Governor Deal Delivers State of the State Address
Governor Nathan Deal on Wednesday delivered his seventh State of the State address to a joint session of the Georgia Legislature. The governor outlined his 2017 legislative agenda focusing on areas such as education, pay raises for teachers and state employees, healthcare, cyber security and job growth.
Governor Deal announced that in addition to the 20% pay raises for state law enforcement officers, his budget calls for a 19% raise for DFCS case workers and a 2% merit raise for teachers and state employees.
Deal stated he will work with members of the legislature to enhance Medicaid and State Health Benefit Plan coverage for treatments of those diagnosed with autism up to the age of 21, and allocating $2.5 million to covering the full child population of Medicaid and PeachCare for children with behavioral and mental health issues. The Medicaid program for the state in the next fiscal year’s budget will cost over $10.5 billion.
The governor asked the legislature to remove barriers to mental health services for veterans and wants to allocate funds to train existing employees on services provided by the state and federal governments to better serve the veterans. He also allocated for a Women Veterans Coordinator position who will work with female veterans that have suffered military sexual trauma, offering counseling and assistance with veteran’s claims and appeals.
Dealtalked about failing schools, stating that 153 schools have a failing score for three consecutive years, 106 of those being elementary schools. Deal’s plan for failing schools calls for placing an emphasis on elementary schools, and will be released later this session.
Governor’s Budget Recommendations
Governor Nathan Deal released his budget recommendations to the General Assembly for the FY 2017 amended and FY 2018 budget. The proposed budgets would bolster resources for cybersecurity, education, public safety, health care, economic development and efficiency in government.
The Governor’s FY 2017 amended budget recommendation of interest to the University System of Georgia (USG) and Georgia State University included an additional $11.2 million for various projects and programs across the USG. Appropriated in the FY 2018 budget is $142 million for new USG formula funds. These funds are critical in meeting enrollment demands, providing for maintenance of new facilities and funding strategic initiatives. Also included was $50 million in bonds for major repairs and renovation. The GSU Government Affairs team will seek $5 million in funds during the budget process for the demolition of Kell Hall/Library Plaza.
The bond package totals $1.05 billion for the state, of which $208.3 million is recommended for the University System.
Deal announces new Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center
Governor Deal, this week announced his FY 2017 amended budget included $50 million in funding to establish the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta. The center will be a state-owned cyber range that brings together academia, private industry and government to establish cybersecurity standards across state and local agencies to develop and practice protocols for responding to cyber
New to the GSU Legislative Delegation
Samuel Park (D-Lawrencville), will represent House District 101 in Gwinnett County, replacing Rep. Valerie Clark. Park received his B.A. & B.S. from GSU in 2009 and his J.D. from GSU in 2013. He is currently an attorney.
Special Election Results
Chuck Payne (R-Dalton), will represent Senate District 54, replacing Sen. Charlie Bethel who was appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals. Payne is a retired juvenile court probation officer. District 20 represents Whitfield and Murray counties and parts of Gordon and Pickens counties.
December Revenues Increase
Revenue collections for the month of December totaled $2.06 billion, for an increase of $15.2 million or 0.7 percent compared to the revenue collected in December 2015. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $10.86 billion for an increase of $414.4 million, or 4.0 percent compared to the same point last year.
Deal announces 2017 floor leaders
Governor Deal announced that Reps. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and Trey Rhodes (R-Greensboro) will join Rep. Terry Rogers (R-Clarkesville) on the House floor leader team, while Senators P. K. Martin IV (R-Lawrenceville) and Larry Walker III (R-Kathleen) will team up with Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) to carry the governor’s bills in the Senate.
Legislators have already introduced 63 pieces of legislation in the first week of session. Below are measures the Government Affairs team will monitor.
HB 51, sponsored by Rep. Earl Ehrhart
(R-Powder Springs), would require employees of postsecondary institutions, who believe that a felony has been committed by or against a student, to report the crime to the appropriate law enforcement agency or the district attorney of the judicial circuit where the institution is located. It would require that the investigation be done by local law enforcement or by campus law enforcement that is staffed by officers who are certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. An institution cannot bring disciplinary action unless the student in question has been found guilty; however, the student may be suspended while felony charges are pending if the student is deemed as dangerous to the safety and/or health of the student body. Assigned to the House Appropriations Committee.
HB 37, sponsored by Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), would prohibit private postsecondary institutions from adopting sanctuary policies, which are rules prohibiting employees from cooperating with law enforcement on the identity of someone illegally residing in the United States or believed to be involved in domestic terrorism. Assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
HB 24, sponsored Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain), creates a program offering incentive pay for quality teachers in schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families. Assigned to the House Education Committee.
HR 14, sponsored by Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek), would create a Joint Study Committee on the Creation of High-Tech Health Incubators for Job Growth for Georgia. The primary focus is studying medical innovations’ role in improving the health of Georgians as well as the benefit of enhancing opportunities for investors to fund and grow Georgia based Health IT companies. Assigned to the House Special Rules Committee.
SB 15, sponsored by Sen. Michael Rhett (D-Marietta), permits a former law enforcement officer who served for at least 10 years and left employment because of a disability arising in the line of duty and receives benefits under the Peace Officer’s Annuity and Benefit Fund to be issued a weapons carry license without paying the required fees. Assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Calendar Set Thru Day 12
The House and Senate adopted a resolution this week taking them thru Day 12 of the legislative session. In adjournment next week for budget hearings, the General Assembly will return the following two weeks working Monday thru Thursday, ending February 2nd.
The Senate has adopted a new rule relating to Crossover Day being moved from Day 30 to Day 28 that the House must go by. Crossover Day is the last day a bill can cross over from one chamber of the General Assembly to the other in bill form.
GSU Students Intern for GLIP
Nine remarkable students from Georgia State have been chosen to serve as interns during the 2017 Georgia General Assembly session as part of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP).
Interns are given the opportunity to learn the legislative and policy process firsthand from inside the Gold Dome while assigned to various House and Senate committees. These students will acquire marketable skills and professional work experience prior to graduation. In addition, the interns will gain an inside view of the legislative process and how constituents are served. After successful completion of the program, students will receive 9 hours of course credit.
Dr. Dan Franklin, Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University is the Director of GLIP. The 2017 Georgia State University legislative interns are Jazmine Boucard, Daniel Komoroski, Ty Kuecher, Ashley Maclaren, Aaliyah McGill, Edwin Mendez, Ridge Pierre, Clayton Roberson, and Ashley Williams.
Information on legislative activities including bills and resolutions as well as webcast of daily sessions in both Chambers and committee meeting are available via the General Assembly website at ** www.legis.ga.gov (http://www.legis.ga.gov)
USG Budget Presentation: January 17, 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Day 5: The Senate will convene at 10:00 am and the House at 11:00 am on
Monday, January 23.
Government Affairs Team
Tom Lewis, Senior Advisor to the President
Julie Kerlin, Director of Government & Community Affairs
Jason Thomas, Assistant Director of Government & Community Affairs
Debbie Jones, Associate to the Director
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 3999
Atlanta, Georgia 30302
404-413-2030 (office) • 404-413-1410 (fax)
Visit Georgia State University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs:
** ga.gsu.edu (http://ga.gsu.edu)
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