Lawmakers: The amended budget lives, while Buckhead cityhood dies on Day 15
The Georgia House of Representatives passed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Friday afternoon.
The new budget, HB 910, adds about $2.6 million more to the current fiscal year’s budget, which extends through June 30. It includes $2,000 bonuses for public school teachers and restores funding cut from schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bipartisan effort also allots $10 million in educational loans for mental health and substance abuse workers that would be forgiven if they work in Georgia for a specific period of time.
Only four lawmakers, Reps. Timothy Barr (R-Lawrenceville), Viola Davis (D-Stone Mountain), Donna McCleod (D-Lawrenceville), and Phillip Singleton (R-Sharpsburg) voted against the budget.
House Bill 910 will now move to the Senate, and hearings will begin next week.
Speaker of the House David Ralston also indicated that the Buckhead cityhood movement has likely been shut down for this legislative session. The Senate bill to create a Buckhead City was assigned to a Democratic-led committee, which it is unlikely to pass through.
“It takes two chambers to pass a bill," he said. "The Senate was very clear, and I respect their decision."
"The problem of how we got here is not solved — that being the crime problem,” he added. Ralston also said this gives Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens time to address the issue and stated that cityhood could come up again next session.
The new mayor was appreciative.
"I am thankful for the support of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Speaker David Ralston, members of the Atlanta delegation and all the other state leaders who have sat down with me," Dickens said in a Friday statement. "They have given me and my administration the runway we need to take off, and we will continue in our work to move Atlanta forward.”
Also in the Senate today, Agriculture Secretary Gary Black presented members of the Senate Legislative Livestock Showdown team their trophy after winning the 2021 inter-legislative competition back in October. Four senators and four representatives teamed up with members of the 4-H Club and Future Farmers of America to show their support for the youth organizations and learn about livestock showing. This is the first time the Senate has won the event since 2015.