COLUMNISTS

Jan. 30 - Rep. Craig Gordon's Update from the State Capitol: Week of Jan. 21

Category: Columnists

By Rep. Craig Gordon

January 30, 2019 - Week of January 21, 2019

It was a special week as we celebrated the iconic leadership of Martin Luther King and honored his great legacy. At the state capitol, the Appropriations Committees reviewed the governor’s proposals for the state’s budget. I was pleased that these proposals include increased funding for healthcare, education, and safety. The state’s budget is a very comprehensive document so I have space to highlight just a few important issues, but you can access the complete report at https://opb.georgia.gov/governors-budget-reports .

A major priority of the Amended Fiscal Year 2019 budget addresses the need for affordable, quality healthcare and includes $1 million for the state to pursue options for Georgia’s Medicaid program that increases access to citizens in need. In addition, more than $5 million is earmarked for the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission for hospitals that serve uninsured citizens of our state. The governor’s FY 2020 budget earmarks nearly $90 million in new funding for Medicaid and PeachCare expense growth and $3.2 million to add long term acute care hospitals. I believe that these proposals are moving in the right direction, so that more citizens in need can get the care they deserve.

The budget proposal also adds a $68.8 million grant so that each public school in our state will receive a one-time fund of $30,000 to implement school safety, along with a recommendation that Georgia certified teachers receive a $3,000 pay raise. I believe that education, school safety, and teacher pay raises are vital in our schools. The AFY 2019 budget also includes close to $3 million in additional lottery funds for growth in the HOPE Scholarship fund and $3.5 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program.

Regarding safety, the AFY 2019 budget earmarks $500,000 in initial funds to form a gang taskforce within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to dismantle street gangs and track drug cartel that are operating in our communities. I believe that it’s important to work with local and federal partners to undermine organized crime and eliminate gangs that are using social media to recruit young children. Until gangs are eradicated, our communities will continue to suffer with crime and drugs. The budget also includes funds to put more law enforcement on our streets and additional funding for the Cyber Crime Center. These budget line items are positive steps to help decrease crime in our state and in our district.  

As I go to Atlanta each week to represent you, please know that your family, job, and future are always on the forefront of my mind as I consider legislation that could affect our community. It is a great privilege to serve you and I always appreciate your valuable input. Please feel free to contact me at 404.656.0287. Thank you for allowing me to represent you!

 

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