By: Sen. Mike Dugan (R – Carrollton)
The ninth week of the 2023 Georgia Legislative Session was full of excitement as we continued the work of considering legislation that will benefit all Georgians. Visitors graced the halls of the State Capitol, committees met to hear a plethora of bills, and we recognized Crossover Day on Monday, which is the last day that legislation is eligible to be sent to the State House for consideration.
There were a multitude of bills passed through the Senate this week, with a few measures of note that pertain to our state’s agricultural industry. Senate Bill 220, sponsored by Sen. Russ Goodman (R – Cogdell), would establish the Georgia Farmland Conservation Fund, the Georgia Farmland Conservation Fund Program, and the Georgia Farmland Advisory Council. This legislation would also provide matching grants to certain holders or prospective holders of agricultural conservation easements. As urban sprawl continues to pose a threat to agricultural producers across the state, protecting Georgia’s farmland is of the utmost importance, and SB 220 is a productive step to ensure our farmland is protected for years to come.
Senate Bill 177, sponsored by Sen. Harold Jones II (D – Augusta), would create the Georgia Food Advisory Council within the Department of Agriculture. The Georgia Food Advisory Council would be tasked with finding ways to use Georgia tax dollars on food insecurity, recommend ways to maximize educational programs that educate the public on purchasing and consuming public foods, and develop new ways to address this issue. I appreciate the Senate body for coming together as we push to eradicate food insecurity within our state. Georgians deserve to have access to healthy food as they live and work across the state, and this legislation opens the door to learn more about how we can tackle this challenge.
Senate Bill 146, sponsored by Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega), would impose regulation and taxation for electricity used as a method of motor fuel in electric vehicles. This legislation would additionally provide limitations upon the ownership, operation and maintenance of electric vehicle charging stations by electric utilities. Further, the measure bestows authority to the Department of Agriculture over electric vehicle charging stations and provides for a collection of a motor fuel excise tax upon the sale and use of certain electricity. As vehicular technology evolves in our state, it is important to maintain an infrastructure that promotes the safe operation of these vehicles, and I was proud to support this groundbreaking legislation.
On Crossover Day, my legislation, Senate Bill 136 was passed by the Senate body. This measure, pertaining to impact fees, modifies the required revenue source for a development project involving workforce housing. I am happy to report that SB 136 has made great progress over in the House and has been reported favorably out of committee by the House Committee on Governmental Affairs, and could see passage soon.
The State Senate welcomed many advocates and organizations to the State Capitol during our ninth week of session. It was a pleasure to see the Georgia Firefighter’s Council, ladies from Spelman College, and the Scouts of America throughout the halls of the Capitol. I was also proud to present Senate Resolution 126 to the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, which commends their service to the state of Georgia. I congratulate this group on 68 years of business advocacy and look forward to continuing to support this impactful group as I serve the 30th Senate District.
As we look to legislative days 31 through 35 of the 2023 Georgia Legislative session, I assure you that we are keeping the interest of Georgia’s citizens at the forefront of our minds through each decision. I look forward to working with my colleagues as this session progresses through the coming weeks. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about matters relating to the Georgia Senate, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.