Members of your Georgia House of Representatives have completed over a quarter of our allotted 40 days of the 2021 legislative session. This is the time for many committees to be reviewing legislation that has been talked about during the last few months and had legislation either pre-filed or ready to be dropped in the first few days of the new session. As such, House bills are being passed out of their respective committees and being sent to the Rules Committee, where they are now eligible to be called for a vote on the House floor. The Rules Committee determines which bills will be brought forth to the House floor and what are the debate rules for the legislation.
Gov. Brian Kemp has rolled out more of his legislative initiatives for this session. The governor unveiled his major “teacher pipeline” legislative package to recruit, prepare, mentor and retain the best teachers for our classrooms. Through legislative measures, Kemp intends to boost the educator workforce by allowing retired teachers to return to work full-time in communities with the greatest shortage of teachers. To further address teacher shortages, the governor’s legislative proposal would ease certification requirements for veterans to become teachers and give veterans priority when enrolling for teacher preparation programs. This plan also seeks to increase the number of minority teachers in classrooms by partnering with historically black colleges and universities to recruit minority educators.
As legislators responsible for state support and action with the pandemic, we are closely monitoring the state’s high demand for COVID-19 vaccines. Georgia hit a major milestone with its vaccination efforts as we surpassed the one million vaccination mark, and more than 500,000 Georgians who are 65 and older have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To ensure that the state’s supply of vaccines can be administered more efficiently, Kemp recently signed an executive order to allow more medically trained professionals to safely administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Kemp also announced that Georgia’s weekly vaccine allocation from the federal government will bump up to more than 154,000 starting this month.
The governor reported last week that two million Georgians are eligible for the vaccine, including health care workers, public safety officers and residents who are 65 and older and their caregivers. To learn more about the 1A+ phase of Georgia’s vaccine distribution and other important COVID-19 facts, please visit https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.
Last week, we also saw the results of the governor and General Assembly’s effort to create jobs and push for greater medical support by introducing House Bill 304, or the “Georgia Made Medical Manufacturing Act.” This key initiative for the 2021 legislative session seeks to incentivize the production of medicine and medical devices within our state to limit our dependency on other states or foreign countries for critical supplies that aid in the fight against COVID-19. The Georgia Made Medical Manufacturing Act is modeled after Georgia’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Tax Credit, which was passed by the House during the 2020 legislative session last June. HB 304 would increase the amount of credit available under the state’s Jobs Tax Credit to incentivize job creation and investment in the medical equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries.
In conclusion, I encourage you to please let me know of issues that are important to you in Effingham County and Chatham County. I am in office 401 of the State Capitol. My office phone number is (404) 656-7855 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to this session and serving all of you.