait and see what Washington does,” said Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford).

Turner Field sale closes

Georgia State University and a group of private developers have officially closed on the purchase of Turner Field and surrounding acreage from the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority.

Turner will be converted to a football stadium for Georgia State with a new baseball park constructed nearby on the site of the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. There will be lots of mixed-use and retail development as well.

“When this chapter of Atlanta’s history is written, I believe the sale of Turner Field will be counted among the most consequential redevelopment efforts in the life of our city,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.

Senate committee assignments

U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue have received their committee assignments for the new congressional term, and there are only a couple of changes.

Isakson continues as chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Select committee on Ethics. He’s also a member of the finance, foreign relations and health, education and labor committees.

Perdue moves to the armed services, banking, budget and agriculture committees, while relinquishing seats on the judiciary and foreign relations committees.

Ferguson hires staffers

U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) has completed the staffing of his Washington and district offices.

Bobby Saparow, who was Ferguson’s campaign manager last year, is the chief of staff and Mary Dee Beal, formerly with Rep. Austin Scott, is the legislative director.

Amy Timmerman is Ferguson’s communications director, Mary Christina Riley is senior legislative assistant, and Jenna Heard is the scheduler. Michael Northrop is legislative correspondent and Miller Robinson of Columbus is staff assistant.

Down in the district, James Ruvalcaba will be district director while Jean Studdard, John W. Stuckey, Jessica Craddock, and Kathy Pappas are constituent services representatives.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: David Perdue , Drew Ferguson staff , Johnny Isakson , legislative committees , Turner Field