January 27, 2022

Volume XII, Number 27

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Gold Dome Report — Legislative Day 3

Following a teaser at the Eggs & Issues breakfast on Wednesday, Governor Kemp threw open the curtain on his policy platform and budget proposals in today’s State of the State address. As expected, there was much money to go around, and the Governor proposed that it be spread liberally, from paying the final installment of his campaign-pledged $5,000 teacher pay raise to infusing cash in the healthcare and law enforcement talent pipelines to providing for a 10% provider rate increase to the foster parents, relative caregivers, child caring institutions, and child placing agencies caring for Georgia’s neediest children. Governor Kemp also detailed several of his policy proposals, including supporting legislation to protect public school students from “divisive ideologies” and adding human trafficking to the list of serious violent and sexual offenses that require a superior court judge to grant bail. A full recap of the Governor’s address (and link to the text and video) are inside this #GoldDomeReport.

Governor Kemp also released his proposed Amended FY22 and FY23 Budget Reports on Thursday. We will have analysis of key budget areas in Friday’s Report.

Governor Kemp Delivers State of the State Address

Building on the themes of building, planting, and playing football from his previous three speeches, Governor Brian Kemp delivered his fourth State of the State address on Thursday and telegraphed the clear message that, over the past three years, his administration has proven “it can be done.” Governor Kemp described the “it” as he laid out his budget and policy priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session, which focused on education, healthcare, and public safety. He recognized the progress his administration has made in these key areas, despite adversity and challenges, and set out his next steps in his continued efforts to “put hardworking Georgians and their families first.”

In the education realm, Governor Kemp opened his speech by confirming his intent to make good on a key campaign promise: providing the final $2,000 to fulfil his proposed teacher pay raise totaling $5,000. He also proposed adding $425 million back to the education budget to fully restore austerity reductions taken during the pandemic, a widely expected move. Less expected were the Governor’s two proposed one-time payments to faculty and staff. His Amended FY22 proposal includes one-time $2,000 payments to full-time, state-funded instructional staff, school support staff, and school administration and one-time $1,000 payments to school bus drivers, nurses, nutrition workers, and part-time employees.

Governor Kemp also discussed his education policy priorities for 2022, which will include a parental bill of rights and legislation to “ensure fairness in school sports and address obscene materials online and in our school libraries.” According to the Governor, these policy proposals are aimed at “protect[ing] our students from divisive ideologies.”

Turning to healthcare, Governor Kemp touted his Patients First Act from 2019 and its impact expanding choice and increasing savings for Georgians buying health insurance. He then shifted to new proposals to expand the health workforce, including $1 million to the University System of Georgia to expand nursing programs and funds for the Technical College System of Georgia to grow allied health partnerships. His budget proposal also includes $2.5 million for 136 new residency slots and $1 million for Mercer University to work to address rural physician shortages. Governor Kemp emphasized his goal to add 1,300 health practitioners across the state.

To strengthen the State’s foster care and adoption systems, Governor Kemp pledged $28 million to provide a 10% provider rate increase for foster parents, relative caregivers, child caring institutions, and child placing agencies.

Governor Kemp finally turned to public safety. After pledging support for constitutional carry legislation, he proposed new legislation allowing the Attorney General to partner with the GBI and local law enforcement to prosecute criminal gangs. The Governor also proposed funding for an additional class of State Trooper candidates and to offer free tuition for over 1,000 Georgians seeking to enter law enforcement with training through the Technical College System of Georgia. In a nod to the First Lady’s Grace Commission, Governor Kemp committed his support to legislation adding human trafficking to the list of serious violent and sexual offenses that require a superior court judge to grant bail.

The Governor closed his remarks with a renewed message of his intent to put Georgians first with a “bold, conservative agenda”. That agenda, in the Governor’s words, “turns promises made into promises kept."

The full text of Governor Kemp’s address may be accessed here, and video of the remarks are available here.

New Legislation

The following legislation of interest has been introduced in the House:

H.B.876

Barrow County; Board of Education; change composition of districts

GA Rep. Terry England (R-GA-116)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61087

H.B.884

Professions and businesses; expedited licenses for military spouses; provisions

GA Rep. D.C. "Dave" Belton (R-GA-112)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61095

H.B.885

Quality Basic Education Act; military student; revise definition

GA Rep. D.C. "Dave" Belton (R-GA-112)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61096

H.B.887

Revenue and taxation; authorize assessment of residential homesteaded property owned by individuals who are 65 years of age or older at 20 percent of its fair market value; provide for local referenda

GA Rep. Ron Stephens (R-GA-164)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61098

H.B.888

Education; treatment of race and other individual traits and beliefs; add new statutes and amend various existing statutes

GA Rep. Brad Thomas (R-GA-021)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61099

H.B.891

Banking and finance; financial institutions; provide for numerous updates

GA Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-GA-115)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61106

H.B.892

Education; use of corporal punishment by school personnel with any student in any public school; prohibit

GA Rep. Rebecca Mitchell (D-GA-106)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61107

H.B.893

Conservation and natural resources; extend date for hazardous waste fees

GA Rep. Randy Nix (R-GA-069)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61108

H.B.894

Property; prospective tenant shall not be refused a rental or lease agreement solely based upon a previous eviction due to COVID-19; provide

GA Rep. William Boddie (D-GA-062)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61109

H.B.898

Georgia COVID-19 State Agency Fellowship Act; enact

GA Rep. Mandisha Thomas (D-GA-065)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61113

H.B.899

Contracts; legal effects of the discontinuance of LIBOR; provisions

GA Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-GA-115)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61114

H.R.571

General Assembly; local referenda to authorize assessment of residential homesteaded property owned by individuals of certain ages at 20 percent of its fair market value; authorize - CA

GA Rep. Ron Stephens (R-GA-164)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61100

 

The following legislation of interest has been introduced in the Senate:

S.B.334

Educational Programs; no high school which receives funding under the Quality Basic Education Act shall participate in or sponsor interscholastic sports events conducted by any athletic association

GA Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-GA-053)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61084

S.R.364

Senate Costs and Effects of Smoking Study Committee; create

GA Sen. Michelle Au (D-GA-048)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61085

What’s Next

The General Assembly will reconvene for Legislative Day 4 on Friday, Jan. 14, at 10 a.m.

Copyright ©2022 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 13
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About this Author

Stanley S. Jones, Jr. Government Relations Attorney Nelson Mullins Atlanta
Partner

Stan practices in the areas of healthcare law, governmental relations and public policy, and administrative law.

404-322-6133
Helen L. Sloat Legislative Consultant Nelson Mullins Atlanta
Legislative Consultant

Helen is a legislative consultant and Georgia Registered Lobbyist. She is an advocate for various clients including healthcare providers, insurers, and child welfare providers. Helen tracks federal and state legislation, conducts research, drafts bills and amendments, and lobbies for legislative initiatives' introduction and passage. She has experience with Georgia's budgetary process.

404-322-6170
George S. Ray Government Relations Attorney Nelson Mullins Atlanta
Associate

George focuses his practice on Georgia government relations, state and local administrative law and regulatory proceedings, and business litigation. Representing education, healthcare, nonprofit, and other business entities before the Georgia General Assembly and State agencies, George works with clients to develop and implement strategies at each stage of the legislative and regulatory policy processes. He also helps clients resolve Georgia business, regulatory, and procurement disputes. 

404-322-6145
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