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2023 Capitol Update – Week 4

2023 Capitol Update – Week 4

January 30, 2023

Last week, bill activity under the Gold Dome picked up slightly from previous weeks; however, the legislature has filed far fewer bills than at this point than in previous years. We expect an exponential increase in bills over the next few days.
On Wednesday, the Governor gave his annual “State of the State” address to a joint session of the General Assembly. The Governor used this address as another opportunity to reiterate his priorities for 2023, including:
  • An increase in HOPE scholarship funding to 100% of tuition
  • Additional teacher pay raises
  • Income tax refunds ($250 for single, $500 for joint filers) for Georgia citizens and rebates on property taxes
  • Expand upon the development of the electric vehicle industry in Georgia
Similarly, the Senate GOP Caucus laid out their own priorities, several of which were promises to aid in the implementation and advocacy efforts of the Governor’s agenda. Other priorities mentioned were:
  • Conducting a “prudent” income tax reform and tax credit review
  • Review degree requirements for state employment (SB 3)
  • Bail bond reform for violent offenses
  • School safety legislation
  • Increased support for foster families and children
  • Expansion of telehealth services for rural and underserved communities
The minority caucuses of both chambers joined together to discuss their priorities for the 2023 legislative session. Below is a snapshot of these proposals:
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15
  • A $10,000 pay increase to state employees
  • Repealing constitutional carry
  • Full Medicaid expansion
On the PELS Board Budget conversation, we had a number of meetings to discuss the PELS Board budget requests with state appropriators. The request, which the PELS Board voted to formally submit to the General Assembly on Thursday, is $500,000 for the amended fiscal year 2023 budget (AFY 23), which covers the final 90 days of the fiscal year ending June 30th; and $2.5 million of the 2024 fiscal year (FY 24) budget. As we have previously reported, this appropriations request is the second step of the legislative process for a fully functioning, independent PELS Board, and the revenue is simply the allocation of renewal and other fees that the Board charges to licensees. We will keep you all updated as these conversations evolve.

The week ahead:
Lawmakers will be meeting for Legislative Days 9 through 12 this week. On Tuesday, four special elections will take place. One special election run-off will determine who will serve District 7, formerly held by the late Speaker David Ralston. The other three special elections for Senate District 11 and House Districts 119 & 172, may go to a run-off if no individual receives 50+1% of the vote Tuesday. Additionally, another special election has been called for House District 75. This election will take place March 21st and will be subject to the same aforementioned run-off rules. If you believe you may be in one of these affected districts, check out the Secretary of State’s My Vote Page and be sure to cast your ballot! 
Be sure to mark your calendars for Engineers at the Capitol Day on February 28th from 8:00-10:00am! Join us for a meet-and-greet breakfast with legislators. Following breakfast, there will be an optional tour of the Capitol. This is a great opportunity to meet your elected Representative and Senator, as well as other legislators from across the state! Please contact Christy or Chandler for more.

Budget & Appropriations
HB 18-19 by Representative Jon Burns (R-Newington): these are the amended FY 2023 and full fiscal year 2024 budgets.
Status: Assigned to House Appropriations
ACEC Georgia is monitoring this legislation
Industry & Professions
SB 3 by Senator John Albers (R-Roswell): "Reducing Barriers to State Employment Act of 2023". This proposal would direct all state entities to regularly assess the relevant academic background and experience requirements for each position, reduce those requirements which are arduous and unnecessary, and reduce the number of positions for which four-year college degrees are required as a condition of employment.
Status: Assigned to the Senate Government Oversight Committee.
ACEC Georgia is monitoring this legislation
HB 52 by Representative Brad Thomas (R-Woodstock): is HB 1438 from last year, and as Rep. Thomas put it, this bill “Sine Died” on the last day of session last year. This was last year’s annual GDOT housekeeping bill and proposes to revise meeting notice provisions for the election of board members for the Department of Transportation as well as clarifies other provisions regarding public-private partnership negotiations and exempts some records from public disclosure requirements. This bill was amended to include a separate provision that relates to corner duties and county medical examiner duties regarding major interstate highway deaths, as well as increase the modular home transportation square footage limit by 4 feet to align with neighboring states restrictions.
Status: Passed the House Transportation Committee. Now eligible for the Rules Committee.
ACEC Georgia is monitoring this legislation 
Water & Environmental
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Local Government
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