COVID-19 Capitol Update from Rep. Bruce Williamson

As your District 115 State Representative, I would like to share this update on this week’s Capitol events. It is an excellent summary prepared by our House Majority Caucus staff and includes my comments. 
On Monday, March 16, the House and the Senate passed House Resolution 4EX. This Resolution stated that the House and Senate concurred with Governor Kemp’s Executive Order Number, issued Saturday, March 14, declaring a public health state of emergency due to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) and authorizing Governor Kemp to exercise the powers to which he is entitled under a public health state emergency for the next thirty days. Under Georgia law, the General Assembly was required to meet in a Special Session two days after the Governor declared a public health state of emergency to either agree with or disagree with the Governor’s declaration. As you know, the situation facing our state is a serious one, and we, as a House, voted on Monday to concur with the Governor’s declaration of a public health state of emergency through April 13, 2020. For those of you who have asked, please note that emergency powers state that“Under no state of emergency, whether “general” or “public health,” does the Governor have the power to interfere with the sale, dispensing, or transport of firearms, ammunition, or any component thereof.

Given the nature of these broad powers, out of an abundance of caution, the House and the Senate also filed Petitions on Monday with the Clerks of our respective chambers that will be delivered to the Secretary of State and the Governor (House Petition). These bipartisan Petitions were signed by more that more than the required three-fifths of both houses and set a specific date (April 15, 2020) for the General Assembly to reconvene if we determine that the situation in our state no longer rises to the level of a public health state of emergency. 

As a General Assembly, both the House and the Senate have the duty and responsibility to monitor the situation in our state and the authority to terminate the public health state of emergency when it no longer exists. This action maintains the General Assembly’s right of oversight and reinforces the separation of powers between our three branches of Government. I trust Governor Kemp and his team, but no one wants to set precedents for potential misuse by future Georgia Governors. 

Governor Kemp has acted swiftly and appropriately to diminish the threat facing our state due to COVID-19, and we are all thankful for his quick action. On Tuesday, March 17, he signed the amended budget for fiscal year 2020 that includes $100 million in relief funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic here in Georgia.

I have been in contact with our Walton County leaders. We are all working hard to understand and prepare for how we may best serve the citizens and businesses of this wonderful county which we call home. If any of you have any questions about HREX 4 or the petition submitted yesterday, please let me know. I can be reached

If you or any of you have questions about COVID-19, please visit the following links for additional information:

A new toll free phone number has also been created for non-symptomatic and non-exposure related COVID-19 calls. The number, 844-442-2681, is currently available with operators, Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST.

P.S. For a better understanding of how a virus might spread, please check out this interesting article illustrating how effective “social distancing” can be. The animations are interesting. 
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9


Rep. Bruce Williamson
Majority Secretary-Treasurer

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