Gold Dome Update: Week Six

Another week has come and gone at the Capitol as we continue our march towards the last day of the 2017 legislative session. This week we completed legislative day 20 and are officially at the half way mark. The Senate took up several key measures that will keep Georgia the best state to call home.

On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed House Bill 43, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 amended budget. We agreed to the House substitute and the compromises made between the two chambers. I am happy to announce that $27.2 million to begin funding the significant salary increase for law enforcement officers, public safety trainers and criminal investigators was kept in HB 43. Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 43 into law on Thursday and we will now begin work on House Bill 44, the FY 2018 general budget.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 46 which I was happy to co-sponsor. SB 46 will improve our state’s economic outlook by providing Camden County an opportunity to welcome a new industry to our state. Camden County is set up for the creation of a spaceport that will allow for commercial and leisure flights. SB 46 limits the liability for operators of space flight activities from lawsuits in cases where an individual was injured during flight and a written waiver was signed. This bill does not protect against a lawsuit in cases where gross negligence or an act to intentionally cause harm triggered the injury. This is a great first step in welcoming a new industry to our state.

On Thursday, I introduced Senate Bill 195, the “Georgia Jobs First Act of 2017.” This legislation outlines a new program for employers that receive benefits from the state such as tax credits, incentives or business dealings. If these companies receiving benefits decide to relocate jobs outside of Georgia, they must notify the state at least 120 days before the relocation is scheduled to take place.  SB 195 is designed to keep jobs in Georgia and assure we continue to be strong financial stewards of the state’s resources.

Advance notification will allow the department to review the notification and work to keep the business in our state. Growing and keeping jobs in Georgia is a top priority. We want to support those who keep jobs here at home and incentivize those who may want to relocate. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this legislation so we can remain the number one state to conduct business in.

In the spirit of growing businesses in Georgia, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2 on Friday. Also known as “The FAST Act – Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency – Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed,” SB 2 will reduce the regulatory burdens placed on Georgia’s small businesses. This legislation will eliminating nuisance taxes while simplifying the licensing processes. I am confident this legislation will greatly protect and support Georgia’s small businesses and their employees. My goal is to provide businesses with the opportunity to maintain control of business operations.

I encourage anyone with questions or comments to contact my office at any time. As always, I am honored to represent you in the 56th Senate District.