Legislative Update – Week 7

Friends,
Crossover Day is fast approaching and state lawmakers worked tirelessly during Week Seven (Legislative Days 22-26) to advance legislation that strengthens our economy and ensures a prosperous future for Georgia families. Bills that do not “crossover” from one chamber to the other before the deadline (February 28) will be deemed inactive for the remainder of session.
Tax Reform
 
While the Crossover Day deadline is daunting, we are making steady progress. On Thursday, the State House passed sweeping tax reform legislation.
HB 918 lowers the top income tax rate from 6% to 5.75%, doubles the standard deduction, and saves taxpayers $5 billion over the next 5 years.  Cutting the state’s income tax rate is a huge win for hardworking Georgia taxpayers!
Crossover Deadline Update
I am proud to report that this year’s banking bill, HB 780, has passed the House and is currently under consideration by the Senate.
If a national bank or federal credit union has the power to engage in an activity that our state-chartered banks and credit unions cannot engage in, then, so long as the activity is safe and sound, the Commissioner has the ability to declare parity.  Quite simply, a parity determination gives Georgia the ability to level the playing field between Georgia state-chartered institutions and federal chartered institutions.
2018 State of the Judiciary
 
On Thursday, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice P. Harris Hines, a long time family friend who is retiring later this year, delivered the last “State of the Judiciary” address of his career. We appreciate Justice Hines and his years of service on the bench! ++ Sic Vos Non Vobis Justice Hines!! ++
Johnny Isakson Under the Gold Dome
 
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and Congressman Jody Hice stopped by the State Capitol during Week Seven to provide an update from Washington, D.C.
Vickie and I had a chance to say hello and tell them both that we appreciate their service to Georgia!
As always, it is an honor to represent you and your loved ones in the Georgia General Assembly.  Please feel free to call (404-656-5024) or email (bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov) with any questions or concerns.
Sincerely,
Rep. Bruce Williamson
District 115
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update – Week 6

Friends,
Under Republican leadership, our state weathered the Great Recession and emerged stronger than ever. In fact, we are the #1 state for business – 5 years in a row.  Unfortunately, there are still parts of our state, primarily in rural Georgia,  that are struggling to grow and prosper.
During Week Six (Legislative Days 19-22), the Georgia General Assembly considered and passed several pieces of legislation to strengthen rural Georgia.
Expanding Rural Broadband 
 
HB 887 – The Georgia Communications Services Act – proposes to give communities the ability to upgrade their broadband infrastructure by updating right of way policy. This legislation also would create new programs for which private sector businesses can compete for broadband development grants.
With 25% of rural Georgia residents lacking access to High Speed Internet, this legislation is a huge first-step towards bridging the “digital divide” in our state. With many details to be worked out, I am optimistic that we can help reenergize the small towns of Georgia. These communities are the crucible for maintaining and building the values that made America. They are worth the fight to protect them.
Expanding Access to Healthcare 
Rural Georgia residents also have limited access to quality healthcare. Often times, these hardworking Georgians have to drive long distances to visit a hospital or see a specialist.
HB 769, which passed this week, creates the Rural Center for Health Care Innovation and Sustainability, clears the way for micro-hospitals, and incentivizes medical providers to practice in rural, underserved communities.
Georgia’s Farmers at the Capitol
 
This week, we were honored to host Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol. The men and women of this organization keep Georgia’s oldest and largest industry growing.

To ensure a bright future for rural communities – and our state as a whole – we must continue to support our growers, agri-businesses, and family farms.
Trauma Awareness Day
 
During Trauma Awareness Day, surgeons and medical professionals stopped by the State Capitol to educate lawmakers and the general public on how to respond to traumatic injuries. The “Stop the Bleed” campaign is incredibly vital – especially in communities without a nearby hospital.
On Thursday, I was honored to be joined by Dr. Hugo Scornik of Monroe who practices as a Pediatrician. I appreciate Dr. Scornik’s commitment to medicine and serving those in our region!
As always, it is an honor to represent you and your loved ones in the Georgia General Assembly.  Please feel free to call (404-656-5024) or email (bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov) with any questions or concerns.
Sincerely,
Rep. Bruce Williamson
District 115
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update – Week 5

Friends,
Week Five is complete and we reached an important milestone in the budgetary process.
2018 Budget Amendment
On Tuesday, the House passed the Amended FY2018 budget, which allocates  surplus revenue to important programs and initiatives. This year, HB683 prioritizes education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
Amended FY2018 Budget Breakdown:
REALTORS Day at the Capitol 
 
During the Georgia REALTORS Day at the Capitol, I was honored to sit down with representatives from the Walton/Barrow Board of Realtors and answer questions about the 2018 Legislative Session.
With over 37,000 members, the Georgia Association of REALTORS is the largest trade association in the state. Our real estate professionals are vital to our economy and play an important role in building, growing, and strengthening our community.
Each year, we take this opportunity to meet and recognize with those brave men and women who run towards the flames – rather than away. It was an honor to spend time with Monroe Public Safety Director, Chief Keith Glass, and I truly appreciate his commitment to our community.
House Page Program
Students between 12 – 18 years of age eligible to participate along side lawmakers each legislative working day. To apply, please click HERE.
As always, it is an honor to represent you and your loved ones in the Georgia General Assembly.  Please feel free to call (404-656-5024) or email (bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov) with any questions or concerns.
Sincerely,
Rep. Bruce Williamson
District 115
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update – Week 4

Friends,
Week 4 (Legislative Days 8-11) was incredibly productive under the Gold Dome. We welcomed thousands of Georgians to the State Capitol, thoroughly vetted legislation in committee, and debate/passed important legislation in the House.
Easier Access
I was proud to author the first bill to pass the House during the 2018 Legislative Session. House Bill 661 – which was approved unanimously this week in our chamber – streamlines the process for filing and removing tax liens against real estate and improves transparency.
I also filed HB 694, which requires that sales reports be submitted electronically by those who sell motor vehicle fuel. This will ensure that sellers are not over taxed and local governments are not underpaid.
Adoption Bill Update
 
On Thursday, the House unanimously passed HB159, which revises Georgia’s antiquated adoption code. Through this important legislation, we can place more children in loving families throughout our state.
Breakfast with The Deal Family 
 
Last week, I was honored to attend a breakfast hosted by  Governor Nathan Deal  and  First Lady Sandra Deal  at the Governor’s Mansion. I hope you will join me in praying for the First Lady as she recovers from surgery and begins chemotherapy.
House Page Program
The Georgia General Assembly invites students between the ages of 12 and 18 to the State Capitol for a hands on learning experience.
To apply, please click HERE. Big thanks to Matthew Chick of Monroe for serving as a Page last week!
At the Capitol
Great to see so many familiar faces from our community and throughout the state during 2018 Public Library Day at the Capitol.
As always, it is an honor to represent you and your loved ones in the Georgia General Assembly.  P lease feel free to call (404-656-5024) or email (bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov) with any questions or concerns.
Sincerely,
Rep. Bruce Williamson
District 115
Georgia General Assembly
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