LISTEN: GPB's Lawmakers reporter Sarah Kallis delivers the Capitol Report for March 7, 2024.


Lawmakers in the House fulfilled an important requirement for the session today. Meanwhile, several special visitors came to the Capitol.  

The morning started with Scouts’ Day under the Gold Dome, where hundreds of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts visited the Capitol.  

In the House, lawmakers approved a $36 billion budget for Georgia for the upcoming fiscal year.  

House Appropriations Chairman, Rep. Matt Hatchett (R–Dublin), said that many of the priorities in this year’s budget are the same as last year’s. Highlights from the budget include a 4% pay raise for all state employees and extra money for teachers and law enforcement. The budget also increases funding for school security and school nutrition programs.

Applause erupted in the House when Hatchett announced funding for the David Ralston Center for Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities at the University of Georgia. 

The budget passed with only one ‘no’ vote. 

In the Senate, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens stopped by to talk about the supportive partnership between the city and the state. He also took the moment to share some of the city’s recent accomplishments, including a reduction in crime and homicides.

He also thanked retiring Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler for her long service. 

Since the Senate had not received the fiscal year 2025 budget, it recessed until after lunch, in anticipation of getting the budget later in the day. Upon receiving the budget, the body assigned it to the appropriations committee and adjourned.   

Also this afternoon, three legislators held a press conference promoting Senate Bill 464. The bill’s supporters say that their bill will help teachers purchase school supplies and access resources and — because of a recent amendment — codify a statewide universal reading screener.

The House and Senate return tomorrow for Day 32, when the Senate will likely make its suggestions for the upcoming year’s budget.