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House sends amended budget to Senate
Hill Jack
Sen. Jack Hill

The budget to complete the balance of the 2016 fiscal year was passed on to the Senate by the House of Representatives and will be reviewed and voted on by the Senate. Any changes will be negotiated out between the two bodies and sent to the governor for his signature.

The $22.99 billion dollar budget adds $1.16 billion (6.3 percent) to the base 2016 budget, a majority due to new proceeds from the transportation taxes and fees passed last session. The amended budget has $758 million in transportation funds derived from the new excise taxes, fees and existing 1 cent sales tax on fuel previously going to the treasury.

The breakdown on sources of funding for the amended budget includes 43.9 percent from individual income taxes, 23.6 percent from sales taxes (excluding cars), 7.0 percent from motor fuel taxes, 5.7 percent from fees/sales (including tag fee), 4.3 percent from corporate taxes, and 4.4 percent from the Lottery. Included in the amended budget revenues are total lottery proceeds that for the first time exceed a billion dollars, at $1.008 billion.

Highlights of FY16 amended budget:

• $109.9 million to fund growth in K-12 schools and the teacher pay scale

• $90.9 million to the Indigent Care Trust Fund, Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids including funds for indigent care in hospitals, growth in Medicaid enrollment, and rising expenses for Hepatitis C and Cystic Fibrosis drugs

• $51.4 million for services for the increased number of children in state custody

• $821,554 for drivers education program grants

• $3 million for the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund for cleanup

• $2.3 million added by the House for the Community Care Services Program

Effingham Day at the Capital

Around 100 citizens and students from Effingham County traveled to Atlanta on Jan. 25-26 to meet with department heads, state leaders, and area legislators. County and city officials hosted a reception for the entire legislature and students earlier passed out loaves of

Effingham’s famous raisin bread to legislators. After a photo with the Governor, Majority Leader Jon Burns, Rep. Bill Hitchens, and the author announced a $44 million project to add two lanes to Highway 30 from Blue Jay Road to Highway 21. This project has been made possible because of new funding from HB 170 passed in the 2015 Session.

Legislation passed in the Senate last week

• SB 263-Authorizes local governing bodies to adopt policies which allow retired law enforcement officers to retain his or her weapon and badge.

Legislation introduced in the Senate last week

• SB 251-Would exempt school buses from the excise tax on motor fuels. (Finance Committee)

• SB 270- Authorizes retired law enforcement officers to carry a handgun anywhere within the state. (Public Safety Committee)

• SB 271-Provides new standards regarding the involuntary hospitalization of mental patients, as well as for protecting the rights of such patients. (Health and Human Services Committee)

• SB 276-Would require greater security against identity theft and increased notice of data breaches. (Science and Technology Committee)

• SB 277-Provides that neither a franchisee nor an employee of a franchisee is considered an employee of the franchisor. (Insurance and Labor Committee)

• SB 278-Would increase the penalties for pimping and pandering and require registration on the state sex offender registry upon the third conviction for pandering. (Judiciary Non-Civil Committee)

• SB 282-Prohibits financial institutions from refusing to provide credit or services to lawful vendors of firearms and ammunition. (Banking and Financial Institutions Committee)

• SB 283-Would provide for multibank pooling of depositories for the acceptance of deposits of public funds from public bodies. (Banking and Financial Institutions Committee)

• SB 301-Would revise the days and times in which consumer fireworks may be lawfully used or exploded. Any day between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.; On July 3 and 4, and Dec. 31 between 10:01 and 11:59 p.m.; On Jan. 1 and July 4 between 12 midnight and 12:15 p.m.

• SR 842- Creates the Senate Study Committee on the Legislative Process.

I may be reached at

234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 656-5038 (phone)

(404) 657-7094 (fax)

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Or call toll-free at

1-800-367-3334 day or night

Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811