Rep. Williamson’s update from under the Gold Dome

Guest column by Georgia Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe)

The Passage of House Bill 792:  

The Amended Budget for Fiscal Year 2020

After much review and many hours of work done by the House Appropriations Committee, the House voted to approve the amended budget for fiscal year 2020. The committee found savings in different areas of the amended budget and moved funds to programs and departments that are important priorities for the House like our criminal justice system, agriculture, and healthcare—just to name a few.

The amended budget restores over $800,000 of proposed cuts to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to hire more scientists and lab technicians to address the growing backlog of evidence at the crime lab.

Before the work of the House, the Governor’s proposed amended budget for fiscal year 2020 included a $1.34 million cut to our state’s Accountability Courts. That cut has now been completely restored to continue a vital program that changes the lives of individuals who otherwise may go to prison. Accountability Courts have a 3 in 4 success rate in participants that graduate the program.

Almost $300,000 has been moved to the Department of Agriculture for additional food safety and animal industry inspectors to address an increasing number of retail stores that sell food that require inspections. The amended budget also reduces cuts made to the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service by more than $2.8 million.

Access to affordable, quality healthcare continues to be a priority for the Georgia House, and within the amended budget for fiscal year 2020 $2.6 million has been placed back into public health grants which help fund county health departments across our state. Health departments are essential to Georgia communities and often serve as a first line of access to medical services.

You can find more information on the amended budget for fiscal year 2020 in the AFY 2020 Budget Highlight Sheet provided by the House Budget and Research Office

Did you know that our Georgia state parks attract almost 11 million visitors annually and have a $1.1 billion economic impact on our state? That’s why the Georgia House restored nearly $1.8 million to programs that will cover equipment purchases, facility maintenance, and operating expenses to keep our parks enjoyable for years to come!

Georgia firefighters risk their lives every day for the citizens of our state, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice. In order to help their families with the unforeseeable, the House passed HB 195 which increases the death benefit for members of the Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund from $5,000 to $10,000. We want to thank our firefighters and their families for the sacrifices they make, you are appreciated!

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