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Update from the Capitol - 2/14/17

tyler harper By: Sen. Tyler Harper (R- Ocilla)

Last week, we had many special guests and passed several pieces of legislation.

On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to sponsor Young Farmers Association Day at the Capitol. The Young Farmer’s Association has a long history of providing agricultural education and advocacy programs to benefit farmers throughout the state. As past president, I was pleased to sponsor the GYFA at the Capitol and I thank them for their hard work and service. The Georgia Young Farmers Association was founded in 1970 to serve as the primary adult education delivery system for young Georgian farmers and is now the nation’s largest affiliate. Along with the GYFA, we also had the pleasure of having representatives from Georgia’s 4-H programs stop by the capitol to share a little bit about what they do. It was great to have State President James Hancock of Irwin County speak to the Senate on behalf of Georgia 4-H. Agriculture is the single largest industry in our state and it’s always great to hear from the folks who help make that happen.


We also took the time to honor and recognize the many firefighters in Georgia who risk their lives to protect our homes, businesses and property. The Capitol was filled with brave firefighters from all over the state as I introduced Senate Resolution 157, recognizing February 7, 2017 as Firefighter Appreciation Day at the Capitol. Specifically, I want to thank the firefighters from our district who took the time to visit the capitol to be honored on this special day. It’s always nice to see folks from the district, especially those who work hard to protect us each and every day. I would like to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to all the men and women who make up the more than 12,000 firefighters in Georgia and commend them for the extraordinary job they do to make our state a safer place.

I was also fortunate to host Irwin County Elementary School’s fifth grade class this week, along with House Representative Clay Pirkle. I am always excited to see young people interested in the political process and it was a pleasure to show them a thing or two about the inner workings of our state government.

The Senate also passed SB 14, which would expand an existing tax credit program benefitting rural hospitals to make it more attractive to potential donors. SB 14 would allow “S” corporations, limited liability corporations and partnerships to receive a tax credit equal to 70 percent of the amount donated, or $10,000, whichever is less. Several hospitals in our district are in great need of financial assistance and this tax credit program should go a long way in ensuring their doors remain open to serve rural Georgia for years to come.

Thursday, we passed one of the most important bills of the year, the amended 2017 Fiscal Year budget. One of the highlights from the budget is the allocation of funds for a pay increase for our state’s law enforcement officers. A total of $27 million has been appropriated for the purpose of giving these fine men and women a much needed raise.

Friday, we heard my proposal to allow certified law enforcement officers to retain their badge and firearm after retiring in good standing. It’s a small token of appreciation to the brave men and women who risk everything to ensure our safety. The bill received broad support from my Senate colleagues and will now go to the Georgia House of Representatives for consideration.

Finally, I want to thank the young men and women from District 7 who have taken the time out of their week to serve as a page for the Georgia Senate. These pages serve a very important purpose by delivering messages to senators throughout the course of a legislative day.  It is an experience you will remember for a lifetime. If you are interested in serving as a page please get in contact with my office.

If you ever have any comments or concerns, you are more than welcome to get in contact with my office. It is an honor and a privilege to serve District 7 and your opinion is considered in every decision I make.