Week 2 In Review

For our second week in this legislative session, the focus was on the Governor’s Proposed Budget. While we weren’t in our respective chambers, voting on bills and resolutions, the Capitol was abuzz inside and outside of hearing room 341 as each state agency presented how they would approach the mandated cuts for their FY2020 and FY2021 budgets.

Under The Gold Dome


Budget Hearings

Both chambers of the GA General Assembly came together for  joint hearings this week to begin the process of our only constitutionally required duty— to pass a budget. This week is affectionately known as “budget week.” If I had to sum it up in three words it would be, “Cuts cuts cuts!” The Governor’s proposed budget would slash crucial spending in almost every aspect of life in Georgia as each agency was required to slash 4% of their amended FY2020 budget and 6% of their FY2021 budget.  There are proposed cuts to grants for workforce development at colleges like Mercer and Morehouse. There are proposed cuts to healthcare in rural communities. There are proposed cuts to child services. Of the many proposed cuts across the board a few that stood out to me were: 

  • $3 million cut from funding for public defenders while the same amount was added to prosecutors. 

  • Cuts to agriculture that will lead to fewer food and animal safety inspections in our State.

  • Drastic cuts to mental health services that will have an effect on tackling GA’s mental health crisis

There were also additions to the budget. Teacher pay raises have been a major hot button issue as the Governor has made promises to the state’s educators that they will see an extra $2K/yr on their check. This raise is a good thing, but the caveat is that it comes at the expense of the Teacher’s  Retirement System.

State Elections Board

This week I attended the State Elections Board meeting, headed by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to express my concerns with new propose rules that could lead to voter disenfranchisement. The proposed rule would allow County Election officials across the State to reduce the number of voting machines promised in last year’s HB316. In this bill,the number of machines required in each precinct was reduced from 1 per 200 voters to 1 per 250 voters.  Now, the rule change would allow the Elections Board to subvert legislative intent.  They are moving the goalpost in the middle of the game! This new rule will lead to longer lines and more difficulty voting, predominantly in areas that are already subject to long lines on Election Day. Since being elected, voting rights has been on the forefront of my mind and my platform, and I will not stop fighting for Georgians to be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote, uninfringed.

I addressed the State Elections Board with my concern about changing the rules to allow Counties to allocate fewer voting machines on Election Day.
We had the pleasure of meeting Georgia Gwinnett College’s student nurses graduating in 2021. I can’t stress how essential this group of young people are to our community. As someone who teaches the next generation of nurses, I was so happy to see them at the Capitol, engaging in our democracy.

Wednesday Georgia Head Start Association came by the Capitol and I had a fantastic conversation with President Tanya Thomas about some of the ways that the General Assembly can support this program. The GHSA has been serving the children of Georgia for more than half a century and I’m thankful for their efforts to support GA’s future!

In The Community


Concerns about Early Voting

With early voting for the Presidential Preference Primary just over a month away, it is concerning that voting machines for Gwinnett County, one of the most populace counties in the State, have still not been delivered (at the time of this publication) and election workers have not yet been trained. It is extremely worrying to me how rushed this process has been, and how the voters are going to feel the effects of this mismanagement of the rollout. Along with this, I am also concerned that early voting at satellite locations has also been reduced from the originally approved (by the Elections Board and Citizen Review Committee) 19 days to 12 days for the March and May primaries in Gwinnett. While 7 days may not seem like a big deal, this change along with the proposed rule changes could lead to drastically long lines at certain precincts in the County. We should be making voting easier, not harder! We really owe it to our citizenry to get this right.


On Monday morning I marched in the Gwinnett County MLK Parade, hosted by the United Ebony Society, to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Starting at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center and ending at Moore Middle School, I had the opportunity to march with the Gwinnett County Democrats, alongside my colleagues in Gwinnett County delegation— Sheikh Rahman, Brenda Lopez-Romero, Sam Park, Shelly Hutchinson, Donna McLeod and Gregg Kennard.

Commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with friends and colleagues and the Gwinnett Democratic Party.

What’s Next

The budget hearings have concluded but the work has just begun. Next week the Governor’s proposal will be debated on the floor and I have some things to say. 

We will be in session the full week for Days 5-9. Stay tuned!

Copyright © 2020 Jasmine Clark for Georgia State House District 108, All rights reserved.

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