Counting Down to the Grand Finale
By: Sen. Bill Heath (R – Bremen)
The Senate had a very busy and productive week ten of the legislative session. We passed a total of 17 house bills and Senate Committees were busy vetting and debating additional house bills that may come up for a vote in the final five days of session.
This week, we made progress to fulfilling our only constitutional obligation of the legislative session, passing a balanced budget. On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously adopted House Bill 44, the Fiscal Year 2018 General Budget. The Senate’s version, for the most part, is the same as the proposal made by the House.
The Senate Appropriations Chairman does a great job of meeting with each of us to seek input on where funding is needed the most. Although not everything each of us asks for is included, I do appreciate the process and the fact that he asks for our opinion. The committee and its subcommittees work tirelessly to ensure that the Senate version reflects fiscally conservative allocations that will benefit all Georgians.
On Thursday, the Senate insisted on our position as did the House. HB 44 will now go to a conference committee so that three members of each chamber can work together to come up with a compromise budget. This version will then have to be voted on by both the Senate and the House before it can go to the Governor for his signature. While I never totally agree with the contents the budget, by definition it is balanced and is definitely a work of compromise.
Along with focusing on the budget, the Senate did pass several other important house bills. One of these is House Bill 1 which would outline procedures so that space flight actives can occur in the state. Under HB 1, any liability space flight entities would face for injuries sustained by participants is addressed as well. I supported HB 1 because it is a great opportunity for economic growth and job creation in Georgia. Space flight actives involve high paying jobs and I welcome any measures that would bring these opportunities to our state.
With only two weeks left, we are in the final stretch and the pace will pick up even more. The Senate will hold their final committee meetings early next week.
If you have any questions about the budget or any of the legislation that we have passed so far, please do not hesitate to reach out. I appreciate any input and insight my constituents and citizens of Georgia have on any of these issues.
For the full version of HB 44 and details related to the Senate version, follow the link below: