Painful budget cuts ahead for state agencies as legislators try to balance Georgia’s budget

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Appearing on FYNTV.COM’s “Good Morning from the Office” program Thursday (June 4) State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) said legislators will tackle the difficult task of balancing the fiscal year 2021 budget when the Georgia’s General Assembly is back in session on June 15.

The full legislature has not met since Gov. Brian Kemp declared a Public Health State of Emergency to address the COVID-19 crisis on March 14. When they return, legislators will have to pass a supplemental 2020 budget as well as a FY 2021 budget.

“There are going to be some painful cuts,” Tanner said, “The appropriations committees have already been working. We’ve drafted cuts for the governor for 14 percent across the board, no exceptions for every agency.”

Agency directors have testified before the joint appropriations committee. So the appropriations committees are well underway with the budget process.

“Fortunately in Georgia, we are required to balance the budget unlike in Washington which I think is one of the biggest issues in D.C. now,” said Tanner. “In addition to that, one of the things leadership in the House has done is they have taken a look at our important bills that are outstanding and I think you will see several other bills come before the House and Senate.”

Tanner is one of nine Republican candidates campaigning for the 9th District Congressional seat vacated by Congressman Doug Collins who is seeking to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Two of other’s – Georgia State Senator John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) and Ethan Underwood appeared on Thursday’s program. Fetch Your News will also have separate articles on those candidates.

Regarding issues he wants to address if elected, Tanner said the biggest issue is spending.

“The special interest groups that are driving the conversation in Washington are part of the problem,” he said. “They are driving the insanity in D.C. that is geared around spending. Spending is completely out of control and it has been for several decades. It’s not just one party. All parties are to blame for the spending problem we have and I’m not sure that ever gets under control until we force a balanced budget amendment into the Constitution. I fully support a balanced budget amendment.”

Asked about the bitter divisiveness going on in Washington, Tanner said, “There’s people out there who would like to divide us. There’s people who want to create turmoil. A lot of those people are funding candidates on both sides, Republican and Democrat. They want to create anarchy in this country so they can destroy an institution  we have built and our forefathers have built. I’m not willing to sit by while my country is being destroyed without jumping into the fight. We have got to bring some common sense back to Washington.”

 

 

Update from the Gold Dome: Week 7

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Sen. Steeve Gooch

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R — Dahlonega)

This week, the Senate completed Legislative Days 17 through 21, meaning we are now officially past the halfway point of the 2020 session.

In these 21 days, the Senate has addressed issues across the spectrum of policy areas including healthcare, public safety and foster care reform.

Our state has a lot to be proud of, especially our designation as the number one state in which to do business. However, a large part of fostering a positive business climate is having a strong legal system that promotes fairness and is efficient enough to handle some of the complex litigation that arises from business liability disputes. Currently, Georgia is severely lacking in several aspects of our legal environment that need to be addressed quickly in order to improve our civil justice environment.

Last summer, a Senate Study Committee traveled across the state to hear from stakeholders in the business and legal communities on some of the major areas of litigation that need to be improved in Georgia. This committee ultimately supplied a list of recommendations, which were taken into account in Senate Bill 415, which I sponsored. SB 415 received an extensive hearing in an Insurance and Labor subcommittee and addresses a variety of issues that would allow our judicial process to operate more efficiently and even the playing field for both mom and pop shops on main street, as well as larger corporations.

I am hopeful that this bill will move quickly through the legislative process so we can begin to make the incremental changes necessary to improve Georgia’s civil justice climate. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the senate to perfect this bill and get Georgia back on the right track.

In keeping with the theme of making Georgia’s business climate as strong as it can be, the Senate passed a bill that would allow the legislature to determine the economic viability of certain tax credit programs. While tax credits are undoubtedly an asset in attracting businesses to locate to or expand in Georgia, we also need to ensure that we are receiving a beneficial return on investment.

Senate Bill 302 would allow the Chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to each request five economic analyses of tax credits each year. These analyses must include, among other things, the net change in state revenue associated with the credit. Having this data available will not only allow us to determine which current tax credits are more beneficial than others, but will also inform how tax credits are implemented in the future.

Healthcare was another issue that was addressed this week and the Senate made meaningful process in addressing an issue that has affected many patients across the state. “Surprise billing” has been an area the legislature has been trying to fight for years and this week we passed a bill that attempts to resolve many of the issues faced by consumers.

Senate Bill 359 would take the patient out of the middle of a price dispute when they unexpectedly receive out-of-network care and outlines an arbitration and negotiation process to allow insurance companies and healthcare providers to work these discrepancies out themselves. This will allow the consumer to focus on getting better and grant them more peace of mind when undergoing a medical procedure.

Since we are now past the official halfway point of the session, our next important deadline will be Crossover Day, which will fall on March 12. While that may sound far off, at the pace the Senate has been moving it will be here before we know it. There is still a lot of work to accomplish in the time we have remaining, such as the budget, but I am never too busy to hear from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to my office.

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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

Sen. Gooch: Week 3 in the Ga. General Assembly

News

By: Sen. Gooch (R — Dahlonega)

Sen. Steve Gooch

This week the Georgia General Assembly had a full week, meeting for five legislative days with plenty of committee work in between. Overall, this was a successful week for the Senate, as we saw another important bill receive passage in our chamber.

While last week legislators were focused squarely on the budget, this week saw us broaden our scope to committee work. Over the 2019 interim, I chaired a Senate Study Committee that was tasked with taking a closer look at the role of personal mobility devices (such as electric powered scooters) and how best to ensure the safety of the rider and any pedestrians or vehicles the scooter may encounter. These considerations were included in Senate Bill 159, which I presented to the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday. We were careful as a state not to provide regulations that were too strict and gave great flexibility to counties and municipalities in how they wish to regulate the use of these devices in their communities. The bill received favorable consideration from the Senate Transportation Committee and will hopefully be considered for a vote by the full Senate in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, the Senate took up House Bill 444 for a vote. This bill proposes a cap on the number of dual enrollment classes a student may earn credit for at 30 hours. This will ensure that this popular and beneficial program will be able to continue for years to come by lessening the cost of the program. HB 444 would also make sure that our students our using the dual enrollment classes for core courses that are easily transferable, so that they may be used a wider number of colleges and universities. These small adjustments will not have any effect on the majority of students who participate in the dual enrollment program and will ensure that it remains sustainable for future generations of students to enjoy.

The proper maintenance of our roads, bridges and highways is always one of the top priorities of the General Assembly each year. As the number one state in the nation in which to do business for six straight years, we know this would not have been possible without efficient infrastructure. On Thursday, we heard a presentation by the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation in a joint meeting of the Senate and House Transportation Committees in order to hear an update on GDOT’s ten-year plan for our roadways. I am encouraged and optimistic by GDOT’s vision and I looking forward to working with their team to continue to ready our infrastructure for the logistics needs of the next decade.

The Senate will meet next week for legislative days ten through thirteen. We are still early in the session, but the groundwork is currently being laid out to ensure each and every legislative day will be well spent. As always if there is ever anything I can do for you please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my office.

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 town hall meeting

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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

 

 

 

Declining revenue will be a problem legislators will face in 2020 General Assembly

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Ga.) said there will be number of difficult challenges when the Georgia General Assembly is gaveled into session Monday (Jan.13).

One of the biggest challenges, he said will be setting the state budget amid declining revenue.

“The budget is always difficult, but this year it is going to be especially tough because of the decline in revenue,” Tanner said Wednesday. The economy continues to be strong but revenue is generated when companies expand and therein lies part of the problem. Georgia is at, or near, zero unemployment and companies can’t find the workers they need to grow.

“Most businesses want to expand and grow, but finding a quality workforce is the biggest problem,” he said. “It’s something many states are struggling with.” Nationwide, there are 8.7 million job postings and only 7 million unemployed.

An executive at the KIA plant in Savannah told Tanner the thing that most often kept him awake at night was the fear of not finding enough truck drivers to deliver the product.

Tanner said the marketplace facilitator bill introduced in last year’s general assembly would have raised hundreds of millions of dollars. The bill, which would have required on line marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to collect and remit sales taxes on behalf of  sellers, sailed through the House, but stalled in the Senate.

He expects that bill to be reintroduced in this session.

Tanner said he will continue his town hall sessions beginning Saturday (Jan. 18).

 

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

 

 

 

 

Sen. Gooch summarizes state budget for FY 2020

News

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

During the 2019 session, the Georgia General Assembly fulfilled our constitutional duty and passed a record $27.5 billion Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Budget, House Bill 31, which is based on a state fund growth rate of 2.3% and 3.45% Department of Revenue growth over the Fiscal Year 2019 amended budget estimates.

Some highlights of the budget include:

Educators and Certified Employees:

  • $530.8 million to address a $3,000 pay raise, which will begin on July 1, 2019, for Georgia’s teachers and other certified school personnel including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists and technology specialist.
  • $15,003,985 in Lottery Funds to adjust state base salary schedule to increase salaries for certified Pre-K teachers and certified employees by $3,000 effective July 1, 2019.
  • $750,000 for professional development grants for teachers who wish to teach computer science courses. This session Senate Bill 108 received final passage which would require at least one high school in each school system and all middle schools in a school system offer a course in computer science starting during the 2022-2023 school year. SB 108 also lays out the requirements for charter and middle schools.
  • $250,000 for cyber security initiatives in high schools across the state.
  • $1 million for additional high school counselors and programs for Title I schools.
  • An increase of .25 cents to $15.50 per month for each year of service for the benefit utilized by non-certified school employees like school bus drivers and school through the Public School Employees Retirement System.

Heath Care:

  • $4.9 million for Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ residential treatment of addictive diseases.
  • $250,000 for the Department of Community Health so that grants can be matched for hospitals in rural counties so that necessary upgrades can be made in their emergency rooms for behavioral health patients.
  • $40,000 to enhance delivery and access to emergency trauma care in rural Georgia by adding five new Level IV trauma centers.

Broadband Expansion:

  • $2.0 million to the Department of Community Affairs for the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative.

District 51:

  • $2.3 million in bond package funding for the design of the construction of the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.
  • $1.5 million to bring currently used state-owned rail lines up to Class II Standards to help reduce freight truck traffic on highways. This funding will go to Georgia Northeastern Rail Road to upgrade tracks and bridges in Fannin County.

These are just a few of the highlights of the FY20 budget. The entire document and supporting documentation can be found on the link below:

http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx

If you have any questions about any specific items in the FY20 budget, please do not hesitate to reach out. I will continue to update you over the course of the next few weeks on the status of bills on the Governor’s desk. The deadline for signing, vetoing or laws becoming effective without signature is May 12, 2019. While session is over, please remember that I am always here to be of assistance and our office door is always open.

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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.

 

Sen. Steve Gooch update from the state capitol

News

ATLANTA — We concluded week ten on Friday and now just have one full week before Sine Die on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. With four legislative days to go and one committee work day, we have a lot of work to do before our time under the Gold Dome comes to an end for the 2019 session.

I am proud that three of the bills I sponsored to address broadband expansion in Georgia – Senate Bills 2, 17 and 66 – have been making their way through the legislative process in the House. Senate Bill 2 would allow EMCs to provide internet services and broadband to their customers directly or indirectly through a broadband affiliate. This legislation received a “do pass” recommendation by the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.

Another bill I sponsored that received a “do pass” recommendation from this committee is Senate Bill 66 which passed the senate unanimously. SB 66, the “Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act,” would streamline wireless broadband deployment by allowing for a standardized application process for 5G companies to collocate small wireless facilities (antennas) on existing or new poles. This legislation also addresses the use of public rights of way by wireless providers to deploy broadband. I look forward to both of these bills moving to the House Floor for a vote before Sine Die.

The third bill addressing broadband expansion, Senate Bill 17, was adopted by the House on March 21. SB 17, the “Rural Telephone Cooperative Act,” unanimously passed through the Senate would allow telephone cooperatives in Metter, Newington, Rentz and Statesboro to provide internet services and broadband to their customers. Altogether, these four co-ops provide service to over eight counties and ten cities. This service could be provided directly or indirectly.

Along with these bills making their way through the legislative process in the House, our chamber addressed over 50 House Bills in committees and debated on 25 pieces of legislation in the Senate Chamber. Of the 25 bills, I would like to discuss a measure that I believe moves Georgia in the right direction to preserving life and ensuring that Georgia remains a pro-life state.

After over four hours of debate, the Senate adopted House Bill 481 along party lines. The debate was filled with passion on both sides on an issue that none of the 56 members took lightly. HB 481, the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act,” establishes that as soon as a heartbeat is detected during a pregnancy, the baby in the womb has protections under the law and the pregnancy cannot be terminated. There are four exceptions when a pregnancy can be terminated up to 20 weeks – current law – including medical emergencies putting the pregnant women’s life in danger, non-viability of the pregnancy, rape or incest. Additionally under HB 481, the unborn child would be counted in Georgia’s census and the expecting parents would be able to claim a state tax deduction as soon as a baby’s heartbeat is detected.

While this was a hard and emotional debate to have, I believe it was necessary to ensure that Georgia becomes one of the strongest pro-life states in the nation. Preserving the life of a baby that could one day change the world is very important to me along with giving those who cannot have children on their own a chance to adopt and have a family. Since the Senate made changes to the House version of HB 481, it will now go back to the House for final approval and then hopefully to Governor Brian P. Kemp for his signature. While states like New York took the position that a baby can be aborted up to birth, I am proud that Georgia is preserving life when it begins – the moment a heartbeat is detected.

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

 

 

 

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. Kevin Tanner talks issues at Saturday breakfast meeting

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) returned to Dawson County Saturday morning to treat constituents to breakfast at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and to share news from the General Assembly.

Key topics included the current fiscal year amended budget, the proposed new budget, education, health care and transportation.

Tanner’s subcommittee is working on the amended budget that will “true up” revenue and expenses for the current fiscal year.

“One of the things we look at is what did we estimate revenue to be last year and what it is actually coming in at,” Tanner said. Until the two can balance, the proposed budget for the next fiscal year is set aside.

Legislators are trying to deal with Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign promise to give Georgia’s teachers a $3,000 annual pay raise. “We’re working through that now,” Tanner said. “That is an impact on the local budget also. Locally in Dawson County, that will be somewhere over $300,000 local officials will have to pay.”

During his state of the state address two weeks ago, Kemp discussed how rural hospitals are hurting and the need for an effective healthcare plan.

“I would anticipate seeing the details of Gov. Kemp’s healthcare plan early next week,” Tanner said.

He also touched on the importance of mental healthcare.

“There is a need for us to address mental healthcare issues, not just in Georgia, but all across the country,” he said.

“We closed all the mental health hospitals when there were a lot of lawsuits around mental health facilities due to inhumane treatment of people. There were legitimate cases of abuse. But instead of fixing the problem, we closed all the hospitals down. What happened was that population ended up on the streets where they didn’t necessarily need to be.”

Tanner has drafted legislation, along with the governor and House Speaker David Ralston to create a 17-member mental health commission which would include four legislators while the balance would include mainly mental health care professionals.

“It’s very much a bi-partisan effort,” Tanner said. “No matter what part of the state you live in, no matter who you are… rich, poor, most all of us know somebody or some family who is affected by mental illness.”

Tanner talked about the creation of a Department of Mobility and Innovation.

“When you get outside the metro area, (transit) is very disjointed and dysfunctional,” he said. “If Dawson County wants to provide service, they have to deal with three state agencies and three separate boards.”

By placing transit under the Department of Mobility and Innovation, Tanner says citizens can expect better service.

Tanner holds weekly breakfast sessions every Saturday to update constituents on what is happening at the state capitol. Next week he will host the meeting at Wagon Wheel in Dahlonega.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental group asks BOC to support HR 158

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Joe Cook, of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, will ask county commissioners to support House Resolution 158 when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets in a voting session at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The resolution claims that nearly 40 percent of the $469 million collected for the state’s Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and Solid Waste Trust Fund since 1993 has been diverted to other funds.

HR 158 seeks to have the Georgia General Assembly create a dedicated trust fund for initiatives such as hazard waste cleanups, tire dumps and clean community programs.

Commissioners also will vote on acceptance of a partially state-funded Local Maintenance Improvement Grant that will fund $537,860.97 in road repairs. State funding in the amount of $413,739.21 will be provided by Georgia’s Motor Fuel Tax. If approved, the county will provide a 30 percent match in the amount of $124,121.76.

Public Works Director David McKee said the funds will be used to repair the following roads: A.T. Moore, Mt. Vernon, Biscayne Dr., Keys Court, Sandcastle Ct., Bay Drive, Harbour Drive and Seabreeze Way.

Commissioners also are expected to vote on acceptance of a continuous grant application to provide public transportation for Dawson County citizens. The grant, which is provided through the Federal Transportation Administration, will pay 50 percent of administrative and operating budget for the county’s transportation system if commissioners approve.

Commissioners will also consider new alcohol license permit requests by the Arellano Restaurant Group, LLC, doing business as Senor Fiesta No. 3 (retail consumption on premises of beer, wine & distilled spirits) and Southern Pie, LLC doing business as MOD Pizza (retail consumption on premises of beer only).

 

 

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. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

  1. PUBLIC HEARING 1. Dawson County Soil Erosion Ordinance Revision (2nd of 2 hearings. 1st hearing was held on November 2, 2017) K. NEW BUSINESS
  2. Consideration of FTA/GDOT FY 19 Section 5311 Grant Application
  3. Consideration of 2018 Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) Application
  4. Consideration of 2017 Capital Improvement Element (CIE) Update Adoption Resolution

 

  1. PUBLIC COMMENT

 

  1. ADJOURNMENT

GBI Issues Synthetic Opioids Alert

News

 

 

Decatur, GA – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is issuing a public safety alert

regarding illegal synthetic opioids. In the last four months, 17 deaths have been caused by the

drugs U-47700 and/or furanyl fentanyl, equal to the number for all of 2016. U-47700 and

furanyl fentanyl are both Schedule I drugs and used in the same manner as heroin. Schedule I

drugs have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical treatment use in the

United States. The drugs are distributed in either powder or tablet form.

The GBI Crime Lab has received approximately 50 cases containing U-47700 and furanyl

fentanyl this year. Many of the cases contained three or four different additional opiates.

Because furanyl fentanyl and U-47700 are lethal at very low doses, law enforcement and the

public should use caution when handling these drugs. They can be inhaled or absorbed through

the skin and are extremely toxic in the smallest quantities.

U-47700 or furanyl fentanyl may cause symptoms such as shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils,

nausea or vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, cold or clammy skin, loss of consciousness, and/or heart

failure. Should someone come in contact with the drugs and an overdose is suspected,

administer Naloxone immediately and call 911. Multiple doses of Naloxone may be required.

One Metro-Atlanta law enforcement agency recently seized approximately 8 kilograms of the

furanyl fentanyl GBI Crime Lab and U-47700 mixture. A field test of the drugs was initially negative before

GBI Crime Lab testing identified the substance. The danger and complexity of the opioids led to

the GBI issuing a statewide officer safety alert. Law enforcement has been warned to use

extreme caution and utilize personal protective equipment when handling or packaging any

synthetic opioid.

Due to the diligence of the Georgia General Assembly, legislation was introduced this year to

ban both U-47700 and furanyl fentanyl. The Governor signed this law and it went into effect on

4/17/2017 upon his signature.

Georgia General Assembly Back in Session

News

ATLANTA — The Georgia General Assembly convened today.

Legislators say there is a long list of issues to consider, including how to proceed following President-elect Donald Trump’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act, regional transportation planning, expansion of the medical marijuana bill and a renewed effort by Gov. Deal to pass an altered version of the Opportunity School District (OSD) that was soundly defeated by Georgia voters last year.

It is unclear what Republicans plan to dismantle with regard to Obamacare since Georgia did not expand Medicaid or create an exchange.

Republicans have placed crafting a regional transportation plan at the top of their agenda. But there will also be a strong push for an initiative to bolster job training programs in high schools as well as an effort to get the Georgia

Lottery to reduce the prize money it offers to winners in order to direct extra funding to the HOPE scholarship program.

As they have in the past, Democrats are likely to push for gun safety, voting rights an expansion of the medical marijuana bill passed in 2015, and added protection for the environment.

Deal, who is in his final year in office, appears determined to ignore the will of the voters and pass some form of his unpopular OSD.

The governor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week he is working with lawmakers on a plan that would give the state more power to let students transfer from the 153 schools on the state’s failing list.

Conservatives may push for a religious liberty bill for the fourth year in a row. House Bill 757 passed both the House and Senate last session before Deal sided with the LGBT and Chamber of Commerce lobbies and vetoed it in April.
The bill protected pastors from having to perform a same-sex wedding ceremonies and allowed businesses to refuse service to couples if they cited a sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions regarding marriage.

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