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2020 GA Capitol Update: Week 4

The Senate had another busy week with several bills and resolutions receiving passage on the Senate floor. Along with our legislative work, we also had the opportunity to invite a number of deserving guests to the Chamber and recognize them for their contributions to our state.

Throughout communities all across the state, personal mobility devices (such as e-scooters) continue to grow in popularity. These devices are important for students, employees and other commuters to navigate to and from their destinations in a cheap and efficient manner. However, as more and more riders use these devices, it has become apparent that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will ensure safety and compliance for every city in the state. For this reason, the senate passed Senate Bill 159. SB 159 adds an official definition of “electric scooter” to Georgia Code and allows our municipalities to govern the legal use of these devices. This bill strikes an even balance between local control and proper legislative oversight.

Wednesday, I had the opportunity to honor some of the bravest and most selfless among us in the Senate Chamber. Georgia is home to over 30,000 firefighters across 900 separate fire departments. These men and women go to work each day, with full knowledge that they might not ever make it home, working day and night to protect life and property from the devastation of fire. In honor of their selflessness and dedication to this state, I sponsored Senate Resolution 648 to name February 4, 2020 as Firefighter’s Recognition Day at the state Capitol. While a resolution pales in comparison to the sacrifice shown by our firefighters daily, I hope it can serve as a reminder to never forget those who dedicate their lives to our protection. I am a proud 4th generation firefighter serving on the Alpharetta Fire Department.

Georgia is well known for having an economic environment attractive to business and our state has worked hard to maintain that distinction. However, in the process, our state has implanted a large number of tax credits, several of which have a questionable return on investment for the state. This is why I introduced Senate Bill 302, which passed in the Senate Finance Committee on this week. This bill would require an economic analysis to be conducted on the net economic benefit of specific tax credits at the request of the General Assembly. By conducting these analyses early and often, we are ensuring that we are only keeping the tax credits which benefit our state.

Next week, the Senate is going to set some time aside to have some extended discussions on the budget. While we will not convene for any legislative days, legislators will remain busy having conversations with state agencies to hear further details about what their budgets should look like in the upcoming fiscal year to operate efficiently.