201703.25
0

Gold Dome Update: Week 11

This week we convened for three legislative days and wrapped up day 38. Senate and House Committees went into the evening as committees held their final hearings on bills. The Senate took up dozens of very important measures that will have a positive impact on the way Georgians work, live and play.

The Georgia General Assembly also fulfilled our only constitutional obligation, to pass a balanced budget. On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously agreed to the Conference Committee Report for House Bill 44, the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) general budget. HB 44 is now on the way to the Governor for his final approval. Additional information on HB 44 can be found on the link below:

http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx

Along with the passage of the FY18 general budget, we passed several measures that I would like to highlight:

House Bill 221 would create the Uniform Power of Attorney Act to create a uniform framework for granting powers of attorney specifically designed to protect the elderly.

House Bill 222 would allow children of members of the Georgia National Guard and Reserve to meet the residency requirements to be eligible for HOPE Scholarship. Under HB 222, the Georgia Lottery would be required to increase the funding amount for the Lottery for Education Account by one percent each year for three years starting at 26.5 percent in FY18. This part of the bill reflects the language originally passed by the Senate in Senate Bill 5. I am happy that the SB 5 language was included and passed in HB 222 since this is a Majority Caucus priority.

House Bill 245 would grant spouses of military personnel who hold a teaching license the ability to qualify for temporary education certification if they have to relocate to Georgia due to their spouse’s military transfer. I believe this is a step in the right direction to help those who sacrifice so much for your security and freedom. We need to do all we can to make it easier for military spouses to continue their education and further their careers.

House Bill 375, which I was honored to carry in the Senate, would change the definition of a new property owner to someone who purchased a property on or before the due date of their state tax liability bill. This change would address the current law that defines a new owner as a buyer who purchased the property on or after the tax bills due date after January 1 for a year.

House Bill 463 would allow the Department of Early Care and Learning to create a nonprofit corporation that would be classified as a public foundation. HB 463 would require the nonprofit to be aligned with the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code and filed with the Secretary of State. Under HB 463, the nonprofit would be responsible for assisting the department in carrying out its duties.

These are just some of the measures that passed the Senate this week. The Senate Rules Committee will meet on Monday to set the calendar for Days 39 and 40. If you have any questions about any of the bills highlighted in this column, which passed this week or are still up for consideration, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. I look forward to hearing from you.