2018 Legislative Session Week Three
By the end of our third week in session, we reached Legislative Day 10, a marker of our one-fourth completion of the overall 40-day session. We remained busy this week with introductions recommended by our interim House councils and commissions, and we also finalized our adjournment resolution.
Georgia’s economic prosperity, although widespread, has not reached all parts of our state, and some areas need improvement. In our previous session, the House Rural Development Council (RDC) was established through House Resolution 389, followed by extensive, rural community research and an eventual presentation of two reports that outline how to improve these community’s economy.
- House Bill 735 – This bill is the first rural development-related bill that the House has ever considered, and it would encourage investment in rail infrastructure in rural Georgia by creating a tax credit for short line railroad track maintenance expenditures.
- House Resolution 848 – This resolution was adopted in the 2017 session, and it established the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding, which examines Georgia transportation issues and discovers ways to improve them. We are expecting to discuss legislation on this topic this session, as the transit commission has been researching over the 2017 summer and fall seasons.
We also determined our calendar for the remainder of the 2018 legislative session this week as we worked with our Senate counterparts. Legislative Day 40, the final day of our session and otherwise referred to as “Sine Die,” will take place on Thursday, March 29.
The House Rules Committee
The House Rules Committee held its first official meeting on Thursday, January 25. This committee is vital to our session, as they determine which bills are worthy of debate and eventual vote on our House floor once they have been passed out of their respective subcommittees. Once these bills are passed by the Rules Committee, they are heard on the House floor the following legislative day, which means voting for our first pieces of legislation will likely begin next week.
Review of Gov. Deal’s Budget Proposals
This week, we took the next step in developing a balanced state budget based off of Gov. Deal’s recommendations by holding hearings with the House Appropriations subcommittees. Once Gov. Deal’s proposals are reviewed in our Appropriations subcommittees, the House floor will draft a bill for the Amended Fiscal Year 2018 (AFY 2018) budget and another bill for the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) budget.
- The AFY 2018 Budget – This budget, which covers our current fiscal year until June 30, is nicknamed the “small budget.” It uses a more precise estimate of state revenue to account for any differences between anticipated and actual state revenue.
- The FY 2019 Budget – Nicknamed the “big budget,” this budget covers our entire state budget for the fiscal year of 2019 starting July 1. It is based on projected state revenue for the upcoming fiscal year, and each portion will be passed by its respective Appropriations subcommittees, and reviewed and passed by the full House Appropriations Committee.
- Rules Committee – Once the complete budgets are passed by the House Appropriations Committees, they will then be passed on to the Rules Committee that places them on the House calendar. From here, they will be discussed on the House floor before being voted upon.
- Senate – After being passed by the House, these budgets will be passed along to the Senate and undergo the same process. Because of their likely differences from their original editions, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor will appoint a conference committee to resolve these differences.
- Final Vote – Final voting takes place after the conference committee comes to an agreement, and both chambers must agree on the contents of the bill before approval. After being approved, these budgets finally reach Gov. Deal’s desk, where he has the choice to sign or veto the legislation. If signed, these budgets become state law.
Congressman Doug Collins
On Thursday, January 25, my colleagues and I enjoyed a visit from distinguished Georgian and former state representative Congressman Doug Collins. Along with his praise of our dedicated work and legislative example, he also brought updates from our state’s congressional delegation in Washington D.C. We were honored by his presence and we admire his commitment to improving our state.
National Guard Day
Thursday was also National Guard Day at the Capitol, and we took some time to honor the men and women of the Georgia National Guard by presenting them with House Resolution 902. The Georgia Department of Defense employs over 10,891 Army National Guard Soldiers, 2,746 Air National Guard Airmen, 583 State Defense Force members and over 600 state employees. Since 9/11, over 18,000 Georgia National Guard members have been deployed overseas, and more than 200 are currently being deployed. These selfless men and women provide military-ready forces to the president and disaster response forces to the governor, and we are thankful for their contribution to the state of Georgia.
As we continue with the 2018 legislative session, I encourage you to visit me at my Capitol office, and please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns regarding any current or upcoming legislation. I serve as a member of the Code Revision, Judiciary, Juvenile Justice, and Regulated Industries committees, and I encourage you to contact me to discuss any measures that will be discussed by these committees or any other legislation that may interest you. My Capitol office is located at 220 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334, my office phone number is 404-656-5912, and I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.