Sen. Judson Hill: 2015 Session Weekly Update # 3

3
Feb

Sen. Judson Hill: 2015 Session Weekly Update # 3

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Judson Hill

Judson - Bio Photo 2013

 

Greetings from your state Capitol  

We settled into the 3rd week of the 2015 Session. All pending bills die at the end of every 2 year term; therefore, the Senate committees have only a few pending new filed bills meaning in Chamber Session days will be shorter until more bills are filed. A bill has until legislative Day 30 to pass one Chamber so our focus will not turn to House bills for several more weeks. Below is a list of notable legislation that has been introduced in the Senate and is under deliberation in their respective committees.

The legislature continues to hold hearings on the proposed state budgets in various Appropriations subcommittees. We will adjust both the current FY 2015 ($20.8 billion) budget as well as consider and pass the FY 2016 ($21.1 billion) budget. This 2015-16 GA State Budget link takes you to documents to view a more detailed description of Governor Deal’s proposed 2015 Amended and 2016 state budget.

The Georgia State Budget Process

The Amended FY2015 State budgeting process ensures Georgia closes out the fiscal year with a balanced budget on June 30th in order to begin the new fiscal year on July 1st.

After consideration and passage of the Amended 2015 Budget, which considers the second half of the fiscal year, the General Assembly will work on the fiscal year 2016 budget, commonly called the “big budget” because it will determine spending and programs hrough June of 2016.

Several FY 2016 Budget Highlights presented in the Governor’s Budget-

1.      $280 million for the K-12 QBE Formula is intended for systems to pass on to teachers as furlough replacement or pay raises for teachers.

2.      $16.7 million in Lottery funds for a 3% increase in the HOPE scholarship in public and private colleges to keep up with tuition increases.

3.      $139.8 million to fund the Annual Required Contribution for Employees Retirement, Teachers Retirement and Public School Employees Retirement Systems.

4.      $149.1 million in new funds for Medicaid growth and Affordable Care Act compliance, and voluntary case management for the Age, Blind and Disabled population.  Offset by reductions totaling $179.4 million in PeachCare and Medicaid costs and an increase in the federal match.

5.      $239.6 million to fund growth in K-12 enrollment and teacher pay scale recognizing 1.35% increase in enrollment this past year.  Georgia’s schools now educate 1.72 million students.

6.      $800 million in bonds including $230.0 million for K-12 school construction, $197.7 million for Regents projects, and $19.8 million for Technical Colleges.

2015 Legislation of Note Passed or Introduced this Week in the Senate:

SB 1: Passed. unanimously. This bill provides insurance coverage for basic autism therapy. It exempts businesses with 10 or fewer employees and imposes an annual limits of $35,000 for children 6 and younger. The bill was sent to the House and hopefully will be taken up for consideration.
SB 3:  This bill would allow a temporary transfer of custody and power of attorney from the parent to another person providing for the child’s care without court approval for up to one year.

SB 6: This bill would prohibit deferred deportation status from qualifying an alien to purchase a driver’s license in Georgia.

SB 38 -This bill would create a recommendation process for legislators for qualified students who commit to ROTC service at Georgia colleges and universities.

SB 63 - This bill would allow craft breweries to sell up to one 12 pack of beer per customer for carry out.

SB 74 - I sponsored this bill to create a Charity Care Organization to provide a tax deductible contribution to raise moneys Charity Health Clinics that offer low cost and free healthcare for the un-insured.

SR 25 - I cosponsored this Senate Resolution recognizing the Atlanta Junior Rowing Association for their work and growing popularity among middle and high school students.

SR 95 - Recognizes the Pope High School Girls Softball team winning the State Championship 6A

TRANSPORTATION

The House announced a transportation proposal this week -

HB 170

Transportation Funding Act of 2015 with its main provisions being:
  • Eliminates sales tax on gasoline, local and state and converts it to an excise tax.
  • Expands present Excise (by the gallon) fuel tax to 29.2 cents per gallon and based on last four years sales price.
  • Includes Bonds $100 million for FY 16 for transit.
  • Provides an annual $200 fee yearly on alternative fuel vehicles
  • Allows local governments to add fuel excise taxes to replace sales taxes on fuel.
  • ESPLOST’s, SPLOST’s are intact until planned expiration

Please check weekly for my Session Newsletter for updates from the Capitol.

I encourage you to periodically review our high priority issues that we intend to address during this Session.
But more importantly, as always, I ask for your comments, suggestions, and questions as we work together to develop an atmosphere that fosters job creation, fiscal responsibility, world-class educational opportunities for our children, and address our transportation and infrastructure challenges while protecting the rights of every Georgian.
If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly website at www.senate.ga.gov

2015 COMMUNITY TOWN HALL MEETINGS PLANNED TO DATE: 

Mountain View Regional Library - 3320 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta

WHEN: Tuesday

Mondays - February 16 and March 23 from 7 to 8 PM

Sandy Springs City Hall - 7840 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs

WHEN: TBD

Please join me at these Town Hall meetings to hear more about the progress of the 2015 Session and to share with me your ideas and thoughts.

Other News:

Monday January 26th was Georgia National Guard Day at the Capitol. Numerous National Guard soldiers and Georgia State Defense Force members attended. We are very thankful and blessed by their service as they protect and defend our Nation.

Your property tax is legally based on your home’s fair market value, as determined periodically by the county Tax Assessor.  Because counties are not required to re-assess homes annually, the valuation assigned to your home may not reflect the current market.

Is Your Home Over-Valued?   

If the tax assessor’s fair market value is clearly greater than what you believe your home’s actual value to be, you may act to update your valuation.  To change your home’s tax value you must file a Real Property Tax Return

How to Update Your Tax Valuation.

By April 1st you must file a Real Property Tax Return to change your home’s tax value and state  what you believe the value of your home to be. After the Tax Assessor has reviewed your proposed valuation and determined what, if any value adjustment to make, a Notice of Assessment will be mailed to you reflecting any changes in the county’s valuation.  If you are satisfied with the re-assessed value, no further action on your part is required and your 2014 taxes will be based on the new valuation.  Value issues are often resolved by the Assessor accepting the value indicated on the Tax Return, or by an acceptable property re-assessment.

Forms and Deadlines 

For Cobb County (deadline April 1, 2012) for instructions and a link to the form: Cobb County Taxpayers Return of Real Property 

For Fulton County (deadline April 1, 2012) for instructions and a link to the form:

Fulton County Taxpayers Return of Real Property 

For any other County in Georgia - visit the Tax Commissioner’s website in the county in which the property is located.

 Get Involved:

If you wish to get involved in the political process and attend the State Republican Convention in April, you must attend a required local Precinct meeting to be held  Saturday, February 7th hosted by the Cobb and Fulton County Republican Party. Meeting registration opens at 9 AM and you must be there before 10AM.


Cobb residents meet at the Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta from 10AM to 12noon.

Fulton County residents meet the same day from 10AM to 12noon at various locations in their State House district click here

 Capitol Tours and Paging:

page
 A tour of our State Capitol is a great educational experience  at any age. If you plan to visit the Gold Dome please contact  my office at 404.656.0150 so we may help you arrange a  Capitol Tour. Also, if your son or daughter is between the  ages of 12 and 16 and wishes to serve as a Senate Page for  the day please contact my office.
Please visit the Senate website to watch the Georgia Senate Live most days during the Session, to learn more about other pending legislation, or to learn more about your dtvGeorgia Senate.
If your group is looking for a speaker at your community event or you wish to hear a discussion about the 2015 Session, please call me.
If you’ve received this e-mail from a friend and would like to add your name to our distribution list, just send me an e-mail atjudson.hill@senate.ga.gov and put “Weekly Newsletter” in the subject line.
Facebook and Twitter:
dtvShelly and I appreciate your friendship and support. I wanted to let you all know that I am on Twitter and I invite you to follow me there: http://twitter.com/Judsonhill 

dtvI also have a personal Facebook page and would
welcome being Facebook friends. To visit my page go to:
www.facebook.com/judsonhill. I am posting regular updates from the General Assembly while we are in session, and will continue posting about issues related to state government throughout the year.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve our great State of Georgia.  Please call me with your thoughts or concerns at 404.656.0150.
Sincerely,

Senator Judson Hill

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