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.
Georgia General Assembly