We begin a new 40-day Session of the Georgia General Assembly on Monday, January 8 2018. Hopefully, Monday night we will celebrate the Georgia Bulldogs as College Football National Champions. Showing my age, I was a sophomore at UGA in 1980, the last time the Dawgs were National Champs. #GoDawgs!
Important issues under consideration in 2018
Balanced Budget – Georgia’s Constitution requires the General Assembly adopt a balanced budget each year. I anticipate the FY 2019 budget in excess of $26 billion in state dollars and nearly $50 billion including Federal funds. While Georgia enjoys a fiscally conservative budget, AAA bond rating, and boasts approximately $2.5 billion in our Rainy Day Reserve Fund, there is always room for improvement.
Tax Reform – I served as one of five Conferees on HB 329 a substantial tax reform bill last session that remains available for consideration this year. House Ways and Means Committee members have also already begun discussing revisions to our state tax code necessitated by passage of the Federal tax cut legislation. I anticipate similar adjustments to exemptions, deductions, and brackets to maintain Georgia as a competitive tax state.
Adoption – Rep. Bert Reeves has worked over two years on the first major update to our adoption laws in over a generation – HB 159. I anticipate early passage of a “clean” adoption bill that will support Georgian’s seeking to provide loving, safe homes for adopted children.
Transportation, Rural Development, Technology, Education, and Health Care –
The legislature will certainly consider transit (bus and rail) funding and governance. Attracting jobs, investment, broadband, and healthcare access in rural Georgia is a priority. Technology advancements including autonomous vehicles, small cell capacity enhancements, AirGig, TV White Space and others will provide exciting opportunities for business and residents. Education is a perennial issue as the state invests over 50% of our budget in pre-K through post-secondary opportunities for our youth. Healthcare access, costs, and the opioid epidemic also deserve and will receive significant attention this session.
The House streams most meetings live and you will find a broadcast schedule here.
Georgia Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) represents House District 106 in the Georgia General Assembly. The district includes parts of Loganville. Harrell is up for re-election in 2018 and has announced that he plans to run again in 2018 to hold onto his seat.