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Budget sails through Senate
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The FY 2013 budget passed the Senate unanimously. This $19.342 billion budget funds state growth and economic development. Bolstered by $112 million in additional revenue, both the legislative bodies agreed on the FY 2013 budget and sent it to the governor for his signature. Governor Deal raised the revenue estimate by $117.5 million by amending in $95 million in foreclosure settlement funds that the state will receive over the next few months. The conference committee, in concert with the governor, then appropriated the funds for economic development with $67 million going to the Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) for economic development projects for the next few years.

Additionally, $44.8 million was put into the One Georgia program for economic development for rural Georgia. This front loading of economic development funds will propel the state forward and bring jobs to the state over the next three years.


Highlights of the general budget include:

• $10 million for creation of Accountability Courts statewide

• Funds HB 100 for a Tax Court which will settle business/government tax matters out of Superior Court.

• New funding for autism treatment for: The Marcus Center, Emory, and the Matthew Reardon Center in Savannah

• $29.8 million for Behavior Health – Department of Justice settlement

• $800,000 for 50 new independent care waivers

• Funds the Interstate Compact on Education Opportunity for Military Children

• Restores funds to the Plains and Sylvania welcome centers

• Budget language authorizes student tuition assistance for CDL and Law Enforcement courses through the Governor’s Workforce Development Fund

• $300, 000 for Family Violence Centers statewide

• First stage of a pay package aligning GBI agents and scientists and Department of Natural Resources rangers with State Patrol pay schedules

• $2.1 million for Children First Screening program for disabled children to replace lost TANF Funds

• Added other categories of students to the HOPE low-interest loan program.


Partial listing for final passage

HB 872 –

HB 685 –

HB 692 –

HB 732 –

A more detailed list will be available over the next weeks.


Clarification from last week’s newsletter in regard to tax reform

Tax commissioner James Deal from Bulloch County points out that under HB 386, ad valorem tax ends only for those who purchase a new or used vehicle after March 1, 2013. They pay a one-time 6.5 percent title fee.

Owners who retain a vehicle after that date continue to pay ad valorem tax for up to ten years or whenever they dispose of the vehicle.

Angela W. Touhy, assistant to the Appropriations Committee, was honored on the floor of the Senate this week for her 25 years of service to the Senate.

If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly website at


I may be reached at

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 Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811

Authorizes Purple Heart license tags for active duty personnel who have been awarded the Purple Heart.
Teachers who have falsified certified professional personnel files, standardized testing or student assessment tests will not be eligible for automatic salary increases or bonuses. Previous amounts must be repaid as well.
Creates a responsible dog ownership law which will create a vicious or dangerous dog classification. Gives authority to local law enforcement and animal control to enforce new regulations. Allows others to protect themselves, their pet animals, and property from these "vicious dogs" if they are a threat and not on their owner’s property.
Revises scrap metal bill in regulating aluminum, copper, and catalytic converters. No aluminum coils can be purchased unless the seller can be verified as a licensed contractor. It also forbids the purchase of copper wire if it appears to be exposed to heat, charred, or burned. The seller must be a licensed contractor or a seller who has a police report showing the seller’s property was involved in a fire. A title is required to sell vehicles less than 12 years of age. If the vehicle is valued below $850, no title is required. HB 872 requires a secondary metals recycler to keep documented copies of purchased transactions and photographs or digital images of the metal property being purchased. HB 872 forbids cash machines or cash payments at a secondary metal recycler and all checks must be mailed to the person’s address on the ID and has a 14-day hold. Records of these metal purchases will be collected by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in an electronic data base and sheriffs will have access to this information.