Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nathan Deal please read

 Please read the following letter from Senator Tommie Williams, Senator Williams I know to be not just a great man, but a great family man, and an astute businessman as well, he is also a trusted friend.

John Lunsford

State Representative 110th district



From The Honorable Tommie Williams, President Pro Tempore,


Georgia Senate District 19


You say that Nathan Deal has a lot of baggage attached, but I want to tell you some of the real baggage that he carries:

1.  Nathan graduated with honors from Washington County High School .

2.  Nathan graduated with honors from Mercer University in 1964.

3.  Nathan graduated with honors from Mercer Law in 1966.

4.  When Nathan graduated from Mercer in 1964, he was named the male recipient of the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award which designates the top  senior.

5.  While at Mercer Nathan was president of the student body.

6.  While at Mercer Nathan was the commanding officer in  the ROTC.

7.  Nathan served his country with distinction in the US Army JAG Corps.

8.  After serving in the Army, Nathan moved to Gainesville (where his wife, Sandra, is from) and began to practice law, serving as Assistant District Attorney for several years before going into private practice.

9.  Nathan served as Juvenile Court Judge for a number of years in Hall  County.

10.  During these years Nathan was a member of various civic clubs, serving as president of the Jaycees and Rotary, among others.

11.  Nathan grew up a member of the First Baptist Church of Sandersville, and he has been a faithful member and leader of the First  Baptist Church in Gainesville for over 40 years.

12.  In the early 1980s Nathan ran for the Georgia Senate from his district and won.  He served his district for twelve years, rising to become President Pro tem of the  Senate.

13.  In 1992 Nathan ran for the United States House of Representatives  for the Ninth District of Georgia and won.  He was reelected by his constituents each two years thereafter and resigned early this year to  focus on the campaign for governor.

While in Congress, Nathan wrote,  among other things, the law that prohibited Social Security benefits for illegal aliens.  This piece of legislation alone has saved this country  over 20 billion dollars.


You may ask why I have gone into such detail. It is because I know this  man and have watched him closely since we were first graders together in Sandersville Elementary School.  We went all the way through    elementary  school and high school together, participating in many of the same activities.  Then, we went to Mercer together. We pledged the same  fraternity because  we had made a pact that we would join the same one (he became president of that, too).  He was in our wedding, but my wife  was the star of that event.


I can say with all truthfulness and soberness that during these years of  being close to Nathan, I have never heard him use a swear word of any  kind, drink alcohol of any kind, use tobacco of any kind or do or say  anything that was or could be construed to be immoral, illegal,  unethical or dishonest. One may say that I am blinded by being so close to him.  I say, on the  contrary, I am grateful that the State of Georgia is being offered one  of the best and most experienced of her citizens for its highest elected  office. 


I know of no one, either personally or by reputation, who is  better qualified and trustworthy and can serve this State with more devotion, care, and carefulness than Nathan Deal.




Monday, September 27, 2010

Please join

Clay Davis

Representative Steve Davis

Gerry Harkins

Bill Herndon

Representative John Lunsford

Eddie Walker

Representative John Yates

at a



Nathan Deal

Republican Nominee for Governor

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Eagles Landing Country Club

100 Eagles Landing Way

Stockbridge, GA 30281

Hosts - $6,100

Sponsors - $2,500

Patrons - $1000

Guests - $250 per person/$500 per couple

Contributions to Deal for Governor can be mailed to

Deal for Governor ~ P.O. Box 2495 ~ Gainesville, GA 30503

or give online at

To attend or to participate as a Host, Sponsor, or Patron please contact Hayley Howell at

404.841.8576 or

State law requires political committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual

whose contributions aggregate in excess of $100 in a calendar year. Contributions to Deal for Governor, Inc. are not deductible for

tax purposes. Please make checks payable to Deal for Governor. State law allows individuals, corporations, and Political Action

Committees to contribute a maximum of $6,100 for the primary election, $3,600 for the runoff election, and

$6,100 for the general election.

Paid for by Deal for Governor, Inc.

Friday, July 23, 2010

eric johnson for gov

Dear Friends,
Over the last couple of weeks many people have asked me who I am supporting for Governor in the Tuesday July 20th Republican primary.  With a large number of candidates in the Governor’s race, many people are still undecided and are trying to learn about the candidates.
If you are casting your ballot on Tuesday, I would urge you to consider Eric Johnson for Governor.
I had the pleasure to serve with Eric Johnson for ten years in the legislature; I got to know him personally.
As Senate President Pro Tempore, he helped pass groundbreaking legislation and lead on issues like:
Cutting Taxes
Tort Reform to reduce frivolous lawsuits
Protecting our hunting and fishing rights with a Constitutional amendment
Upholding private property rights
Defending our family values and the sanctity of marriage
As Senate Minority Leader he led Republicans to the majority for the first time in over 130 years.  Eric Johnson went up against Roy Barnes when

King Roy redrew Georgia’s voting districts and gerrymandered our State by tearing our communities apart.
Eric Johnson is the only republican to run a clean campaign race and focus on the issues and not other candidates.
I hope you will support and vote for Eric Johnson for Governor - I know I am.
john Lunsford
State Representative
District 110


Monday, May 3, 2010

lunsford weekly release

State Rep. John Lunsford's Weekly Capitol Update


April 30, 2010



It is official; the 2010 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly adjourned Sine Die and came to an end midnight on Thursday, April 29th. After spending months devoting our time and commitment in Atlanta under the Gold Dome.  After being in session for forty legislative days spread out over four months, continual committee meetings, agreements and disagreements, the members which represent people from all over our state came together and finished the work of the people.  The two days of session this week the members worked into the late hours passing legislation.  Key pieces of legislation were passed this week, including:  the passage of the final Fiscal Year 2011 budget, possible trauma care funding, a ban on texting while driving, clarification on carrying firearms, and the Healthy Georgians Act of 2010.


The General Assembly passed a trimmed down $17.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2011.  The conference committee reached a negotiation on the budget after working strenuously on it for over a week.  With less money, and a state budget that has been greatly reduced, it was quite an accomplishment.


The legislature passed legislation this week as a safety precaution for our drivers across the state.  The bill, which is a combination of two separate bills (HB 23 & SB 360), will not allow anyone under the age of 18 to use a cell phone while behind the wheel.  In addition to this, it would prohibit texting while driving for everyone while behind the wheel.  Evidence has shown that texting while driving is distracting and people are more likely to get into an accident.  It caught texting while driving and not involved in an accident, the fine would be $150; however, if someone gets into an accident and it is discovered they were texting, the fine will be doubled and there will be a one point violation on your driving record.  Georgia joins around 20 other states that have also banned texting while driving. 


Funding trauma care in the state of Georgia has been an issue that arises yearly.  Senate Resolution 277 passed this week and it will be a statewide referendum which will go on the ballot in November and the decision will be left up to the voters.  It would place a $10 surcharge on certain motor vehicle registrations in the state.  If passed by voters, it will have the potential to bring in around $80 million a year to existing trauma care centers in the state.  Statewide trauma care funding is essential because we want to ensure that citizens have the emergency care available that is needed. 


The Healthy Georgians Act of 2010, Senate Bill 411, also passed the General Assembly this week.  This Act would allow insurers to offer wellness and health improvement programs with awards and/or incentives to be available to those with health insurance plans.  Before, it would have been considered an unfair trade practice to offer incentives for wellness and health improvement and this legislation would change that.  Also, attached to this legislation was an Amendment to the bill which would prohibit mandatory participation in any healthcare system.  Due to the federal Health Care Reform that passed, the members of the General Assembly want to give Georgians the option to opt out and not be mandated to purchase health insurance if they chose not to do so. 


In an effort to give greater rights to our property owners and to expand those rights, the legislature passed Property Tax Reform, Senate Bill 346.  This bill will protect taxpaying property owners by guaranteeing their right to appeal assessments and protecting them from unfair tax assessments.  Expanding gun rights is of importance to the people in our state.  SB 308 passed the legislature and would clarify where licensed gun owners can carry their firearms.  This bill will permit guns to be in the vehicles in parking lots of colleges, court houses, and jails.  It would also eliminate the 1,000 foot limitation on guns and schools at colleges.  The legislative session has ended; however, please feel free to contact me at any time should you have any questions, ideas, or concerns.  I will be concluding the weekly update next week with a session wrap up highlighting key legislation passed this session. Should you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at



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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rep. John Lunsford Steps Aside

Will Not Seek Senate Seat nor Re-Election to House


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         Contact: Matt Metcalf

May 1, 2010                                                                                        Phone: 678-480-6281



Atlanta, GA – State Representative John Lunsford (R-Henry) has decided to step aside rather than run for State Senate District 17 or seek re-election in House District 110.

            “I have loved my 10 years in the General Assembly, and I am proud of our many accomplishments,” Lunsford stated.  “However, at the end of a long and difficult session, I have decided that it is time for me to refocus on my business and spend more time helping my wife raise our four young children.”

            Five candidates have qualified to run in both the 17th Senate District and the 110th House District.  Primaries will be held July 20th.

            “I would like to thank people of Georgia for giving me the chance to serve them; as I have said, it has been the highest honor of my professional career,” Lunsford concluded.  “While I am not ruling out any political run in the future, for now, the right thing for me and my family is to step aside and allow someone else to carry the torch.”





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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

lunsford Qualifies for 17th Senate Seat

Rep. John Lunsford to Seek Senate Seat

Qualifies to Run for District 17 Seat


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                            

April 28, 2010                                                                                                                                                  


Atlanta, GA – State Representative John Lunsford (R-Henry) filed his official papers today at the State Capitol to seek election in Senate District 17.  Senate District 17 includes all or parts of Henry, Newton, Rockdale, Spalding, and Walton counties.  The incumbent, Senator John Douglas, is running for the Public Service Commission.


“I first ran for the Legislature promising to represent the common sense conservative values of this area,” Lunsford stated.  “I’m proud that, over the past ten years, I’ve voted for tax cuts, worked to reduce the regulatory burdens on our businesses, and consistently supported fiscally conservative budgets.  I’ve delivered on those promises, and after ten years of service, I have a unique opportunity to work for more of my neighbors by offering to serve in the State Senate.”


During his time in the House, Rep. Lunsford has served on many committees, including Rules, Appropriations, and Health and Human Services.  Currently, he is Chairman of the House Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation, where he worked on innovative tax plans and deregulation to help economic development in Georgia.  He has also been an effective voice in various Republican campaigns around the state, working to deliver a Republican House majority in 2004 and maintaining it with financial contributions and conservative policies he helped develop.


“I believe my community involvement, my proven track record of delivering on the conservative principles I campaigned on, and my history of leadership in the House make me the best choice for continued effective conservative representation in District 17.  I am particularly proud to announce that, in the very first day of my campaign, I’ve secured the endorsements of Rep. Jeff May, Rep. Doug Holt, and Rep. John Yates, all of whom represent other parts of this district. ” Lunsford continued.  “It has been the greatest honor of my professional life that Georgians have trusted me to represent them in the General Assembly, and humbly ask for their support once again.”

The date of this year’s primary in Georgia is July 20th.  The general election will be held on November 2nd.



Contact :Matt Metcalf

Danbridge Consulting



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Monday, April 26, 2010

lunsford weekly update

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

April 24, 2010

The 2010 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly is nearing an end after months of hard work and dedication.  Major milestones were completed this week and now with day 38th completed, the marathon is almost finished and the finish line is in sight.  With two days left, this week legislators met some of our goals for the session. The General Assembly has now balanced the budget for the state, passed a Transportation funding bill, and passed ethics reform. 


  The Georgia 2020 Transportation Act passed the House and the Senate on Wednesday and will now go to Governor Perdue for his signature.  After years of working on a solution and thorough discussions, the members of the House and Senate worked together in finding a solution for transportation funding.  Georgians will now have the opportunity to approve a Regional Transportation Sales Tax. It has been one of our goals as legislators to work on the transportation needs for the state and to come up with a bipartisan solution.  This session we were able to work out a compromise that fulfills the transportation needs throughout the state.  To work out the differences in transportation funding between the House and the Senate, the conference committee has been working diligently on House Bill 277 for the last several weeks.  The negotiations came to an end on Wednesday when it passed the House by a vote of 141-29.  The voters of our state will make the final decisions on whether they want to fund transportation projects in their areas. 


Transportation is an issue that affects everyone statewide, from the rural areas to the metro, and improving our transportation needs throughout the state has been a priority to lawmakers for years.  This transportation solution will allow voters, by ballot in 2012, to vote on levying a one-cent sales tax to raise funds for highway and transit projects in their areas. The tax districts for transportation will be divided into twelve regions along the current Regional Commissions for Georgia.  Within each of the districts, a Regional Transportation Roundtable will be assembled and this will allow local government officials to have input on transportation needs within their areas.  A project and investment list will be approved through the Roundtable, and those in the district will then vote on the project list.  If voters approve the referendum, a sales tax will be implemented to pay for those projects.  In addition to regional transportation projects, this bill will allow for a portion of the revenues to be spent on transit capital expenses, maintenance, and operations.  The goal of this is to relieve traffic congestion within the state.  This plan has been developed over the years and includes a solution for transportation concerns statewide. 


Ethics reform was also one of our priorities this year.  As lawmakers of the state, we want to continue to ensure the voters that will always uphold our ethical and moral obligations.  This session we substantially revised some of our ethics and campaign disclosure laws.  With the passage of Senate Bill 17, several changes were made, including:  making it a felony for any state official or employee to ask for money in return for an agreement or vote; requiring lobbyists to file disclosure reports twice a month during session which must include a description of all expenditures; decreasing the minimum to $5,000 for which a disclosure by public officials must be filed; increasing the penalties for late filing of disclosure reports; and allowing the commission to issue and publish written advisory opinions on how the ethics law applies to political candidates and elected officials. 


All of these changes will create more transparency within our state government.  I will continue to keep all of you informed on our progress during the 2010 legislative session.  We are quickly approaching the end of session; Should you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at



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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

April 18, 2010

Returning from our recess, the General Assembly was refreshed and ready to get back to doing the people's work.  It has been a longer legislative session in comparison to the past few years; however, the end is in sight.  With only four legislative session days left, the General Assembly confirmed that our last day of the 2010 Legislative Session will be Thursday, April 29th.  One of the most complex budget years in the history of the state, we have made necessary, but difficult, choices as we reduced spending and therefore the size of our government.  When the economy does poorly, it not only affects individuals, families, and businesses; but, the economic downturn has also had an impact on our state government and budget.  After months of hard work and thoughtful consideration about the budget for the state, the House passed a very slimmed Fiscal Year 2011 budget on Wednesday and it will now go to the Senate for review.  Although we are all anticipating that the end is near, there is still much work left to do during the final days of session.


This week the House tackled a daunting task and a major accomplishment as the members balanced and passed the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, House Bill 948.  One of our duties as legislators, and also a requirement of our State Constitution, is that we pass a balanced budget for the state. The House passed the FY 2011 budget during the later hours of the evening on Wednesday.  This budget included a total budget for the state of $17.8 Billion. The FY 2011 budget will now go to the Senate for consideration and most likely a Conference Committee will meet to work out the differences.  Times are difficult for many people, not only within our state, but throughout the country. Over the past two sessions, the General Assembly has had to downsize the budget for the state and include cuts that have not been easy.  The General Assembly has decreased the size of government and the FY 2011 budget is near the budget levels from 2005.  The only necessary way to way to balance our budget for the state was to reduce spending.  To downsize the budget we had to make difficult cuts to many good programs and areas which we all consider high priority.  A key element of the FY 2011 budget is that it does not include state mandated furlough days; however some agencies may eliminate positions or require furlough days so that they can manage their budgets.  Hoping for an economic recovery soon, the state received encouraging news as revenue collections for the month of March increased one percent.  Although we still have a very far way to go, this is the first increase since November of 2008.  As we are all aware, the recovery for our economy will not be a quick nor easy process.


Just as the state has had to do, we are all tightening our budgets and reducing our spending.  Bringing some form of relief to the families in Georgia has been a topic greatly discussed. The General Assembly passed tax relief this week with HB 1055.  Called by some as the  "Georgia Taxpayer Relief Act of 2010," the passage of this legislation brings needed relief to taxpayers.  This bill would eliminate the taxes on all senior retirement income and would also eliminate the state portion of the ad valorem property tax.  This Act would phase out the taxes on senior income and the state property tax and once both tax cuts are fully phased in, Georgia taxpayers will save roughly $236 million a year.  Another aspect of this Act is that it will adjust outdated state fees and fines.  In analyzing our budget and trying to find ways to save, we found that at many times the fee charged by the state for services does not cover the cost of the service.  This difference was passed on to the taxpayers of Georgia; however, under this Act the issue will be addressed and those using the services will pay for it.  The Georgia Taxpayer Relief Act of 2010 will bring meaningful tax relief to the taxpayers within our state.  I will continue to keep all of you informed on our progress during the 2010 legislative session.  We are quickly approaching the end of session; however, please feel free to contact me at any time should you have any questions, ideas, or concerns. , I will continue to give legislative updates for the 2010 session. Should you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at


Sunday, March 28, 2010

lunsford weekly update

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

March 26, 2010


The Georgia General assembly adjourned on Friday, Crossover Day, and the thirtieth legislative day of the 2010 session.  We adjourned in the wee hours of Saturday morning and the tensions had grown worse as some who are running for higher office and the democrats debated almost every bill throughout the evening. This combined effort resulted in leaving many good pieces of legislation on the table. The ethics bill that prevented elected officials that owed taxes from serving was one of those measures. They    mini filibustered as much as they could; another causality was the hall of fame museums in Macon.   As we began the day on Friday, we had 36 Bills and Resolutions and more were added throughout the day.  As far as the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, subcommittee meetings will continue on Monday as we work to finalize the House version of the budget.  We will be in session for three days next week, and the other days working on committees.


HB 1023 the 2010 JOBS bill passed a it is a very important omnibus bill it was originally sponsored by Tom Graves of Ranger Georgia but was carried in the house by John Lunsford  , This bill is projected to bring over 254 million dollars in new wages to Georgia, by year two. It also removes net worth tax, helps balance the unemployment insurance pool, and many other items including tax credits for angel investors. Maybe the most important bill so far this session.


The construction industry has suffered during these tough economic times.  To ensure that additional costs are not placed upon some of those in the industry, especially homebuilders, the House passed HB 1196.  This bill states that building codes cannot require that fire sprinklers be installed in a single-family dwelling or a residential building that contains no more than two units.  The legislature understands that if this was required, it would place additional costs associated with building homes and would be an unreasonable requirement.


Teachers are an essential asset within all of our communities and schools.  We passed HB 1307 which relates to teacher certification and will temporarily suspend the professional learning requirements for a certification renewal for teachers and paraprofessionals for five years, beginning July 1st 2010. This bill will also not require that a course be completed in computer skill competency, as is currently required. 


Many of us get frustrated when driving and other vehicles are in the fast lane and are going below the speed limit and impeding the flow of traffic.  It is already currently a law that the person driving is suppose to move into the slow lane; however, we passed House Bill 1047  which promotes the  safe operation of the vehicle while driving, vehicles going slower in the fast lane can be a safety hazard.



In an effort to entice physicians to rural areas of Georgia, we passed HB 866, the Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Act.  This will allow rural hospitals, other health care entities, local governments, and civic organizations to receive matching grants from the State Medical Education Board for the purpose of attracting physicians to rural areas throughout the state. 


Gold Star specialty license plates are available for those who have had a family member that served our country and was killed in action.  The House unanimously passed HB 1012 to make this specialty plate also available to siblings and step-parents as it currently is only available to the spouse, mother, or father of a fallen service member.


Just as the state of Georgia provides tax credits for back to school purchases and energy-star appliances every year, we passed an additional credit for equipment.  The passage of HB 1069 will provide a tax credit in the amount of either a 25% credit of the cost of the equipment or $2,500 for taxpayers that purchase certain energy or water efficient equipment as part of a new construction or retrofit.  This will be available with federal funds granted to Georgia specifically for that purpose.


As the General Assembly continues to do the people’s work, session will continue until midnight or longer as we finish up Crossover Day on Friday.  Although a long day, the members stay to ensure that the work of the people is completed before we leave for the day.  We serve in the legislature always on behalf of those we represent.  On Crossover Day, legislation is given adequate time on the floor for debate and possible passage.  After passage by the House, legislation then goes to the Senate and the process is repeated.  Although seen as a long process for a bill to become a law, it helps to ensure that we continue to do the people’s work and only essential and necessary legislation makes its way through the process and awaits the signature of our Governor to become law.  With ten legislative session days left, I will continue to give legislative updates for the 2010 session. Should you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at


Sunday, March 21, 2010

lunsford weekly update

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

March 21, 2010

The Georgia General Assembly concluded this week on Thursday, the 27th Legislative Day.  The committees continued to work on Friday and some through the weekend. The days during session are now longer and the members are concentrating on the bills within their committees and those arriving on the House floor for debate and possibly passage.  The speed and intensity of the legislative session is increasing daily as we vote upon legislation which has made its way through the committee process.  With Cross-Over Day vastly approaching, next Thursday will mark the last day during which a bill must be passed by one Chamber in order to be considered by the other.  As discussed each week, the budget remains at the top of our priority list.  Since we have received incoming revenue figures, the members of the House Appropriations Committee are working tirelessly with our budget office and are in the process of finalizing our proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which will then go to the Senate for consideration.  The General Assembly made a major stride this week in regard to conserving water in Georgia.

            A key vote this week was the passage of the Water Stewardship Act of 2010.  Conserving water and ensuring that this vital resource is available to Georgians has been a key concern, especially in recent years with the drought many of us throughout the state have experienced.   This bill uses both incentives and requirements to promote the conservation of water in the state.  Senate Bill 370 passed both the House and the Senate and now awaits the signature of Governor Perdue.

            The House also passed HB 396 this week, which deals with how the funding for school transportation can be used.  Previously the funding designated for school buses could only be used for the new purchases of school buses; however, many schools simply needed their buses to be refurbished.  This bill allows the State Board of Education to have the ability to use the funds to refurbish the buses which might need work.  This could save the local school systems millions of dollars each year and in especially during times like these, we are looking to every means possible to save money.

            Collecting taxes owed to the state are one of the issues the Department of Revenue is experiencing.  This increases our budget shortfall, as those collections the state is expecting are not being received.  The members passed HB 982 which will provide for an administrative garnishment process to allow the Department to more efficiently collect delinquent taxes on active businesses.  Numerous other southern states already use this process and this bill will improve the collection process here in Georgia.

            Currently, drivers in Georgia that have previously had eyesight problems and were required to wear glasses or contact lenses and found guilty of failing to do so would have their license temporarily suspended even if they had had corrective surgery. To correct the issue, the House passed HB 1224 so that if this driving violation occurs, the driver can provide proof that they no longer suffer from an eye condition and will avoid the suspension and penalties.

            As we get older, many of us experience arthritis.  It is the most common form of disability and affects one in every five Americans.  By passing HB 1119, this bill would create the Arthritis Prevention and Control Program to increase the public's awareness of arthritis, promote early detection and prevention, and to make information available on diagnosing and treating arthritis.


            Encouraging and attracting businesses in Georgia is a priority to the General Assembly.  Businesses help our economies grow, from the state level down to the local.  We passed HB 1082 to allow local government to exempt all inventory from ad valorem taxes.  Increasing economic development here in Georgia has many benefits and this legislation follows that of surrounding states to allow cities and counties to remove ad valorem taxes on inventory. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions, ideas, or concerns.  The legislative update will continue throughout the 2010 session. Should you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at






Sunday, March 14, 2010

weekly update from lunsford

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

March 14, 2010

The General Assembly went back into legislative session this week after our two week recess whereby the members analyzed the budget, looked for potential areas to trim the budget, and awaited the incoming revenue figures.  Our top concern remains to finding the best solutions for balancing the budget.   On Monday, our first day back from the recess, the General Assembly received news we were all expecting and waiting on, incoming revenue figures.  Although the General Assembly had high hopes that the economy was improving, the incoming revenue figures for February fell nearly ten percent in comparison to last year.   This marks the continued decline of incoming revenue  for the fifteenth consecutive month.  Hoping for good news, the numbers were better than we expected; however, any amount of decreasing revenue for the state equates to trimming, and therefore balancing, the budget.  Our optimism remains and the economy will eventually improve. 

On Thursday, Governor Perdue stated that the revenue figures first released would have to be revised.  On a positive note, the budget will not have to be cut as much as we expected.  As I have previously explained, the budget hearings that have taken place over the last two weeks were preparing us for the worst, but hoping for the best.  As legislators, we wanted to be prepared should the revenue figures had been more than anticipated.  The General Assembly has been planning for a potential $1 billion in additional cuts; however, the numbers were not as severe, although we were preparing for it.  For the current fiscal year, the revised amount is an additional $342 million in cuts in comparison to Perdue's original estimates.  For the budget in Fiscal Year 2011, which begins on July 1st,  the revenue estimates must be trimmed by $443 million which puts the budget at $17.7 billion.  Although cuts are tough, many of us were relieved that the budget will not have to be cut by the projected $1 billion.  While the state was improving and doing well, we were able to expand services and increase our budget.  Now times are tough and we have to make some difficult decisions as our budget goes back to the level it was in 2005 and 2006. 

On Wednesday, March 10th the members honored and reflected upon the service by former Speaker of the House, Thomas Murphy.  As Speaker in Georgia for 28 years, Speaker Murphy was the longest serving speaker in the history of legislatures.  Outside the House Chamber, a picture of Speaker Murphy was placed and reminds all of us about hard work, dedication, and leadership. After all, the House is called the "People's House."

Many important pieces of legislation passed the House this week.  With the budget still on all of our minds, legislation that is beneficial to the citizens is also of importance.  House Bill 1135 passed out of the House this week which would allow the Department of Transportation (DOT) to enter into multi-year contracts in one year increments.  Currently, the funds for a project for DOT must be available before a contract is signed; however, this will allow the DOT  to sign the contract and obligate the funds for it and thereby improving efficiency and appropriated the funds responsibly.  Unanimously passed this week was HB 984 which would ensure that taxpayers would not be potentially taxed by both the county and the city for a 1% income tax on individuals and/or businesses.   It would be burdensome to allow cities and counties to place another tax on income especially when many families are struggling financially. Relating to the payment for teacher's certification fees, the House passed HB 1079 which allows additional payment methods of credit or debit cards to pay those fees.  Currently only check or money order can be used and by allowing other forms, it makes it more convenient for our teachers.  Another bill related to education passed this week was HB 1013 which would require school boards to publish in the newspaper an annual summary of their sales tax for education (ESPLOST).  This is already required by cities and counties that receive special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) and to ensure transparency in both, the boards of education should also be required to do the same.  I will continue to keep you informed as we progress through the 2010 legislative session.  Should you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at




Tuesday, March 9, 2010

weekly update from Rep Lunsford

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

The State’s Budget and Legislation

March 9, 2010


Last week the General Assembly concluded the last week of our two week recess to work on the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget.  It is a difficult task to balance the budget for the state, but one that must be effectively done.  Budget hearings have consumed all of our time over the last two weeks as we look for ways to reduce state spending and increase revenue.  It is difficult when the state has been financially supporting many state agencies and departments and now current economic conditions have forced us to make difficult budgetary decisions.  Due to the decrease in incoming revenue to the state, we must reduce spending so we can have a balanced budget.  The General Assembly should receive the revenue figures for February sometime next week and we will be able to better determine exactly what the monetary amount of cuts will have to be made.  Appropriations Subcommittee meetings this week included Public Safety and Higher Education. 

Over the last few weeks, many citizens have called or written with concerns over the proposed cuts to the budget.  As I have stated before, the state of Georgia is experiencing revenue shortfalls and we must trim the budget to the bare essentials and necessities. Financial hardships are something many Georgians are experiencing and the state is as well.  We have to make sacrifices and we all must share part of the ever slimming pie.  Just as families are reducing their spending, the state must also do the same. 

Many have expressed concerns this week over the proposed University System of Georgia budget cuts.  The cuts that have been proposed this week were not from the members of the General Assembly, these cuts were the proposals from the University System of Georgia.  As legislators, we went to each department and state agency and asked them to propose ways that they could cut spending.  With the understanding that cuts are not an easy decision, we let them tell us where the cuts could be made.  The budget cuts that were recommended by the University System of Georgia are their proposals and included items such as potential tuition increase, eliminating positions, reducing the acceptance number of incoming freshmen, and other various spending cuts.  As your elected official, I want you to know that these suggestions are just proposals that the University system have given us.  We will work with them to find other ways to cut the budget so it has the least possible impact on the citizens of Georgia.

Numerous people have contacted our office this week in regard to the 4-H Program.  The General Assembly supports this program and did not make the proposal to eliminate it.  We will look at every means possible to ensure the programs that are important to the citizens of Georgia remain; however, cuts involving many services and programs should be expected.  The suggestion to eliminate the 4-H Program was made this week during a budget hearing by one of the University Presidents.  Once again, this was a proposal made by the University System of Georgia and all proposed measures will be decided by the General Assembly.  Our intentions were to make the Departments aware that more cuts will be coming and allow them to give us some input as to where the cuts could come from; however, the proposals made are just possibilities.  The legislators will work together to make cuts and ensure that the programs most needed are funded to the best of our ability. On Monday, we will go back into session for legislative day number twenty-one.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have.  I always look forward to the input of those I represent.  . If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-7573 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at



Monday, February 22, 2010

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update     

February  20, 2010

The Georgia General Assembly convened on Thursday, February 18th after day 20 of the 2010 legislative session.  The General Assembly has decided to take a two week break from the legislative session to work on the daunting task of balancing the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.  Although labeled a “break,” it is far from what will actually be taking place for the next few weeks.  The General Assembly will hold joint House and Senate Appropriation Committee meetings.  The input from all of the members is both necessary and essential as we make difficult choices and decisions.  Working together with all of the members of the General Assembly, on both sides of the aisle, we will make it through these difficult budgetary times.  This allows us to wait on the incoming February revenue figures and then make the decisions for how much more must be cut from the budget.  All of our options are difficult and reducing the budget and making choices about where the cuts will be made is never an easy task.  The budget outlook is distressing and alarming.  For the month of January, revenue declined for the fourteenth consecutive month, falling 8.7% for the month, compared to January of 2009.  The legislators are looking at every option available to us for balancing the state budget.  The burden is heavy, but it is a job that must be done.  As legislators, we want to assure the citizens that we have the best interests of the state and the taxpayers in mind when we make the decisions of how best to cut the current budget, while continuing to ensure that we are looking at every means possible to save money and reduce spending. 

Transparency within government is a fundamental principle which the Georgia General Assembly will continue to uphold. On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed House Bill 122 which requires counties and municipalities with an annual budget larger than $1 million to make their annual budget and report available online for the public. 

Voting is a right guaranteed to the citizens of the United States.  Through elections, we get to make our own choices about who we believe would be the best candidate to represent us.  With the advancement of technology, the election process for those that are in the military and overseas should be a simple, yet effective, process.  The House passed House Bill 655 which establishes a pilot program beginning with the 2012 general and primary elections to allow the electronic transmission of absentee ballots by those in the military and for overseas citizens.  By established a pilot program, we will be able to test the process, improve upon it, and make voting easier, especially for those in the military and/or are out of the country.

Due to tough economic times, our school systems are also making cuts and tightening their budgets.  Unanimously passed by the House, House Bill 977 makes some changes to the Quality Basic Education Act in regard to the salaries of local school administrators and/or superintendants.  Although most school boards have good intentions, we want to ensure fairness and equality for all employees.  The bill prohibits the use of state funds for salary increases for administrators’ pay during a year in which the local board of education has had to furlough teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, support staff, or any other non-administrative position.  In regards to fairness, this legislation is needed.  If the school boards are forcing those within the school system to take furlough days, we want to make certain and prevent administrators from taking salary increases when other employees are losing money.  When appropriating cuts in the budget, all levels of education should continue to be mindful of all of those it could have the potential of affecting.  Your opinions and concerns are important to me and I consider it an honor to serve you at the state capitol and in our district. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 CLOB, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at




Monday, February 8, 2010

lunsford weekly update 02-08-2010

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's Weekly Capitol Update

Second Week of the session


February 5, 2010

Following a full week of session, the legislature adjourned on Friday for our thirteenth legislative day.  The session is quickly picking up and we are anticipating many more important discussions regarding the House version of the budget as we continue to work through this difficult budget year.  The amended 2010 budget will be ready within the next two weeks and then we can center our attention on balancing the 2011 "big" budget.  Many bills passed by the House of Representatives this week centered on education which is a main focus for legislators. 

Legislation was passed out of the House this week related to education.   The members of the House passed several pieces of legislation this week to amend the Quality Basic Education Act.  This change involve the organization of middle schools and removes the current legislation which states, if a school housed one of the middle school grades in another building, they would lose funding.  The House passed House Bill 907 to revise and correct this problem.  Also passed was House Bill 923, another revision of the Quality Basic Education Act.  This bill extends the time period for those teachers currently in a leadership program, although they have not yet completed the program, to be able to receive and become eligible for earnings under this Act.  Another change we passed, House Bill 905, involves extending the original sunset provision within the Act for Capital outlay projects for school systems.  The legislators chose to make these changes in part due to the stress many of our local school systems are experiencing with their budgets and this will allow them more time and flexibility.  In an effort to save money, the House passed House Bill 910, to allow the Department of Education to send the participation rate by gender for sporting activities in electronic format to the members of the General Assembly, thus saving on printing expenses.  

                In an effort to protect our children and our animals against the effects of consuming antifreeze, we passed House Bill 219 by a vote of 142 to 25.  One of the concerns that was brought to our attention is that because of the sweet taste of antifreeze, it could potentially be mistaken for something else by small children.  It is common for animals to consume antifreeze because of the sweet smell and taste, also.  By requiring that manufacturers, packagers, distributors, recyclers, or sellers add a substance called denatonium benzoate to antifreeze; this will make the substance taste bitter and will hopefully prevent people and animals from consuming it by alarming them by taste.  It is our hope that this precaution will save lives.

Legislation was also passed this week that regarding retirement.  To clarify existing legislation, the House passed House Bill 916.  This legislation requires that state employees who have not reached the normal retirement age on the date of their retirement are required to wait two consecutive months before returning to work. The House unanimously passed House Bill 54 which will allows the members of the Georgia Judicial Retirement System to receive spouses benefits although the member had previously rejected it.  By doing this it allows an individual to reapply for the benefits by contacting the Board of Trustees and paying a specified amount.  The restriction is that the member must have had at least 10 years of membership. Your opinions and concerns are important to me and I consider it an honor to serve you at the state capitol and in our district. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-0213 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 Clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at




Sunday, January 31, 2010

1-30-2010 weekly update

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's Weekly Capitol Update

Just into the session


January 30, 2010


On Thursday, January 28th we adjourned after our eighth legislative day of the 2010 session.  This week consisted of short days of legislative action followed by committee hearings reviewing legislative initiatives.  Bills are currently being drafted and introduced by legislators and the committee process is beginning to take full swing as we debate introduced legislation before it is presented on the House floor for votes.  The budget is continuing its process and the House Appropriations Subcommittees are continuing to meet to discuss and debate the specifics of how the state revenues are to be used and where spending cuts can and should be made.

One piece of legislation was voted upon this week, House Resolution 1168, and it was unanimously passed by the House. This Resolution amended some changes to the rules governing how we operate in the Georgia House of Representatives.  One change is the elimination of the Hawk System.  The new leadership, and some  of the legislators, have questioned the role of the Hawk system that was implemented in previous years.  Although the Hawk System has been in place for almost 5 years, Lunsford resigned last year as the senior Hawk and the Speaker of the House decided not to replace that position.  Another change now allows the media outlets access to the House floor after our morning devotional.  Previously, the media were restricted in the House chambers.  Also, although more of a formality, is a change which allows substitutions to be made on Bills within the Rules Committee if an error is found.  As legislators, we are always improving the process by which the legislature and committees work, it is a continuous cycle. 

Jobs and business development continue to be a focus for the General Assembly.  The creation of the Small Business development and jobs creation committee, whereas John Lunsford was tapped to chair this important new committee. The House and the Senate are working together for the Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2010 (JOBS Act of 2010 by Rep. Tom Graves Ranger Ga. ). The jobs act of 2010 legislation has been placed into this new committee.   Ensuring that Georgians are employed, and that business owners have incentives to hire those unemployed, are one of our priorities.  With unemployment numbers reaching 10.3% for the state of Georgia, we are committed to helping people once again become gainfully employed.  According to the Georgia Department of Labor, over the last year Georgians lost approximately 175,000 jobs.  Much of this can be contributed to the economy; however, legislators must do our part to ensure that we are encouraging businesses and helping the citizens of the state.  Legislation will be introduced next week which is similar to the legislation the General Assembly passed last year which was vetoed by Governor Perdue.  This legislation, the JOBS Act of 2010, would help in numerous ways by:  waiving state fees for new businesses, giving quarterly tax credits for unemployment to those businesses that hire someone currently receiving unemployment benefits, a tax credit of $2,400 for businesses employing the unemployed for 24 consecutive months, a fifty percent reduction in the capital gains tax, a tax credit for investments made to small businesses, and a gradual phasing out of the sales tax deposit required for businesses.  These incentives will encourage businesses in Georgia, and in return, individuals and the economy benefit as the steps are taken toward recovering from this economic recession.  We have a lot of other great ideas that will be vented in the coming weeks. Your opinions and concerns are important to me and I consider it an honor to serve you at the state capitol and in our district. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-7573 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 505 Clob, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at






weekly for 1-21-2010

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update     

 January 21, 2010

Many legislators filled the Capitol this week although we were not in session.  Our agenda consisted of Joint Appropriations Committee hearings.  During these joint hearings, each state agency presents their budget to both the Senators and Representatives of the Georgia General Assembly.  Now that the agencies have presented their budgets, the House and Senate Appropriation Subcommittees will individually resume working on their version of budget, to be approved by each chamber, and the differences will be worked out later in the session with the Appropriations Conference Committee.  On Monday, January 25th, all legislators from across the state will join together at our State Capitol as we begin our 5th legislative session day. 

Last Friday, Governor Perdue released his amended budget proposal for 2010 and for Fiscal Year 2011.  The Fiscal Year 2010 Amended Budget figure released was reduced to $17.4 billion.  This includes between an eight and nine percent cut on most state agencies.  Three additional furlough days for all state employees has been requested by the Governor in the amended recommendations.  An option for the individual school boards across the state is the choice to offset the furloughs by either using surpluses or cutting the budget in other areas. The Fiscal Year 2011 estimated revenue figure is projected at $18.2 billion.  The “Rainy Day Fund” still has roughly $103 million and this money is used to help ease the burden when the state experiences revenue shortfalls.  As I have mentioned before, the Governor’s budget is the recommendation for how the incoming revenue will be appropriated; however, legislators ultimately decide funding for the state agencies, programs, and services and the Governor’s budget is used as a guide in the decision making process.

Transportation is a topic that arises every session.  Especially now with declining budget figures, we must continue to improve transportation infrastructure and also come up with a transportation funding plan.  This week, the Governor stated that he would support a referendum on a regional sales tax to support transportation.   The House and Senate lawmakers will continue working together and in cooperation with each other to find a solution.

In addition, education will continue to be a priority.  If we had the ideal perfect economic and budget situation, we would be increasing the amount of funding for education. However because of our budget situation, all departments will have to make cuts.  In the Amended 2010 budget, Perdue recommended that Public K-12 reduce their budget by an additional three percent.  Although this is difficult, other agencies faced between eight and nine percent reductions.  Perdue also mentioned a possibility of teacher compensation being based upon student performance.  This is an idea that will be reviewed; however, we must also consider that in more rural areas, teachers have fewer resources available to them.  Although the education budget will have to reduced, as will the budgets of all state agencies, education is still a main concern.  The benefits of improving education have a ripple effect that can be seen in our communities and throughout the state and country.  As legislators, we understand that we are educating the leaders of the future and that providing quality education is essential for our future.  Your opinions and concerns are important to me and I consider it an honor to serve you at the state capitol and in our district. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-7573 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 508 CLOB, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at





Monday, January 4, 2010

lunsford presession

Under the Gold Dome

State Representative John Lunsford's

Weekly Capitol Update

The State’s Budget and Legislation

January 4, 2010


As we quickly approach the beginning of January and are embarking on the start of a new year and another legislative session, it is time for us as legislators to focus on setting our agenda for the 2010 session.  The budget will be our priority during the session.  Other areas we will focus on this year include transportation funding, education,water concerns, and ethics reform.


With declining revenue figures throughout the year of 2009, it was a surprise to many that we were not called in for a Special Session to sort out our budget shortfalls.  The budget deficits we are facing can be contributed to a weak economy and decreasing tax and revenue collections.  In Georgia, the Constitution requires that we have a balanced budget.  The revenue estimates for the upcoming budget are based partly upon the incoming revenue numbers from the previous year.  Due to revenue declining drastically throughout 2009, we have been faced with a budget shortfall.  Luckily, we were able to use Reserve Funds and some Federal Stimulus Funds to account for the nearly $2.3 billion budget deficit.  In addition to that, for Fiscal Year 2010, the state was able to save around $35 million due to a lower interest rate on bonds.  This lower bond rating saved the state, and Georgians, money.


Just as we balance our checkbook and make sure the amount we spend does not exceed the amount we have, the state also has to do the same.  Difficult choices are being made daily as the people in Georgia tighten their budgets and focus on the essentials.  The mid-year reconciliation budget for Fiscal Year 2010 and the new Fiscal Year Budget for 2011 will be some of the toughest the state has ever had to handle as we have to reduce state spending.   It is a fiscal crisis that we will have to manage.  As legislators, we are going to have to come together and decide where the cuts will be made.  The decisions are not going to be easy.  We have to decide what the essentials are in terms of programs and services and decide where cuts can be made.  As Republicans, we are committed to not raising taxes on the people of our state; therefore, cutting and reducing our state budget is the only solution to the budget shortfall.  


Water is an essential part of our life and a resource we often take for granted.  Conserving water, ensuring water supply, and developing long term solutions have become a main topic to focus on this session.  Earlier this year Georgia was facing a historic and severe drought.  In some areas, people were either banned from outdoor watering or put on watering restrictions.  Midway through the year, we were fortunate enough to receive generous rainfall and our water levels rose.  In addition to this, the U.S. District Court has limited the state’s access to water at Lake Lanier.  The Governor created a Water Contingency Task Force in September of 2009 to try and address the water issues and for the Task Force to offer recommendations.  The Task Force has recommended what it refers to as the "3Cs" in relation to water: conserve, capture, and control.  Governor Perdue met in December with the Governors of Florida and Alabama to try and come up with an agreement on how to share the water.  As legislators, we must also do our part to preserve our water resources and also to come up with long terms solutions.


Transportation is always a priority that the Georgia General Assembly focuses on.  Last year, there were two different transportation funding bills, but neither passed. Although both pieces of legislation intended to fund transportation, an agreement could not be made on whether it should include a regional or a statewide one-cent plan. We need a solution for funding transportation statewide.  Especially since we are facing a budget dilemma, transportation policy and funding is at the top of our list.  Alternative means to funding transportation will be explored, especially as our state budget continues to decrease.  Traffic and congestion continues to be a problem, especially in metro Atlanta.  We also need a broader road system to allow rural communities to create economic development opportunities.  In Georgia we need solutions, not only for metro Atlanta, but statewide.  Transportation is something that affects everyone.  As legislators, we have to prioritize transportation projects across the state but also remain fiscally conservative.


The Republican members of the House Caucus have implemented new leadership and our new leadership team will set and implement new priorities for the session.  The changes in House leadership include: a new Speaker of the House, Rep. David Ralston; Speaker Pro Tem, Rep. Jan Jones; and Majority Whip, Rep. Edward Lindsey.  As legislators, it is our obligation to both our constituents and the citizens of the State of Georgia to uphold and maintain both our ethics and our values.  Unfortunately, the actions of a few can sometimes look poorly on the whole.  Personally, I believe that the poor actions of some legislators should not reflect on the rest of the legislators.  We are all individuals and we are all accountable to ourselves, our families, and our constituents. Therefore, we are going to take the steps to ensure that ethics is upheld by the members of our General Assembly. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-7573 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 401, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA  30334 or e-mail me at