2017 Capitol Update Week 6 – House passes $25 billion budget
House Bill 44, the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, passed the House with a single no vote. The proposed budget is balanced at $24.9 billion. Sixty-two percent of new revenue is allocated to education, 15% to transportation, 10% for public safety, 10% for health and human services, and the remaining 3% toward economic development and general government.
The FY 2018 budget includes pay raises for teachers, bus drivers, and school nutrition personnel. HB 44 includes funding for the Department of Driver Services to improve wait times at customer service centers and combat fraud related to vehicle licensing. Improvements in health care include increased reimbursement rates for primary care physicians, funding for behavioral health services for autistic children under 21, and 97 new residency slots in primary care medicine, 10 OB/GYN residency slots and a new psychiatry residency program.
The House version of the FY 2018 budget also includes increased funding for DFACS, Foster Parents, and Special Assistant Attorneys who work on child welfare cases. Our proposed budget includes a 20% pay raise for state-level law enforcement. HB 44 also increases funding for Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants for city and county transportation projects.
The bond package maintains a debt service ratio of 5.7%, well below the constitutional limit of 10%. Ten percent of the bond package is committed to transportation and infrastructure projects, 56% is appropriated for K-12 education, 12% for public safety, and the remaining 23% for economic development and general government programs such as the new judicial complex.
The House streams most meetings live and you will find a broadcast schedule here.
I am pleased that HB 195 passed the House this week by a vote of 170-1. This bill will allow, after a citizen referendum, for the reinstatement of the property tax abatement for a non-profit providing housing and 24/7 care for 69 mentally disabled residents.
I appreciate my Democrat colleagues that co-sponsored this measure and worked to gain passage in the House, Reps. Pat Gardner, Mary Margaret Oliver, and Park Cannon.
HB 41, passed the Regulated Industries Committee this week and is now before the House Rules Committee. This bill provides an innovative approach to education for our best students of Architecture to achieve licensure in approximately 7 years rather than the 12 year average will be heard in . The bill is supported by the Savannah College of Art and Design, Kennesaw State University, and Georgia Tech.
I Chaired the first hearing of a Special Subcommittee on HB 248 authored by Rep. Trey Kelley to determine Georgia’s regulatory environment for autonomous vehicles this week. The Committee received testimony from General Motors, Google, Uber, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Georgia Municipal Association, and Georgia Department of Transportation among others. I anticipate a second hearing Thursday of this week.
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.
613-D Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334
Thanks again for allowing me to serve,