GA lawmakers wrap up general assembly - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GA lawmakers wrap up general assembly

State lawmakers wrapped up the general assembly (Source: WALB) State lawmakers wrapped up the general assembly (Source: WALB)
Adjustments were made to the Albany National Guard Armory (Source: WALB) Adjustments were made to the Albany National Guard Armory (Source: WALB)
ASU's new fine arts building was also established (Source: WALB) ASU's new fine arts building was also established (Source: WALB)
Darrel Ealum (Source: WALB) Darrel Ealum (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

State lawmakers were back home Friday night after wrapping up their work for the year at the state capitol early that morning.

Representative Darrel Ealum is glad lawmakers approved raises for state employees, and he says Albany State University will soon see benefits thanks to south Georgia leaders. He says it was a great session.

The 2016 General Assembly session came to an end after midnight.

"This has been another great year. It's just been awesome," said Ealum.

Ealum says last year, state leaders approved more than $19,000,000 for Albany State University's Fine Arts Center. 

They were able to add to that amount of money to the session.

"$2.1 million now for the fixtures and furnishings for the inside of the building," said Ealum. "We've got two million for the Northwest Library it's awesome."

Albany's National Guard Armory will be moving to the Marine Corps Logistics Base. For the first time in years, state employees will get raises of three percent.

Troopers and other state law enforcement officers will get more.   

"But most important, we're sending a three percent amount back down to our local school board so we can give all of our teachers pay raises," said Ealum.

One controversial bill that's waiting on the governor's signature is the "religious liberty bill", spearheaded by Americus Senator Greg Kirk.

"The first bill that we passed was truly a pastors protection act," said Ealum.

Ealum says when the revised version came back to the House from the Senate, he didn't vote for it. 

"I did not support the bill coming back. I think it broadened the concept outside the clergy. I just didn't feel like we needed to do that. I don't think we need to send that kind of message to businesses that are coming into our community," said Ealum.

Amid threats of economic boycotts of the state, Governor Nathan Deal has not said whether he will sign that bill.

Ealum says there will be a groundbreaking for Albany State's Fine Arts Department on April 12.

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