(Contributed by Capitol Beat News Service)

Note: The following item was submitted by State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas). – KtE

State Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, filed a bill requiring voters to provide photo ID copes twice to request mail-in ballots. (Georgia Senate photo)

With only five legislative days remaining, the Senate has been busy vetting each piece of legislation that comes our way to ensure each Georgian is benefitting. With that, this past week was filled with long debates in committee and on the Senate floor. I am pleased to update you all on what we have accomplished this week.

Protecting Georgia’s families is a top priority of ours, and I am proud to say we passed a bill that will make significant progress in the area of foster care. We did this by passing House Bill 114, which would increase the income tax credit for the adoption of a qualified foster family from $2,000 per year to $6,000 for the first five years, then $2,000 per year until the child is 18. This bill will encourage more parents to adopt foster children and provide these children with loving homes.

On Tuesday, the House and Senate was called together for a joint session to receive the annual State of the Judiciary Address, delivered by Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton. In his address, he reflected on this past year’s challenges and provided an update on how our judicial system has handled them.

Chief Justice Melton also mentioned the critical steps the Georgia General Assembly has been taking to ensure our judicial system continues to preserve through the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, we heard House Bill 511. HB 511 would revise the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust fund and create new trust funds in the state of Georgia including the following:  State Children’s Trust Fund, Wildlife Endowment Trust Fund, Georgia Trauma Care Network Trust Fund, Transportation Trust Fund, Georgia Agricultural Trust Fund, and Fireworks Trust Fund.

It’s important that we formally dedicate these funds because in the past, we have seen a history of failing to spend money on the areas it’s collected for. These trust funds will finance various measures that will benefit Georgians and help make our state the best it can be.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a $140 million state income tax cut into law this week. House Bill 593 raises Georgia’s state standard deduction for individual filers by $800 and by $1,100 for couples filing jointly. Additionally, a deduction of $1,300 would be applied for Georgians who are over 65 or are blind. I am proud of this legislation that will allow Georgians to keep more of their hard-earned money. This past year brought on several financial hardships for our citizens, as the COVID-19 pandemic had a severe economic impact on our state. Thanks to our conservative financial stewardship, the tax burden on Georgians will be lower.

I am so proud of the work that we have done so far, but we have much more to do in the coming days. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the legislation I have discussed above, or any legislation we have yet to hear, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. It is an honor to serve the 31st Senate District. Thank you for your trust in me.

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