Legislative session more than a quarter of the way through
After dealing with the weather the previous week, the House convened for the third week of the 2018 legislative session on Monday, January 22. By the end of this week, we had completed Legislative Day 10, which means the General Assembly is now one-fourth of the way through our 40-day session with just 30 legislative days remaining.
Although from the outside it may have looked slow, the week was busy and productive, and the pace is starting to pick up. House committees met more frequently to discuss proposed legislation and we also saw recommendations introduced that came from our House study councils and commissions. Our first accomplishment was working with the Senate to pass an adjournment resolution that set our legislative schedule for the remainder of the session. While it may seem like we have a great deal of time left, we have several important issues to address before we can adjourn on March 29, the date which the House and Senate agreed on.
Transportation is a top priority
Although Georgia is doing extremely well from an economic development standpoint, much of our continued success will depend on a connected and efficient transportation network. That is why transit is a top priority in the House this session. During last year’s session, we established the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding. This commission is charged with studying our state’s transportation needs and exploring ways we can sufficiently plan and provide for those needs.
The transit commission held hearings across the state during the summer and fall of 2017, and this year we can expect to see legislation come up aimed at meeting Georgia’s wide-ranging transit needs. This is extremely important for our area as we have a large tourism economy and we also have to be as efficient as possible in moving our agricultural and poultry products to market.
Our biggest focus last week was on reviewing Gov. Deal’s state budget recommendations. The House Appropriations Committee is responsible for this job, and our subcommittees held several hearings to review the governors proposals. The General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass a balanced state budget every year, so after we review Gov. Deal’s budget proposals in our subcommittees, my House colleagues and I will draft a bill for the Amended Fiscal Year 2018 (AFY 2018) budget and another bill for the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) budget.
The AFY 2018 budget, nicknamed the “small budget,” is an adjusted budget for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. The small budget uses a more precise estimate of state revenue to account for any differences between anticipated and actual state revenue.
The FY 2019 budget, nicknamed the “big budget,” is the state budget for fiscal year 2019 beginning on July 1, 2018. This budget is based on projected state revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.
Once passed by the respective Appropriations subcommittees, those portions of each budget will then go before the full House Appropriations Committee, which will then review and pass balanced budgets for AFY 2018 and FY 2019.
After the House Appropriations Committee passes these complete budgets, the measures will then go to the Rules Committee, where they will be placed on the House calendar. Each budget then goes to the House floor, where every member of the House will have the opportunity to ask questions and than vote on the budget as a whole. From there, the budgets will move to the Senate and the process will repeat itself.
It’s a complicated procedure, but eventually the budgets will go to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. It will than come back to each body for a final vote, and hopefully the budget will be passed. As a member of the Appropriations committee, it’s fascinating to be involved in the process from the very beginning until the final product is approved.
It’s a busy time, but as always, you are my top priority. If I can ever be of any help with a question, concern, or need please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I can be reached at 404 651 7737 or by email at Terry.Rogers@house.ga.gov. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you!
About the author: State Rep. Terry Rogers (R-Clarkesville) represents the 10th District of Georgia which includes portions of Habersham and White Counties. He serves as the Governor’s Floor Leader and Vice-Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee, Economic Development & Tourism, and State Planning & Community Affairs Committees. Rep. Rogers also is a member of the Georgia House of Representatives’ Defense & Veterans Affairs, Human Relations & Aging, Regulated Industries, and Rules committees.