The General Assembly has officially adjourned Sine Die, which means our official lawmaking duties are over for now. We will be back in Atlanta on the second Monday in January, 2018.
It was a pleasure to interact with many of you during the session as we worked to make Georgia not only the best place in America for business, but also the best place in America to live and raise a family. We will continue to work through the summer and fall holding study committee meetings to examine issues that have an impact on Georgia and its citizens.
We started the final week of the 2017 session with 71 bills on the general calendar. While we passed a majority of these, there were a few that did not receive passage by the midnight deadline on Day 40.
Since this is the first year in a biennial term, all the bills that did not receive a vote on the floor this year are still available for passage during next year’s legislative session. This is a great opportunity for legislators to go back and improve the bills that didn’t make it so they can be the best version possible when they come back next year.
There were many positive accomplishments during the session. Our only constitutional requirement is to pass a balanced budget. As a member of the appropriations committee, I am pleased we were able to accomplish this on day 37.
Many times we work on the budget until midnight on day 40. A cooperative spirit between the Senate and House members made it possible to accomplish the task in record time.
Our general fund revenue estimate of $24,997,351,235 is based on a projected revenue growth of 3.6%. We were able to include a pay raise for our teachers, bus drivers, and school nurses. Pay raises were also included for many of our public safety personel.
Georgia is a place where people want to be. Our population has increased by a million people in the past ten years.
We allocated money for statewide school construction to help meet the needs of a growing state. We also created incentives for rural downtown areas and job creation in our state. The film and music industry are booming areas of growth for Georgia
With a focus on less paperwork and regulation, I was able to pass Senate Bills 69 and 128 which eliminated duplicative regulations and made it easier for state agencies to share information. We will continue to search for simpler and more efficient ways for Georgians to live their lives, work, and start or maintain a business.
My most important responsibility is constituent services. If I can ever be of service to you, please contact me at the email or phone number listed below. Thank you for your encouragement and support.
About the author: Sen. John Wilkinson serves as the Chairman of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and Vice Chairman of the Education and Youth Committee. He represents the 50th Senate District which includes Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens and Towns counties and portions of Hall and Jackson counties. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.5257 or by email at email@example.com.