After adjourning for an extra day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Georgia General Assembly has once again returned to the Capitol. But this week, instead of adopting resolutions or passing bills, we heard budget proposals from Governor Nathan Deal and Georgia's various agencies. Your senators and representatives will use the information they heard this week as we work through the rest of the session to craft a balanced budget that improves the lives of all Georgians and promotes growth.
To begin the process, your senators and representatives under the Gold Dome have met for two joint budget hearings. On Tuesday, proceedings began with Governor Deal addressing the General Assembly once more. This address was similar to his State of the State on Wednesday, but this time he highlighted some specific fiscal information about his amended FY 2017 and FY 2018 budgets.
Governor Deal discussed with us the $50 million proposal of a Georgia Cyber Range to be built in Augusta. According to the designs, the range is meant to attract young people who are interested in cyber security and businesses who are concerned for their digital infrastructure to come together to improve our current capabilities. If funding for the range is approved, it will help to cement Georgia's reputation as the Silicon Valley of the South.
Governor Deal also introduced a $2.3 million proposal to establish the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. This center is meant to help prepare our educators on how to better address issues of illiteracy affecting some of our state's schools and to ensure that none of our students are ignored or forgotten.
While considering these proposals and others, we will keep in mind the Senate Majority Caucus priorities. They include: cutting red tape to ensure that government agencies eliminate needless work; protecting Georgians against terrorism by backing up our local law enforcement officers; enhancing workforce development by providing high school students with the opportunity to earn labor credentials before they graduate; charting a regional transportation framework by collaborating with local stakeholders and industry experts; increasing access to healthcare; and maximizing funding for Pre-K and the HOPE Scholarship through the Georgia Lottery.
As you can see, there's a lot to get done this session. But, Georgia's priorities are our priorities, and I guarantee that I will do everything in my power to best represent District 7's interests in everything I do. Please feel free to contact my office at any time to talk about pending legislation or address other concerns in our district – my door and phone lines are always open.
- Submitted by Sen. Tyler Harper (R- Ocilla)