Friends and Neighbors-
Please note I changed the provider that distributes my legislative updates to allow you to send comments back by clicking on Reply to Sender. If you replied to a legislative update in the past five months, I may not have received it from the previous provider. My other email addresses have not changed and remain email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I welcome your input on legislative issues.
If you want to read the legislation I introduced last month that would amend the Georgia constitution to allow a historically merged county to be re-created (like Milton County), go to www.legis.state.ga.us and click on Legislation. Enter HR 12. At the website, you may also read other legislation under consideration this session by the Georgia General Assembly.An AJC article several weeks ago implied the Georgia House "applied brakes" to the above legislation with new committee rules. Many have asked what changed, including a north Fulton legislator. The answer is: absolutely nothing.
As always planned, I introduced the legislation last month. Again, as always planned (and previously reported in the AJC) and consistent with new House committee rules, no legislative action on a new government will take place for one full year to allow for thoughtful study and planning. If passed by a 2/3 vote in the House and Senate next winter, the legislation will require a statewide ballot vote in a general election to amend the Georgia Constitution. The next general election is November 2008.The upcoming months are important in this quest for real change - and much must be accomplished. Representative Mark Burkhalter and I intend to commission a study with the University of Georgia. Currently, we expect the study to evaluate primarily a proposed Milton County, but also a possible consolidation of Fulton County and Atlanta, the potential re-creation of Campbell County (south Fulton) and other related issues. In 2008, we intend to move forward with the constitutional amendment, HR 12. If successful, we would introduce Milton County charter legislation in January 2009. Viva La Freedom!
NEXT UPDATE - State Budget
What's up next? Making sense of the Governor's proposed state budget.
How much of next year's revenue increase must be allocated to pay for increased enrollment in public schools (2.65 percent more students statewide) and public colleges/technical schools? What amount would go towards paying for proposed 3 percent pay increases for teachers and other state employees? What portion would pay for the expected increase in Medicaid consumption (not an increase in Medicaid benefits, which is not proposed)? How fast is Medicaid consumption rising and can Georgia continue to pay out so much for so many? What new federal accounting rules will lead Georgia to earmark $100 million for future retiree health insurance premiums? The information may surprise you.
As Chair of Appropriations-Education, most of my time will be devoted the next several weeks to working on the Pre-K and K-12 public education portion of the state budget. I will chair two special meetings this week to provide background to fellow House members on how, and how much, the state funds Pre-K and K-12 students. Next week, we'll delve into the Department of Education's central office budget, capital construction monies for new school construction and other issues. I'll try to synthesize some of this information into legislative updates for you as well. Separately, last week I was named Chair to the House Income Tax Subcommittee. I look forward to a spirited debate and exchange of ideas on state tax issues - and participating in future tax reform.
All the best-
State Representative - District 46(Serving northwest Fulton, including Milton, Roswell, Alpharetta and Mountain Park)