The 2018 Legislative Session ended back in March and we accomplished many of the goals we had for under the Gold Dome in 2018. When we adjourned Sine Die at 12:12 a.m. on Friday, March 30, 2018, we had debated more than 250 total pieces of legislation during the session.
In our final week, both chambers agreed to the conference committee report for House Bill 684, which is the General Budget for the 2019 Fiscal Year.
While I shared with you earlier this year some of the budget allocations that will benefit the 25th District, I would also like to share that this is the first year in recent history that the General Assembly has fully funded the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula. The FY19 budget contains an additional $167 million for the Department of Education for K-12 schools and eliminates austerity cuts. The budget also secures the Teachers Retirement System, allocates new spending for school safety and funds the purchase of an additional 200 school buses for use at our state’s public schools.
Although the legislative session is now over the work of your state legislators does not stop. During the interim, the Senate Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Operations Authority Creation Study Committee, which was created by a resolution I sponsored – Senate Resolution 882, will hold meetings.
The committee will be tasked with studying the airport, its practices and economic impact, specifically related to its being a resource for the state of Georgia. Currently, Hartsfield-Jackson is under the control of the city of Atlanta, and this committee will study ways in which the airport can best benefit the state as a whole.
On Sine Die, both chambers also adopted the conference committee report on Senate Bill 402, or the “Achieving Connectivity Everywhere” (ACE) Act. This bill lays the groundwork for private companies seeking to expand access to broadband services into rural Georgia. Within the bill is also a new community designation, which will be called “Broadband Ready.” In order to achieve this designation, which will be given by the Department of Community Affairs, local communities must meet a series of requirements and if they do, they will be eligible to receive grants to implement broadband expansion.
In our final week, I also carried House Bill 938, which passed both chambers and is now on its way to Governor Deal for approval. The bill will change the requirements for licensing limited insurance credit agencies and their employees.
Under HB 938, the Commissioner of Insurance would have discretion over applications, which would be submitted by companies seeking to provide this service in place of individual employees. In order to be licensed, a company must provide the commissioner with a full list of employees and their sales locations, require five hours of prerequisite training, two hours of continuing education training and a background check.
In addition, HB 938 would provide the commissioner authority in cases where licensing criteria is not met. HB 938 was signed by Governor Deal on May 8, 2018, and will become effective on July 1, 2018.
If you have any questions about legislation that was signed by the Governor or that did not pass, please do not hesitate to reach out. To stay up to date on the bills the governor signed into law, you can visit his website at this link: https://gov.georgia.gov/legislation/2018.
All in all, the 2018 session was a success and we passed many pieces of legislation to benefit the people of Georgia.
While we may not have any more days of session in 2018, our work will continue into the summer and fall as we prepare legislation and our agendas for next year. T
hank you for the opportunity to serve the 25th District, and please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance in any way over the coming months. I look forward to spending some quality time back in the district soon and hearing from each of you to get your input to better our district and state in the future.