I reviewed “On The Issues” I had listed prior to January on senatorfranmillar.com and am pleased to report almost all that I felt were critical passed and are on their way to the Governor for his signature to become law.
HB 91: lowers the state income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over the next two years and personal tax filers will receive in excess of $1 billion in relief over the next five years.
HB 654 Appropriations bill for 2018-2019 increased the revenue estimate by $184.7 million and fully funded the Quality Basic Education formula which pays for the K-12 schools throughout the state (some say for the first time ever).
SB 386 creates the Atlanta-Regional Transit Link Commission (ATL). The “ATL” Commission will be responsible for the planning, funding and implementation of significant transit projects throughout the 13 county region that make up Metro Atlanta. This is a dramatic expansion from the current service provided by MARTA to only two counties.
SB 357 Health Act creates the Health Coordination and Innovation Council and Health System Innovation Center. These groups will identify Georgia health priorities and develop new approaches for financing and delivering health care. This is Georgia’s first step at reform since Congress failed to act in a meaningful way.
HB 159 Adoption code was redone for the first time in 30 years. Key provisions are shortening time for birth mother to reverse her decision and can be reimbursed from the adoptive parents for enumerated living expenses.
SB 426 is also known as the Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development Act. Part of our efforts to better address the needs of rural Georgia, this bill will help speed up the permitting process and deployment of small cell broadband for businesses looking to utilize public rights of way. In effect, it would be permissible to combine small wireless technology on existing utility poles and partner on construction for new utility poles where none currently exist but there is a need.
SB 315 will help prevent identity theft and similar crimes that occur when Georgians access the internet. This legislation was supported by Georgia’s Attorney General following the hacking of Georgia election data that was housed at Kennesaw State University.
SB 339 directs Georgia’s colleges and universities to establish clear policies that protect the freedom of speech on their campuses.
HB 951 will establish the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation under the Georgia Department of Economic Development. This entity will be tasked with identifying policies and ideas to enhance economic opportunity across the entire state and particularly in rural areas.
SB 3 CONNECT Act seeks to expand job training in our schools with better coordination between educators and industry.
I previously mentioned the distracted driving, charter school, “needs based” aid for college for economically disadvantaged, and student scholarship organization legislation.
In 2019 we must put in place the framework for “needs based” aid, evaluate our counseling preparation program in our colleges, and reform the pension system for new teachers.
I felt this was our most productive session since I joined the Senate. As we go into the election cycle I strongly suggest you look at people’s accomplishments versus political sound bites and slogans. This isn’t Washington.
Zell Miller said it best “Where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words.”
Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions.