Update from Under the Gold Dome: Week Ten

This week we completed our tenth week of the 2019 session and now have just one full week to go before Sine Die on April 2, 2019. This week alone, the Senate debated and voted on 25 pieces of legislation. While we have been taking action on House Bills in our chamber, I would like to provide an update on some of the bills I have sponsored and their progress in the House.

Senate Bill 15, the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act,” provides a comprehensive outline for increasing school safety by streamlining communication efforts between all key stakeholders – schools, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center. This bill would also require schools to conduct threat assessments every four years and practice an emergency drill annually. Under SB 15, schools would be required to utilize a statewide mobile application to report potential threats, which currently would be the “See Something, Send Something” app. This legislation is currently in the House Education Committee where I am hoping it will have a hearing next week.

Senate Bill 119, which passed unanimously in the Senate, would require an economic analysis to be conducted by the state auditor prior to the passage of legislation related to taxation. This legislation is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee where I hope it will receive a hearing because it is vital to ensuring that all tax dollars are used efficiently. Another bill addressing fiscal responsibility is Senate Bill 120, or the “Georgia Tax Credit Business Case Act,” which also passed the Senate with unanimous and bipartisan support. This bill would require the state auditor to perform an economic analysis on certain income tax credit exemptions on a five year rotating basis. It is our responsibility in the General Assembly to increase transparency in government and to hold the state accountable as fiduciaries of state funds. I believe SB 120 will hold us accountable and I look forward to the House Ways and Means Committee taking swift action on this legislation and moving it to the House for a floor vote.

In addition to championing these bills through the legislative process in the House, my attention this week was on the Fiscal Year 2020 General Budget – House Bill 31. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, passed HB 31 which totals around $27.5 billion. I am proud to say that the Senate has amended the version of HB 31 the House passed and bumped the teacher pay raise back to $3,000. Our educators are instrumental in preparing our children for their future and I believe this increase is essential to keeping the brightest and best in Georgia.

While there are only two weeks left for the 2019 session, there is a lot of work to be done and I am prepared to work to the best of my ability during these long days and nights to ensure your interests are represented under the Gold Dome. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office by phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you!