From the State House: Some inside baseball and DOT updates

By Matt Gurtler, Georgia State Representative, 8th District

Another week of the Georgia General Assembly 2017 Session has ended. I attended my first Small Business Development Committee meeting of which I’m a member.

Small businesses create the overwhelming majority of new jobs, and I look forward to what we can do to make that even easier. On the Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee we’ve heard issues ranging from livestock licensing to the growth of the citrus industry in Georgia. Every time I listen to a business owner or talk with a constituent I’m reminded what makes Georgia amazing is:

  • individuals
  • individuals pursuing their passions
  • working hard
  • supporting their families.

My staff and I have been in contact with the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) pretty regularly and I would like to bring to your attention a few of the things we’ve been working on.

Union County

For Union County constituent, there will be a public information meeting to discuss widening SR 11/US 129 on Feb. 21, 2017 at the Blairsville Civic Center from 4 6 p.m. Because of session I will not be able to attend but I invite you to share this information and attend if you are so inclined.



Brent Cook, Georgia DOT

I’d also like to remind everyone about the situation concerning the Suches Bridge on SR 180 that was going to cause problems because of the extensive detour. Last week I shared a Facebook post but I’m still getting calls and emails. Since the public meeting back in August and after talking extensively with Brent Cook & Darrell Richardson from the DOT we’ve been told they are “evaluating the potential of keeping one lane of the existing bridge open during construction.” That would mean no 23.5 mile detour. Another public meeting is anticipated for 2018 to update the public.

Rabun County


Ga Senator John Wilkinson

For Rabun County constituents, I had the privilege of attending a DOT meeting with a delegation from the City of Dillard to express our concerns and find a solution about the widening of 441 through Dillard. Georgia Senator John Wilkinson also attended to lend his support. Mayor Bill Robinson and Council Members Dillard & Defoor were very well prepared and have done a great job to make sure the businesses and people of Dillard are protected.

Constitutional Carry legislation and more

In other news, my Constitutional Carry legislation has a bill number, HB 156 and has 7 co-sponsors. Also very exciting is my $5 Hotel/Motel Tax Repeal legislation that currently has 14 co-sponsors. One set back on that front is that I was refused a fiscal note for the bill. Fiscal notes calculate the fiscal impact a bill will have if passed but recently the General Assembly changed the budget office policy and now, only a Chairman can request a fiscal note. This is the sort of step that leadership takes to retain control and something I’m quite disappointed about. However, I am in the process of getting a fiscal note on my Constitutional Carry bill through some hard work and principled politics. That will calculate how much is currently raised through the Georgia Weapons License system.  I’m also attempting, with the help of a Committee Chairman, to try and change that budget office policy back to being open to all Representatives.

I hope this helps you understand a little about how things really work down here at the Capitol.

As always, it’s an honor to serve Union, Towns, Rabun & White counties. Thank you.

Matt Grutler, Georgia State Representative, District 8 encompassing Union, Towns, Rabun and White counties in northeast Georgia.

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