Friday Facts: March 3, 2023

It’s Friday!

We are in the heart of the legislative session, with only 13 days left on the calendar.

And on Monday, we will hit our first major deadline of the year, Crossover Day. A bill has to pass out of its legislative chamber of origin by the end of the day on Monday, or it is dead for the year. There are technical maneuvers available, so no legislation is ever truly “dead.” But we wanted to review what legislation is moving, what has been rejected and what is barely holding on.

– On the education front, efforts to create an education savings account have moved out of the Senate Education and Youth Committee while a bill to expand the size of the tax credit scholarship is alive in the House.

– The debate over Georgia’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws has raged since the 1980s, and we have seen movement on the issue this year. A bill to remove CON requirements for rural acute care hospitals has already passed the Senate, while a bill that would replace the state’s CON requirement for new health facilities and services with a special healthcare services license is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate.

– Tackling the rapidly rising costs of housing in Georgia has been top of mind for lawmakers as well. A bill that would reduce bans on local zoning moratoriums for no more than 180 days has passed out of committee in the House.

– Occupational licensing reform is also moving. A bill that would require licensing boards to recognize occupational licenses obtained in other states when an individual moves to Georgia has already passed the House. And another to remove vague “moral turpitude” licensing criteria is awaiting a Senate vote.

What’s moving at the Capitol?

Friday’s Freshest

Boosting craft brewing in Georgia

Georgia’s craft brewing industry grew from 45 breweries in 2015 to 155 in 2021. But that still trails production in neighboring states like North Carolina. Part of the reason is that the industry is still hampered by outdated laws and regulations.

📺 WATCH: Freeing Georgia breweries

9 stories of government corruption or waste in Georgia last month

Members of the Atlanta Public School District held a State of the District lunch that cost taxpayers more than $95,000. Meanwhile, a former Warden at Smith State Prison has been charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. This, and more, in our monthly recap of the latest stories of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia.

School choice programs would provide fiscal savings for public school districts

Every county school district in the state would realize cost savings on average when its students left for a new school choice program. This is because school districts do not lose all or even most of their funding when a student leaves — for any reason.

More education options good for Georgia students, families

Education scholarship accounts would provide the kind of flexible opportunity that families have long sought, a desire only heightened by the experience of the pandemic.

📺 WATCH: Why parents need more options in the education of their children

Georgia’s cautious handling of unexpected budget windfall the right approach

Failing to plan for revenues to come back to earth has bitten states like California, which spent heavily last year and now have a $20 billion budget shortfall.


Georgia lawmakers to reconcile amended fiscal 2023 budget

Georgia state lawmakers have signed off on varying versions of a revised budget for fiscal 2023. This comes after Gov. Brian Kemp proposed an amended fiscal 2023 budget of nearly $32.6 billion, roughly 7.8% higher than the approved $30.2 billion budget.

What the Port of Savannah’s expansion means for Georgia’s economy

The Port of Savannah is the fourth-busiest in the country, behind only the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and New York. A new study from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business estimates that the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick account for roughly one out of every nine jobs in the state.

Government accountability

Fuel costs could drive up Georgia Power bills by 17%

Georgia Power bills could go up 17% in June to cover the higher costs of natural gas and coal that the utility is burning to generate electricity for its 2.7 million customers. That means a typical residential customer could pay as much as $23 a month more on their bills over the next two years to cover the costs.

Georgia bills would allow ‘microenterprise’ home kitchens

Georgia lawmakers have introduced legislation they say would allow “microenterprise operations” and home-based businesses to work out of home kitchens and in compliance with state law. House Bill 583 would give the state’s agriculture commissioner the power to license and regulate home-based food businesses, allowing them to sell homemade foods directly.


Georgia Senate passes bill exempting rural hospitals from CON

Legislation exempting most rural hospitals from Georgia’s certificate of need law has cleared the state Senate. New acute-care hospitals in counties with populations of fewer than 50,000 residents would no longer need to obtain permission from the state to provide medical services.

Mental health bill gains unanimous approval in state House committee

Legislation in the House aims to increase the size of the mental-health workforce in Georgia and make it easier for people who cycle between the streets, emergency rooms and jails to get the help they need.


Georgia House passes EV legislation

This week, the state House unanimously passed legislation aimed at helping Georgia begin to prepare for the anticipated widespread adoption of electric vehicles by motorists across the state.

Atlanta streetcar expansion questioned

Some members of MARTA’s own board questioned whether focusing on a streetcar expansion with an estimated price tag of $230 million is the best use of the agency’s resources, given the current financial turbulence. The Foundation recently wrote about why streetcar expansion was not a good public transit solution.

Quotes of the Week

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.” – Jimmy Carter

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts his sails.” – John Maxwell

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