The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the House’s additions to the governor’s budget for the rest of this fiscal year and also added a few of its priorities. We expect final passage by both chambers this week. 

The Senate added an additional $200,000 in operating funds for the Department of Public Health to hire two managers in addition to the three added by the House Appropriations Committee. Our Senate counterparts also upped the bond financing we included for technology improvements to further help Public Health track Georgia’s COVID-19 response. 

We intend to have the final passage of the amended state budget by the end of this week. This will enable school systems and state agencies to know what their budgets are for the rest of the fiscal year ending June 30 so they can best manage and wisely spend their allocations. 

Gov. Brian Kemp last week unveiled some of his legislative priorities. 

One package is aimed at strengthening the teacher pipeline for public schools by providing more support to new teachers, easing teacher certification requirements for retired military personnel, and enabling retired teachers to receive full pay while continuing to receive retirement benefits if they work in communities with the biggest teacher shortages. The governor also wants the state to partner with historically black colleges and universities to recruit more of their graduates to teach in the public schools. 

Another one of the governor's initiatives is to reform adoption and foster care in Georgia. House Bill 114 would triple the state’s income tax credit for families that adopt children who are in foster care. The top tax credit would reduce dollar for dollar up to $6,000 in state income taxes owed for five years. Senate Bill 28 would increase training and resources for case workers to allow the state’s juvenile justice system to better determine the safety needs of children, including those in foster care. 

On the final day of the session’s fourth week, Gov. Kemp rolled out House Bill 304, which he calls the “Georgia-Made Medical Manufacturing Act.” This will incentivize the production of medicine and medical devices within our state so that we can limit our dependency on other states or countries for critical supplies in the fight against COVID-19. This program is modeled after the PPP tax credit that was adopted during the 2020 legislative session. 

I am grateful that at the end of the fourth week of the session, we were still in business under the Gold Dome. The safety precautions that Speaker David Ralston put in place seem to be working.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent District 116. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at 404-463-2245 or at May God bless you and your family, this wonderful county, our great state, and our nation.

Rep. Terry England has served in the Georgia House since 2005. District 116 includes most of Barrow County. In addition to chairing the House Appropriations Committee, he is an ex-officio member of the Ways & Means Committee and a member of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, the Education Committee, the Industry and Labor Committee, and the Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

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