After a busy week, the Georgia General Assembly has two legislative days remaining before we Sine Die on Thursday, March 30.
On Thursday, the General Assembly passed a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which includes pay raises for educators, state law enforcement personnel, and DFCS child welfare workers.
HB 44 also includes an increase in funds for transportation and for an early identification program for Alzheimer’s patients.
Chairman England and Chairman Hill, along with my fellow Conference Committee members, worked hard to ensure both the House and Senate versions were well represented in the final version of the budget.
The FY 2018 budget now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Other measures passed by the House last week include the following:
• SR 130 creates a study committee, which will seek to increase the efficient sharing of information between governmental entities and citizens’, with the goal of making government more responsive to citizens’ needs and more efficient in its operations.
• SB 15 grants a weapons carry license at no charge to former law enforcement officers with at least ten years of service. The license is granted to former officers who left their position as a result of a disability they sustained in the line of duty or retired and in good standing with state and federal certifying agencies.
• SB 18 allows any retired police officer in good standing the ability to retain their gun and badge.
• SB 200 allows pharmacists to synchronize a patient’s medications onto the same refilling schedule. This will allow fewer trips to the pharmacy for the patient.
• SB 206 requires that health benefit plans in Georgia provide hearing aids to children under the age of 18. This legislation will provide great assistance to families with hearing impaired children.
• SB 201 provides that an employer who already provides sick leave allows an employee to use their earned sick leave to care for an immediate family member. I am hopeful this will make a positive difference for working families in Georgia.
• SB 153 permits doctors of optometry to administer certain pharmaceutical agents by injection providing they hold the necessary licenses and certifications.
• HR 462 is a House resolution that reaffirms our commitment to strengthening, supporting and protecting Georgia military installations. I believe it is important we show our support for the military, their families and the military installations in Georgia.
• SB 108 creates a Women’s Veterans Office at the Department of Veterans Services. This office will conduct outreach to female veterans for the purpose of improving awareness of benefits and services, conducting assessments of the needs of women veterans and reviewing initiatives designed to address and meet the specific needs of women veterans in Georgia.
• SB 121 works to combat Georgia’s opioid epidemic by authorizing pharmacies to dispense lifesaving opioid antagonists with a prescription.
• SB160, commonly known as “Back the Badge”, increases the punishment for the offense of aggravated assault on a public safety officer and aggravated battery on a police officer.
• SB 186 allows students who have completed two years of a technical college program to be eligible for 30 degree hours of the HOPE grant. I believe expanding access to our technical and career college system is an important part of preparing our students for the economic opportunities of the future.
The House and Senate will go back into session on Tuesday, March 28h for day 39. If I can be of service to you or your family, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), email (Jon.Burns@house.ga.gov) or engage on Facebook.