Thursday, January 13, 2022

After a teaser at Wednesday’s Eggs & Issues breakfast, Gov. Kemp opened the curtain on his political platform and budget proposals in today’s state of the state address. As expected, there was plenty of money, and the governor suggested it be distributed liberally, from paying the final installment of his campaign-pledged $5,000 raise to injecting cash into the healthcare and human resources talent pipelines law enforcement agencies to the point of providing a 10% increase in provider rate for foster parents, dependents, childcare facilities and placement agencies caring for Georgia’s most vulnerable children. Gov. Kemp also outlined several of his policy proposals, including backing legislation protecting public school students from “splittist ideologies” and adding human trafficking to the list of serious violent and sex offenses for which a higher court judge would issue bail must demand. A full summary of the Governor’s address (and the link to the text and video) is in this #GoldDomeReport.

Gov. Kemp also released his proposed amended budget reports for FY22 and FY23 on Thursday. We will have analysis of key budget areas in Friday’s report.

Governor Kemp holds a state-of-the-state address

Building on the themes of building, planting and playing football from his three previous addresses, Gov. Brian Kemp delivered his fourth State of the State address on Thursday, delivering the clear message that his administration over the past three years has “proven it can be done.” Gov. Kemp described the “it” as he laid out his budget and policy priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session, which focused on education, health care and public safety, recognizing the progress his administration is making in these key areas despite adversity and challenges and laid out his next steps in his continued efforts to “put hard-working Georgians and their families first.”

In education, Gov. Kemp opened his speech by reaffirming his intention to make good on a key campaign pledge: providing the final $2,000 to meet his proposed $5,000 total salary increase for teachers. He also proposed a $425 million replenishment of the education budget to fully restore austerity measures taken during the pandemic, a widely anticipated move. The governor’s two proposed one-off payments to faculty and staff were less expected. Its amended proposal for FY22 includes one-time payments of $2,000 to full-time federally funded faculty, school support staff and school administrators, and one-time payments of $1,000 to school bus drivers, nurses, nutrition workers and part-time employees.

Governor Kemp also discussed his education policy priorities for 2022, including a parental rights bill and legislation to “ensure fairness in school sports and address obscene materials online and in our school libraries.” According to the governor, these policy proposals aim to “protect[ing] our students of divisive ideologies.”

On healthcare, Gov. Kemp touted his 2019 Patients First Act and its impact on expanding choice and increasing savings for Georgians who buy health insurance. He then turned to new proposals to expand the health workforce, including $1 million for the University System of Georgia to expand nursing programs and funding for the Technical College System of Georgia to expand allied health partnerships. His budget proposal also includes $2.5 million for 136 new residencies and $1 million for Mercer University to address the country’s physician shortage. Gov. Kemp emphasized his goal to add 1,300 health practitioners statewide.

To strengthen the state’s foster and adoption systems, Gov. Kemp has pledged $28 million to provide a 10 percent increase in foster parenting rates, related carers, child care facilities and placement agencies.

Governor Kemp eventually turned his attention to public safety. After pledging his support for constitutional transportation laws, he proposed new legislation that would allow the Attorney General to work with the GBI and local law enforcement agencies to prosecute criminal gangs. The governor also proposed funding for an additional class of state trooper candidates and offered free tuition to over 1,000 Georgians wishing to enter law enforcement with training through the Technical College System of Georgia. In a nod to the First Lady’s Grace Commission, Gov. Kemp pledged his support for legislation that would add human trafficking to the list of serious violent and sex offenses that require bail from a Supreme Court judge to be granted.

The governor concluded his remarks by reiterating his intention to put Georgians first with a “bold, conservative agenda”. This agenda, the governor said, “turns promises made into promises kept.”

The full text of Governor Kemp’s address can be accessed here and a video of the remarks is available here.

New legislation

The following legislation of interest was brought into the House:

The following relevant bills have been introduced into the Senate:

SB334

educational programs; No secondary school receiving funding under the Quality Basic Education Act may participate in or sponsor interschool sporting events conducted by a sporting association

GA Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-GA-053)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61084

SR364

Senate Committee on the Costs and Effects of Smoking; create

GA Sen. Michelle Au (D-GA-048)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61085

What’s next

The General Assembly will reconvene on Friday 14 January at 10:00 am for the 4th Legislative Day

Copyright ©2022 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 13