Update from the state capitol
Published 3:10 pm Monday, March 4, 2019
The General Assembly has only two legislative days before Crossover Day, when bills passed by the House are sent to the Senate for consideration and bills passed by the Senate are sent to the House.
The bills are said to “crossover” to the other legislative body for consideration. This past week was a productive one with many long hours spent in committee meetings working out the details of legislation and several bills that were passed. Significantly, House Bill 31, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, is set by a revenue estimate of $27.5 billion, an increase of $1 billion or 3.95 percent over the FY 2019 original budget.
It’s important to note K-12 education is designated to receive 63 percent of the new revenue, including an 8.1 percent increase in the base salary pay for teachers and certified support staff ($2,275 annually).
For the total budget, all education agencies receive 55 percent of available funds, followed by 22 percent budgeted for health and human services agencies, 8 percent for public safety activities and the remaining 15 percent for economic development and general government agencies.
To read the complete bill, please go to House.ga.gov/budget.
Many people in our state were affected by Hurricane Michael with adverse effect on their livelihood. House Bill 105 addresses the computation of taxable net income, by providing an income tax exemption for income received as payments from disaster relief connected with Hurricane Michael and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
I believe this is good legislation that helps many Georgians, especially those in the agriculture industry where the losses were estimated close to $3 billion.
It’s imperative that our elections are fair, and voters are assured their votes are secure. The Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections Commission recommended a new system with touchscreens and printers. This machine is similar to the ones currently in use, in that a voter would touch the screen to cast their vote, but then the machine would print out the voter’s results, and the voter could read over it to make sure it’s accurate.
Once the voter is certain they did not make a mistake while voting, they will feed the paper copy into an optical scanner where the paper copy is stored into a locked bin at the bottom of the voting machine.
If the voter made a mistake, they would take the printed copy to a poll worker and be able to re-cast their vote.