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General Assembly focuses on King Day, budget
Hitchens Bill
State Rep. Bill Hitchens

On Monday, Jan.21, the General Assembly, along with the rest of our country, observed Martin Luther King Day. There’s no better time than now to heed his call for doing the right thing despite the cost.

For the remainder of the week, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees worked on the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2019 budget and the FY 2020 budget. Gov. Brian Kemp outlined his recommendations for both budgets with strong emphasis on healthcare, education and safety.

There is still a long way to go before the budgets are finalized and I will do my best to keep you updated on proposals that would have a significant impact on our district and your future. It is important to note that these spending proposals are based on expected revenues from the current structure of taxation and there are no proposed tax increases. I will outline several priorities in this article, but a complete report can be found at

As you know, education and school safety are imperative for the betterment of our state. An investment in education is an investment in our state’s future and every student, teacher and administrator deserves the right to go to school without fear of being harmed. I was pleased the governor earmarked $69 million so that each public school in our state will receive a one-time fund of $30,000 to implement school safety, as determined by local school boards, administrators, teacher, parents and students.

Kemp also proposed $3.5 million to develop film and video curriculum in rural schools. This is a great way to bridge the gap between a child’s education and their future employment, giving Georgia the opportunity to continue to build a great economy around the film industry. Another way of bridging this gap and spreading economic benefits is through the technical college system. There is a proposal for $2.1 million in the General Fiscal Year 2020 Budget to accommodate the high rate of technical college enrollment.

Regarding crime, the AFY 2019 budget earmarks $500,000 in initial funds to form a gang taskforce within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to dismantle street gangs and track drug cartel that are operating in our communities. We must work with local and federal partners to undermine organized crime and eliminate gangs that are using social media to recruit young children. Funds have also been proposed for additional equipment for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Cyber Crime Center, a one-time annual leave payout for retiring law enforcement officers, and funds to increase the number of sworn officers patrolling our roads.

There’s a long way to go toward passing the budget and I always keep our community in mind with each decision I make. Please contact me with your questions and concerns as the session continues. I can be reached at or at 404-656-0152. Thank you for allowing me to represent you!