2017 Capitol Update Week 3 – “Little” Budget passes House

State of the Judiciary

On Wednesday of last week, Georgia’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Harris Hines delivered the State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the House and Senate. Chief Justice Hines noted that 2017 marks a “historic year of change” as our Supreme Court expands for the first time in history from seven to nine Justices. Chief Justice Hines commended the General Assembly on recent criminal justice reform measures while pointing out work remains with regard to non-violent probationers and our juvenile court system.

“Little” Budget passes House

On Thursday, the House passed HB 43, the Amended Fiscal Year 2017 (AFY 17) budget at $24.36 billion. The AFY 17 “Little” budget includes over $606 million in additional revenues versus the originally adopted FY 17 budget – a 2.5% increase.

Most notable, the AFY 17 budget included $108 million for midyear school enrollment growth, $25 million for public safety employees 20% pay raise, and $5 million for the Governor’s Emergency Fund to aid those Georgia communities hardest hit by recent storms.

Budget Documents

HB 41 may speed Architecture licensing

HB 41, my first bill of this session, will receive a hearing in a Regulated Industries Subcommittee Chaired by Rep. Andy Welch on Monday.

The average time it takes to become a licensed architect in the U.S. is twelve years. Upon graduation with a degree in Architecture, students must accumulate 1,000 hours of apprenticeship work prior to sitting for the licensing exam. HB 41 would allow students to voluntarily enroll in Integrated Path to Architecture program and accumulate apprenticeship work hours simultaneous with their coursework; thereby, reducing the time after graduation prior to taking the licensing exam.

The bill is supported by the American Institute of Architects as well as Savannah College of Art and Design, Kennesaw State University, and Georgia Tech.
(I know, a Bulldog helping the Trade School – again.)

Meet Nathan Foster

I am pleased to welcome Nathan Foster as my Legislative Aide during the 2017 Session of the Georgia General Assembly. Nathan is a resident of Snellville and a graduate of Brookwood High. He began his post-secondary studies at Georgia Gwinnett College and now attends Georgia State University studying Economics. Nathan also serves in the Georgia Army National Guard.

Please join me in welcoming Nathan to our Capitol office. You may reach Nathan at our office number – 404-463-3793.

Let me hear from you

As always, I remain appreciative that you allow me to serve as your state Representative. I encourage you to contact me with any comments or questions you have about the legislation being considered at your state Capitol.

Please make note of my new office and phone number:

613-D Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334
404-463-3793

Brett.Harrell@house.ga.gov

Thanks again for allowing me to serve,

Brett