The General Assembly ended last week by completing legislative day 20 of the 2017 legislative session.
The following subjects were front and center of a very busy week at the State Capitol 2018: Budget.
The House passed HB 44, which is the fiscal year 2018 state budget that will begin on July 1, 2017 and end on June 30, 2018. The measure includes a 2 percent pay raise for teachers and most state employees. There is specifically a 19 percent pay raise for child protection workers. The budget provides funding for over 2 million students and healthcare for another 2 million Georgians. Transportation improvements, prisons and economic development initiatives are included as well. The $25 billion budget is the largest budget on record. I would like to point out a few important points, however. When you take into account population growth and inflation, the state is spending a little less than when I was elected in 1998. The budget is balanced, has less than 7 percent debt obligations and reflects no new taxes for revenue growth.
HB 280, moved forward, with a favorable vote from a Public Safety subcommittee. The bill will now be heard by the full Public Safety Committee. As a reminder, this bill would allow Georgia concealed weapons permit holders to carry firearms onto most parts of public colleges and universities.