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An Update From Under the Gold Dome: Week Seven

Friday, February 24, 2023

As the Senate concludes week seven of the 2023 Legislative Session, my colleagues and I continue to work at a rapid pace to ensure legislation is properly vetted in the committee process and sufficiently debated on the Senate floor before a final vote. With only one full week of legislative days remaining until we arrive at Crossover Day, the deadline is quickly approaching to have legislation passed through committees in order to be considered for assignment onto the Rules calendar for Legislative Day 28. This week, the Senate took up a number of significant measures to continue to better the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians. I am pleased to provide you with updates on a few bills of note.

We reached a substantial milestone this week with the passage of House Bill 18, the Amended FY 2023 Budget. Every year, the Georgia General Assembly is tasked with the constitutional obligation to pass a balanced budget. While this budget only accounts for the funds that will be allocated for the remainder of the fiscal year, HB 18 still remains a significant priority as we must ensure all taxpayer dollars are being put to good use. Specifically, the amended budget adds $2 billion in revenue in state general funds, $1 billion in homeowner tax relief grants, $1 billion in property tax rebates, funding to end the practice of hoteling for foster kids and most importantly, increases to get money back into the hands of taxpayers. Upon its passage in the Senate, HB 18 will travel back to the House for consideration of the Senate’s revisions to the bill. I intend to provide you with updates as the amended budget inches closer towards the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

This week, I had the opportunity to bring Senate Bill 170, the “Students and Teachers SPEAK Act,” before the Senate Committee on Education and Youth for consideration. As I outlined last week, this legislation is a product of concerns brought to my attention by my constituents in Senate District 56. SB 170 aims to allow both teachers and students to serve as ex officio advisors to the State Board of Education. Simultaneously, SB 170 seeks to encourage local school boards to invite student representatives to serve as advisors to the boards. SB 170 was favorably reported out of the committee and now awaits selection on to the Senate Rules calendar for final consideration on the Senate floor. I am hopeful that this legislation will soon be brought to the floor to increases its chances of being signed into law.

Also this week, Senate Bill 217 was brought before the Senate Committee on Public Safety for consideration. SB 217, known as the “Eliminating Ghost Plates Act,” and legislation I am proud to author with the help of my Senate Aide, Sean Cunningham. Each year, it is imperative that we immerse our hardworking and dedicated aides in the legislative process by allowing them to study an area that they are particularly passionate about, SB 217 is a product of Sean’s diligent efforts. Specifically, this legislation seeks to address the ongoing concern regarding the use of “false or ghost plates” which prevents law enforcement from perusing proper investigation of the motor vehicle. The obstruction of a license plate has proven to significantly inhibit the ability of law enforcement officials to monitor traffic violations, auto theft, and even far more serious crimes in which automobiles are involved in gang related activity. Ultimately, the goal of this legislation is to crack down on increased crime in Georgia and continue to protect drivers on the roadways. I am pleased to report SB 217 was favorably reported out of the Senate Committee on Public Safety. I am eager to provide you with additional updates as this bill progresses through the legislative process.

Next week, the Senate will convene for an additional full week of legislative days. Legislative Day 28, Crossover Day will fall on the following Monday, March 6. We have a full week of committee meetings and floor sessions ahead of us. I look forward to continuing to work alongside my fellow Senators as we quickly approach the home stretch to Sine Die. As always, if I can ever be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to reach out. It is an honor to serve you here in Atlanta.

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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]