Schools remain closed through April 24

News
closing and cancellations
Gov. Brian Kemp

Gov. Brian Kemp

ATLANTA — In an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order today, (Mar. 26) that mandates all public elementary and secondary schools remain closed for in-person instruction through April 24.

Kemp said Thursday that students may be able to return to school on Monday, April 27.

“I am deeply grateful to State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education, superintendents, and parents for keeping us informed and helping us make the right decision for our students,” Kemp said.

“Throughout this process, we will continue to seek the advice of public health officials, school leaders and families to ensure the health and safety of the educational community. As we approach April 24, 2020, we ask for continued patience and flexibility since circumstances may change, but we encourage families to stay strong and follow the guidance of federal, state and local leaders in the weeks ahead.”

As of Thursday, there were more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases reported in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Georgia Receives SBA Statewide Disaster Declaration

News, State & National
SBA

Atlanta, GA – On March 18, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This declaration will provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses in all 159 counties in Georgia.

“This is great news for Georgia small business owners,” said Governor Kemp. “As we continue to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our economy, small business owners can apply for much-needed funding to continue operation and pay their employees. My thanks to the Trump Administration for their swift action to protect small business owners throughout the country.”

The application is now live, and Georgia small business owners can go directly to the SBA for assistance. Small business owners should visit www.disasterloan.sba.gov for information and the application.

Loans are available for small business and non-profit organizations. While terms will be established on a case-by-case basis, many will have a thirty-year repayment term with first payments not due for up to twelve months. Businesses should expect to provide a tax transcript, financial statements, and a profit and loss statement. Interest rates will range from 2.75% to 3.75%.

For more information, concerning Kemp’s action’s during COVID-19, click here.

Public K-12 and Secondary Schools closed March 18 to 31

Announcements, State & National
schools closed

Atlanta, GA – In accordance with newly issued federal guidance, Governor Brian P. Kemp signed Executive Order 3.16.20.01 closing all public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary public schools in Georgia from March 18, 2020, to March 31, 2020.

“To keep our students, teachers, and administrators safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I am ordering the closure of all public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools in Georgia from March 18, 2020, to March 31, 2020,” said Governor Kemp. “This measure is critical to reducing local transmission in communities across our state, and I ask Georgians to continue to follow best practices – washing their hands regularly, isolating the elderly and chronically ill, and avoiding large events if possible – in the days and weeks ahead.”

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GeorgiaEMA, @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GEMA.OHS, @GaDPH and @GovKemp on Facebook. For more information, visit the DPH’s coronavirus webpage at https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus.

UPDATE: It’s official! Collins will run for U.S. Senate, Tanner may run to replace Collins in House

News
Doug Collins

Rep. Doug Collins

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) made it official on Fox and Friends this morning. He will leave the U.S. House of Representatives to campaign for Senate against Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp in December to complete the term of Johnny Isakson after his resignation due to health concerns.

In making the announcement, Collins said, “I’m going to confirm that we’re in it for the Georgia Senate race down here.”

So who will replace Collins?

Popular Republicans like Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), radio talk show host Martha Zoller and Chris Riley, Gov. Nathan Deal’s former Chief of Staff, have reportedly said they will not enter the race.

Rep. Kevin Tanner

District 9 State Rep. Kevin Tanner could emerge as the leading candidate. The former fireman, law enforcement officer and Dawson County Manager told Fetch Your News Tuesday “I am giving it serious consideration and I will make a decision in the next few days.”

It will need to be a quick decision. Qualifying for the race will take place in March and the Republican Primary will be held in May.

Tanner, a four-term representative, is chairman of the House Transportation Committee and serves on the Appropriations, Education and Special Rules committees. He has more than 27 years of public service.

“This is an unexpected opportunity,” he said. “It’s not something I had planned on or thought about. But I have had a tremendous outpouring of colleagues and constituents calling on me to run.”

He added, “When I have a decision like this to make, I try to do so prayerfully. I want to do what is in the best interest of my family and the constituents in the 9th District.”

Gooch told Fetch Your News Tuesday “I believe it is a good opportunity for somebody to run for an open seat, but it won’t be me. I’m happy doing what I’m doing here. The three main reasons I won’t run are my three sons, Samuel, Seth and Sawyer. They are in public school now and they need a full-time Dad. This just isn’t the right time for me to leave and go to Washington.”

State Sen. John Wilkinson’s office confirmed Wednesday that he will also campaign for Collins’ seat. Wilkinson, who lists his occupation as farmer/teacher, is now in his fifth term in the state senate. He has chaired the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee the last eight years.

Should Tanner pull the trigger on a run for the U.S. House of Representatives that will leave an open seat in the Georgia House.

One name that has surfaced multiple times as a potential replacement for Tanner is Lumpkin County attorney Zack Tumlin.

Tumlin said Wednesday morning, “If Kevin Tanner runs for Ninth District Congress, I will 100 percent campaign for his seat in the Georgia House.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Rep. Tanner holds first 2020 townhall meeting

News

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga – State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) held the first town hall meeting of 2020 Saturday to update constituents on what happened at the state capitol during the first week of the 155th General Assembly.

Tanner holds the meetings weekly alternating between the Gordon Pirkle Room in the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Dahlonega.

A near capacity crowd was on hand to hear the representative outline key issues legislators are expected to address

Tanner said, “The budget is the most important thing we do in the General Assembly. That’s the guide for running state government for the rest of this fiscal year and next year.” During the first week, lawmakers worked to true up the supplemental budget. Once that is done, they will begin working on the “big” budget.

Tanner laid out what he expects to be the hot button issues this session.

“One of the hot-topic items is the foster care system,” he said. “We made some changes to the law a year or two ago which I think helped. But we have a lot of people who stay in foster care too long. We need to move them over to a permanent family. That is important. That is something the Governor, Lt. Governor me and other members of the House feel like is a priority.”

Tanner said gangs and gang violence is an important issue for Gov. Brian Kemp. “Thankfully, we live in an area where we don’t see that much but in the metro areas around the state, it’s much more prevalent,” he said.

As chairman of the state’s Transportation Committee, Tanner is concerned about commercial transportation.

“Georgia’s population is exploding, our business community is exploding and the Port of Savannah is bringing in freight at a record rate,” he said. But major industries like the Kia Plant in West Point and Shaw Industries in Dalton are having serious problems finding commercial truck drivers to deliver their products.

“I chaired a committee in Savannah and the head of the Kia Plant said he gets 700 tractor trailer deliveries a day but can’t find enough commercial truck drivers,” Tanner said. “Their average truck driver earns about $90,000 a year.  A UPS driver with a route from Knoxville to Georgia earns in excess of $100,000 annually.

“There are some good paying jobs in the commercial trucking industry, but it’s hard to find help,” Tanner said. “If we are going to continue to grow and continue to be a leader in freight movement, we are going to have to find ways to encourage people to go into the industry. We’re going to be working now over the next year to start bringing forth some solutions.”

Georgia’ General Assembly operates on a biannual system. Some of the items left over from the first session of the 155th General Assembly are likely to be considered in this session. The Senate’s desire to take over control of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is one of those issues.

Rather than support the Senate takeover, House members opted to appoint an oversight committee made up of House and Senate members to oversee operations.

“We have had conversations over the past week, week-and-a-half, so I am hopeful we will see resolution to a lot of those things left over from the last session,” he said.

Tanner has championed the issue of mental health for several years.

“We need to make some changes and improve our mental health system, whether it is from a law enforcement perspective, a courts perspective, an emergency room perspective or the perspective of the person suffering from mental illness,” he said. “The youngest person to take their own life in Georgia was 9 years old. Dawson County is fifth in the state percentage wise in suicides among young people.”

To address the issue, Tanner chairs the 26-member Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission.

“I’m a firm believer that government is not the fix for most anything. But I also believe there is a sector of the population who cannot take care of themselves. People who are like that, who are schizophrenic, bi-polar and don’t have families we have to be able to provide resources.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Senate unveils priorities for 155th General Assembly

News

ATLANTA, Ga. –As our state’s constitution demands, my Senate colleagues and I convened the second Monday in January – for the latter half of the 155th Georgia General Assembly.

Of course, with a new session always comes new challenges, and the most daunting challenge for this year’s forty-day sprint will be adjusting to the absence of a dear friend, Senator Greg Kirk, who left this world far too soon. His friendship will be sorely missed and the hard working men and women he represented are now without the best and most fearless champion they will ever have. My prayers remain with Greg’s wife, Rosalyn, and the entire Kirk family.

I also had the privilege of being invited to the White House to attend a signing ceremony for the new Phase One Trade Agreement between the United States and China. This agreement will drastically lower many of the barriers our farmers face when attempting to export their goods internationally and will spur economic development opportunities across Georgia’s agriculture industry. I look forward to witnessing firsthand how this trade deal benefits Georgia’s farmers in the coming months.

Also last week, the majority caucus unveiled our Senate priorities for the upcoming session. Among them: my continued pursuit of broadband access for all Georgians – just as we made a commitment to the telephone over a century ago, it is imperative that we continue to invest the time, the manpower and the required funding to connect every corner of Georgia to the twenty-first century. I am happy to continue to lead on this issue, just as I am happy, and honored, to lead on our other priorities: creating greater transparency in healthcare, curbing infant and maternal mortality rates and empowering our law enforcement community.

On Thursday, Governor Brian Kemp outlined his legislative priorities for the session in his annual State of the State address. In this speech, Gov. Kemp emphasized the progress our state has made since last year and reinforced his commitment to combating gangs and human trafficking. He also reiterated the commitment he made last year for our educators by following through with an additional $2,000 pay raise Georgia’s teachers. I look forward to working with the Governor’s Office on these proposals and others to continue to make Georgia as great as it can be.

This week, the Senate will not be in session. But we will still be busy at work as budget hearings will monopolize the majority of our week. As anyone who listened to the Governor’s State of the State Address this week knows, the budget process this year will be a challenging one, but my colleagues and I were elected to serve as good stewards of your taxpayer dollars and we are ready for the challenge.

Thirty-six legislative days remain. And, in that time, a lot can happen. But the one thing I can guarantee: Georgia’s best days are ahead of us, and I am eager to help get us there.

 

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as the Senate Majority Whip. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties. He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Gov. Kemp announces Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Day

News

 

News Release

ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp, in coordination with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and the National Weather Service, is declaring Nov. 6, as Georgia’s Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Day and encouraging schools, businesses and individuals to take part in the severe weather exercise/tornado test at 9:30 am.

“Hurricane season is ending, but the threat of severe weather isn’t over,” said GEMA/HS Director Homer Bryson.  “We typically see storms, including tornadoes, in late October through November, so this is an opportunity to provide our citizens with information and help educate them on how to better prepare for severe weather.”

In support of this day, many schools and businesses will be conducting their own severe weather exercise/tornado “TEST” which will be triggered by the NOAA Weather Radio’s Routine Weekly Test. All six National Weather Service Forecast Offices will issue this special routine weekly radio test simultaneously across the state around 9:30 AM.

To help Georgians prepare for severe weather, GEMA/HS’s Ready Georgia campaign offers resources and information residents can use to be informed about potential threats, develop a communications plan and create an emergency supply kit.

Employers can use the Ready Your Business guide to create custom contingency plans, and children can visit the ReadyKids page for age-appropriate information, videos and games. Your county emergency management agency is also a great resource for information or tips to help you and your family stay prepared.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Public Safety community training to stop human trafficking

News

PRESS RELEASE

On November 6, 2019, the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) will host a symposium for all disciplines of Georgia’s Public Safety Community. The 8-hour training symposium will dig deep into the second largest criminal enterprise in the world and a $290 million industry in Georgia.

This illegal business is Human Trafficking and is the trade of recruiting, harboring, transporting, obtaining or providing a person (especially minors) for abduction, fraud, coercion, forced labor and/or sexual exploitation. The one-day training will focus on the horrific reality of Human Trafficking in Georgia and is for all disciplines of public safety.

Governor Brian Kemp’s Initiatives and Priorities, Put Georgians First, listed cracking down on gang activity and human trafficking affecting every community across Georgia. Human trafficking is a critical issue and a public safety concern that is on the rise across the nation, but according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta is one of fourteen cities with abnormally high rates of human trafficking and child prostitution.

The Georgia Public Safety Training Center saw the necessity to equip the members of the public safety community to put a stop to this criminal enterprise. Second only to drug trade, human trafficking is the modern-day slavery and is quite lucrative. A kilo of cocaine can be sold one time, but a child can be sold over and over! This crime is not isolated to the downtown areas where crime is prevalent; Human trafficking could be happening next door and you would have no idea.

“To combat this terrible industry plaguing our state, it is imperative that all members of public safety are aware, informed, and well-equipped. As the nation’s premiere center for learning and growth, it is our duty to provide the tools and resources necessary to put an end to this imminent threat on Georgia’s innocent children,” stated Chris Wigginton, Director of the GPSTC.

The Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force will present invaluable information that will equip our law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical service, prosecutors, judges and others within the public safety community with the knowledge needed to identify, investigate, and prosecute human trafficking cases in Georgia.

All members of the public safety community are urged to attend this valuable one-day training symposium. Training credit has been approved through Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST), Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency (CCLC), Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council (GFSTC), and Georgia Office of EMS and Trauma (OEMS).

All media are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please kindly let us know if you are planning to attend. RSVP to sedwards@gpstc.org -or- jhutcheson@gpstc.org.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

Rep. Tanner will chair Georgia Behavioral Health Commission

News

PRESS RELEASE

State Rep. Kevin Tanner

ATLANTA – State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) was recently named chairman of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform & Innovation Commission by Governor Brian Kemp. The purpose of this commission is to conduct a comprehensive review of the behavioral health system in Georgia.

“I am honored that Governor Kemp appointed me to chair this vitally important commission,” said Rep. Tanner. “Through the extensive work of this commission, we will take a deep dive into Georgia’s mental health system to explore how our system currently supports adults and children in our state and the ways that we can enhance behavioral health services for our citizens.”

The Georgia Behavioral Health Reform & Innovation Commission was created by House Bill 514 during the 2019 legislative session and authored by Rep. Tanner. The commission will review the behavioral health services and facilities available in Georgia, the identification of behavioral health issues in children, adolescents and adults, as well as the role the education system has in the identification and treatment of behavioral health issues. Additionally, the commission will review the impact behavioral health issues have on the criminal justice system, the state’s homeless population, delivery of care, access to care, the role of payers in such access and the impact untreated behavioral illness has on children transitioning into adulthood. The commission will conclude on June 30, 2023.

“Mental health is a critical quality of life issue to the citizens of our state,” said Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “Led by Chairman Kevin Tanner, I know that this distinguished group of legislators and citizens will work together to improve service delivery throughout our behavioral health system. I thank Governor Kemp, Lt. Governor Duncan and my colleagues in both the House and Senate for adopting this collaborative approach to achieve better outcomes.”

For more information about House Bill 514, please click here.

Representative Kevin Tanner represents the citizens of District 9, which includes Lumpkin County and portions of Dawson and Forsyth counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012 and currently serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and the Education, Intragovernmental Coordination, Rules, Natural Resources & Environment and Special Rules committees.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Gov. Kemp visits UNG Friday for signing ceremony

News

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp received a warm welcome in Lumpkin County Friday when he arrived for a bill signing ceremony in the Library Technology Center on the campus of the University of North Georgia.

State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), who sponsored four of the five bills the governor signed, welcomed the governor to his hometown and introduced him to those in attendance.

“Today is a big day for us,” he said. “We’ve been working a lot on some issues dealing with broadband and internet services.”

With a large number of state legislators who helped usher the bills through to passage on hand, along with many county and municipal elected officials, Kemp signed Senate Bills 2, 17, 66, 79 and 454.

Senate Bills 2,17,66 and 79 deal with the expansion of access to broadband internet service and were sponsored by Gooch. SB 454 was carried to the senate by Gooch and deals with electronic assisted bicycles.

Senate Bill 2 allows Georgia’s 41 EMCs which represent about 4.5 million rural customers to get into the broadband business and sell internet services.

An important question that has yet to be answered is how many EMCs will participate.

“I’ll stand here today and be the first one to confess, I don’t know that all 41 will ever get into internet services,” Gooch said, “But I believe this will allow them the opportunity to do so.”

Wednesday, April 24 marked the governor’s 100th day in office and he reflected of some of his administration’s early accomplishments.

“Over and over again, I promised to keep families safe, to put hard working Georgians first and I think that is exactly what we have done with these pieces of legislation today and with these great legislators’ help who are here today.”

Kemp said the 2019 and 2020 budgets are “reflection of the values of our state and our priorities for the future. We have fully funded public 0education for the second year in a row. We have given teachers, counselors and others a historic pay raise this year. We’ve invested $70 million in school security grants, $30,000 for every public school in the K through 12 system. We also doubled funding for mental health services in our high schools.”

The governor also pointed to state investments in public safety. “We created a task force within the GBI to undermine drug cartels, gangs and human and sex trafficking.”

Kemp thanked legislators for “stepping up to the plate” and adding $20 million to the budget for hurricane relief for farmers in south and southwest Georgia “while we wait on those in Washington D.C. to do their part to put people ahead of politics and pass the daggum disaster relief bill.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collins, Perdue, Kemp join vice president in ICE meeting

News

Doug Collins

ATLANTA — U.S. Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.),U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Governor Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) joined Vice President Mike Pence at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Atlanta Field Office Thursday to receive a briefing about the work of local ICE agents and the broader mission of border security.

“President Trump and Vice President Pence’s commitment to securing our border and protecting our citizens remains unwavering, and I want to thank the vice president for traveling to Georgia to hear from the hardworking men and women serving in federal law enforcement. I look forward to continue working alongside this administration to strengthen our national security at home and abroad,” said Collins.

“I’m here on behalf of the President of the United States to say to the men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement here in Atlanta, Georgia: We are grateful for you, we are standing with you, and we will keep standing with you as you enforce our laws and keep our communities safe,” said Vice President Mike Pence.

“It was an honor to have Vice President Pence in Georgia today to hear directly from the brave men and women who wear the ICE uniform,” said Senator Perdue. “ICE is a critical component of our country’s national security strategy. Our ICE law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to combating human trafficking, protecting communities, and keeping drugs off the street. President Trump and Vice President Pence have taken action to make sure ICE officers have the resources they need to keep Georgians and Americans safe. To all of our law enforcement officers – we’ve got your backs.”

“It was an honor to welcome Vice President Pence to Georgia with Senator Perdue and Congressman Collins to talk about how we keep Georgia families  and all Americans  safe,” said Governor Brian Kemp.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Update from the State Capitol: Week 2

News

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

ATLANTA — This week began with a day off to reflect upon one of Georgia’s greatest, Martin Luther King Jr., whose ideals of peace and justice are woven into everything we do here at the Capitol. After our day of remembrance, we returned to the Gold Dome and hit the ground running with budget hearings.

Budget week started with Joint Senate and House Appropriations hearings, which included presentations from several state agencies as well as Governor Brian P. Kemp, on the Amended Fiscal Year 2019 and General Fiscal Year 2020 budgets. As Secretary of the Appropriations Committee, I am happy to say that the state’s budget continues to be in good shape, with the FY20 budget topping $27 billion for the first time. Below are some highlights for the two budgets.

Proposed Amended FY19 budget which totals around $26.9 billion:

  • $68.8 million for school security grants. This total amount will be appropriated at $30,000 per school statewide.
  • $491,300 in initial funding to support the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority.
  • $69.3 million for transportation as a result of HB 170.
  • $35.7 million additional funding to the Forestland Protection Act grant for repayment to counties and local systems.

Proposed General FY20 budget which totals around $27.5 billion:

  • $34.8 million in total funds to the Department of Economic Development to increase economic development throughout the state and to bring additional businesses and jobs.
  • $33 million in additional lottery funds to provide a three percent increase in the award amount for HOPE scholarships.
  • $32.6 million appropriated to the Department of Transportation for additional resurfacing projects and capital projects.
  • $100 million in bond funds for the repair, replacement and renovation of bridges throughout the state.

The General FY20 budget addresses our state’s continuing commitment to economic growth. Governor Kemp has proposed $34.8 million in total funds to the Department of Economic Development to continue the economic expansion that Governor Deal so successfully cultivated.

The state’s growing need to address transportation infrastructure is accounted for in the Amended FY19 budget. An additional $69.3 million in projected revenues resulting from House Bill 170 – passed during the 2015 Legislation Session – will be added to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) budget.

I am very happy to see that a piece of legislation we passed a couple of years ago is still making positive impacts for GDOT. The General FY20 budget includes $100 million for roadway improvements, as well. I will utilize my role as Vice Chairman of the Transportation Committee to ensure that this investment in Georgia’s infrastructure does not go to waste.

Next week, standing committees will begin to hold meetings and legislation will continue to be introduced in the Senate. I will continue to work on legislation that addresses broadband expansion and will keep you updated as the pace picks up and this session gets busier. As we move forward over the next 36 legislative days, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns and feedback. It is always great to hear from my constituents, and our door is always open.

 

For a full breakdown of the Amended Fiscal Year 2019 budget – House Bill 30 – please follow this link: http://www.house.ga.gov/budget/Documents/2019_FiscalYear/AFY_2019_Govs_Rec_Bill.pdf

For a full breakdown of the General Fiscal Year 2020 budget – House Bill 31 – please follow this link:  http://www.house.ga.gov/budget/Documents/2020_FiscalYear/FY_2020_Govs_Rec_Bill.pdf

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov

 

 

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