Heath: An update from Atlanta - Northwest Georgia News: Local

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Heath: An update from Atlanta

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Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:45 am

Another eventful week has passed at the Georgia State Capitol, and the Senate has been hard at work passing legislation intended to improve our state. Last week, my colleagues and I spent countless hours vetting, and then passing ten bills intended to help create a better life for Georgia’s children and families.

On Thursday, the Senate passed House Bill 43, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 amended budget. The FY17 amended budget revenue is estimated to be around $24 billion. The budget covers each of Georgia’s agencies, but there were some line items that I was particularly happy to see included, such as those dedicated to our law enforcement.

Public safety is a top priority for the Senate, and I am pleased that we are providing additional funding for quite a few departments in this category. Both the Senate and the House agreed to the governor’s proposal of adding $27.2 million to begin funding significant salary increases for law enforcement officers, public safety trainers and criminal investigators. These salary increases will enable our state to recruit and retain top-tier talent to keep our citizens safe.

The Senate also voted on and passed Senate Bill 48. This legislation makes it easier for Georgia’s hunters to partake in the sport they love by freezing the cost of hunting licenses that are renewed before their expiration date. This way, hunters won’t have to pay more for something they’ve had and will have for years. I am proud that the Senate passed my bill and I look forward to presenting it in the House after it is assigned to committee.

If you’d like to read full versions of the Senate bills that are being passed over to the House, you can go to www.legis.ga.gov. There you can also find the legislative calendars as well as contact information for all legislators.

It is important that I know the opinions of Senate District 31. Feel free to email or call my office if you have ideas or concerns about legislation in the Senate. It is my honor to represent you in the Georgia Senate. I will continue to fight for quality law for Georgians and continue to examine each piece of legislation with due scrutiny. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me.

Sen. Bill Heath serves as Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee. He represents the 31st Senate District which consists of Haralson and Polk counties and portions of Paulding County. He may be reached at 404-656-3943 or by email at billheath@billheath.net.