This week I thought it might be helpful to comment on bills of particular interest at the local level.
Earlier this session I cosponsored SB 317 which, if approved by the voters in November, will give Fulton County residents some relief on their future school taxes. Home values can only annually increase for tax purposes by the lesser of 3 percent or the inflation rate.
I also sponsored SB 478 to provide the funding mechanism for the Peachtree Creek Greenway for the residents of Brookhaven. I appreciate Senator Parent’s support on this bi-partisan issue.
As you know we do work year round (like Commissioners) and I will be involved with several study committees that I sponsored.
The first committee deals with the financial impact of Atlanta annexation of schools in DeKalb. If Atlanta continues this effort it will significantly affect all DeKalb school attendance zones and resources.
Dyslexia is a significant factor we have never addressed and I sponsored a resolution to have a study committee investigate this issue. Also, we have done a lot of work on Autism and in SB 118 we lowered the age for insurance coverage from 21 to 12.
Finally, I expect to be appointed to the study committee on school safety. This will include looking at the role of firearms.
I spend a lot of time stopping “bad” legislation in DeKalb like raising the MARTA tax. This year I helped kill SB 453 in the House which would have prevented the right of self-determination in the balance of unincorporated DeKalb (cities). Unfortunately the House did not act on my two attempts to restrict the absurd DeKalb Commissioner 60 percent raise and it will take effect Jan. 1. Remember they each have a budget of $250,000 plus for expenses.
I was convinced by the data and calls by law enforcement to vote Yes on HB 673 – Hands Free GA Act. The current distracted driving statute does not apply to cell phones. The accident level particularly for 18 – 21 year olds is truly alarming. Bottom line – a driver’s hands will be on the steering wheel instead of occupied with a device. My behavior will also have to be modified.
As previously reported, fireworks can now be regulated at the local level in HB 419 except for specific holidays.
In HB 787 we did increase the funding for state chartered public schools which includes virtual schools. I teamed with my Peachtree Corners counterpart Scott Hilton in the House to carry this legislation. We also added my needs-based aid for college for the economically disadvantaged to this legislation – a first in Georgia.
We also increased the student scholarship cap to $100 million in HB 217. For transparency reasons I had new reporting provisions added which specifically show by income category who is receiving this aid. I believe the numbers will show a vast majority of these scholarships go to lower income children.
Dick only gives me so much ink so I will continue my summary in the future.