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An Update From Under the Gold Dome: Week Four

Friday, February 03, 2023

As the fourth week of the 2023 session winds down to a close, the Senate has a number of accomplishments we can build upon to continue a productive session. Not only did committees get down to work and begin the process of assessing assigned pieces of legislation, we also passed our first measure on the Senate floor.  

Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Public Safety held its first committee meeting of the session. As Chairman, we wasted no time getting right to work and quickly passed Senate Bill 11, known as the “Georgia Fights Terrorism Act.” Over the last few years, the jobs of our public safety officers has grown increasingly more difficult and complex and the issues we ask them to take on have an increased potential to turn violent. Over the past few weeks alone, we have witnessed riots in Atlanta which, unfortunately critically injured member of our public safety community. Please join me in praying for his speedy recovery.  SB 11 is not a response to this specific incident. Rather, it is a reaction to the growing threat posed to our law enforcement community by those who wish to use the veil of peaceful assembly to commit heinous acts of violence and destruction. SB 11 would allow the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to wither work independently of in coordination with other law enforcement agencies to aggressively investigate and arrest those involved in domestic, nuclear, chemical, biological, or cyber terrorism. I am proud to say that SB 11 was the first bill for the Senate in 2023 and successfully passed the Senate body and will now head to the House for consideration.

The House also had a busy week, passing House Bill 18, otherwise known as the Amended Budget for the 2023 Fiscal Year (AFY23), out of the House Appropriations Committee. This budget total about $36 billion and, specifically, includes several of Gov. Brian Kemp’s budgetary priorities. Notably, it includes $1 billion to reimburse Georgia’s property owners for property taxes, as well as $28 million for school safety improvements. Gov. Kemp has demonstrated a track record of considerate, conservative fiscal leadership when it comes to budgeting, and the AFY23 budget appears no different. Now that the HB has cleared its first hurdle in the House, it will now be sent to the full House for consideration. Once it revives passage from the House, it will be assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and its affiliated subcommittees, to further analyze the intricacies of the budget.

As further evidence of Georgia’s continued economic growth, last week Gov. Kemp’s office announced that SK Battery would open an IT center in Roswell, creating around 200 jobs. This $18 million investment will have a lasting impact on our region and further solidify Georgia as not only the best state in which to do business, but also furthering our reputation as the premiere destination for high-tech corporations. I look forward to continuing to work with Gov. Kemp’s office and other stakeholders in order to bring additional economic development opportunities to District 56.

This week, we also welcomed former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler to the Senate Chamber. Sen. Loeffler has continuously served the people of Georgia before, during, and after her service as a U.S. Senator. I am proud of all she has accomplished in such a relatively short political career and look forward to continuing to support her and her endeavors to promote conservative values across Georgia.

Next week, we expect discussions around the budget to increase as HB 18 makes its way through the final stages in the House. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, I look forward to examining in detail any budgetary items specifically related to these subject areas. If you have any questions about any legislation under consideration to this point, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.

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Sen. John Albers serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Safety. He represents the 56th Senate District which includes portions of Cherokee, Cobb and North Fulton counties. He may be reached at his office at 404.463.8055 or by email at [email protected]