Dear Greater Macon Chamber Members, Community Leaders, and Stakeholders,

We had the pleasure of hosting Macon Day in Atlanta concurrent with the 2024 Georgia General Assembly session last month. Our day kicked off with the “Macon & Eggs” breakfast, followed by a visit to the Gold Dome, where our 2024 Leadership class was recognized on the floor of the Georgia General Assembly. We also had personalized visits to our lawmakers, equipped with tokens of appreciation and talking points highlighting our priorities. After lunch, our group gained a great understanding of the contributions of state tourism and the economic benefits it brings, presented by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Our “Macon and Eggs” event, held for the first time just feet from the gold dome, brought together our local state delegation, community leaders, and stakeholders for an engaging conversation about the issues most impactful to Macon-Bibb County. Moderated by Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller, the event underscored our collective commitment to addressing the pressing needs of our community and exploring avenues to enhance our efforts.

The discussions at “Macon and Eggs” were both broad and deeply focused. Below is a summary of comments from the delegation:

Senator David Lucas (SD-26) emphasized the importance of funding for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the exploration of an inland port in Macon to complement the growth of the Savannah Port. Lucas also advocated for Medicaid expansion in Georgia to bolster healthcare support in rural areas.

Senator John Kennedy (SD-18) highlighted economic development as a critical priority, noting that 82% of economic development projects have benefited rural Georgia. The state’s robust financial position was underlined, especially during “budget week,” with a focus on allocating funds beyond Atlanta and into middle Georgia. Kennedy also mentioned support for Medicaid waivers as an alternative to full expansion, aiming to increase participation in these programs.

Rep Miriam Paris (HD-142) voiced support for Medicaid expansion, pointing out the partisan divide on the issue. Paris raised concerns over affordability in Bibb County, exacerbated by the unregulated appraisal industry. She highlighted areas of legislation that she is directly involved in, including: HB1027, HB 902, and SB86 to address challenges in our community.

House Minority Leader James Beverly (HD-143) is ensuring that Macon-Bibb remains a key player in state-level economic development projects. He emphasized a notable $1.2 billion investment for Medicaid expansion facilitated by Senators Ossoff and Warnock for the state.

Rep Dale Washburn (HD-141) discussed the significance of homeownership for Georgian stability, advocating for “The Choice Act” to reduce homeownership costs and promote more efficient land use. Washburn also supports Medicaid expansion.

Rep Robert Dickey (HD-145) emphasized the community’s ongoing efforts in improving education and housing, signaling a need for continuous progress.

Additional Insights from Discussion:

  • Macon-Bibb has significantly reduced its millage rate from 22% to 10.7%.
  • Sports revenue in the area has surged from $3 million to $14 million.
  • House Bill 880 and its importance to Robins Air Force Base, introduced by Rep Bethany Ballard, aims to reduce regulatory burdens on military spouses by providing licensure reciprocity, offering relief to Georgia businesses in military communities.

At the conclusion of our panel, we surveyed the audience for areas of concerns. These are the areas that were mentioned by attending stakeholders:

The Macon-Bibb County District Attorney’s Office highlighted the urgent need for affordable housing and homelessness solutions. Similarly, calls for expanded legal services for low-income individuals by Middle Ga Justice, and improved medical care for underserved populations, as emphasized by Mother’s Nest, remind us of the ongoing challenges many face in our community.

The Bibb County Board of Education requested support for using e-splost dollars for personnel expenses, and the issue of private school vouchers was raised as a concern by the district.

Additionally, an attendee’s push for clean energy adoption and the potential restoration of high-speed rail service signifies our community’s forward-looking aspirations.

As we navigate the remainder of the legislative session, we pledge to be proactive in keeping you informed about bills and initiatives that impact our stakeholders. Your concerns and the areas of focus identified during our event will guide our efforts to advocate for policies that benefit our community.

Stay tuned for updates on our legislative tracking and upcoming events. We look forward to the fruitful 2024 legislative session!


Chrissy Miner

2024 Chair, Government and Military Affairs Committee