Georgia Political News Update

February 25, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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This week the Georgia Legislature opened after a week-long of holding hearings to find potential budget savings. House Speaker David Ralston and Governor Brian Kemp have competing priorities, while the House budget writers said “no” to Kemp’s Proposal to cut $200 million worth of spending in the midyear budget. House Speaker Ralston’s top priorities is state income tax cuts.

Also, buckle up Georgians! Lawmakers are cracking down on distracted drivers, this time they are introducing a new bill requiring all passengers to wear a seat belt.

Georgia Teacher Retirement System (HB 109) | Education
Chairman Tommy Benton (R-31) reduced his changes to retirement age, one-year cap of unused sick leave toward retirement credit, and a higher rate of employee contribution for employees starting on or after July 1st, 2019.

Georgia Educational Scholarship Act (SB 173) | Education
Sponsored by Senator Greg Dolezal (R-27) the voucher bill was rejected by Senate in a 28 to 25 vote. Instead, the Georgia Educational Scholarship language enhanced the amendment that passed through Senate bill 68.

Hands Free Georgia Act (HB 113) | Transportation
Sponsored by John Carson (R-46) the house will raise the maximum fine for a first offense from $50 to $100. The top fine for a second offense would double to $200, and a third offense to $300.

Use of Safety belts in Passenger Vehicle; all occupantsof a passenger vehicle shall be restrained by a seatsafety belt (SB 226) | Transportation
Sponsored by Randy Robertson (R-29) the Senate will raise the fine for not wearing a seat belt from $15 to $75. The fine for adult drivers who allow children age 8 to 17 to go unbuckled would rise from $25 to $125. The bill also would require all passengers to wear a seat belt.

Determination of qualifying periods for special elections(HB 757) | Elections
Sponsored by Barry Fleming (R-121) the Housewill create a special primary in a Senate race.

Solid waste management; conditions for the issuance ofa permit for solid waste or special waste handling for acoal combustion unit or landfill. (SB 297) | Environment
Sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Jordan (D-6), and House Bill 756, sponsored by Rep. Robert Trammell (D-132) seek to require coal ash to be disposed in solid waste facilities that, at a minimum, contain liners and leachate collection systems that meet or exceed the design standards for new municipal solid waste.