Georgia’s 83rd Governor: Brian Kemp
With his wife and three daughters by his side, Brian Kemp was sworn in Monday as Georgia’s 83rd governor, along with Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and numerous statewide officials.
Kemp highlighted some of his plans while speaking optimistically about the future of the state of Georgia. “In the years to come, we will spur private sector job creation by cutting taxes and red tape. We’ll fully fund education, stand with our farmers and protect the values we hold dear.”
Governor Brian Kemp on Thursday delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Georgia Legislature. The governor outlined his 2019 legislative agenda focusing on areas such as pay raises for teachers and state employees, school security, healthcare and public safety.
Kemp laid out a proposal to increase teacher salaries by $3,000 for all certified Georgia teachers and a 2 percent merit pay increase for all state employees. Also allocated was $1 million to the state’s Department of Community Health budget to fund exploration of “flexibility options” for Georgia’s Medicaid program.
Kemp’s budget proposal includes $500,000 in initial funds to form a gang taskforce within the GBI, which will be made up of a highly qualified group of experienced law enforcement personnel who will work with local District Attorneys and law enforcement to stop and dismantle street gangs.
Governor’s Budget Recommendations
Governor Brian Kemp released his budget recommendations to the General Assembly for the FY 2019 amended and FY 2020 budget. The proposed budgets prioritizes education, public safety and health care.
The amended FY 2019 budget includes $30,000 for each public school in the state, for a total cost of $69 million to enact school safety measures to be determined at the local level and $8,400,000 for the Georgia Apex Program (GAP) to provide support counselors for mental health services in Georgia’s schools. Appropriated in the FY 2020 budget is $141.2 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 renovations and $48 million in bonds for construction of a convocation center at Georgia State University.
The bond package totals $1.16 billion for the state, of which $209 million is recommended for the University System.
Senate Rule Changes
The new Senate rules passed this week by the Senate give authority for Senate leadership to negotiate a change in the traditional Crossover Day scheduling. Assuming the House agrees to a deal, Crossover Day could now be pushed forward as early as the 25th legislative day, instead of the 28th legislative day. Another rule change limits the window for making claims regarding sexual harassment from a Senator or staff member. The new rules require any claim made within two years of the incident in question. Previously, there was no statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims.
House Leadership Selected
The House of Representatives had no change in any of it’s leadership positions. Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton) were both re-elected to positions they’ve held since 2010. Rep. Jon Burns (R-Newington) was reappointed as House Majority Leader.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston has named Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) to succeed the late John Meadows as chairman of the House Rules Committee.
Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), who received B.B.A. from GSU in 1971, replaces Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta), as the Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. Sen. Tippins is former Chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
Creative Arts & Entertainment
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced the formation of a new House Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainment this week at the annual Georgia Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues breakfast. The working group will evaluate the state’s tax incentive programs and explore all aspects of Georgia’s booming film and entertainment industry to promote future growth.
School Safety Legislation
As a result of the Senate School Safety Study Committee that met over the interim, several pieces of legislation have been proposed.
SB 15, sponsored by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act” would address offenses for minors in possession of a firearm, as well as school safety plans including performing threat assessments, drills and coaching on prevention, reporting and appropriate action to take when a threat or suspicious behavior arise. Assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
SR 12, sponsored by by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), proposes a Constitutional Amendment to allow ESPLOST funds to be allocated towards the security of schools, including additional staffing, such as specialized mental health counselors. Assigned to the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 2, sponsored by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), would allow Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) to deploy broadband services throughout Georgia. Assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
SB 12, sponsored by Sen. Michael Rhett (D-Marietta), would require certain health clubs to have at least one functional automated external defibrillator (AED). The bill defines health clubs as any commercial enterprise with more than 3,000 clients that provides services or facilities for the preservation, maintenance, encouragement, or development of physical fitness or well being. Assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
HB 5, sponsored by Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta), prohibits employers from relying on the salary history of an applicant to determine the wage, benefits, or other compensation for such applicant during the initial hiring process. Assigned to the House Industry and Labor Committee.
HB 20, sponsored by Rep. Debra Bazemore (D-Riverdale), provides that persons convicted of family violence offenses cannot possess or carry firearms. Assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
Calendar Set-Thru Day 11
The House and Senate adopted a resolution this week taking them thru Day 11 of the legislative session. The legislature met four days this week and set a calendar to meet January 28-30 and February 5-8.
December Revenues Decrease
Revenue collections for the month of December totaled $2.16 billion, for a decrease of $102.5 million, or -4.5 percent compared to the revenue collected in December 2017. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $11.82 billion for an increase of $517 million, or 4.6 percent compared to the same point last year.
GSU Welcomes 2019 GLIP Interns
Georgia State is pleased to welcome for the 2019 session, 15 students serving as interns for the Georgia General Assembly as part of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP) and for individual representatives.
Assigned to various House and Senate committees, interns are given the opportunity to learn the legislative and policy process firsthand from inside the Gold Dome. In addition to gaining an inside view of the legislative process and how constituents are served, interns acquire marketable skills and professional work experience prior to graduation. After successful completion of the program, students receive 9 hours of course credit.
The new Director of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program is Dr. Amy Steigerwalt, professor of Political Science at Georgia State University. She states, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help students from GSU and around the state experience life at the Georgia Capitol — students in the GLIP program play a vital role in helping the Legislature function, while getting not only to learn what the Legislature does, but also to directly help address the issues facing our state.”
The 2019 Georgia State University legislative interns are Stephanie Gomez, Meeya Aneneba, Hannah Audifferen, Samantha Wicker, Miriam Goodfriend, Lucas Perez, Eric Edmonson, Melissa Hamblett, Asna Ashfaq, Shanila Kabir, Maariz Kashem, Keridan Ogletree, Johanna Mejia, McKenzie Tooke, and Jasmine Barnett, pictured above. Each intern will be highlighted in this newsletter during the legislative session.
Information on legislative activities including bills and resolutions as well as a webcast of daily sessions in both Chambers and committee meetings are available via the General Assembly website at ** www.legis.ga.gov (http://www.legis.ga.gov)
USG Budget Presentation: January 22, 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
The House and Senate will convene at 10:00 am on Thursday, January 28.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS TEAM
Tom Lewis, Senior Advisor to the President
Julie Kerlin, Senior Director of Government & Community Affairs
Michael Parkerson, Director of Government & Community Affairs
Jason Thomas, Assistant Director for State Relations
Clelia Keen, Assistant Director for 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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