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GNA Releases First 2019 Legislative Session Update

Wednesday, January 30, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Charlotte Baez-Diaz
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Last week brought the beginning of the 157th Georgia Legislative Session (and Biennial) to order.  It began with the swearing in of a new crop of constitutional officers and legislators, including 33 new House and 5 new Senate members.  After a hectic and contentious campaign season, the breakdown of the House of Representatives is now 105 republican members and 75 democratic members.  The State Senate breakdown is 35 republicans to 21 democrats.  These new officers and members met Monday, January 14th through Thursday, January 17th for legislative days one through four.

 

 

GNA hosted over 140 members, nurses and nursing students at its annual Legislative Kick-off at the State Capitol on January 15, 2019. Participants engaged House members and State Senators and facilitated the delivery of GNA branded gift bags along with the 2019 GNA Legislative Platform. A HUGE thank you to all of members that helped make the day a success! 

 

Aside from Governor Brian Kemp’s first State of the State, the major happening of the first week of the legislative session was the appointment of new chairs and individual legislators receiving their committee assignments, Ben Watson (R-Savannah) was appointed Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The Senate committees can be found HERE.  The House committees can be seen HERE

 

The newly inaugurated 83rd Governor of Georgia, Brian P. Kemp, delivered his first State of the State address on Thursday, January 17th.  The governor outlined his agenda for 2019 by touching on several key areas he hopes to improve for all Georgians.  His comments included reform of the State’s education and healthcare systems and an increased focus on Georgians safety.  During his speech, Gov. Kemp stated that his FY’20 budget will include a $3,000 permanent salary increase for certified Georgia teachers as a first step in fulfilling his campaign promise of a $5,000 increase.  Additionally, he made mention of pursuing Medicaid waivers to help improve the accessibility and quality of healthcare, while also increasing the Rural Hospital Tax Credit to aid rural hospitals that continue to be in danger of closing. 

 

Lastly, he stated that he intends to address safety issues facing all Georgians by cracking down on street gangs and adding $69 million dollars in one-time funding to the amended FY’19 budget for school safety measures (a total of $30,000 for each school in Georgia).  He finished his address by stating he plans to govern for all Georgians and hopes to heal some of the wounds that were caused during a divisive campaign.

 

The legislature took last week off from official legislative days to focus on Gov. Brian Kemp’s first budget.  Beginning after Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, Joint House and Senate Appropriations hearings were held in Room 341 of the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  The hearings provided the opportunity for Commissioners and Executive Directors from all the state departments and agencies to present their proposed budgets for the amended FY’19 and FY’20 budget cycles.  The Governor’s $27.5 billion Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal contains slightly more than $1.3 billion in new state spending compared to the budget passed during the 2018 legislative session.  About 95 percent of the new funds pay for Gov. Kemp’s proposed pay raise for teachers and state employees, growing enrollment in public schools and universities, increased funding for Medicaid, and the Teacher Retirement System.

 

The General Assembly meets again this week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday January 28th through 30th for legislative days five through seven before taking the end of the week off for Super Bowl LIII.  Most of the committees will hold organizational meetings this week, which will include the introduction of their new members and an adoption of committee rules.  Additionally, many of the House Appropriations subcommittees will have hearings on the amended FY’19 budget.

 

The following bills have been introduced during the 2019 Legislative Session and are available for consideration:

 

GNA Specifically Tracking

·Stay tuned for updates on GNA Platform initiatives

 

Other Bills of Interest:

·H.B. 10 (Bazemore - Riverdale) -- To encourage physicians and nurses providing a tampon to a female patient regarding the best practices for and risks associated with the use;

·H.B. 42 (Turner - Holly Springs) -- Prohibits professional licensure boards from refusing to issue a license or suspend or revoke the license of a person who is a borrower in default under an educational loan.

 

 


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