SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - State lawmakers will make their way back to the Gold Dome Monday to begin the 2021 legislative session.
For the next 40 days, the Georgia General Assembly will discuss various bills and work on the state’s budget.
Lawmakers will settle in at the Capitol in Atlanta on Monday to begin working on legislation. Representative-Elect for Georgia House District 163 Derek Mallow is one of the eight members of the Chatham County delegation. Mallow says he’s prepared and anticipates a productive session.
“It’s my hope that we’ll work together to accomplish the goals of all Georgians,” said Mallow.
Mallow says his priorities for the 2021 session include mental health funding.
“We spend money on what we think is important and those things are priorities to us. If we don’t budget for increased mental health funding that says that these people who suffer from mental health issues, those folks, are not important to us.”
And advocating for things like pandemic relief for schools to make sure they’re not impacted when it comes to future funding.
“We have got to make sure that our school systems are not held responsible for a global pandemic.”
During a pre-legislative session, about a month ago, the representatives for Chatham County heard from various agencies and cities about things they’d like to see addressed in the session.
“We heard from the City of Thunderbolt. We hear from the City of Pooler. We heard from the City of Savannah. All with requests and regards to the state’s support in regards to roads, highways and looking at what we can do to help make their city government operate better.”
Mallow says some bills have already been pre-filed including some that have to do with the disparities in healthcare. Mallow recognizes that issues like Medicaid and broadband access will be heavily discussed.
“I think that’s one of the things that we’re going to have to have a tough and courageous conversation about as we move into this next session, in the Georgia General Assembly, is we’ve got to look at Medicaid expansion.”
Mallow says he intends on hosting a town hall after the session with his district’s constituents.
“I’m entrusting that all Georgians will let us work through that legislative process and address their legislators and hopefully have better behavior than what we saw displayed in Washington.”
WTOC did reach out to other members of the Chatham County delegation but we did not hear back in time for the story.