The weekly update is provided by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R – Dallas) for Polk Today readers to stay informed about the happenings in the State Senate during the 2023 session. -KtE
As week seven of the 2023 Legislative Session comes to a close, the Senate remains steadfast in its efforts to properly vet legislation through the committee process and adequately debate bills on the floor before a final vote.
With one full week of legislative days remaining before we arrive at Crossover Day, the Senate is on a tight deadline to pass legislation out of committee to secure its spot on the Rules calendar for Legislative Day 28. This week, the Senate successfully passed 11 pieces of legislation on the floor.
Here is an update on several bills of note:
This week, the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security heard Senate Bill 97, legislation I have the pleasure of sponsoring. SB 97, the “Georgia Cyber Command Act,” creates an agency that oversees the strategic planning, facilitation and coordination of information security in this state.
The agency will have the ability to establish policies and standards for state agencies to submit information security plans to the division. Public safety is a priority and ensuring that Georgia’s information is secure is vital for our growth and our promise to keep Georgia the best state to live in. SB 97 was favorably reported out of committee and now awaits selection on to the Rules calendar for consideration on the Senate floor.
I have also authored Senate Bill 45, which was heard in the Senate Committee on Children and Families on Thursday. SB 45 ensures there are standards for care of students being treated for epilepsy or a seizure disorder.
When our children are in school, parents shouldn’t have to worry whether or not their child dealing with epilepsy will get the necessary care in the event of an emergency. I am also pleased to announce SB 45 was favorably reported out of committee and now awaits selection by the Rules chairman. It is my hope that both pieces of legislation will soon be taken up on the Senate floor for a vote.
Perhaps the most significant bill that was taken up for a vote on the Senate floor this week was House Bill 18, the Amended FY 2023 Budget. 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.
Improving the safety and security of Georgia’s citizens remains a common theme in the Senate as Senator Randy Robertson (R – Cataula), brought Senate Bill 63 to the Senate floor for a vote this week. SB 63 seeks to address certain provisions relating to bail bond reform. SB 63 aims to give rights back to the victims of crimes.
Specifically, crimes related to domestic terrorism. I was honored to support this legislation as protecting Georgia’s citizens and their safety and security is an utmost priority of the Georgia Senate.
I am also excited to announce the introduction of legislation that will establish a Senate Study Committee to address truck driver shortages in Georgia. Senate Resolution 155, legislation I have the pleasure of sponsoring, will establish the Senate Truck Driver Shortages Study Committee.
The American Trucking Associations organization estimates that over the next ten years, the industry will have to recruit nearly 1.2 million new drivers to not only replace retiring drivers and those who opt to leave the profession, but to increase driver numbers and industry growth. It is no secret that the truck driving industry continues to be of concern amongst the Georgia General Assembly, therefore, it is my hope that with the creation of this study committee, the Senate will be able to conduct a thorough analysis of the root causes of this shortage and hopefully formulate beneficial solutions to this crisis in the form of potential legislation.
I intend to provide you with updates on this measure as it awaits consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Next week, the Senate will convene Monday through Thursday for another full week of legislative days as the anticipation continues to build as we inch closer to Crossover Day. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. Thank you for continuing to place your trust in me to serve you under the Gold Dome.
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.