Legislative Update: January 21 to January 24

Legislative Update

State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula)

January 21, 2014 to January 24, 2014 (Legislative Days 6 through 9)

 

First Committee Meeting

                I attended the House Juvenile Justice Committee meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21.  This was my first committee meeting as a member of the General Assembly.  The committee heard testimony from State Rep. Buzz Brockway about HB 524, a bill to open access to original birth certificates following an adoption.  The bill was referred to subcommittee. 

Gwinnett Delegation Meeting

                On Wednesday, the Gwinnett County delegation held its first meeting of the 2014 legislative session.  As the newest member of the delegation, I had an opportunity to hear about local legislation up for consideration this year. 

Passage of the 2014 Supplemental Budget

On Friday, Jan. 24, the House overwhelmingly passed HB 743, the 2014 supplemental budget.  This budget accounts for a 1.5% revenue increase since the budget was passed last year.  Over half of these funds were budgeted for education.  With a focus of local control, this funding is distributed to local school districts and accounts for new student enrolment since passage of the 2014 budget.  Locally elected school boards will appropriate these funds to end teacher furlough days, restore a full school year of classes, and employee raises.  In 2014, Gwinnett County saw new student enrollment of over 4,100 children.  To account for this increase, the supplemental budget provides an additional $19 million for GCPS.  Much of this funding helps to restore the education budget cuts seen in Georgia over the past several years. 

 

The 2014 supplemental budget also provides for critical funding to allow for private sector job creation, improve public safety, fund state mandates on county government, and improve oversight for child protective services.  One such program of interest was the $500,000 of continued funding approved for the Youth Challenge Program.  As a former prosecutor in the Gwinnett County Juvenile Court, I have first-hand knowledge of how the Youth Challenge Program provides the structure needed for at-risk youth to earn a high school diploma and leave a path of continued criminal behavior. 

 

HB 743 now moves to the State Senate for consideration. 

 

Changes to State Health Benefits Plan

                This week, I will be posting proposed changes to SHBP to assist impacted constituents.  If I can assist you with a particular SHBP issue, please email me at chuckefstration@gmail.com.