Session 2018: Week 2
Session 2018: Week 2
The primary focus of the second week of our 2018 legislative session was the state budget process. A constitutional requirement, this process begins with the joint House and Senate Appropriations committees’ review of Governor Nathan Deal’s budget recommendations.
Gov. Deal’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget: Transportation, Education, Healthcare, Criminal Justice, and Other Highlights
Gov. Deal’s FY 2019 budget is the largest budget proposal in our state’s history, as Georgia has seen tremendous economic growth.
On the subject of transportation, Gov. Deal recommended the following: more than $1.9 billion in funding for transportation infrastructure, an additional $100 million for bridge repair and replacement, and more than $25 million for runway expansion in both urban and rural areas of our state.
Proposed funding for the education system includes the following: $102.1 million for a midterm adjustment for K-12 enrollment growth, $10.7 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program, $30 million to assist low‐wealth school districts, an additional $127.6 million to fund K-12 enrollment growth and training and experience for Georgia teachers, $1.8 million towards the the REACH Georgia Scholarship program, and an additional $361.7 million for our state’s Teachers Retirement System.
With an emphasis in behavioral health, Gov. Deal’s recommendations for healthcare funding include: $15 million for the funding of Georgia’s intellectual and developmental disabilities waiver services and supportive housing construction, $3.5 million in the AFY 2018 budget and almost $7 million in FY 2019 budget for the Children’s Autism Initiative, and $22.9 million to fund crisis services, therapeutic foster care, Apex grants, telehealth services, suicide prevention, wraparound services, supported employment and education, and opioid prevention and treatment.
Proposed funding towards Gov. Deal’s criminal justice reform initiatives include an additional $5 million to the total $113.9 million allotted to Georgia’s statewide accountability courts.
Other budget proposal highlights include: funding for Georgia’s child welfare services, including $15.1 million for growth in out‐of‐home care utilization; $10.1 million to continue to increase Georgia’s foster parent per diem rates; $3.6 million to increase out‐of‐home care provider rates; $256 million for Medicaid expense growth to offset federal revenue and settlement loss.
House Bill 159 and House Bill 359
This week’s session included time with our Senate counterparts as they passed their version of House Bill 159, which was passed unanimously. This bill will provide improvements on Georgia’s adoption laws, which have not been updated in nearly 30 years. House Bill 359, which concerns temporary powers of attorney, was also discussed, as it was vetoed by Gov. Deal last year. By adding some key provisions, this bill will hopefully be finalized and signed into law.
Gov. Deal’s state of emergency announcement on Wednesday, January 17 resulted in a rescheduling of our budget hearings and House and Senate meetings. Although these meetings were postponed, we remained dedicated to finishing our legislative work during this winter storm.
Gov. Deal also announced that Atlanta has been placed on Amazon’s short list of Top 20 finalists for the company’s second headquarters. Georgia remains one of our country’s top states to do business with, and has a significant advantage in this site selection process!
I look forward to our next session on Monday, January 22, and I hope that my session updates will continue to help you stay informed on legislative matters that impact our community and state as a whole. The House website, www.house.ga.gov, has several tools that might be useful to you throughout the legislative session: a live stream of House proceedings, live and archived committee meeting videos and detailed information on all legislation we are considering in the General Assembly.
If you ever find yourself in Atlanta during session, I encourage you to visit me at my Capitol office, and please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns regarding any current or upcoming legislation. My Capitol office is located at 228-A State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334, my office phone number is 404-656-5099, and I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
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