Gold Dome Update: Week Five

This week, the Georgia State Senate convened for day 13 through 16 of the 2017 legislative session. We are busy vetting legislation during committee meetings and debating important issues on the Senate floor.

On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation showing that we clearly have a bipartisan commitment to improving mental health care access for all of Georgia’s citizens. Senate Bill 4 establishes the Georgia Mental Health Treatment Task Force. This task force will assess and evaluate our state’s approach to mental health and establish best practices to treat those who need assistance. I am proud to see us all come together to ensure that citizens affected by mental health illnesses can get proper care when they need it the most.

On Thursday, the Senate passed House Bill 43, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 amended budget. The FY17 amended budget revenue is estimated to be around $24 billion. This revenue will be used to address areas that are being over or under-funded for the remainder of FY17. As Chairman of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Appropriations Subcommittee, I am happy to announce that the Senate and House have both agreed to the Governor’s proposal of adding $27.2 million to begin funding the significant salary increase for law enforcement officers, public safety trainers and criminal investigators. These brave men and women put their life on the line every day and deserve to be properly compensated. While this salary bump is not a permanent solution for high agency turnovers, it is a step forward.  A complete overview of the Senate substitute to HB 43 can be found at the link HERE.

We were honored this week to be joined by firefighters from around the state for Firefighter Recognition Day. As a firefighter, it was wonderful to see the unanimous support for these brave citizens whose services benefit us all. They protect us when we need it the most and they deserve our utmost support. I wish all of those who answer the call the best and hope that they remain safe.