March 11, 2016

Legislators were in session four days this week and attended numerous committee meetings to work on cross-over bills and resolutions. They have completed 35 legislative days and there are only five days left in this legislative session.  Legislators will convene three days next week, Monday through Wednesday, then have several days out of session to prepare for the final two legislative days.

With cross-over bills still being worked on in committees, not many bills passed the House or Senate this week.  However, of most importance, the Senate passed their version of the $23.7B 2017 FY budget.  They have recommended ten percent raises for public health nurses and three percent raises for state employees, teachers and other school employees, as well as $10.6M for Invest Georgia which is of special interest to Lt. Governor Cagle. The House and Senate conferees will now begin working out the small number of differences between these versions.

There were lengthy debates in both Senate and House this afternoon with the Senate considering the bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses (HB 859) and the House deliberating state grants for pregnancy crisis centers (SB 308).  Both of these measures passed, mostly along party lines.

This week was also qualifying week for persons wanting to run for elected office.  All 236 state House and Senate seats are up for reelection as well as 14 U.S. House seats, one U.S. Senate seat (Johnny Isakson, incumbent) and one Public Service Commission seat (Tim Echols, incumbent). Many incumbents are getting primary opposition, including Senator Isakson and Commissioner Echols. So far eleven state legislators have announced that they will not run for reelection: Senators Bill Jackson, Tommie Williams and Mike Crane, and Reps. Stephen Allison, Mike Dudgeon, Margaret Kaiser, Ronnie Mabra, B.J. Pak, Matt Ramsey, Nikki Randall and Barbara Sims.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact any of us if you have questions or need information on any legislative issue. All bills can be found on the state’s legislative web site, and live action can be watched in the House and Senate chambers when they are in session.

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