“Obviously there’ll be a great deal of time that will be spent on the budgets and the Appropriations Committee,” he said.
The Georgia legislature convenes for the 2013 session on Monday, Jan. 14,
Neal is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and in recent years has pushed numerous legislations on criminal justice and juvenile justice reform.
“I’ll be spending a great deal of time on the public safety side of the Appropriations Committee,” he said.
The legislature’s first order of business will be the budget, however.
“The budget’s going to be the dominant thing,” he said. “We will pass a balanced budget.”
Neal noted that there is a wide gap between the state’s current budget and its expenditures, and warns that one popular program may bear the brunt of the cost-cutting to come.
“There’s a hole, somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 million, perhaps a little more than that,” he said.
“It’ll be a difficult task to be able to balance that budget...I know there’s a shortfall in Medicaid, and we’ll be taking a look at Medicaid funding specifically.”
Other issues of interest in this year’s session are likely to include gun legislation as well as a renewed interest in cracking down on human trafficking.
“There’s a study committee looking at human trafficking and I may be involved in some of the legislation coming out of the human trafficking study committee,” said Neal.
Rep. Neal does not have any specific personal legislative goals in mind for the 2013 session as of yet, but is hopeful that he can work to push positive change through in a more behind-the-scenes approach.
“I’ve had a number of people approach me with some legislation they’d like to see,” he said. “Although for the most part I agree (with them), I would prefer someone else bring that forward and I would be a signer and help bring that through the process.”
The borders of Neal’s District 2 changed in the past year in preparation for the November 2012 election. In fact, Neal’s legislative area used to be known as District 1. District 1 now encompasses Dade and northern Walker Counties and is represented by Rep. John Deffenbaugh.
In Walker County, “I have Chickamauga, Rock Spring, LaFayette, the southern precincts south of LaFayette as well as Armuchee Valley,” said Neal.
“And then I have Chambers and Black Stock and Woodstation (precincts) in Catoosa County and I have three precincts on the western side of Whitfield County.”
Rep. Jay Neal of Chickamauga
Represents House District 2, which includes the southern precincts of Walker County, from Rock Spring south and east to Armuchee Valley, as well as three precincts in southern Catoosa County and three precincts in western Whitfield County.
Committees: Appropriations (member); Economic Development and Tourism (member); Insurance (member); Public Safety and Homeland Security (member); Special Joint Committee on Georgia Criminal Justice Reform (member); State Institutions and Property (chairman).
Local mailing address: PO Box 645, LaFayette, Ga. 30728
Local phone: 706-866-4488
Capitol mailing address: 401 State Capitol, Atlanta, Ga. 30334
Capitol office phone: 404-656-0152