Local News


Legislator pushing for Camden campus

By GORDON JACKSON The Brunswick News

WOODBINE -- Obtaining funding for a new technical college campus in Camden County is the No. 1 priority for state Rep. Jason Spencer when the General Assembly convenes for its annual legislative session Jan. 13.

Spencer, R-Woodbine, said he and Sen. William Ligon, R-St. Simons Island, will work together to make a technical college a reality in Camden County.

Funding for the $16 million campus at a 31-acre site in Kingsland off Interstate 95 at Exit 7 was pulled unexpectedly last year after concerns were raised about the simultaneous construction of new Altamaha Technical College campuses in Brunswick and Kingsland.

The city of Kingsland and the Camden County Joint Development Authority have already spent an estimated $500,000 to build the infrastructure needed to support a campus at the site.

Spencer said he will ask for funding for the Kingsland campus and for improvements to a technical college in Waycross that will be part of the merger between Okefenokee and Altamaha technical colleges. The two colleges will be named Coastal Pines Technical College after the merger goes into effect in July.

"It really looks good this year," Spencer said of the possibility of funding for a technical college in Kingsland.

Spencer said he will be among a group of elected officials to introduce legislation to prohibit the state from implementing the Affordable Health Care Act. Spencer, a physician's assistant, said his proposal is to ask for legislation that will prevent the state from using resources to support the federal health care act.

"This will break the bank," Spencer said of Obamacare.

He will also introduce legislation to revise how hospital authorities are managed and how members are appointed.

Spencer said the court resolved his concerns with the St. Marys Hospital Authority this year. But the debate over how the proceeds from a nursing home should be spent led him to discover other concerns.

"We've got problems across the state," he said.

Spencer said he plans to ask for approval for the St. Marys authority to change its name to the St. Marys Senior Citizens Service Authority. He expects the bill for the name change and mission statement will be approved by fellow legislators.

He wants to encourage physicians to volunteer more often by introducing legislation that will reduce the risk of malpractice lawsuits if they provide indigent health care.

Spencer also wants to make it more difficult for voters to raise taxes.

He plans to ask for legislation requiring 60 percent of voters to approve any Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in the future.

SBlt Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 464-7655.