Gold Dome Update: Week Nine

We had a very busy week with two full committee days and three legislative days during the ninth week of the 2018 Legislative Session.  We have now completed through Legislative Day 32. We are continuing to vet and vote on several pieces of legislation in our committees and on the Senate floor including some that I sponsored or carried.

On Thursday, the Senate agreed to the amended House version of Senate Bill 317, which originally passed the Senate in January. I sponsored SB 317 which will provide a referendum for citizens living within the Fulton County school district to vote upon approval of new homestead exemptions from the school district property taxes for educational purposes. The bill would also cap new tax assessment increases at a maximum rate of 3 percent or the inflation rate annually. This is an issue that many Fulton County residents have requested a solution to for several years, and I am glad that the bill is now on its way to be signed into law by Governor Deal. Once signed, the county election superintendent is directed to place the referendum question on the ballot for elections on November 6, 2018.

Additionally, legislation addressing property tax assessments for the cities in North Fulton – Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park and Roswell – received final passage this week. These bills match the language in SB 317 and would allow citizens in these cities to vote later this fall on whether or not to cap property tax assessment increases at 3 percent or the inflation rate (whichever is lower). I want to commend my colleagues in the Senate and local delegation in the House for working tirelessly to get all of these bills passed in an efficient and timely manner. Each of these will protect our citizens and make sure there is not a repeat of the tax fiasco they experienced in 2017. By giving our citizens an opportunity to vote, we are letting their voices be heard and enabling them to decide if this is what they want as property owners and taxpayers in these communities.

Other legislation I focused on this week included the House bills assigned to the Public Safety Committee following Crossover Day. This week, the committee met twice to further evaluate 13 pieces of legislation. Among these bills were House Bills 79 and 815, which I am carrying in the Senate. HB 815 is very special and creates a new honorary license plate for the Georgia Masonic Charities Foundation, Inc. All sales of the new license plate would go directly to the Foundation, which is involved in helping out communities throughout the state.

While our session may seem to be coming to a close, we still have many long days ahead of us before we end our time under the Gold Dome in 2018. If you have any questions regarding legislation facing the Senate or any issues facing the 56th District, please do not hesitate to contact my office, and we will help in any way we can.