Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2011 Session Highlights

Key bills passed this year:

I voted in support of each of these bills that passed and have been sent to the Governor for his signature.

HB 78 the State Budget adopted and signed by the Governor at approximately $18.1 billion is less than the previous year and at about 2001 spending levels.

HB 200, Anti-Human Trafficking is a cooperative effort of the legislature, Attorney General, and Georgia Commission on Family Violence to address a terrible scourge in our state and especially metro area.

HB 326, HOPE Scholarship preserves at 90% the tuition program for students maintaining a 3.0 GPA and establishes the new Zell Miller Scholarship at 100% tuition for exceptional students earning a 3.7 GPA.

HB 87, Illegal Immigration Reform requires employers to use the E-Verfiy system for new hires, provides law enforcement tools and assurances needed to combat illegal immigration, and preserves human dignity.

SB 36, Pill Mills - provides a Georgia drug registry to attack the exploding problem of prescription drug abuse.

SB 184, Last Hired - First Fired for Educators - prohibits local school systems from considering seniority as the only factor in determining terminations when a system is facing a reduction in work force.

SB 10, Sunday Sales permits local jurisdictions to hold a referendum on whether or not package sales of alcohol are allowed within their community.

HB 47, Insurance Across State Lines permits Georgia residents to purchase certain accident and health policies offered in other states.

HB 461, Health Insurance Compact allows Georgia to enter into agreements with other states to address the rising cost of healthcare.

What's Next?
Key bills pending for the 2012 Session:

I support each of these bills and will work for passage next year.

HB 33, Zero-Based Budgeting would provide that each state department or agency justify every expenditure once every six years. The House version also saves taxpayers approximately $1 million a year by combining the House and Senate Budget Offices.

HB 291, Property Tax Billing would provide that property taxes and only property taxes appear on your property tax bill. Approximately 25% of Georgia's counties include non-tax fees on property tax bills that result in the filing of erroneous tax returns, increased mortgage payments, and liens on homes.

HB 456, Government Accountability Act would provide for establishment of the Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee to review state agencies, policies, practices, and laws for continuation, modification, or abolishment.

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