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Update from the Capitol - 3/28/2017

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

After another long week at the Capitol, we only have two legislative days remaining of the 2017 legislative session. Committees have adjourned for the year and all that remains for your legislators is tackling the long lists of bills that stand before us.

 

Wednesday saw the final passage of House Bill 44, or the FY 2018 general budget. The budget anticipates a record $24.9 billion dollars in revenue and includes $55.4 million to fund a 20 percent salary increase for state law enforcement to help increase recruitment while at the same time reducing turnover. The budget also allocates $160 million to provide funding for a two percent base salary increase for our teachers, school bus drivers and school nurses. These professions are the backbone of our communities and I am grateful for any progress towards granting them the recognition and financial compensation that they deserve. 

This week we passed 46 bills. Here are a few which will undoubtedly have a strong positive impact on our state.

HB 328 would revise the legal language relating to certain rules of the road. Specifically, transported loads may hang over the rear of the vehicle for up to six feet and the load limit for vehicles using idle-reducing technology would increase to 550 pounds

House Bill 199 would create a new tax credit for both video game companies and all post-production companies. No company could claim more than 20 percent of the available tax credits for one year and companies must report to the Department of Revenue the number of monthly full time employees who are subject to Georgia income tax withholdings.

House Bill 238, a measure which I carried, would update the list of activities allowed under the Conservation Use Valuation Assessment Program to include solar generation of energy and farm labor housing.


House Bill 245 would allow spouses of military personnel who hold a teaching license the ability to qualify for temporary education certification if they have to relocate to Georgia due to their spouse‚Äôs military transfer.

House Bill 222 would allow children of members of the Georgia National Guard and Reserve to meet the residency requirements to be eligible for HOPE Scholarship. HB 222 would also require the Georgia Lottery to increase the funding amount for the Lottery for Education Account by one percent each year for three years starting at 26.5 percent in Fiscal Year 2018.

House Bill 290 clarifies that agricultural equipment under a lease purchasing agreement is able to qualify for an ad valorem property tax exemption.

House Bill 437 would recreate the former Agriculture Education Advisory Commission that was abolished on December 31, 2016.

Sine Die is fast approaching and all of us under the Gold Dome are well aware of the encroaching deadline. We will do everything in our power to get as many bills passed that will have a positive impact on the state as possible. If you plan on being in Atlanta before our final adjournment, please let me know. I always love to see visitors from home. If you have any questions on these or other bills, please let me know. Your opinion is invaluable to my work here under the Gold Dome.

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Sen. Tyler Harper serves as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee. He represents the 7th Senate District which includes Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Coffee, Irwin, Pierce and Ware counties and portions of Charlton and Wilcox counties.  He may be reached at 404.463.5263 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .