House Budget Writers Increase Health Spending
The House of Representatives passed its version of the amended FY 2021 budget with increases in public health spending. The House document would provide $18 million to replace the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) outdated surveillance system in order to address the current COVID-19 pandemic response and provide ongoing infrastructure improvements for future epidemiologic surveillance capacity.

The budget bill, House Bill 80, would also provide nearly $300,000 to DPH for a chief medical officer, a deputy commissioner of public health, and a chief data officer to support the agency with its COVID-19 pandemic response as well as provide ongoing public health leadership. In addition, the House’s proposed amended FY 2021 budget reflects $1.04 billion in federal funds allocated to DPH for epidemiology, laboratory capacity, COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, and public health crisis response resulting from the multiple federal relief packages. 
Click here for complete budget highlights.

The legislature will reconvene on Monday, February 1 for Legislative Day 9.
Click here for the current General Assembly schedule. 

Before visiting the State Capitol, be aware of the COVID-19 protocols for the building.
Click to hear Sen. Elena Parent explaining Senate Bill 23.
This bill would allow municipal governments to make decisions
about historic monuments locally.
House Bill 75 - Taxpayer Bill of Rights Notice Revision 
by Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Cartersville), Pending in House Ways & Means
This legislation revises the notice required under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights when there is an increase in value to the total tax digest of a jurisdiction. The required notice would differentiate between revenue increases resulting from an increase in the assessed value of properties in a jurisdiction, those caused by a local government raising the millage rate, or a combination of both. GMA supports this bill.

House Bill 79 - Local Control of Fireworks
by Rep. Erick Allen (D-Syrmna), Pending in House Regulated Industries
This legislation would grant local governments greater flexibility and authority over how to regulate the usage of fireworks through local ordinances. GMA supports this bill. 

Senate Bill 6 - Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2021
by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), Pending in Senate Rules
This legislation would allow the chairpersons of the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to request up to five economic analyses each year on existing or proposed tax provisions. GMA supports this bill. 

Senate Resolution 26 -  Airports: State Debt Funding Authorization
by Sen. Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla), Pending in Senate Appropriations Committee
This resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution to allow the state to incur general obligation debt in order to make loans or grants to counties, municipalities, consolidated governments, local authorities, and local commissions that own airports for the acquisition, construction, development, extension, enlargement, or improvement of such airports. GMA supports this bill. 
GMA thanks these legislators for sponsoring municipal policy initiatives. 
House Bill 98 - Virtual Public Hearings 
by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee), Pending in House Governmental Affairs
This legislation would explicitly grant local governments the authority to hold virtual public hearings, such as budget or zoning proceedings, in emergency situations. GMA supports this bill. 

House Bill 107 - Workforce Development Boards
by Rep. Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus), Pending in House Governmental Affairs
This bill would allow for local workforce development boards to hold virtual meetings and teleconferences. GMA supports this bill. 

House Bill 134 - Exemption for Cybersecurity Discussion
by Rep. Victor Anderson (R-Cornelia), Pending in House Judiciary
This legislation would provide an exemption for cybersecurity discussions and for cybersecurity documents or plans in executive sessions. GMA supports this bill. 

Senate Bill 32 - Exclude Cell Phone Numbers From Open Records
by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan), Pending in Senate Judiciary 
This bill would add unlisted telephone numbers and personal mobile or wireless telephone numbers to the list of types of information not subject to disclosure pursuant to an open records request. GMA supports this bill. 
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver is sponsoring three bills related to tax abatements and annexation. These bills are pending hearings in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GMA is working with the author on these bills.  

GMA needs your help to review these bills and reply with comments on how this proposed legislation would impact your municipal operations. 

House Bill 23 - Annexation Dispute Process, Adding School Boards
This legislation would allow school boards to dispute proposed municipal annexations if a proposed change in zoning or land use would create a financial impact on a school system's current and planned capacity.

House Bill 24 - Annexation Dispute Process, Adding Proposed Tax Abatements as a Reason for Objection
This legislation would allow a county to object to proposed annexations if any proposed tax abatements or financial incentives are offered by the city or, if known, offered by a development authority.

House Bill 66 - Bond Validation Hearings: Standing for Local Governments
This legislation would allow any school system, municipality or county to have standing in bond validation hearings of any government which shares the same geographic territory.
Local Legislation Update: If you are interested in seeing if local legislation has been introduced that impacts your city, or surrounding local governments, and subscribe to GMA's Local Legislation Alert to receive an email when any local legislation has been introduced and  assigned to a committee.

Visit GMA's Legislative Tracking Site for more information on the bills GMA's Advocacy Team is following.
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