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With Crossover day over, legislators can now focus on the bills that passed through their respective chamber. Last year, just 353 became law, and this year will likely be even less as legislators are eager to wrap up the session in order to start campaigning for the May primary. One of the most important bills considered in the Senate this week was the FY 2015 general appropriations bill that sets the state budget for July 1, 2014 to June 31, 2015. The $20.8 billion budget allocates state dollars to important initiatives for education and technology, including: $539 increase for K-12 education, $314 million to increase instructional days & reduce teacher furloughs or increase teacher pay, $14 million in capital funding to expand technology infrastructure, and $3.6 million in technical education for books to dually enrolled students, the development of digital curricula in the area of 21st century manufacturing and other critical needs industry areas used by dual enrollment programs. Other news from the week:
Other Georgia News:
2014 seems to be the year of the legacy for Georgia candidates. Sen. Jason Carter: grandson of gormer Governor and President Jimmy Carter, Michelle Nunn: daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, Chris Irvin: grandson of Tommy Irvine, and David Perdue: cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue, will all be on the state ballot this year in Georgia. All have positioned themselves independently of their famous kinfolk, while their supporters say the family name is mostly a financial asset.
Military Members Lend Support to Common Core; on Tuesday a group of retired military members gathered at the State Capitol to show support for the Common Core education standards. Major General Ronald Johnson argued that children of service men and women attend many schools during their elementary years creating hardships for them, and the common core program would keep a level playing field for all students.
Cell towers bill clears General Assembly. The Georgia Senate gave final passage Tuesday to compromise legislation making it easier for wireless companies to get permits to build cellphone towers. The bill limits fees local governments can charge wireless companies to review applications for new towers or modifications of existing towers. It also gives cities and counties no more than 150 days after receiving an application to either issue or deny a permit.
Georgia’s unemployment rate declines to 7.3 percent in January, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 7.4 percent in December. The rate was 8.6 percent in January a year ago. This is the seventh consecutive month that the unemployment rate has declined.
Senate approves budget with more money for schools. The Georgia Senate backed a $20.8 billion election-year state budget Thursday that adds more than $300 million in new education spending for teacher raises and additional school days. The House passed its version of the budget last month, so the chambers will have two weeks to negotiate a final spending plan before the session is scheduled to end March 20.