COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Columbus city and business leaders came together today to hear from the Georgia General Assembly and Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones. They discussed the 2023 spring legislative session and previewed the 2024 session, touching on public safety and school safety. Georgia Senator, Randy Robertson says a city cannot thrive if it is not safe.

The priorities for the 2024 Legislative Session include economic and workforce development as Georgia officials continue to strive and make the peach state the number one place to work and live.

“I can tell you right now, the workforce and labor pool and workforce development has never been greater. Communities like Columbus have an opportunity to thrive because so many people and companies don’t want the hustle and bustle of the metro Atlanta area.”

Burt Jones – Lieutenant Governor of Georgia

Something Senator Randy Robertson says can only thrive with safety alongside it.

“Economic development is a six lane highway, I tell everybody public safety is a roundabout. It touches every avenue of everything we do. You can bring the most successful business to Muscogee County, if it is not a safe community the business will not last.”

Sen. Randy Robertson – (R-GA) Cataula

Senate Bill 44 passed in the spring legislative session. It adds a mandatory 10 years to prison sentences for anyone convicted of recruiting minors into a gang and makes it harder for judges to avoid giving anyone convicted of gang activity at least five more years in prison.

“Too many times we see repeat offenders gang related offenders that are being arrested and being put right back on the street. We put some minimums in and we are hoping we will see some dividends from that.”

Burt Jones – Lieutenant Governor of Georgia

In the 2024 legislative session they are prioritizing school safety.

“Probably in the form of a block grant — for schools that either want to have an off duty law enforcement agencies or security individuals on campuses, obviously it’s vital that we make sure our K-12 schools are safe. Not just for our children but for the peace of mind of our parents and guardians.”

Burt Jones – Lieutenant Governor of Georgia

In the health and wellness sector the Georgia General Assembly is looking to support the state led approach to ensure the viability of our health healthcare system by improving access and affordability.