Week One & Budget Week
The time is here! The 2022 Legislative Session has finally begun. COVID protocols are still in place as we reconvene for session. We are still wearing masks, social distancing, and testing weekly. I am thankful for this.
The session is off to a slow start, as we handled ceremonial items, celebrated the Dawgs National Championship (!), and held initial budget hearings. Now the real work begins.
This session I’ll continue my service on the Appropriations, Judiciary, and Retirement Committees. I’m also excited to serve as a deputy whip for the House Democratic Caucus this session.
Join me for a Virtual Town Hall
My first town hall for this session is February 10, 2022 from 7:00-8:30pm. State Senator Sonya Halpern and I will bring you the latest news from the Gold Dome and answer your questions. Please register here for this virtual event.
The Georgia General Assembly’s only constitutional mandate is to pass a balanced budget. This session, the House will first consider legislation for the Amended Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which will adjust the state’s current budget based on changes in revenue. Next, we will consider the Fiscal Year 2023 budget which will go into effect on July 1, 2022. House appropriations subcommittees will now assess specific portions of the budget and dive deeper into the state agencies’ budget needs. Stay tuned for details as we move from proposal to passage.
The coming year’s budget proposal includes a few items I’m particularly excited about:
• Increased funding from Lottery dollars to fund HOPE scholarships and grants at 90% of tuition. I continue to believe we can more than afford to fully fund the HOPE grant at 100% so that more students can afford to participate in our fast growing technical college programs.
• $5,000 raises for educators.
• $5,000 raises for state employees. This is a step in the right direction, but too many of our state employees are woefully underpaid. Many state agencies are plagued by massive turnover rates because of the wage disparities. I’m committed to fighting for a global and long-term look at how we pay for the cost to run state government. You get what you pay for, after all.
• Cost of living adjustments for our state retirees. This is the first time the State has funded a cost of living adjustment for state retirees since 2009. Along with many of my colleagues, I’ve been advocating for this increase for years.
• Restoring $271 million dollars in prior cuts to higher education
• Fully funding the Quality Basic Education formula. This is welcomed news, but the fact remains that our education funding formula is terribly outdated. We must use a formula that reflects the realities of today— not the 1980s when we last wrote the formula.
The House will reconvene for session on Monday, January 24. In the coming weeks, our focus will turn towards the state budget process. House committees will also begin to meet more frequently to consider legislation. As your voice at the Capitol, I always appreciate hearing directly from constituents.
Read more about the Budget:
GBPI Budget Primer
GBPI 2023 Fiscal Year Overview
DAWGS ON TOP
On January 10th, the University of Georgia brought home the National Championship title! I’m a proud Double Dawg and I could not be more thrilled with what my alma mater accomplished this year. Ashley and I were excited to be on hand to celebrate in Indianapolis! Go Dawgs!
Nominate an Energy Champion
Strategy Blue in partnership with Commissioner Tim G. Echols is hosting the 2022 Inaugural Energy Matters Awards! I would like to recognize the accomplishments of energy and sustainability in Georgia. I will be nominating constituents to Commissioner Tim Echols, who will reach out to finish the application. The award categories are
- Best sustainability project by a city
- Best sustainability project by small company (under 50 employees)
- Best sustainability project by large company
- Best sustainability project by faith community
- Best sustainability project by transportation related company
- Best sustainability project by manufacturing company
- Best sustainability project by hospitality industry
- Best sustainability project by educational institution
- EV implementation award for large company
- EV implementation award for small company
- EV implementation award for institutions
- EV autonomous award
- Best municipal energy efficiency award
- Best institutional energy efficiency award
- CNG implementation award
- Best fleet transition award
- Best recycling/reuse award
If you or someone you know qualifies please reach out to me at [email protected] and I will pass forward your nomination. Nominations will be submitted through March 31st.
You can now request free at-home COVID-19 tests here. You can order four at-home tests per household that will be delivered by the USPS.
Vaccines are still readily available and are an important key to ending the pandemic. There are several places in Fulton County to get vaccinated. For more information, or to schedule your vaccine please check here.