The General Assembly kicked off its first week of the 2022 Session with a very quiet Monday as many of the legislators were headed to Indianapolis for the National Championship game between the University of Georgia and Alabama. A Dawgs victory had almost everyone in very high spirits the rest of this week as the Legislature started its work by inviting Governor Kemp to address a joint session of the House and Senate on Thursday.
Governor Kemp laid out his priorities for the year in his State of the State speech. Education, healthcare and public safety were the primary focus of the Governor’s agenda for 2022. Given the excellent fiscal health of the state, the Governor stated he would include both a tax cut for all Georgians ($250 for single filers and $500 for joint filers) as well as a significant raise for teachers and other state employees and eliminating all austerity cuts to the state K-12 education budget for the first time since the Great Recession in next year’s budget.
Other investments included funding for programs to increase the number of physicians serving in rural areas, expanding the number of nursing slots in public universities and providing the GA Bureau of Investigation with new equipment for the state crime lab.
Speaker David Ralston made his priorities clear during a speech at the annual GA Chamber Eggs and Issues Breakfast Wednesday morning. Chief among them will be a package to address shortcomings in the mental health system in Georgia.
Lt. Governor Duncan also addressed the Chamber breakfast and discussed his desire to hold a national conversation on restoring civility to the political discourse in America.
INFORM CONSUMERS ACT FILED
SB 332 by Sen. John Albers, the Inform Consumers Act, was filed this week. The act will require internet marketplaces to provide more information to consumers about who they are buying from when they make purchases online from high-volume sellers. It is based on the federal legislation that was introduced in Congress late last year. Co-sponsors of the bill include nearly every member of the Senate Majority and Minority leadership.
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Today is Day 4 of the 40 Day Session. Next week will have no legislative days as the House and Senate Appropriations’ Committees hold joint hearings on the Governor’s budget. The current schedule calls for Days 5-7 to be held Monday through Wednesday of the following week at which point a new adjournment resolution to set the calendar will need to be adopted.