Senate Passes FY 2023 Budget
Today the Georgia Senate voted 56-0, to pass the $30.2 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The proposed budget for FY 2023, is an increase of 10.8% over the original FY 2022 budget. New revenues, went to areas such as improving mental health care, aiding crime prevention, enhancing schools and public health care programs.
The Senate budget recommendations of interest to the University System of Georgia (USG) and Georgia State University included $68 million for major repairs and renovations across the university system. The FY2023 budget includes annualization of the $5,000 raises for state and university employees
received in the FY2022 amended budget to be built into future years salary.
The budget includes $1.2 million to expand capacity for nursing students across the university system. The $6 million investment over five years will increase the number of nursing graduates by 500. Also included is $20.4 million in lottery funds to increase the minimum factor rate to 90% for the HOPE Scholarship.
The Senate budget differs from the Governors and the House by adding $28 million to increase funds to establish quality incentive payments for schools that demonstrates “Beat the Odds” and/or Content Mastery of Third Grade reading targets. A conference committee will be formed with the House and Senate to work out the differences.
Teachers Retirement System of GA
HB 385, sponsored by Rep. Shaw Blackmon
(R-Bonaire), will allow teachers who have retired after 30 years of credible service to return to teaching in a full-time capacity, pre-k through grade 12, in an “area of highest need” following a one-year waiting period. The school system must pay the employer and employee contribution rate, and the member cannot accrue additional creditable service. The bill passed Senate by a vote of 50-1 and now goes to Governor Brian Kemp for final consideration.
Film Tax Credit
HB 1053, sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens
(R-Savannah), extends the sunset on the tax credit for the ‘Georgia Entertainment Industry Postproduction Investment Act’ by four years from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2027. The bill also requires each company that claims the post-production tax credit or film tax credit to be subject to Georgia income tax for income that is derived from residual payments due to employment, trade, business, profession, or other activity performed within Georgia with respect to a state-certified production. The bill passed the Senate Finance Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
HR 1042, sponsored by Rep. Katie Dempsey
(R-Rome), would create the House Study Committee on Unsheltered Homelessness. The resolution passed the House Governmental Affairs Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
SB 461, sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon
(R-Buford), would specify that only a Superior Court of Georgia can set a bond for a human trafficking offense. The bill passed the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and is now eligible in the House Rules Committee.
Military and Veterans Affairs
HB 1064, sponsored by Rep. Jesse Petrea
(R-Savannah), would create a tax exemption for military income retirement. This legislation adds an income tax exemption of up to $17,500 of military retirement income for individuals less than 62 years of age and an additional exemption of $17,500 for individuals less than 62 years of age who have at least $17,500 of earned income.
The bill passed the Senate today by a vote of
56-0 and now goes to Governor Brian Kemp for final consideration.
SB 357, sponsored by Rep. Kay Kirkpatrick
(R-Marietta), would allow children of military families to go to any school within 50 miles of districts adjacent to the military base they live on. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
SB 358, sponsored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick
(R-Marietta), would authorize the Georgia Public Safety Training Center to reimburse tuition for active duty, retired or honorably discharged members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are attending basic law enforcement training. The bill passed the House by a vote of 163-0 and now goes to Governor Brian Kemp for final consideration.
SR 542, sponsored by Sen. Tonya Anderson
(D-Lithonia), commending women veterans and recognizing the first Tuesday in March of every year as Women Veterans Day at the state capitol. The resolution passed the Senate by a vote of 55-0 and has been adopted.
Governor Kemp Signs Tax Refund Bill
Governor Brian Kemp, this week, signed HB 1302, sponsored by Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayettville), which will provide a one-time tax credit for eligible Georgia taxpayers who filed income tax returns in both 2020 and 2021. Based on your 2020 tax filer status, single tax filers would receive a $250 refund, head-of-household filers would receive $375, and those who file jointly would receive a $500 refund once 2021 tax returns are processed by the state. The refund is automatically credited once a taxpayer files an individual income tax return for 2021.
Parents Bill of Rights
HB 1178, sponsored by Rep. Josh Bonner
(R-Fayetteville), provides a framework for parents to request information on instructional material. The bill requires a review period for two weeks at the beginning of each nine-week period which will be made available to parents. If parents request access to instructional material outside of the review period, the school has three days to provide a description and a timeline of when the information will be provided within 30 days of the receipt of the request. This legislation would also include a provision for parents to opt their children out of photographs and videography by a written note. The bill passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee and is now eligible for soncideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
4-H Sponsored Activities
HB 1292, sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse
(R-Jasper), prohibits students who participate in
4-H sponsored activities or programs from being counted as absent from school. The school principal or their designee may request documentation, as proof, from a 4-H representative. The bill passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
School Mask Mandates
SB 514, sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon
(R-Cumming), the “Unmask Georgia Students Act”, would allow Georgia public school parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates. The bill passed the House today by a vote of 93-52. There was a motion to reconsider that will be taken up on Monday.
First Aid Instruction
SB 545, sponsored by Sen. Sonya Halpern
(D-Atlanta), would provide that each local board of education that operates a school with grades 9 through 12 provide no less than one hour of instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator to students in ninth or tenth grade as a requirement of health or physical education courses beginning in the 2022- 2023 school year. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Elementary Agriculture Education
HB 1303, sponsored by Rep. Robert Dickey
(R-Musella), transitions a pilot program for elementary agricultural education to an ongoing program. The Department of Education will provide a program evaluation to the House and Senate related committees by December 31, 2022. The bill passed Senate by a vote of 51-0 and now goes to Governor Brian Kemp for final consideration.
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)
Day 36: The House and Senate will convene on Monday, March 28, 2022 at 10:00am.
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