January 26, 2017

The legislature met Monday-Thursday this week and they have now completed eight legislative days.  They will reconvene on Monday and will meet for four days again next week.

Standing committees have begun to meet, but these meetings have been introductory and organizational.

There were two special events of note this week:  House passage of the amended FY ’17 budget and Chief Justice Hines’ address to a joint session of the House and Senate.

The House passed the amended FY ’17 budget totaling $23.4B on Thursday.  There were only a few adjustments from the current 2017 budget, including an additional $111M in local school funding for increased enrollment, $27M for the 20% pay raise for state law enforcement officers, and $50M for Governor Deal’s proposed cyber security center.  The Appropriations Committee also approved moving $5M into the Governor’s emergency fund to help the storm victims from the tornados in South Georgia last weekend.

Chief Justice Harris Hines gave his State of the Judiciary speech on Wednesday.  He remarked on the state’s growing population and technological advances and how these are affecting the judiciary in Georgia.  He praised Governor Deal’s Criminal Justice Reform and noted that the next step was to shorten the length of probation for low-risk offenders.  He cited examples of the state’s working poor and noted that these people made too much to qualify for legal aid but could not afford to pay for legal services.  He also stated that every Superior Court Judge should have a law clerk and that it was important to have independent full-time Juvenile Court Judges. The Chief Justice’s final point was about the need for a centralized system for e-filing.

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.

Comments are closed.