The House was back in session last week and passed the first bill of the 2017 session. HB 43 is the amended fiscal year budget. It does include new spending, most of which is wrapper up in K-12 enrollment growth and increased enrollments in Medicaid. HB 43 includes $108.9 million for midterm enrollment growth of .68 percent to ensure that every child has the educational resources they need. This year’s amended budget also accounts for the growing needs of our education system, including those needs of our institutions of higher learning. The AFY 2017 budget allocates $16.7 million to meet the projected needs of Move on When Ready, a program allowing eligible Georgia students to take advantage of dual enrollment and progress at their own pace, and $2.3 million to create the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, an education training center for developing literacy skills among children from birth to age 8 throughout the state.
Additionally, the House fully supported Gov. Deal’s budget recommendation to support our public safety officials and proudly appropriated $25.1 million in the AFY 2017 budget for a 20 percent pay raise for these dedicated state law enforcement officers. This increase impacts officers and criminal investigators across 16 state agencies, including the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Community Supervision and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The AFY 2017 budget also includes $23.5 million for 612 new vehicles for public safety agencies to replace high mileage or old vehicles.
As I mentioned previously, I've been appointed to lead the Code Revision Committee. Our job is to seek out unconstitutional and obsolete parts of the Official Code of Georgia. We had our first meeting last week, and are working on carrying out our mandate. I'll keep you informed throughout the session on our progress.
We'll be back in session tomorrow and meet through Thursday. As always, you can watch the sessions live as all House committee meetings.
As I did during last session, I record a quick video update each day we are in Session, You can join us live on my Facebook page. Here are last week's videos: Monday, and Thursday.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK:
In preparation for next Sunday's Super Bowl, the Falcons grounds crew came over to Liberty Plaza and painted the teams logo on the grass. They had permission of course.
As always, you can contact me at my Capitol office at 404-656-0188 or via email. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via my website.
I look forward to serving you in the Legislature for the next two years. As I tell people, I get to wake up everyday and try to make Georgia a better place. It's a great job and I'm grateful you folks trust me to represent our community.