The Senate passed the FY 2014 general budget on Friday, which calls for $19.8 billion in state spending. The budget is based upon an expected 5 percent increase in revenue collected by the state.
Even with the additional funds, the state was forced to cut $200 million in agency budgets to fill holes in Medicaid, retirement funds and growth in education. The Senate softened cuts to the Technical College System of Georgia and restored the tuition equalization grants, as well as eliminating the cut to school nutrition programs. The Senate added $10 million to fund the new Invest Georgia Fund to try to grow and sustain young Georgia businesses. The FY 14 budget includes $6.5 million for technical colleges to lower tuition for truck driving courses, health professions, and early childhood education. A conference committee will settle the differences.
Senate passes ethics reform
The Senate passed its version of ethics reform last Friday that protects the rights of citizens to lobby the legislature, by making sure only professional lobbyists who are paid for their services are covered under the ethics legislation.
HB 142 includes a $100 gift cap while closing loopholes in the House bill that didn’t require expenditure reporting for standing committees, sub-committees or “local delegations.” The Senate version also eliminates exemptions for travel expenses for legislator’s spouses and staff, prohibits foreign travel, as well as forcing all levels of government to adopt a lobbyist policy.
The bill will now go to a conference committee.
Bills passed in the Senate
HB 256 - Bans the sale of cigar wraps made of reconstituted tobacco to minors.
HB 164 - Extends a sales tax exemption on engines, parts, equipment, and other tangible personal property used in the maintenance or repair of aircraft.
HB 350 - Requires that all child care directors and employees pass a national fingerprint records check, and must submit to new background checks every five years. Currently the only employees required to pass national background checks are directors.
HB 371 - Allows the Department of Revenue to tax liquefied natural gas as diesel.
HB 68 - Allows the Georgia Composite Medical Board to require orthotists and prosthetists to take continued education.
HB 126 - Charges someone who willingly or knowingly obstructs any park ranger from performing their duties as a ranger with a misdemeanor, and any person who commits an act of violence against a park ranger guilty of a felony.
HB 141 - Requires certain businesses that may be exposed to prostitution and human trafficking to post notices which may allow victims to get information to find help.
HB 317 - Allows the Georgia Composite Medical Board to license and issue administrative medicine licenses. Administrative licenses are for positions that require medical knowledge, but not the practice of medicine.
HB 155 - Allows the Department of Natural Resources to issue and sell hunting preserve hunting licenses and preserve operators to issue temporary paper hunting licenses. The bill was amended to include a provision allowing hunters who legally own firearm suppressors, to use those suppressors when hunting.
HB 178 - Requires that pain management clinics be licensed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board and requires that any new pain management clinic must be owned by a physician or multiple physicians.
HB 242 - Drastically changes the juvenile justice system in an effort to combat the high recidivism rates and high costs of the current system.
HB 287 - Transfers the Division of Archives and History from the Secretary of State’s office to the University System of Georgia. The archives are located at Clayton State College.
HB 372 - Changes the eligibility for students to receive the HOPE Grant from a minimum GPA of 3.0 to 2.0. The HOPE Grant is for students who are enrolled in technical colleges.
HB 318 - Combines the Georgia Tourism Development Act, which limits each tourist attraction to one approved company, with the Invest Georgia Act. The Invest Georgia Act creates a venture capital fund to help promote and grow young Georgia businesses.
HB 402 - Allows the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources to issue permission for projects of up to six months on protected coastlands and marshes if the project does not alter the natural topography of the protected area.
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
234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5038 (phone)
(404) 657-7092 (fax)
E-mail at Jack.Hill@senate.ga.gov
Or call toll-free at
1-800-367-3334 day or night
Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811