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Gold Dome

January 16, 2019

Gold Dome Report - January 16, 2019

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol this morning, following the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast.  Thousands dined on eggs and coffee and heard more from Georgia’s most powerful leaders.  At breakfast, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced his budgeting priorities which included education and public safety.  In part, his education priorities will encompass the pay raise for teachers which he discussed in his campaign.  Work in the public safety area will include $500,000 to create a Gang Task Force within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  See more below.

In the Senate today, Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford), took the well of the Senate to outline why she was disappointed with the changes in the organization of the Senate and in particular her removal as the Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee - this followed her discussions on Tuesday around the changes to the Senate Rules which were adopted and in particular those around sexual harassment reporting procedures (the Senate adopted a two-year limitation on claims to be brought by an accuser against a Senator or a member of their staff).  In today’s remarks on the Senate Floor, a group of bipartisan women Senators spoke out about the fact that they felt “sidelined.”  Many believed the remarks’ underlying rationale was due to the women members’ dislike over their committee assignments.

 #GoldDomeReport

In this Report:

  • Governor Kemp Previews Budget, Policy Agenda at Eggs & Issues
  • General Assembly Sets Schedule Through Legislative Day 11
  • New Legislation

Governor Kemp Previews Budget, Policy Agenda at Eggs & Issues

As noted above, Governor Kemp will keep his pledge to address salaries for teachers. He will release his budgets tomorrow in the State-of-the-State address with the budget addressing the $5,000 increase in salaries for Georgia’s school teachers – which could cost upward of $700 million annually.  He alluded to the fact that the raises for teachers may be spread over multiple years. Governor Kemp also mentioned that he intends to put money towards school safety as classrooms should be a “safe haven” for students.  He committed to $30,000 per public school for the school safety efforts.  He further mentioned the need for more school counselors with a mental health counselor in each of Georgia’s public high schools.  Another issue he accented this morning was addressing Georgia’s crime issues and in particular public safety concerns.  He has stated that he will create a task force within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look at gang-related crimes.  Meanwhile Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan also discussed education in his remarks with business leaders and is interested in cutting “red tape” so that teachers may teach students.  Speaker David Ralston changed gears somewhat by focusing his comments on healthcare and mental health services needed in the state. The Speaker also announced the creation of a new House Working Group on Creative Arts and Entertainment to explore aspects of Georgia’s booming film and entertainment industry and encourage further growth in this sector.

General Assembly Sets Schedule Through Legislative Day 11

The House adopted SR 14 today, setting the General Assembly’s meeting schedule through Legislative Day 11. The schedule, which is always subject to change, is as follows:

Thursday, January 17

Legislative Day 4

 

 

Monday, January 28

Legislative Day 5

Tuesday, January 29

Legislative Day 6

Wednesday, January 30

Legislative Day 7

 

 

Tuesday, February 5

Legislative Day 8

Wednesday, February 6

Legislative Day 9

Thursday, February 7

Legislative Day 10

Friday, February 8

Legislative Day 11

Note that lawmakers will take the MLK Holiday week (beginning January 22) to focus on the state’s budgeting process, holding hearings during the week to learn more about the needs of government.

New Legislation

The following legislation of interest was introduced in the House today:

  • HB 1, authored by Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah), renames the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act as the “Senator Eric Johnson Scholarship Act” after the former state senator from Savannah who championed the cause. In its current form, the bill makes no substantive changes to the scholarship program. This bill was referred to the House Education Committee
  • HB 8 authored by Rep. Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City), amends Title 48 to create a sales and use tax exemption for certain menstrual products. This bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee
  • HB 9, authored by Rep. Karen Mathiak (R-Griffin), amends Title 44 to add chiropractic practices to the list of entities that can have a lien on a cause of action accruing to an injured person for the costs of care and treatment of injuries arising out of the cause of action. This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee
  • HB 10, authored by Rep. Debra Bazemore (D-Riverdale), amends Title 20 relating to the core curriculum to provide for the instruction of the best practices and risks associated with the use of tampons and AIDS prevention instruction. HB 10 also amends Title 31 to encourage physicians and nurses providing a tampon for use to recite and provide in written form, information regarding the best practices of tampons. This bill was referred to the House Health and Human Services Committee
  • HB 22, authored by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville), amends Title 46 to encourage public utilities entities to increase access to broadband internet in areas of rural Georgia. (This bill is identical to SB 17.) This bill was referred to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee
  • HB 23, authored by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville), amends Title 46 to permit electric membership corporations (EMCs) and their affiliates to deliver broadband services. (This bill is identical to SB 2.). This bill was referred to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.

The following legislation of interest was introduced in the Senate today:

  • SB 2, authored by Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), amends Title 46 to permit electric membership corporations (EMCs) and their affiliates to deliver broadband services. This bill was referred to the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
  • SB 15, authored by Senator John Albers (R-Roswell), amends Title 20 to create a comprehensive school safety plan for Georgia schools. The bill requires all Georgia schools (both public and private) to perform a bi-yearly threat assessment. SB 15 increases the scope of school threat assessments and safety plans to include functions during non-instructional time along with the transportation of students to and from school facilities and functions. SB 15 also calls for improved information sharing between schools and homeland security entities, permitting these entities to curate individualized profiles of students. The bill provides for certain benefits for individuals designated as a “school safety coach” including homestead exemptions from all ad valorem taxes for school purposes. This bill was referred to the Public Safety Committee.
  • SB 16, authored by Senator Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta), amends Title 43 to enter into an interstate compact known as the “Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act”. The bill will authorize the Georgia Composite Medical Board (Board)  to administer fingerprint records checks on any health care professional applicant. SB 16 allows the Board to grant expedited licenses to any licensee of other states. This bill was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.
  • SB 17, authored by Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), amends Title 46 to encourage public utilities to increase access to broadband internet in areas of rural Georgia. This bill was referred to the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee
  • SR 12, authored by Senator John Albers (R-Roswell), proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution to allow sales tax for educational purposes may be used for school safety projects. This resolution was referred to the Finance Committee.
  • SR 17, authored by Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), commends Youth Villages Georgia and recognizes January 15, 2019 as Youth Villages Georgia Day at the state capitol. This resolution was Read and Adopted.