By: Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R – Dallas)
As we wrap up the fourth week under the Gold Dome, the Senate has made great strides towards 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, Senate Bill 11, sponsored by Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell), known as the “Georgia Fights Terrorism Act.” I want to take this opportunity to inform you of developments on a few pieces legislation I am sponsoring this session.
This week, I introduced, Senate Bill 32. SB 32 would implement strategies and systems to ensure real-time coordination between first responder agencies and a school dealing with a security emergency.
Alyssa’s Law is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old freshman who was killed in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. To keep our kids safe, SB 32 would require public and secondary school buildings to be equipped with silent panic alarms that notify law enforcement in the event of an emergency. The silent panic button will allow law enforcement to work swiftly and effectively in the event an intruder attempts to do harm at a school.
The protection of our children and ensuring a safe environment for them to learn and grow is one of our highest priorities, and one that is shared amongst the Senate Body. It was an honor to sponsor this bill, which was assigned to the Senate Committee on Education and Youth, and I look forward to working with all stakeholders involved to see this bill become law.
In addition to introducing SB 32, I also introduced Senate Bill 45, which would provide comprehensive action plans relating to students being treated for epilepsy or a seizure disorder.
According to the Centers to Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average between 13,200 and 20,100 children between the ages of one and 17 in Georgia experience epileptic seizures. SB 45 would require school systems to coordinate with parents or guardians to develop a document that outlines support and services in the event a child is having a medical emergency due to epilepsy.
By requiring school systems and school board officials to produce action plans, we can eliminate unnecessary incidents where they do not receive adequate care.
SB 45 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Children and Families, and I am committed to working with members of the committee to advance the bill through the committee process and make its way back to Senate Chamber for a vote. As a father, my goal is to always ensure the health and safety of Georgia’s children is prioritized.
I am also sponsoring Senate Bill 93, which would seek to prohibit certain social media platforms from being utilized on government or state issued devices.
Specifically SB 93 would require that no state employee or student would be authorized to install, use, or visit, and social media platform on state issued equipment or devices if the platform is owned by a foreign adversary or a scrutinized company. SB 93 has not yet been assigned to a Senate Committee but I look forward to providing you with more updates on this legislation as it progresses through the Senate.
The House also had a productive week, passing House Bill 18, otherwise known as the Amended Budget for the 2023 Fiscal Year (AFY23). This budget totals 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. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to further analyzing the budget as it makes its way over to the Senate.
Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will begin to meet on Tuesday of next week to further vet the budget as it is the General Assembly’s constitutional obligation to pass a balanced budget.
The Senate also welcomed former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler to the Chamber this week. 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 uphold and protect conservative values across the state.
Next week, we expect discussions around the budget to increase. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Development, 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.
Sen. Jason Anavitarte serves as Chair of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents Senate District 31 which includes Paulding and Polk Counties. He can be reached at 404.656.0085 or at Jason.email@example.com.