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Tillery: Week 10 Highlights

This week marked the most eventful week to date under the Gold Dome. With Tuesday being reserved for Crossover Day, the Senate convened from dusk until dawn hearing and passing 45 bills and resolutions. As I have previously mentioned, Crossover Day is the final day for bills and resolutions to be passed onto the House for consideration and vice versa. As you can imagine, the Capitol was bustling with lawmakers, lobbyists and many others. I am pleased to see this continuation of activity under the Gold Dome as with each passing day, things are returning closer to normal. I expect day 40 of the legislative session, Sine Die, to be even busier and more hectic as the work load of bills and resolutions will be nearly doubled. Here is a brief recap of this week’s legislative activity: House Bill 910, the Amended Budget for the 2022 Fiscal Year was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on Wednesday. The amended budget will fund Georgia’s top priorities for education, public safety and healthcare while streamlining government services and continuing to provide new and efficient ways to better serve the hardworking citizens of Georgia. Over the last two years, our state was faced with an uphill battle as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, Georgia’s greatest strength is our people and without the people of Georgia, we would not continue to uphold the standard of the best place to live, work and raise a family, despite the challenges we may face along the way. As I have mentioned before, Georgia is the finest place in the country to do business and with our record breaking revenue, the FY 2022 amended budget prioritizes fiscal responsibility through a $250 refundable tax credit while simultaneously furthering investments in vital areas previously mentioned above.

While the Amended FY 2022 budget may have been signed into law this week, budget appropriations did not stop there as the Senate took action through Appropriations subcommittee meetings on the general budget for the 2023 fiscal year. On Monday, numerous committee meetings were held to discuss the proposed budget from Governor Kemp as amended by the House. These meetings gave the Senate the opportunity to hear from Georgia’s state agencies on what is needed to continue positive growth and development in our state as well as how the taxpayer’s dollar can be most efficiently spent. I am eager to keep you updated on the development of the budget for the upcoming year as it makes its way through the Senate.

While on the calendar for Crossover Day, no gambling bill or school voucher bill passed. Certain unlikely matters did come up though, like asking the people of Georgia if State Senators should run every four years instead of as we do currently, every two.

I am also excited to report that House Bill 304 passed unanimously in the Senate on Thursday. HB 304 will temporarily suspend the collection of the state excise gasoline tax of $0.29 per gallon for consumers until May 31, 2022. As I have previously mentioned, over the past year, the average price per gallon of gas has risen from $2.59 to $4.06 (nearly a 56% increase) and researchers estimate that the average American household could spend upwards of an additional $2,000 per year on gas as a result of skyrocketing oil prices. Families are feeling the pain of this pressure, and I’m glad the state was in a fiscal position to help.

From here on out, the Senate is expected to hear an influx of House Bills. With only 9 legislative days left, we are inching closer to closing the book on the 2022 legislative session. With that being said, please continue to reach out with any comments or concerns that matter most to you. It is a pleasure to serve you.

Sen. Blake Tillery serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Liberty and Tattnall counties. The 19th District is expected to add Bacon and parts of Coffee County in 2023. He can be reached by email at [email protected]

By Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia)

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