Last week, we were back in session with a full agenda. Our top priority was ensuring that the House approved the amended budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which decides how tax dollars are spent from now until July 1 of this year, and sending it to the Senate for their consideration.
I am proud to report that the House approved a balanced, amended budget for Fiscal Year 2020 on Feb. 19 thanks to the hard work of our Appropriations Committee.
We supported our students and educators by finding efficiencies in the budget that allowed us to allocate the resources they need for success in the classroom and to fully fund the education formula for K-12 students. We also ensured that our Department of Agriculture has the funding that it needs to provide food safety and animal industry inspectors so that our agricultural industry can continue to safely feed our state. We now will look ahead to work on the budget for Fiscal Year 2021, which starts July 1.
Three pieces of legislation were introduced that will reform the process that Pharmacy Benefits Managers, or PBMs, use to act as intermediaries between Georgians, their health insurance companies and their pharmacies.
It is vital that Georgians have the ability to choose the pharmacy that they would like to use and that there is as much transparency as possible in the prescription drug market. This issue is important to me as I am well aware of the challenges that independent pharmacies face when dealing with PBMs, and patients must have the option to use the pharmacies that they trust most when having their prescriptions filled.
Firefighters in Georgia put their lives on the line every day for the citizens of our state, frequently making the ultimate sacrifice. Last week, the House passed HB 195, which increases the death benefit for members of the Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund from $5,000 to $10,000.
We want to thank our firefighters and their families for the sacrifices they make and make sure they know that we appreciate what they do!
Closer to home, I am always excited for this time of year because each March we celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Brier Creek, an important American Revolutionary War battle that took place near the confluence of Brier Creek and the Savannah River in Screven County.
The Battle of Brier Creek took place on March 3, 1779, 241 years ago, and the location today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This year, the Battle of Brier Creek will be celebrated March 7 at the Battle of Brier Creek Memorial located on the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area at 11 a.m. I encourage you all to attend this event and show your support for this national treasure.
As we work hard in the days ahead to strengthen Georgia families and businesses, please do not hesitate to call (404-656-5052), e-mail (Jon.Burns@house.ga.gov) or engage on Facebook (www.FB.com/JonBurnsGA) with your feedback. It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly where he serves as the House majority leader.