A number of pieces of Senate and House legislation were assigned to the Appropriations Committee, requiring subcommittee work and considerable time by members because of the importance of the issues.
SB 33—Zero-based budgeting has passed the Senate several times over the years, and a conference committee on a ZBB bill died in 2011, the 40th night of the session. This particular version begins January of 2013 and on a yearly basis thereafter the governor will include in his budget recommendations based on a zero-based examination of the agency. This means that the agency’s budget will be built from zero, taking into account statutory requirements and a program by program analysis. This approach will insure each state agency is subjected to zero-based budget analysis at least once each 10 years but not more than once each eight years. The Board of Regents is included in the legislation as subject to ZBB and the Department of Education will be in the first round in the FY2014 budget presented next year. There is an automatic repeal set for 2020 unless reauthorized.
SB 403—School Health Nurse Program—This legislation came out of recommendations of the Education Finance Study Commission and sets up a financing structure for school health nurses where ultimately the state will pay 50 percent of the cost. The state Board of Education will provide grants as funded for supplies. This formula will be phased in over three years and systems are obligated to spend 100 percent of these funds on school nurses.
SB 404—Also a recommendation of the Commission, this bill phases in a formula for funding teacher and administrator professional development in coordination with the Professional Standards Commission.
HB 456—Creates a General Assembly Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee, which periodically would review state agencies and issue a report outlining an agency’s efficiency and productivity and make recommendations on what the future of the agency should be or if it should even be abolished. Action would have to be taken within the following year after the recommendations. The committee over time will review all agencies and establish a schedule. The members of the committee will be appointed by the House and Senate and will include a floor leader of the governor from each body. Effective upon the signature of the governor.
HB 760—A third bill recommended by the Education Commission revises the state’s education capital outlay program. It eliminates the exceptional growth program but incorporates the same funding into the regular capital outlay. HB 760 also increases a system’s ability to fund construction projects to replace closed schools sooner and allows easier redirection of bond proceeds to meet the needs following a fire or disaster. Also allows the state to authorize an additional 1 percent of the state eligible cost for low-wealth school systems. The bill also gives the state more flexibility in assisting low-wealth systems with construction needs. Effective July 1, 2012 for funding beginning with FY 2014 applications.
HB 824—Revamps the state’s equalization formula, which directs funding toward low-wealth systems that have low tax bases. The state has not had the ability to increase present equalization funding to keep with the present formula which was affected by enrollment growth. This new formula attempts to fairly fund equalization for low-wealth systems in a formula that will remain steady with flat funding in the future, $436 million in FY13. The basis for the formula is a determination of what constitutes a "state-wide" average of assessed value per FTE count. The bill also sets up "qualified local school system" defined as a system having a local tax rate of 12 mills in 2015 rising to 14 mills in 2019, which would determine systems eligibility for equalization payments.
HB 1178—Requires a 10-year projection as part of the fiscal note projection of the costs of new education programs.
HB 110—Controversial bill that authorized or restricted counties and municipalities in establishing vacant and foreclosed property registries and charging for the listing. This bill establishes state-wide requirements for such registries. Preempts any requirements of a vacated or foreclosed property registry established by county or city in effect as of July 1, 2012 that would be in conflict with this bill. uts caps on fees at $100 per registration and caps penalties for failing to register at $1,000.
If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly Web site at http://www.legis.ga.gov
I may be reached at
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