As we stepped away from the 2022 legislative session, we stepped into a heated primary election cycle which concluded, Tuesday, May 24. I encourage you to further study policies and issues which impact you, prior to our general election so that you will be prepared to make an informed decision.
The last couple of years has highlighted how policy within state leadership impacts every Georgia citizen, every single day. We have worked hard to protect YOU from the federal government overreach, plaguing our nation. I have taken the liberty of providing a quick rundown of legislation passed during our forty days under the Gold Dome as we continue to work in strengthening our state.
It is my honor to sponsor and push for sound policy to benefit our district and state as a whole. Here are a list of bills which saw success this session, all signed into law by Governor Kemp on May 2, 2022.
Provides legal counsel for judges who get sued for doing their job, but who the Attorney General conflicts out of representing them. Without this bill, judges have no where to turn and must hire their own counsel.
Changes foreclosure on timeshare property from judicial foreclosure to non-judicial foreclosure. This will reduce the operating costs for timeshare properties in Georgia.
This bill increased the salaries of Public Defenders to that of a District Attorney. Experienced Public Defenders make the criminal justice system more efficient and gives indigent defendants better representation.
Caps bail cash escrow accounts at $1 million and provides more time for bondman to return a defendant for trial.
Fiscal Year 2023 Budget
We completed our constitutional obligation by successfully passing House Bill 911, the 2023 Fiscal Year Budget, which totals approximately $30 billion. The largest budget allocations for the coming fiscal year are education, healthcare, public safety and infrastructure. The budget will go into effect on July 1st of this year, and we will be sharing a full budget update at a later date.
We have worked tirelessly to ensure hard working Georgians are able to keep their earned income. This year, we took advantage of our state’s healthy economic standing and were able to act upon this long-term goal thorough numerous bills which have been signed into law by Governor Kemp. All Georgians received a Tax refund through HB 1302; Failed energy policy on the federal level brought about the Gas tax suspension through HB 304; All Georgians will enjoy the Income tax cut which passed through HB 1437; Our Military retirement tax exemption shows our support for the men and women who serve our nation through HB 1064.
Controversial mandates on the local level, concerned parents and federal policy allowances led to the passage of many bills in protection of our Georgia students. Numerous bills were passed to support our Georgia parents in determining the best course of action for their children. After several schools refused choice, where masks were concerned, we took the initiative to Unmask Georgia Students through SB 514; Parents now have a say in what their child is being taught within the classroom through the Parents Bill of Rights, HB 1178; Our commitment to ensuring strides made by our female athletes will be enforced through our Fairness in School Sports legislation, HB 1084; Parents now have avenue to address any materials they deem Obscene through SB 226.
Education is the bedrock of our Georgia workforce and economic health. Taking care of Georgia students and our educators is a priority. We continued our efforts towards quality education through a number of bills successfully passing the General Assembly. Retired educators are welcome to return to the classroom as we actively tackle our current teaching shortage through HB 385; Our budget passed through HB 911 restores pandemic cuts, brings about a much deserved teaching pay raise and allows for a historic investment into our K-12 education systems. Students also benefit through our new Diplomas Voucher Bill outlined in SB 397, our Streamlining Workforce Readiness Programs made possible through HB 1331 and our student access loan legislation signed into law through HB 1435.
Our commitment to the safety of our citizens, law and order as well as supporting our enforcement officers was made clear through several bills working to ensure Georgians are protected. Our historic Constitutional Carry legislation, SB 319, ensures our citizens maintain their right to keep and bear arms. Gang violence will not be tolerated and we will be cracking down on gang related crime through HB 1134 , our Gang Prosecution Unit. We will continue our efforts to end the vile practice of Human Trafficking through SB 461. And our commitment to our law enforcement community is solidified through HB 911 which makes budget allocations to allow for an additional Georgia State Trooper Class, as well as the allowance of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Degrees added to the high-demand career initiatives list and a $5,000 Raise for State Law Enforcement.
This was a great year where healthcare was concerned for our state. Our Mental Health Parity Act, HB 1013 will ensure that much needed resources are put towards those in need of mental healthcare. We also tackled various aspects of our healthcare system by lowering insurance premiums, expanding healthcare choices and addressing our physician and nurse shortages through HB 911.
All measures that did not pass the 2022 session cycle or received an executive veto from Governor Kemp, will have to be reintroduced and start the legislative process all over again during the next legislative term. Governor Kemp issued his veto statements on Thursday, May 12th. All measures receiving no action (signature or veto) will automatically go into effect July 1, the beginning of our state’s fiscal year.
Tuesday, May 24th brought about our Georgia Primary Elections. We are preparing for a heated General Election cycle as overall turnout broke primary records, with more than 1.9 million Georgians having cast their ballots, compared to 1.16 million in 2018. Elections matter and every vote counts. The Georgia Secretary of State is scheduled to certify results sometime in the next week. Congratulations to all who will advance to the General as their party’s nominee and thank you to all brave enough to put their name forth for consideration.
Many races will head into an election runoff.
Please check to make sure you don’t need to get out and vote again!
GEORGIA RUNOFF DATE: JUNE 21
Thank you so much to all who have lent your support, wisdom and prayers over the session and the primary season. You have no idea how much we appreciate you!
As always, if you need anything at all, please feel free to reach out to our office anytime. Thank you for your support as we work on your behalf to continue our efforts to ensure that Georgia is the best state to work, live and raise a family. May God bless you and yours. May He continue to bless the great state of Georgia.
Representative of Georgia’s 8th District