Monday, June 25, 2012

Rep. Matt Ramsey Comments on Supreme Court Decision

State Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) released the following statement today regarding the United States Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States:

“I look forward to reading the opinion in its entirety, but I am pleased that the United States Supreme Court has recognized that the states do clearly have a role in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. By upholding an Arizona provision that is similar to a provision in Georgia’s law, which allows state and local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of criminal suspects, the Supreme Court has confirmed that states can implement this common-sense and important public safety measure. Today’s ruling confirms our belief that not only was Georgia’s H.B. 87 an important step in protecting taxpayers from the social and economic consequences of illegal immigration, but the statute was also drafted to withstand constitutional scrutiny.”

Representative Matt Ramsey represents the citizens of District 72, which includes portions of Fayette County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2007, and was elected by the House Majority Caucus to serve as their Caucus Vice-Chairman in 2010. He also serves on the Appropriations, Congressional and Legislative Reapportionment, Judiciary Non-Civil, and Regulated Industries committees.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

State Rep. Matt Ramsey earns “A+” from Georgia Chamber for 2012 Session

State Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) received an ‘A+’ from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for his support of pro-business measures during this year’s legislative session. Last week, the Chamber released its 2012 Legislative Scorecard, grading state lawmakers on key business votes during the 2011-2012 General Assembly.

“I am truly honored to receive this designation from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce,” said Rep. Ramsey. “The General Assembly has made good strides in recent years, but it is critical we continue our efforts to lower taxes, remove burdensome regulations on business and promote the principles of the free market in Georgia. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Georgia Chamber and its members in the years ahead to ensure Georgia has the most jobs and investment-friendly business climate in America.”

“The ‘A+’ grade given by the Georgia Chamber to State Rep. Matt Ramsey reflects an unwavering commitment to bringing jobs, investment and long-term economic growth to Georgia,” said Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark. “Without question, he is a true champion of the state’s business community. We are tremendously grateful to have such a strong voice at the capitol working to strengthen Georgia’s pro-business climate and help companies across the state effectively compete in the global marketplace.”

For 2012, the Georgia Chamber identified nine key pieces of legislation critical to the business community for lawmakers to be scored on in policy areas including education, judiciary, and economic development. Prior to votes being taken, the Chamber communicated its position to members of the General Assembly and noted that those bills were eligible to be designated as “scorecard issues.”

This is the second year the Chamber has included letter grades in its report. Legislators were assigned final grades of A, B, C, or U based on their support of the scorecard bills from 2012, and House and Senate members in office during the 2011 General Assembly had last year’s “midterm” grade combined to result in an overall grade for the two-year term. To receive a grade in either year, the legislator must have been present to vote for 50 percent of the total scorecard votes. If the legislator was not present for 50 percent of the votes, they received an ‘N/A’ grade. For some legislators, subjective factors – including but not limited to bill sponsorship, speaking for or against bills and committee votes – were taken into account.

To view and download the complete Georgia Chamber 2011 scorecard, please click here.

Representative Matt Ramsey represents the citizens of District 72, which includes portions of Fayette County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2007, and was elected by the House Majority Caucus to serve as their Caucus Vice-Chairman in 2010. He also serves on the Appropriations, Congressional and Legislative Reapportionment, Judiciary Non-Civil, and Regulated Industries committees.

Thank you for your support

It is with great humility and appreciation for this wonderful community that I am announcing that I will seek reelection as the State Representative for Georgia House District 72. Every time I’ve had the privilege to stand before the voters, I have pledged that I will work as hard as I know how to represent this district’s interests at the Georgia Capitol. I again renew that pledge. I also believe the most important thing any elected official can do is be responsive to those who elect him and I have strived to always remember that during my five years in office. I will continue to do so if given the opportunity to serve for two more years.

I believe voters want solutions, not politics. I believe voters are fed up with elected officials and political candidates that spend all their time attacking the motivations and ideas of their “opponents” rather than offering anything of substance themselves. Voters simply want what they’ve always wanted: government interfering in their lives as little as possible. As an unapologetic conservative, I believe the best way to advance this district’s and state’s interests is by focusing on legislative initiatives that limit government, keep our taxes low and promote individual responsibility. While in office I have tried my best to represent this district in a positive, results-oriented manner. I will strive to continue to do so if given another two years.

Ideologically, I believe empowering the free-market, rather than government, is the best way to grow our economy. I believe in reducing spending, rather than raising taxes, to balance our state’s budget. I believe in ensuring we have a criminal justice system that spends tax dollars efficiently and keeps our families as safe as possible. I believe in guarding personal liberty against government overreach and expansion. I believe in providing an educational system that allows every child in Georgia to strive for and achieve their very best. I believe in ensuring Georgia has a tax and regulatory system that fosters job creation and economic growth. I believe in promoting a culture of life in Georgia that protects those that cannot protect themselves. I also believe that every single hard-earned tax dollar that is sent to the state treasury needs to either be spent efficiently or returned to the hardworking citizens of Georgia.

However, it is not enough to simply have conviction and ideas. An effective legislator must be able to turn those convictions and ideas into legislation and ultimately law. Some of the initiatives I have helped author and advance during my five years in the legislature and are now law include:

· Legislation to close a loophole in our child molestation law that now keeps children safer from predators.

· Amendments to both our driving laws and controlled substances act aimed at providing a safer Georgia for our teens.

· Legislation to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines to provide Georgians with more choice and competition in the health insurance market.

· Comprehensive immigration reform legislation to protect Georgia taxpayers from the social and economic consequences of illegal immigration.

· Education legislation aimed at filling the shortage of qualified math and science teachers in our public schools to ensure Georgia’s students get the kind of instruction they need to compete in today’s challenging job market.

· Tax reform legislation that provided some of the most significant tax relief to Georgians in decades; including a big step toward eliminating the “marriage penalty” in Georgia’s tax code and eliminating the ad valorem or “birthday tax” on Georgia’s automobile owners.

· Five years of balanced state budgets that have reduced the size of our state government by more than twenty percent and moved Georgia to the 2nd lowest per-capita spending state in the country.

These are the type of initiatives I want to continue to work on over the next two years.

I am a husband to an incredible wife, a father of two young children, a Sunday school teacher, a youth sports coach, an active volunteer at my children’s school and a partner in a small business. I want the same things for this community and state that every other parent does: a safe place to raise a family, quality educational opportunities for our children and a vibrant job market and economy that reward hard work and entrepreneurship. We have so much to be proud and optimistic about in our community and state and I will continue to work to move Georgia in the direction that ensures all of these things are possible for our families.

It has been the greatest honor of my professional life to represent this great community, the community that I grew up in, at the State Capitol. I would be honored and humbled to have the opportunity to represent the hardworking citizens of Fayette and Coweta County for another two years.

Matt Ramsey

Monday, April 2, 2012

Legislative Wrap Up - Day 40

Sine Die marks the end of a busy session 

Last Thursday as the clock struck midnight the General Assembly concluded its 40th and final day of the 2012 legislative session. It was a busy session and I believe our continued focus on jobs and the state economy led to some important measures being sent to the Governor’s desk in the final days of the session. I thought I would quickly summarize a few of the measures that received final passage in the last week of the session.

FY 2013 Budget Act, HB 742

The final House and Senate Conference Committee Fiscal Year 2013 $19 billion budget passed the House on Day 39. As is required by the Georgia constitution the budget is in balance. Education remains Georgia’s highest priority, receiving more than 54% of the state’s appropriated revenues. Meanwhile Georgia continues to do more with less by eliminating 540 state employee positions. What growth we have seen has been appropriated to essential spending such as market salary increases for certain law enforcement officers and increasing resources for physicians so they will practice in our state. All in all, Georgia continues to be very fiscally conservative ranking 49th in the nation in per capita spending with only Alaska spending less per-capita.

Georgia Government Accountability Act, HB 456

The Georgia Government Accountability Act establishes a review process for agency efficiency by creating the Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee. The “Sunset Committee” will review of all state agencies and executive branch subsidiaries that receive funds through a state Appropriations Act. The committee will have the ability to recommend the abolition of an agency, if the responsibilities and obligations, fiduciary or otherwise, of the agency in question are repealed, revised or reassigned by the General Assembly. In fact, the legislature got a head start on this process by eliminating the State Personnel Administration Department in House Bill 805 because it is duplicative and unnecessary. This is an important measure as part of our continued effort to eliminate government waste.

Child Protection and Public Safety Act, HB 641

The Child Protection and Public Safety Act is a comprehensive revision of the juvenile court provisions of Georgia’s Code. These provisions govern the state’s response to children and their families in case of abuse, neglect, violations of the law by children, and other circumstances requiring court intervention. The measure is a critical bill that will enhance public safety and provide abused and neglected children greater protection under the law.

Georgia Tax Tribunals Act, HB 100

A primary recommendation from the 2010 Joint Tax Reform Council, the Georgia Tax Tribunal Act will provide a low-cost mechanism for Georgia’s citizens to resolve disputes involving taxes that are currently administered under the Department of Revenue. The measure will give Georgia citizens and businesses the ability to come before an expert in a quick and efficient forum to challenge state tax assessments and denials of state tax refund claims. The goal is to give citizens and businesses a more efficient and less costly dispute resolution mechanism than going to Superior Court to challenge tax disagreements. This tribunal does not limit a citizen’s ability to file their matter with the Superior Court and all decisions of the tribunal are subject to appeals to the Superior Court by citizens that disagree with the outcome.

Drug Testing for TANF Act, HB 861

As a condition of eligibility to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, this act will ensure that individuals who seek aide are not using the money to subsidize an addiction to illegal drugs. In order to guarantee that children are not victimized by an ineligible parent, a protective payee would be designated for any child that needs assistance. I was one of the co-authors of this measure and believe it will save taxpayers money and ensure children are getting benefits that are currently being directed to drug abuse.

Fetal Pain Act, HB 954

The Fetal Pain Act is an important measure meant to end Georgia’s status as one of the late-term abortion leaders in the country. In fact, only two states have more late-term abortions (i.e. after 20 weeks) than Georgia. That is disturbing and unacceptable. The measure uses the recent recognition by legal scholars that states do have a legal interest in protecting the unborn after the 20th week to prohibit abortions after this point in the pregnancy except in very, very limited circumstances. I will continue to work to protect the unborn as long as I am a member of the Georgia General Assembly.

False Claims Act, HB 822

The False Claims Act bill expands the use of the state Attorney General’s office to investigate individuals and corporations that engage in fraudulent activity with taxpayer money. Medicaid claims are already subject to this investigative measure. This act is an attempt to recover potentially millions of dollars in fraudulent claims similar to other states, such as Kansas, Florida, California, and New York.

Metals Theft Act, HB 872

Metal theft has been on the rise in Georgia which not only affects us when we have our property stolen but also impacts Georgians through rising insurance premiums. The Metals Theft Act places additional purchasing requirements on secondary metals recyclers in order to limit the individuals who may sell copper coil or wire. It requires that additional information be kept in the records of each transaction, provides for forfeiture proceedings when any copper has been taken illegally, and requires registration of secondary metal recyclers with the Sheriff of each county. It also makes metals buyers liable to a civil case if the provisions of this code section are not followed and the metals purchased proved to be taken through criminal means. I was a co-author of this bill and a member of the Conference Committee that drafted the final version of the bill.

Safe at Schools For Diabetic Children, HB 879

As I have previously reported, I authored legislation this year to provide additional resources for diabetic children and their schools. This important measure passed the Senate two weeks ago and the House voted this week to agree to the minor amendment made by the Senate and thus this measure now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature. This is an important bill to the thousands of children impacted by diabetes in children and will ensure they are in the classroom more and will help to avoid the severe health complications that can result in a diabetic emergency.

These are a few of the bills that passed this past week in the final two days of the session that now await signature by the Governor. I will continue to provide information as the Governor’s bill review process moves forward. As always, thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve on behalf of this great community.