Legislative Update 2-7-16

Legislative Update 2-7-16

Friends,

Last week, the House passed the Amended Fiscal Year 2016 budget.  This week, we began working on the budget for next year (Fiscal Year 2017).  Unlike the federal government, we don’t print money; and we are required to balance the state’s budget every year.  That’s why the Appropriations Subcommittees are hard at work to ensure that their budget recommendations not only reflect our legislative priorities, but are also grounded in reality.  I look forward to reporting back as the budget process continues.

This week, the House and Senate paused to honor and applaud our firefighters.  “Firefighter Day” at the Capitol included bagpipes and a tribute to our brave men and women in uniform.  I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Gwinnett County Fire Department for their service.  I hope you will join me in praying for their continued safety!

We honored several people and organizations in the State Capitol.  I was excited to commend Mr. Clark Howard through HR 1214 for sponsoring the Clark’s Christmas Kids Program for Georgia’s foster children over the past twenty-five years.  I also formally congratulated the Duluth Men’s Soccer team through HR 1197 for winning the State Championship last year.  The community is proud of this team’s achievements both on and off the field!

We also expressed our appreciation for the thousands of school counselors in Georgia by issuing a proclamation declaring “School Counseling Week” in Georgia.  These hardworking professionals guide our students towards a brighter future, and we are incredibly thankful for their dedication and passion.

The House unanimously passed House Bill 801 this week to change the GPA weighting system for HOPE Scholarship recipients who take certain science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses.  We also passed House Bill 402, which is an effort to increase business partnerships and participation with local public school systems for K-12 work based learning programs.  To learn more about HB 801 or HB 402, click HERE.

As always, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in the General Assembly.   If I can ever be of service to you or your family, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.  My office phone number is 404.656.0254 and my e-mail address is Joyce.Chandler@house.ga.gov.

Sincerely,

Joyce Chandler
District 105
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update 1-30-16

Legislative Update 1-30-16

Friends,

Following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday last week, Governor Nathan Deal presented his recommendations for the Amended Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2017 budgets to the House and Senate appropriations committees and subcommittees.

After careful vetting, the Amended Fiscal Year 2016 budget, which includes $1.1 billion in additional funding for prioritized education initiatives and key transportation projects, was passed unanimously in the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Amended Fiscal Year 2016 Budget includes:

  • $519 million for capital construction projects
  • $200 million for scheduled maintenance
  • $336 million in Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants (LMIG)
  • $109.9 million for midterm enrollment growth
  • $14.9 million to enhance wireless broadband connectivity
  • $30 million for the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarships, $525,808 in new funds for the North Georgia Military Scholarship Grant
  • $20.2 million for the Move on When Ready program

Also, last week Governor Deal announced a huge economic development win for Gwinnett County! Thanks to strong leadership on the state and local level, healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente is building a new, $51 million customer service center in Duluth.  This facility will create more than 800 new jobs over the next four years.  This is great news for our community, and I look forward to breaking ground on this exciting project.

As your representative, I am working hard to introduce and carry bills that will strengthen our district and move Georgia forward.  Here is a list of legislation that I filed this session:

HB 744 closes a loophole in our Georgia law regarding the prohibition of sexual contact between school personnel and students by adding, “all adult employees of a school,” rather than just those who have supervisory or disciplinary authority.  This will be an added protection for our children and young people.

HB 798 will reduce the requirement for a homeschool student to receive the Hope Scholarship from the 80th to the 75th percentile and allow those with an SAT or ACT at the 93rd or higher percentile to receive the Zell Miller Scholarship upon entering college.  This in no way makes the requirement for eligible and ineligible students equal, just more equitable using standardized test scores.

HB 395 clarifies present law by stating that psychological testing (instruments that measure mental abilities, personality characteristics, or neuropsychological functioning in order to diagnose, evaluate, classify, or treat mental and nervous disorders and illnesses including organic brain disorders and brain damage) is part of the practice of psychology.  This bill does NOT exclude counselors from administering educational and vocational tests, interest inventories, tests that evaluate marital and family functioning, and mental health symptom screening instruments.

HB 555 will ensure that all women seeking an abortion, whether surgical or chemical, are provided informed consent prior to an abortion being performed.  It will also ensure that abortion providers report the manner of the disposal of fetal remains and that the Department of Public Health has accurate reporting on the number of minor girls allowed to have an abortion without parental notice.

HB 161 allows a tax credit for contributions used for children requiring more than the base level of watchful oversight from registered childcare institutions and agencies.

To follow these bills through the legislative process, click HERE.

As always, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in the General Assembly.   If I can ever be of service to you or your family, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.  My office phone number is 404.656.0254 and my e-mail address is Joyce.Chandler@house.ga.gov.

Sincerely,

Joyce Chandler
District 105
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update 1-22-16

Legislative Update 1-22-16

Friends,

The Georgia General Assembly is back in session, and I am excited to do my part to move our community and state forward.

In the weeks to come, we will meet to discuss a variety of important issues.  From improving educational opportunities for students, encouraging job growth and business investment, creating meaningful reforms in our criminal justice system and making important transportation decisions, we have a full plate this year. I look forward to working tirelessly in the days and weeks ahead for the betterment of District 105.

Let’s stay in touch during the legislative session! Please LIKE my Facebook page and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.  Feedback and insight are always welcomed so please feel free to reach out and let me know your thoughts on legislation under consideration.  My office phone number is 404.656.0254 and my e-mail address is Joyce.Chandler@house.ga.gov.

It is an honor to represent our community in the State House.  I look forward to reporting back with positive updates as we handle the business of our great state!

Sincerely,

Joyce Chandler
District 105
Georgia General Assembly