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Revenue estimate for amended budget lowered
Hitchens Bill
State Rep. Bill Hitchens

Last week in the House of Representatives, we spent much time on the 2020 Supplemental Budget and addressed other bills, as well. 

Regarding the much- talked-about Supplemental Appropriations budget, we passed House Bill 792 overwhelmingly. The Amended FY 2020 budget was set by a revenue estimate of $27.3 billion, a decrease of $159 million from the original FY 2020 estimate. 

In the opinion of the House Appropriations Committee — which is responsible for drafting the budget — cuts directed by the governor for health care and fighting crime must be restored.

The changes made in Appropriations for the Amended FY 2020 budget reflect our ongoing support of expanded mental health services, as well as access to health care; the restoration of public-facing budget items, including grants to county health departments and public libraries; and the reinstatement of funds to ensure a fully-functioning criminal justice system, including adequate funding for public defenders, accountability courts, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) crime labs.

The House also passed HB 758, an update to the Georgia Motor Carrier Act of 2012. We established if a motor carrier implements, requires, or deploys a motor carrier safety improvement, this should not affect an individual's status as an employee or independent contractor.

This bill concerned many legislators regarding truck safety, which is especially important for our community because of our interstate and the active truck commerce at the port. In my view, this is an important step to ensuring road safety for all of us.

The House also passed HR 1023 by a unanimous vote. It would allow voters to decide if citizens may petition for declaratory relief — the resolving of a dispute without going to court. Petitions must be brought exclusively against government entities and may not be brought against an individual or officer. The General Assembly may impose certain requirements upon petitions. 

This bill also prohibits. incarcerated or detained individuals from filing petitions. Damages, attorney's fees or costs of litigation would not be awarded in actions unless specifically authorized by the General Assembly.

We also addressed legislation that requires insurance carriers issuing health benefit plans to file their proposed commission rates and, more importantly, to pay a commission to the agent. The commission paid to the agents must be consistent with the amount proposed in the rates filed and required by the Department of Insurance. HB 716 passed overwhelmingly as legislators supported the proper compensation for our local insurance agents’ work.

As I continue my work in Atlanta with the budget and other legislative priorities, please know that I welcome and appreciate your input and concerns. I can be contacted at or at 404-656-0152.

Thank you for allowing me the great privilege of representing you!