Update from the Capitol: Week 4

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Another week has passed here at the Gold Dome, and it was the busiest one to date. Along with passing four pieces of legislation on the Senate floor, progress was also made on the Amended Fiscal Year 2021 (AFY 21) budget, numerous election reform bills were filed, and our important committee work continued. I am excited for what is to come, but first want to give you some of the highlights from the week.

This week, the Georgia Senate Appropriations Committee approved the AFY 21 budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed with many of the House changes and I expect this budget bill, House Bill 80, to be on the Senate Chamber floor next week for a full vote. The supplemental budget is a necessary bill every year in order to true up any disparities on what was originally budgeted for a fiscal year, versus what is actually necessary. This process was especially important this year, as the full economic impact of COVID-19 is still being determined. However, this budget represents a fair and responsible allocation of your tax dollars and I am pleased with the final product. 

My fellow members and I also voted on our first bills of the session this week on the Senate floor. Notably, the Senate passed Senate Bill 6, also known as the “Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2021.” SB 6, which I cosponsored, would allow the chairpersons of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to request up to five economic analyses each year of a particular tax credit. Georgia offers numerous tax credits in order to incentivize business to establish operations in the state, and while many of them provide a positive return on investment, this is not true across the board. SB 6 ensures Georgia has fiscal responsibility in place and we are only approving tax credits that can demonstrate a positive return. This bill passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote and will now transfer to the House for consideration.

After listening to my constituents and Georgians as a whole, I knew that election reform legislation would be a prominent part of the 2021 Legislative Session. It is imperative that we restore Georgians’ confidence in our state’s democratic process. Georgians need to know that every legal vote is being counted and that our voting system is secure. For that reason, I have signed onto more than eight election reform bills. These bills have been assigned to the Senate Ethics Committee, and I will certainly remain informed on their progress and keep you updated on their progress.  

Next week, more committees will start vetting bills and passing them along to the Rules Committee where they have the opportunity to be selected for a vote before the full Senate. Please feel welcome to contact my office if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I am here to serve you and would love to hear from you. Thank you for your support.

Sen. Billy Hickman represents the 4th Senate District which includes Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Evans, and portions of Emanuel and Tattnall Counties. He may be reached at 404.463.1371 or by email at billy.hickman@senate.ga.gov.

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