Your Georgia Desk
From Senator Frank Ginn
Getting Down to Business in 2015
The 2015 legislative session is off to a fast and busy start. The Georgia State Senate swore in all 56 senators last week, including 10 new freshman senators, and announced committee assignments shortly thereafter. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. Yes, we officially changed the name to reflect Georgia’s second largest industry, which generates over a billion dollars per week for Georgia. I will also be serving on the Regulated Industries and Utilities, Natural Resources and Appropriations committees this year. I am excited to be chairing the Higher Education subcommittee of Appropriations. This role will allow me to help The University of Georgia, Athens Tech, Lanier Tech and all of our other excellent state-funded higher education programs. Working together as a united team is the only way we will be able to best address Georgia’s most pressing issues over the next few months.
Governor Nathan Deal set the tone for the current legislative session with his annual State of the State address. Although the Governor recognized our state’s successes—we’ve added to our “rainy day” fund, created over 319,000 new private sector jobs, and have allocated the largest percentage of the budget to K-12 education in the past 50 years—but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. We need to take a close look at our education funding formula, which hasn’t been revised since the 1980’s. We also need to continue our strong support of state child welfare programs by funding upgrades for training, recruitment and resources for the professionals in this field.
In this address, the Governor also provided a brief look into a serious transportation funding problem that must be fixed during this legislative session. Last year’s legislative session created several study committees, including the Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding Joint Study Committee. The committee was asked to produce a report outlining potential solutions for funding new and existing transportation infrastructure, because although our network of roadways has grown, our funding for transportation has not.