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Highlights From Under the Gold Dome: Week Three

Highlights From Under the  Gold Dome: Week Three Highlights From Under the  Gold Dome: Week Three

• Creating safer communities through enhanced school safety legislation by establishing serious penalties for the recruitment of minors for gang activity, and creating aggressive bail bond reform for violent offenses.

• Supporting the health and well-being of families and at-risk youth through the expansion of telehealth services for rural and underserved communities, increasing support for foster families and children, and extending benefits for income-eligible expectant mothers.

While the physical legislation for the Senate Majority Caucus’ legislative priorities has yet to be dropped in the Senate Hopper, we have been working on the ideas behind them for some time. I look forward to working with the bill sponsors to continue to perfect of each of these bills and help them advance through the legislative process.

I also want to draw your attention to the Senate Page Program here at the State Capitol. For the past three years, the page program has not been in place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Senate Page Program offers an opportunity for students to visit the State Capitol to observe and participate in the legislative process. Senate pages serve the Senators by delivering important information and message to them in the Senate Chamber during the legislative session day. With only 20 spots available, I encourage all young students in the area to apply for the page program as this is a great opportunity to get a front row seat to the legislative process. Below you will find information on how to apply: 1. Find your legislator on by visiting Openstates.

2. Once you know your Senator’s name, visit our Senate Members page to get their contact information.

3. Complete the Page Interest Form and send to your Senator’s Legislative Assistant via e-mail or fax. This form can be saved and attached to an e-mail. It can also be printed, scanned and then e-mailed as an attachment.

4. Read more in the Page Welcome Packet.

Additionally, if you have further questions about the Senate Page Program, you can reach out to the programs Director, Kim Campbell or Assistant Director, Illana Burkhart, using the information below: Kim Campbell, Director Illana Burkhart, Assistant Director Office: 404.657.7004 Next week, the Senate will reconvene Monday through Thursday for Legislative Days 9-12. I anticipate the pace will only continue to pick up as many committee meetings will begin hearing legislation. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns about these bills matter relating to the Georgia Senate, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.

Sen. Blake Tillery serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He represents Senate District 19, which includes Appling, Bacon, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Wayne and Wheeler Counties and a portion of Coffee County. He can be reached at 404.656.5038 or by email at

Legislative Session.

On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of hearing from Governor Brian Kemp as he delivered his State of the State Address, previewing his legislative and budgetary priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session. Each year provides its unique set of challenges but recently, the budget process has been difficult due to the state-wide economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Despite those trying times, Georgia continues to prevail as our economy remains strong. However, despite those trying times, under Governor Kemp’s leadership, Georgia continues to remain a force to be reckoned with economically. Below I have outlined a few highlights from the Governor’s address: The Governor’s proposed budget includes appropriating an additional $1.9 billion to education to fully fund the QBE formula. When Governor Kemp first ran for office, he promised to raise teacher pay by $5,000. Because that pledge has been fully delivered, the Governor proposes an additional $2,000 to be appropriated for yet another teacher pay raise. It is imperative that we continue to recognize our teachers for their hard work as they are the most impactful elements of Georgia’s workforce.

In regards to healthcare, there are 67 counties with less than 10 physicians in the state of Georgia. The need for more healthcare professionals is unprecedented. I am pleased to report that Governor Kemp’s budget proposal includes over $4.5 million to fund loan repayment programs to grow the number of healthcare workers in our state. Governor Kemp is also calling for 102 residency slots through an investment of $1.7 million, which will exceed the initial goal number of this program. This is an area of discussion I do not take lightly and I am fully supportive of these proposals so that we can get to work providing the highest level of healthcare services to Georgians.

Perhaps the most significant event of the week occurred on Thursday, Lt. Governor Burt Jones along with the Senate Majority Caucus, outlined our legislative priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session. Majority Leader Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) introduced a number priorities for this legislative session. The priorities are as follows: • Bolstering opportunity and innova tion in Georgia’s economy through conducting a prudent income tax reform and tax credit review by supporting the implementation of new taxpayer and homeowner relief initiatives, and laying the groundwork for the continued electrification of transportation.

• Cultivating an educated workforce by establishing a Senate-led effort to improve literacy rates in line with graduation rates, implementing learning loss grants, and reviewing After taking all of last week to consider budget proposals, the Senate returned to its usual work with assigning legislation to committees and a number of those committees meeting for the first time to adopt their committee rules for the 2023 degree requirements for state employment.

By Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia)

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