Gold Dome Update: Week Three

We are now three weeks into the 2018 Legislative Session and continuing to make impressive progress. This week, there was movement on several pieces of legislation, including several bills that I sponsored. I am proud to say that two bills passed unanimously and two other bills were taken up in committees.

I sponsored and received passage of Senate Bills 303, 304, 305, 306 and 307 which relate to property tax assessments for the cities in North Fulton. As mentioned in prior updates, these bills will allow citizens in the cities in North Fulton the opportunity to vote later this fall on whether or not to cap property tax assessment increases. This bill represents small government at its finest and returns the decision-making power back to the local level.

Additionally, the Senate passed Senate Bill 327, which I am carrying on behalf of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to streamline the process for coroners and a medical examiner inquiry. This legislation would remove the requirement for the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office or other Metro – Atlanta medical examiners to perform a formal inquiry when a person dies who has not been under the care of a physician. This only applies if there is no foul play or anything suspicious in regards to cause of death. This removes the requirement but does not prohibit the GBI or other Metro-Atlanta medical examiners to perform a formal inquiry if it is requested.

As Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, fire safety, preparedness and response are top priorities of mine. That is why I sponsored Senate Bill 319, the Consolidation of Fire Safety Services in Georgia Act. This legislation would consolidate fire safety-related activities into a new Department of Fire Safety, which would be solely dedicated to this mission. SB 319 was heard in committee this week but was not voted out yet. I will continue my work on this legislation to ensure all parties involved continue communication and that the best version of this bill is passed out of committee for approval on the Senate Floor.

Additionally, Senate Bill 328 passed out of the Finance Committee this week, and it will soon be heading to the Senate floor for a vote. This legislation is the result of the Senate Study Committee on Special Tax Exemption, which I chaired during the interim. Other committee members and I worked hard to determine which tax exemptions provide a Return on Investment (ROI) and which ones no longer bring money back to the state. After careful review and consideration of six current tax exemptions, the committee determined that three no longer provide a ROI and should be sunset.

SB 328 will provide sunset dates on three tax exemptions: Qualified Transportation Credit, Driver Education Tax Credit and Diesel Particulate Emission Reduction Technology Equipment Credit. These changes will update state code and bring money back to individuals and employers, helping us achieve greater economic growth.

All in all, we are making great progress here in the Senate. We were able to work with the House to set the adjournment resolution setting the legislative calendar through Sine Die which will be March, 29, 2018. Next week, we will continue our committee meetings and bring several more bills to the floor for a vote. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.