Sen. Mike Dugan: Update From The Capitol

17
Jan

Sen. Mike Dugan: Update From The Capitol

Your Georgia Desk:

DUGAN: Update from the Capitol

 Sen Mike Dugan

By: Sen. Mike Dugan (R- Carrollton)

The second term of the 152nd Legislative Session began this week with Governor Nathan Deal’s annual State of the State address, budget hearings and traditional first week duties to kick off the session.

This week two bills I filed were assigned to committees.  Senate Bill 283, which will allow public schools to recognize winter celebrations, such as Christmas and Hanukah without fear of legal retribution, was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee.  Senate Resolution 734, which would change the length of a state senator’s term to four years and set a limit of three terms, was assigned to the Senate Ethics Committee.  As we continue to work through the session, I will continue to update you on the status of these two bills.

Wednesday, Governor Nathan Deal presented his annual State of the State address to both the House and Senate bodies to report the current and future condition of our state as well as unveil his budgetary report for the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 14’) amended budget.  Gov. Deal recounted recent achievements such as the reformation of our outdated tax code and juvenile justice system as well as the continued decline of our unemployment rate; in fact, Georgia’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in five years.

The budget includes measures to increase the stature of our public education system as well as investing in building and maintaining infrastructure.  By allocating an additional $547 million to state education spending we are ensuring that our students are receiving the best education possible while also protecting our teachers.  The budget also calls for $25.6 million for Forestland Protection grants which provide local governments with funds necessary to maintain key local services and quality schools while also preserving the state’s crucial natural resources.

In addition, $35 million in bonds were allotted for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.  By dedicating funds to the crucial areas of education and infrastructure we are continuing to attract businesses and provide all citizens with the best conditions and opportunities possible. The week concluded with budget hearings to ensure funds are responsibly allocated throughout the state and state agencies.

I was honored to meet with representatives from Service Providers Association for Developmental Disabilities (SPADD) this week.  According to the Department of Commerce, over the last 20 years, inflation rates have driven up the cost of providing services by more than 50%; SPADD works to improve these services for persons with developmental disabilities.  I enjoyed speaking with representatives from SPADD to learn more about the great contributions they are incorporating to help Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens.

As we move forward, I remain committed to supporting policies that promote business growth and get Georgians back to work. As always, it is a pleasure to serve the 30th Senate District. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 404.656.0036 or via email at mike.dugan@senate.ga.gov.

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