Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is ordering state agencies to cut back on their budgets by 4% this year, fulfilling a campaign promise to cut government spending. Also, the governor says that the budget cuts will help pay for pay raises for teachers. However, not everyone is happy with the governor’s call to tighten the belt.
The Georgia Budget Policy Institute issued a strong statement condemning the called budget cuts saying, “Georgia does not have a spending problem and in fact ranks 50th in the growth of state spending since the recession. These budget cuts are in stark contrast to the needs of a growing state. Georgia lawmakers can end this manufactured budget crisis by enacting smart reforms.”
Kemp told WSB TV in Atlanta, “I’m very optimistic about our economy in our state,” Kemp said. “I just think it’s better to do that when times are good rather than waiting for a crisis to do that. I think it’s a great time for us to take advantage of something that I campaigned on, making government more efficient. Streamline it. It will continue to give us the resources that we need to fund our priorities, and that’s really what the directive is about.”
GNN / WSB / Compiled Sources
Yesterday, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14), Republican Leader of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in opposition to this year’s subcommittee spending bill. The bill as drafted increases spending over last year’s amount by 8 percent, or $1.8 billion. It also changes current policy in the District of Columbia to allow taxpayer funding for abortion and would block funds from being used to build a wall and secure the southern border. The bill is expected to be voted on this week.
“With the Federal debt exceeding $22 trillion we just cannot afford to spend more, we don’t need to spend more on general government activities. Just because we can spend it, doesn’t mean we should. It’s up to us, let’s set the example and leave this country’s pocketbook in better shape for our kids and grandkids.”
Last year, under a Republican majority and Rep. Graves’ leadership as Chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, $585 million was cut from across the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) spending bill. The bill created The Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids (“The Fund”), which safeguards funds for future generations. The money saved was used to make an initial deposit in the fund, which could only be accessed when the nation’s budget deficit is erased.
Monday afternoon Governor Kay Ivey signed into law a bill to require sex offenders whose victims are younger than 13 to undergo “chemical castration treatment” as a condition of parole.
The treatment consists of taking a medication to suppress or block the production of testosterone.
The bill was sponsored by Republican Steve Hurst of Munford, and passed on Thursday, May 30, the next-to-last day of the legislative session. Hurst had sponsored similar bills for more than a decade and said his intention has always been to stop sexual abuse of children.
“I’m very serious,” Hurst said. “Not only did I want it to pass, I want to follow it on through to the future where we can try to improve it. One of the ultimate goals that I want to do is for us to track it and to make sure what medication works for what individuals.”
Hurst said he’s heard from many victims of sexual abuse supporting the effort.
Other states have passed similar laws, including California and Florida in the 1990s.
The chemical castration law says sex offenders whose victims were younger than 13 will have to take “medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person’s body.”
The law requires the treatment to begin at least one month before a parolee is released. The parolee is required to pay for the treatment unless a court determines he cannot. The Alabama Department of Public Health will administer the treatments.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has vetoed a bill that would have required daily recess for elementary school students. The bill had the backing of public health officials and children’s advocates, but the governor said that the bill “would impose unreasonable burdens on educational leaders without meaningful justification.’’
Kemp vetoed House Bill 83 on Friday along with several other bills. In his veto message, the governor said, “While I support expanded recess opportunities for Georgia’s students, I am a firm believer in local control, especially in education,’’ Kemp stated. He said House Bill 83 would dramatically restrict this local control, stripping long-held authority from school boards.
Similar recess proposals had failed under the Gold Dome in recent years, but in the recently completed General Assembly session, the legislation passed easily. It encouraged schools to make recess 30 minutes.
Georgia’s Attorney General is joining a coalition calling on the FCC to stop robocalls.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr joined a coalition of forty-two other Attorneys General. The Attorneys General say the number of spoofed calls and the resulting financial losses have increased by nearly 50 percent in recent years.
The coalition delivered formal legal comments to the FCC, urging the agency to adopt its proposed rules on enforcement against caller ID spoofing on calls to the United States originating from overseas. The proposed rules would also address spoofing in text messages and alternative voice services.
Americans have received almost 18 billion spam robocalls in 2018. The FCC reports those scams have cost consumers $488 million in 2018 alone.
The FCC says if people get robocalls they should hang up. They also suggested getting a call blocking app or device. The agency also calls on people to report robocalls at ftc.gov/complaint so they can fight scams.
Senate Bill 83, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R – Chickamauga), was signed into law on Monday.
“I want to thank Governor Kemp for signing this very important piece of legislation,” said Sen. Mullis. “Our students have the right to expand their knowledge through various opportunities and SB 83 will do that. This legislation allows them to choose to learn about the history of the Bible and gives them the opportunity to continue their academics by utilizing the REACH Scholarship Program. By empowering our students to have choices and access to additional resources, we can guarantee they will achieve success.”
Senate Bill 83 will allow high schools to offer courses on Hebrew Scriptures as well as the Old and New Testaments. Additionally, under SB 83 the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Scholarship Program allows students who meet certain requirements, such as qualification for the free or reduced lunch program, a limited number of unexcused absences and a clean criminal and drug-related record, to qualify for the scholarship. The bill lays out standards students and school systems must meet to participate in the scholarship program, as well as outlines the amount of money appropriated for schools based on its county’s population.