• Matt Gurtler

Special Session: Vigilance, Responsibility, and Compassion in the face of Coronavirus.

Updated: Mar 21

Friends and Neighbors,

The 2020 Legislative Session has taken a detour this year.

As we are in the midst of uncertain times I want to bring you truth and understanding of what’s really going on.

Before I go on, I want to express that I hope you and your family are doing well.

Please take care of yourselves, reach out to anyone you feel may be in the most vulnerable population and ask if they need assistance.

Join me in praying for everyone whose lives have been affected by the coronavirus.

Ask God to heal the sick and provide comfort and care to those who are feeling the economic impact of this virus.

As you know, Session has been indefinitely suspended, except for a special session last called by Governor Kemp on Monday, where we got together to discuss the conveyance of power to the government in this state of “emergency.”

Let’s talk about that for a moment.

We are extremely lucky that State Representatives like Bobby Franklin, Charles Gregory, Delvis Dutton, Kevin Cooke, Ed Stezler and more led the charge to take away the ability of government to regulate the sales and transport of firearms during a state of emergency back in 2014 with HB 60.

Last Monday the General Assembly took an unprecedented vote on approving emergency powers for public health reasons.

The House version was reasonable and responsible, with a 30-day limit that would be reassessed by the People’s House on April 13.

While the Senate version would see no such prudent limitation.

For this reason, I voted in favor of the House bill and against the Senate bill.

This was a precedent we needed to make clear in regards to the separation of powers that the Legislative body, and especially the People’s House, who is closest to Georgians, has a clear check on the government.

Emergency powers are not something we should take lightly, because it can allow the government

to seize private property and force vaccinations.

Reassessing in 30-days is a minimum standard.

I’m grateful for what Governor Kemp has done so far to protect Georgians and I trust his commitment as he has managed the States' resources to make sure we can tackle the hurdles of increasing testing abilities, having State agencies and schools continue their work from home offices and decide where our priorities should stand.

I am committed to protecting citizens of our great state, I also must consider the effects this will have on the People’s freedom.

Recent history has shown that I am one of the few voices reminding other legislators to keep this at the forefront of their minds.

Remember; the government was instituted to preserve the life, liberty & property of the People as their main priority.

We must not forget, however, that this carries the responsibility of personal responsibility on the People.

An observation of current events shows why self-governance is so important.

As you may have heard already, one of our State Senators came to participate in the special session last Monday and then tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after.

Because of this, many other Senators and their staff are self-quarantining as a precautionary measure in case they have come into contact with the virus.

That’s personal responsibility.

Local governments in Georgia have also taken actions that are helpful like closing government services that aren’t essential.

A large portion of our economy relies on small businesses and they are the best suited to adapt to the needs of our communities.

They are doing a great job.

We see those businesses getting creative to continue making money and to better serve the people during this difficult time.

Take the curbside assistance, for example. Many dine-in restaurants are now offering delivery and to-go orders to compensate for the lack of diners, or even to deter dining until this threat has passed.

The answer here would be less government regulation to allow these businesses to fulfill this need in the market.

Governor Kemp has taken action in this regard by removing restrictions for truck drivers that will allow for restocking of supplies at a much faster pace.

While some people may jump to the conclusion that everything needs to be shut down, we still need to live our lives, people need food and as Kemp said the other day for example; those in the healthcare industry need childcare as they go to work to save lives.

This is an unprecedented time in our State’s history. In fact, I could say the same about the nation and the international state of affairs. I cannot recall another time in my life where I have seen the world shut down so quickly and easily.

It is important that we be responsible during this time, and also important that we guard our liberty while seeking to keep everyone safe.

Remember that disease is not new to humankind, and this certainly will not be the last disease we face, so we must not be hysterical and in constant panic.

A firm reliance on God and a level head is as important, or more important than everything else we are doing to keep our loved ones safe.

Our values and principles do not need to change.

Instead, I suggest we double down on them, particularly; vigilance, responsibility, and compassion for our fellow citizens.

It’s an honor to serve,

Matt Gurtler