by Stanley Dunlap, Georgia Recorder [This article first appeared in the Georgia Recorder, republished with permission]
December 29, 2022
A radically reshaped Georgia Legislature will begin a new session on Jan. 9 and a host of organizations will set the stage for what to watch when lawmakers return to the Gold Dome.
On Jan. 8, Feeding Georgia’s largest fundraiser, the Wild Hog Supper, will mark the beginning of the legislative session as lawmakers and lobbyists get together for the annual reunion. Other events over the next few weeks through a mix of in-person and virtual options will provide a glimpse into state politics and policy in areas such as business, education, health care, and others.
On Jan. 9, the new two-year legislative session will begin its first 40-day term, and there will be some notable differences in the leadership in both chambers and new legislators entering office.
Republican Burt Jones, the newly elected lieutenant governor, will now lead the Senate chamber, and Rep. Jon Burns, a Newington Republican and the House speaker nominee, is expected to wield that chamber’s gavel following the unexpected death of David Ralston on Nov. 16.
The Wild Hog Supper, operated by the organization formerly known as Georgia Food Bank Association, will return to The Freight Depot for a second consecutive year after being canceled in January 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Jan. 8, new Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper and other top elected officials will mix and mingle with other agricultural leaders, lobbyists, and Georgians with a taste for state politics while enjoying barbecue and Southern sides in exchange for an entry fee that supports food banks that provide millions of pounds of healthy fruits and vegetables to feed families in need.
The first week of the 2023 session also features a pair of legislative preview breakfasts starting on Jan. 10 with the nonprofit Georgians for a Healthy Future followed a day later with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs and Issues that attracts VIPs in the state’s politics and business.
On Jan. 18, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is hosting its signature series that examines the state’s spending plan for the next year with a free two-part event. It kicks off with an in-person reception on Jan. 18 followed by a virtual session panel discussion on Jan. 19. The legislative policy conference this year promises to provide the latest budget analysis and offer progressive ideas for ways to make the most of the state’s $6.6 billion surplus to advance education, health care, and workforce development programs in Georgia.
An expert panel of lawyers, government officials, and journalists will discuss government transparency and other First Amendment issues at a legislative breakfast online hosted by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation on Jan. 26.
Jan. 8: Feeding Georgia’s largest fundraiser returns with another celebration of farming with its long-running pig-picking event to benefit the Farm to Food Bank program. The Wild Hog Supper brings together state lawmakers and agriculture leaders to mingle on the eve of the legislative session.
Jan. 9: The Georgia Assembly returns for a new legislative session with new leadership in the House and Senate. The newly elected Lt. Gov. Burt Jones will lead the Senate and Republican Rep. Jon Burns takes over as House speaker following the unexpected passing of David Ralston.
Jan 10: Georgians for a Healthy Future will host an event at The Freight Depot in downtown, its annual Health Care Unscrambled event, where a bi-partisan panel of state lawmakers and a keynote speaker will explore health care policy and public health issues.
Jan. 11: The Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues breakfast usually attracts about 2,500 business leaders, elected officials, lobbyists, and VIPs who network over coffee and Chick-fil-A biscuits and hear the legislative priorities of government leaders.
Jan. 18-19: The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is hosting a free, in-person reception on Jan. 18 and an online program on Jan. 19 for the 2023 Insights Policy Conference: Equitable Budgeting Makes Perfect Sense.
Jan. 26: The Georgia First Amendment Foundation hosts a legislative breakfast online as an expert panel of lawyers, government officials and journalists discuss government transparency and other First Amendment issues. The event is free, but registration is required.
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