News from Under The Gold Dome

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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We are closing in on the halfway point of our annu­al legislative business at the state Capitol. Nineteen legislative days are now behind us and with only 21 remaining, the Senate has kicked it into another gear to pass out legislation. The Senate passed nine bills this week, with many more nearing their op­portunity to be heard for a full vote.

Authorizing Vaccines During Public Health Emergencies
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine production has ramped up, it is vital that all eligible Georgians have the ability to receive the vaccine. I sponsored Senate Bill 46, which will assist with these efforts by allowing certain medical professionals such as Emergency Medical Technicians, pharmacists, and cardiologists to administer vaccines while the state is under a public health state of emergency. This will greatly increase the rate at which our state can disburse vaccinations and, when combined with the Governor’s announcement of four new mass vaccination facilities in rural parts of the state that will open next week, shows an aggressive attack against COVID-19 that will result in fewer cases and hospitalizations.

Advancing Education
Senate Bill 88, serves to enhance Georgia’s teacher pipeline in several ways, including granting Georgia’s educators greater input in the decisions made by the State Board of Education by elevating the Georgia Teacher of the Year to serve as an Ex-Officio on the Board. Additionally, the bill would give flexibility to edu­cators by allowing them to partake in nontraditional teacher education programs, which will be especially beneficial to our military community. This year, perhaps more than any other, demonstrated how Georgia’s educators rise to any challenge presented to them. These increased resources will grow the field of education in the state and support those who are already serving Georgia’s students.

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Extending License Issuing Time for Military Members
Senate Bill 27, would extend the time in which a current or former member of the military may qualify for the issuance of various professional licenses from 180 days to two years. This would include licenses for electrical contractors, plumbers, conditioned air contractors, low-voltage contractors, and utility contractors.

The Senator Jack Hill Veterans’ Act
Senate Bill 87, would allow a taxpayer in the state to make a voluntary contri­bution on their income tax return to a qualified service disabled vet­erans benefit organization, in order to aid and assist service-disabled veterans.

Next week, the Senate will convene for five legislative days. As we continue to ap­proach Crossover Day, you can expect the volume of bills heard in committees and passed on the Senate floor to increase. The 2022 Fiscal Year budget is among the important priorities we have left, but if you have any questions about any passed or proposed legislation, please contact my office.