Wrapping up the 2019 Georgia Georgia General Assembly

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

 I am proud of what we accomplished during the 40-day legislative session and know our efforts will ensure a better, brighter future for Georgia families and businesses. From passing a conservative balanced budget that includes teacher pay raises to advancing legislation that will enhance access to quality affordable healthcare, working hard with Governor Kemp we put hardworking Georgians first.
Below is a quick recap of the budget and key legislative initiatives that passed both the House and Senate. As always, I stand ready to answer any questions you may have.
2020 Budget Highlights
For much of the legislative session, state lawmakers worked to craft and pass a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2020. This budget fully funds public school education, provides a well-deserved raise for Georgia teachers, and increases pay 2% for state employees.
The 2020 budget reflects our values as a state and priorities for the future.
Amended 2019 Budget Highlights
The Amended Budget for 2019 includes $30,000 for each school in Georgia to enhance safety in the classroom, doubles mental health services in Georgia High Schools, funds a Street Gangs Taskforce in the GBI, and provides $20 million in recovery funds to South Georgia farmers impacted by Hurricane Michael.
SB106: Putting Patients First
Under Governor Kemp’s leadership, we are crafting a Georgia-centric healthcare system that meets the needs and desires of our citizens. Through SB106, we will expand access to quality, affordable healthcare in every part of the state.
HB316: Safe Secure Elections
Through HB316, the legislature empowered Georgia’s Secretary of State to replace our aging voting machines with Ballot Marking Devices that produce a verifiable paper trail. This legislation also modernized the state’s elections code to ensure integrity and confidence at the ballot box.
HB234: Combating Human Trafficking
Led by First Lady Marty Kemp, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation to combat human trafficking – a growing problem in the Peach State. In addition to addressing the supply and demand of this evil industry, HB234 also provides resources to victims – and their families. This legislative initiative is one more step towards ending modern slavery in our state and country.
SB17: Expanding Rural Broadband
From day of this session, lawmakers have made expanding rural broadband a priority. SB17 expands rural broadband access by allowing existing utility companies to run broadband lines and offer services to areas that lack a major provider. While we work to solve this problem completely, this step ensures an immediate expanse to broadband services.
HB324: Improving Access for the Chronically Ill
In the final days of the legislative session, we crafted compromise legislation to expand access to CBD oil for Georgia patients with chronic, debilitating diseases. Through a narrow in-state cultivation program, we can ensure that the most vulnerable among us can meet their medical needs efficiently and within the law.
HB481: The LIFE Act
I am incredibly proud of The LIFE Act and our commitment to protecting the unborn in Georgia. Through this important piece of legislation, we will save thousands of innocent babies each year from abortion. Georgia is a state that values life and HB481 reflects our belief that all citizens should have the opportunity to live, grow, and prosper in the Peach State.
As always, it is an honor to represent you and your loved ones in the Georgia General Assembly.  Please feel free to call (404-656-5024) or email (bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov) with any questions or concerns.
Rep. Bruce Williamson
District 115
Georgia General Assembly

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