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News from Senator Dean Burke
Jan 27, 2017

Week In Review
On Tuesday, January 17, we began one of the most important weeks of the 2017 legislative session as the House and Senate Appropriations committees held a series of joint budget hearings.

Our state constitution requires that we pass a balanced state budget each legislative session. After reviewing Gov. Deal's budget proposals presented this week, we will begin drafting two budget bills: the Amended Fiscal Year 2017 (AFY 2017) budget and the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) budget. The AFY 2017 budget is an amended budget for the current fiscal year, ending June 30, and uses a more accurate estimate of state revenue to account for any differences between the projected estimate and actual revenue obtained. The FY 2018 budget is a full budget for fiscal year 2018 that uses a projected state revenue estimate to guide state spending beginning on July 1.

We also heard testimonies from various state agency heads who outlined their budgetary needs and answered questions from House and Senate members. The final versions of the budgets will specify how much state funding these agencies will receive, so it is important we hear from them as we go through this process.

After the House Appropriations Committee passes the budget, it will go to the Rules Committee where it will be placed on the House calendar. Then it goes to the House for a vote.

Once the budget passes the House, it will go to the State Senate and repeat this same committee process before making it to the Senate floor for a vote. By this point, the budget will likely differ from the original version as passed by the House. When this happens, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor will both appoint a conference committee to resolve discrepancies between the two versions of the state budget.

When the conference committee reaches an agreement, their version of the budget goes back to the House and Senate for a final floor vote. Both chambers must vote on the conference committee's version of the budget. Finally, if approved by both House and Senate, the legislation is sent to the governor's office where he can sign or veto. Once signed by Gov. Deal, the budget becomes law.

Governor Deal has proposed:

  • 2% salary increase to the pay scale for all state teacher positions and a 2% raise for state employees.
  • Increase pay by 19% for DFCS caseworkers.
  • Coverage for autism treatment under Medicaid and the State Health Benefits Plan will be extended to age 21.
  • 20% pay raise for state-level law enforcement officers and an overhaul and expansion of officer training courses.
  • Creation and funding for a Women Veterans Coordinator position to work with female veterans who have suffered military sexual trauma, to offer counseling, and to assist with veteran's claims and appeals.
  • Construction of a rehabilitation facility to provide behavioral health services to veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • $50 million state-owned Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta.

Sen. Dean Burke
Georgia Senate District 11
Legislative office 301-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone 404-656-0040
In the District: 1500 E. Shotwell Street, Bainbridge, GA 39819
Phone 229-243-6267
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See Sen. Burke's 2015-2016 legislation

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