Gwinnett Daily Post - Political Notebook: Woodall, Johnson Hosting Town Hall Forums this Week

News Article

by Curt Yeomans

Gwinnett County residents will get to meet two of their congressmen face-to-face this week.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) will hold a town hall forum on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Snellville City Hall, 2342 Oak Road. Fellow Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., will hold his own forum on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Suwanee City Hall council chambers, 330 Town Center Ave.

Woodall's district covers the majority of Gwinnett County, while Johnson's includes its southern cities.

Congressmen get one week every month to spend in their district so they can meet with constituents. They can hold public forums or visit schools, community groups and businesses during that week.

"On the one hand, constituents want you to be in Washington hard at work as their representative," Woodall said during an interview on Friday. "On the other hand, they don't want you to get lost in Washington either. They want to see you back in your district."

The forums come on the heels of a busy week where the House of Representatives passed a balanced budget and passed legislation calling for more accountability of VA officials.

Woodall expects to talk about a wide several foreign and domestic issues at his forum including Iran, the federal budget, veterans issues and economic development. Attendees will largely shape the direction of the conversation though.

"Absolutely everything will be on the table," he said.

Governor to sign HB 170 Monday

Gov. Nathan Deal's office has announced sweeping changes to Georgia's transportation funding system will become law on Monday.

The governor will sign House Bill 170 during a ceremony at 10 a.m. in Liberty Plaza, which is across Capitol Avenue from the State Capitol in Atlanta. The bill is expected to generate nearly $1 billion in new revenue for transportation projects, in part by raising the state's gas tax.

Johnson, Franken introduce legislation to end forced arbitration

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., introduced companion legislation in the House and Senate last week that take aim at forced arbitration clauses in cases involving employment, consumer and civil rights issues.

The pieces of legislation -- if they become law -- would leave it up to consumers and employees to decide whether they wanted to pursue arbitration in a dispute.

"There is overwhelming evidence that forced arbitration creates an unaccountable system of winners and losers," Johnson said in a statement. "Unlike America's civil justice system, which has evolved through centuries of jurisprudence and social progress, forced arbitration obliterates the rule of law by permitting decisions that ignore established case law while making optional important procedural safeguards and guarantees of due process and fairness that are required by courts of law."

Woodall says House wants fairness in Pacific trade negotiations

Rep. Rob Woodall told the Daily Post on Friday that U.S. representatives are hoping to see ongoing trade negotiations between 13 Pacific nations result in more fairness for American businesses.

Treaties fall outside the authority of the House since only the Senate has the power to ratify them under the Constitution. Woodall said House leaders have been working with the White House to ensure they have some input on what is included in a Pan-Pacific trade agreement.

"We've laid out 150 different parameters we'd like to see in the agreement," Woodall said.

Chief among the representatives concerns, he said, is loosening trade restrictions that limit the amount of American-made goods that can enter Pacific markets.