The House has adjourned until February 18th to hash out the details of the budget. While I’m not excited about delaying the important work of passing legislation, it’s imperative that we take the time to evaluate the state’s priorities before appropriating $28 billion of taxpayer money.
The budget is the most important piece of legislation that the General Assembly will vote on, and Governor Kemp’s extreme budget proposes $300 million in reckless budget cuts. From schools to hospitals to the economy, the basic services Georgians care about and depend on are on the line. Some examples of these cuts include:
- $15 million slashed from county public health departments
- $35 million in cuts to Georgia’s mental health services
- $12.5 million in cuts to the Georgia Department of Education
- $16.5 million in cuts to child welfare and foster care services
- Nearly $13 million cut from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, making it harder to identify and process evidence and share information across the state
- $1.8 million cut from environmental protection and $1.4 million cut from forest protection
Although we weren’t in session, the joint Senate & House Fulton delegation met on Friday. The Fulton County Commission provided an update and an overview of their legislative agenda, including their plans to ensure autonomy for the Fulton County airport, the third busiest airport in the state of Georgia. The Fulton County Board of Education also provided an update and an overview of their legislative agenda, which includes reducing mandated testing, and decoupling student test results to teacher performance.
Bills to watch
HB 789 (the Surprise Billing Law) would require insurers to post online which hospitals have specialties performed by doctors who are out of network for four of the most common independent specialties, to avoid surprise medical billing. The House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care passed the bill with one vote dissenting.
SB 368 (the anti-LGBTQ Adoption Bill), filed Tuesday by State Senator Marty Harbin (16), would allow agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples or those whose religious beliefs don’t align with the organizations’ mission. In December 2019, there were over 12,600 children in the foster care system. Governor Kemp promised to work to make adoption easier in Georgia, not harder. Will he oppose this bill that would bar loving parents from adopting foster children? This bill does a disservice to Georgia’s many foster children in need of loving homes, and it’s straight-up hateful discrimination against LGBTQ and non-Christian families.
SR 654 (Gas Tax for Transit), sponsored by State Senator Sally Harrell, 40, and HR 910, sponsored by Representative Josh McLaurin, 51, authorize a change to the state constitution, allowing the gas tax to be spent for any or all public transportation purposes, and not just for roads and bridges. As Atlanta becomes more and more gridlocked, I applaud these representatives for seeking out common sense solutions to better fund public transportation.
Applications for the Fulton County Homestead Exemption are due April 1. View more information here.
Meet & Greet: Coffee with your Legislator
Join me for coffee on Saturday, February 15th, 10 am, at Dancing Goats Coffee, 3167 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30305 (in the Trader Joe’s shopping center). Come chat with me and share your feedback!
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-656-0116 with questions, concerns, or solutions you may have regarding legislation or other happenings in District 54.
To stay updated, follow me on Twitter and Facebook (click on links at the bottom of this email), and follow the Georgia House of Representatives @GAHouseHub on Twitter. Additionally, in-depth information regarding current bills, Georgia’s annual and supplemental budgets, committee meetings, and livestreams from the General Assembly can be accessed via www.legis.ga.gov.
I encourage you and your family to visit our State Capitol and my office, where all constituents are welcome. I look forward to connecting with you!
My office is located at:
18 Capitol Square, SW
409-B, Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54