- Hits: 486
- Welcome to the 2016 Legislative Session
- Georgia General Assembly Composite
- House of Representatives: Live Streaming
- House of Representatives: Legislative Reports
- Georgia Senate Press Office: Senate in a Minute
- First and Second Weeks at the Capitol
- AFY 2016 State Fund Budget Overview
- FY 2017 State Fund Budget Overview
- Other primary uses of additional State Funds
- News You Can Use
- Legislative Town Hall Meetings
- Does Your Child Want to Be A Page?
- Is There Someone You Want to Honor?
- Interested in Visiting the Capitol?
- Or Can Rep. Drenner Bring a Little of the Capitol to Your Group?
Welcome to the 2016 Legislative Session
The Georgia General Assembly convened on Monday, January 11, 2016 and I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of the first two weeks and also look to the weeks ahead. I am honored to serve you on the Rules, Energy, Telecommunications and Public Utilities, Health and Human Services, Small Business and Economic Development, and Natural Resources & Environment Committees. I hope you enjoy the updates, don't hesitate to contact me throughout the session with your thoughts on pending issues, or whenever I can be of service. You can also stay in touch by visiting www.house.ga.gov to watch a live stream of the House in action, as well as archived committee meetings, and review legislation that we are considering.
Below are a few sites that you can use.
Georgia General Assembly Composite
Each day the Georgia General Assembly publishes a legislative composite of the legislative day that occurs in the House and Senate.
House of Representatives: Live Streaming
The House Legislative Network is the telecommunications home for the Georgia House.
If you would like to watch live video streaming and archiving of full standing committee meetings of the Georgia House of Representatives. Click HERE.
House of Representatives: Legislative Reports
Each Session day the Georgia House publishes a recap of the legislative day that occurred in the House. Click HERE.
Georgia Senate Press Office: Senate in a Minute
During Session, the Georgia Senate Press Office films a daily recap of the Georgia Senate's actions. CLICK HERE to view the daily recaps for the 2016 Session.
First and Second Weeks at the Capitol
This week marked Governor Deal's sixth State of the State address, which he gave before a joint session of the House and Senate, members of the judiciary, staff, members of the media, and other special guests. Governor Deal began his address by highlighting the significant economic progress the state has made since the Great Recession of 2008. Currently, Georgia's Rainy Day Fund, or reserves, has increased to more than $1.43 billion and continues to grow each year.
After announcing his goals in the State of the State address this week, Governor Deal officially released his $23.7 billion state budget proposal to the General Assembly for the upcoming fiscal year.
As you will see below in the Governor's proposed budget, education is a top priority. I am pleased that we are investing in our future by beginning the restoration of funding to K-12. Another positive I see in the Governor's proposed budget is his pay increase plan for state employees. We have faced enormous turnover rates with our employees which impacts all of us. We spend an awful lot of money on the front end to train people only to have them leave for higher paying jobs- having been fully trained and educated at our expense. We need to recruit, compensate, and retain the best of the best to work for our state of Georgia.
Governor Deal did not address the growing healthcare shortage in our state and once again announced that Medicaid expansion was too expensive, leaving many Georgians without access to healthcare.
Below are just a few highlights from Governor Deal's budget proposals. We members of the General Assembly will use the governor's recommendations as the starting points of our state budget reviews in both Joint House and Senate Budget Hearings and Joint Appropriations subcommittee hearings.
AFY 2016 State Fund Budget Overview
$1.2 billion or 5.3% increase in Total State Fund Appropriations
Other primary uses of additional State Funds:
$759 million for Transportation Projects via HB 170
$110 million for the Mid Term Adjustment for the Department of Education
$51 million for Student Finance Initiatives
$51 for Child Welfare Services
FY 2017 State Fund Budget Overview
$1.9 billion or 8.8% increase in Total State Fund Appropriations
$850 million in bonds for new capital improvement projects ($94 million in debt service)
Other primary uses of additional State Funds
$826 million in transportation projects via HB 170
$300 million for the Quality Basic Education Program which supports local school districts and $141 million for K-12 student enrollment growth
$224 million for equipment, construction, and renovation for local school systems
$170 million for performance incentives for state employees and $43 million to address recruitment and retention
$89 million in student finance initiatives
$59 million for child welfare services
$44 million for Board of Regents for increases in credit hour enrollment and square footage
$20 million for Regional Economic Business Assistance grants and rural economic development projects.
The General Assembly completed Day 12 after a slow week that focused largely on Joint House and Senate Budget Hearings, as agencies and offices made the case for the Governor's proposed budget. Finally this week, the House and Senate voted on an adjournment resolution that set the legislative calendar for the remainder of the 40-day session. Day 40, the final day of the 2016 legislative session, or “sine die,” will be Thursday, March 24.
We have a very aggressive and busy schedule from now until then, and as we continue through this legislative session, I encourage you to reach out to me with your questions and concerns. You can view the legislative schedule HERE.
News You Can Use – You are invited!
Legislative Town Hall Meetings
I am hosting along with colleagues town hall meetings to address issues for the 2016 legislative session; this will give each of you an opportunity to have your questions answered. Details for the town halls are below:
Who: Representative Karla Drenner and Senator’s Steve Henson and Elena Parent
What: Pizza and Politics: Come and join us for a slice of pizza and policy!
When: Monday, February 1, 2016 from 6:30PM to 8:00PM
Where: Avondale Pizza Café 2823 E College Ave| Avondale Estates, Georgia 30002
Who: Representatives Karla Drenner, Michele Henson, Coach Williams and Senator Steve Henson
What: Legislative Town Hall Meeting
When: Thursday, February 11, 2016 from 6:30PM to 8:00 PM
Where: St Timothy’s United Methodist Church 5365 Memorial Dr | Stone Mtn, Georgia 30083
Does Your Child Want to Be A Page?
Your child could get to see the legislature from a perspective that few adults get to! Pages deliver messages to Representatives while they are meeting in the House Chamber. Please let me know if your child is a resident of House District 85, is at least twelve years old, and would like to page on the House floor. Read more and obtain a 2016 Page Interest form here.
Is There Someone You Want to Honor?
Contact me if you would like to honor someone with a resolution passed by the Georgia House of Representatives.
Interested in Visiting the Capitol?
You can read about it in civics class, but there’s nothing like seeing the legislative process in person. History buffs will appreciate the history of the building itself (click here for more information). If you want to catch the legislators in action, make sure to schedule your visit on a day we’ll be meeting. The official schedule for the House of Representatives is here. You can see the House committee meeting schedule here.
Or Can Rep. Drenner Bring a Little of the Capitol to Your Group?
If you would like for me to visit your group to talk about legislative issues please let me know.
Please contact me anytime with your questions or comments and visit my website at the link below and follow me on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links below. I look forward to working with you during the 2016 Georgia General Assembly. I will continue to report on issues and welcome your suggestions.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!
Capitol: 507 Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
District: P.O. Box 348
Avondale Estates, Georgia 30002
- Hits: 860
The 2015 legislative session ended last week. I appreciate having had the opportunity to represent you, and I’m grateful to have heard from so many of you this session. I sponsored legislation that spurs growth in the emerging Georgia solar industry (HB57), attract investment from local, national, and international companies, and create high quality new jobs for Georgians; end cyberbullying HB131 and to urge (HR620) local boards of education to provide educational awareness renewable energy. I also spent time this session working on issues related to DeKalb County. Among other things, I am proud to have helped pass important reform legislation that will improve standards for ethics and procurement and will also require the use of an independent internal auditor. I was also actively involved with annexations and the cityhood efforts in DeKalb. More information on each of these items as well as summaries of statewide legislation is contained below.
- Hits: 580
This session is in full swing, and we are moving quickly to address some of the most urgent problems facing our state. While focusing on the issues that are making headlines across the state, like transportation and education reform, I remain dedicated to use of renewable energy for all Georgians.
This past week was an extremely busy week at the Georgia State Capitol. Friday was the 30th legislative day, which is also known as “Crossover Day.” Crossover Day is the last date in which a piece of legislation must pass at least one of the General Assembly’s two chambers.
Below is a brief summary of what bills were passed last week and other issues to keep on your radar, including transportation funding, solar technology, religious freedoms, and cityhood issues.
- Hits: 714
I would like to take a moment and say thank-you to the Mayor and the Council for hosting the Memorial service today. I would like to say thank you to everyone that also came out today to remember all of those that have passed on before us.
I am honored to be here today to share with you my reflections and my hopes for our world. All of us here today and across our Nation will never forget where we were and what we were doing the day the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93 exploded, collapsed and thousands of US citizens died within moments.
- Hits: 681
Election season is quickly approaching and during this time I am asked on a regular basis why it is important to vote. First, we should ask what does it mean to vote. If we look at it from this perspective, the value of your vote will be better understood. Voting can be a very effective way for the public to communicate with governing bodies. This right provides all citizens the opportunity to let governing officials know what their opinions are on specific issues and laws that affect them personally or as a community. As a result of strong voting communities, elected officials respond more to people who get out and vote. Remember, voting does not guarantee your preferences will win; however, choosing not to exercise your right to vote puts you in a situation where you simply must accept the decisions of those who govern your life. The future is dependent upon whether or not you cast your vote even if your personal values are not represented by those in public offices. Your right to vote is the cornerstone of democracy.