By Rep. Craig Gordon

February 27, 2019 - The Georgia General Assembly is mid-way through the 40-day session, and we have worked together to consider a wide range of legislative initiatives so far. This week was another very productive one, but the most important accomplishment was the passage of the Amended Fiscal Year 2019 Budget, as the passage of a balanced budget is mandated by our state’s constitution. The bill, HB 30, includes appropriations for many important initiatives that will benefit our education system, address school safety, help farmers who felt the negative impact of Hurricane Michael, provide for healthcare options, and assist the Meals on Wheels program, totaling $26.9 billion. The largest part of the budget is allocated for education at 53.7 percent, with the second largest percentage allocated to health care at 21.7 percent. The bill becomes law when Governor Kemp signs it, which is fully anticipated by the legislature.

It was good to see the overwhelming support of House Bill 186, and the agreement from both sides of the aisle that healthcare is essential for every Georgian, not just those that can afford it. This bill ensures that the proceeds from the sale or lease of a hospital owned by a hospital authority or political subdivision of the state are put into an irrevocable trust and are only used to provide indigent health care. If certain conditions are met by the hospital authority or political subdivision, additional investment options are permitted. It’s my hope this bill will become law and will provide for Georgians who aren’t getting the care they need.

Another bill that addresses an important healthcare matter, HB 158, passed which requires that Medicaid recipients have the same access to antiretroviral regimens used to treat HIV and AIDS as those included in the formula established for the Georgia AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The GA ADAP is a state-administered program that provides HIV/AIDS medications to low-income individuals living with HIV disease who have little or no coverage from private or third-party insurance. It’s my hope that this bill fills the gap so that Georgians can get the medication they need for improved health.

Our community will directly be impacted with the passage of HR 37, which will create the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics, to develop a comprehensive business plan for statewide freight and logistics infrastructure so our state can remain economically competitive. This commission will develop a strategic approach to our freight and logistics foundation so that growth can take place systematically and our state can support this vital industry while continuing to thrive.

As we continue the legislative session, I would like to hear from you! My local office number is 912.231.8958 . It’s a privilege to work with my colleagues in the Georgia General Assembly and to represent our great community in Atlanta.

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