State legislators meet with citizens before 2017 session

Prelegislative meeting held to discuss needs of city of Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - As we get close to the beginning of 2017, new ideas for laws are being thought of and drafted that, if passed, could affect you and your family.

Legislators met with several people and different organizations Friday to hear the concerns of the city before the session starts in Atlanta next month. Some of their goals go hand in hand with our city council's legislative session.

"We hear everything from the federation of the blind, Chatham Area transit coming a little bit later, but the idea is they don't have to meet all 8 of us individually," said Rep. Ron Stephens.

State senators and representatives spent the entire day meeting with people about the needs of Savannah.

"In our community we have serious issues as it relates to education, healthcare and economic empowerment," said Sen. Lester Jackson.

Our City council is pushing for 6 items for this legislative session and our delegation agree with some of those issues including eminent domain when it comes to blighted properties.

"It's an issue that we need to look at so we can get more effective legislation on those landlords and to look at enhancing our community safety wise and for those that are property owners in those areas, said Rep. Carl Gilliard.

They also all want transparency when a violent offender is being paroled out of jail.

"The number of violent crimes we have in our community, too many of them are being committed by violent criminals who have been previously paroled and we've had some very high profile examples just in the last year," said Rep. Jesse Petrea.

"The recidivism rate although it has decreased from 55% to 43%, at 10 years there's a 43% recidivism rate for another violent crime," said Rep. Ben Watson.

Speaking of crimes, a push to destroy confiscated guns rather than sell them again is a big push and though gun laws are hard to pass they think it's necessary.

"And we think this will really help keep guns off the streets, protect our citizens, and move Chatham county into a more progressive direction," said Sen. Lester Jackson.

Other issues include keeping military bases open and urban development just to name a few.

Savannah city council will meet with legislators about their agenda items on Tuesday.

The Georgia legislative session starts next month.

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