Local legislators to meet with Rome city commissioners on Tuesday

November 6, 2017

State lawmakers are meeting with constituents and lobbyists to hear about their legislative priorities in advance of the 2018 Georgia General Assembly session that starts in January.

The Rome City Commission will be hosting Floyd County delegates at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Sam King Room of City Hall.

Commissioner Milton Slack said Sunday that Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, is expected to attend along with Republican Reps. Katie Dempsey of Rome and Eddie Lumsden of Armuchee. Also invited are Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, and representatives of the Georgia Municipal Association.

There’s no set agenda, but a number of city initiatives are dependent on state actions.

“We’ll probably talk about illegal gaming machines, and Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital — which is always on the table,” Slack said.

Rome lost its option to buy the 132-acre former state mental hospital complex off North Division Street but local leaders are still hoping it can be redeveloped to boost the economy. The biggest sticking point is the nearly $6 million in state bonds that a new owner would have to pay off.

City officials also have been expressing frustration with the spread of video gaming machines. State law allows stores to award merchandise as prizes but it’s difficult to catch those making illegal cash payments.

Slack said he’s also looking for an update on the Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor, a planned link between U.S. 411 and Interstate 75.

“I’m always interested in quick access to I-75,” Slack said. “I want to see where that project is at.”

Local lawmakers also met with lobbyists this fall, according to monthly reports filed with the State Ethics Commission. Sunday was the end of the grace period to report expenses through Oct. 31.

Lumsden and Coomer met Aug. 31 for $12 dinners with Boyd Pettit of Cartersville, representing GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group.

Coomer also had meals with representatives of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Reynolds American Inc., Norfolk Southern Corp., Georgia Optometric Association, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia and the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores.

Dempsey spent two days in July as a guest of the Georgia Dental Association’s annual convention, at a cost of $1,125 to GDA representatives. She also attended the Southern Legislative Conference in July and lunched with Rebecca Ryles Chamberlin of RCR Capital Consulting in October.

Hufstetler also lunched with Chamberlin and had coffee with Jason Skipper of Centene Corp./ Peach State Health Plan. He had meals with representatives of AT&T, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, Medical Association of Georgia and Richard Royal of Royal Consulting.