Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (Photo by Beau Evans)

ATLANTA – Georgia House Speaker David Ralston will be asking House budget drafters this winter to allocate $ 75 million to additional law enforcement and mental health services.

Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, made the announcement Wednesday during a speech at the Jekyll Island District Attorney’s Summer Training Conference.

“We owe it to our communities to strengthen law enforcement and mental health care at a time when crime and the number of people in need of mental health are increasing dramatically in some areas of our state,” he said. “This proposal is a proposal I am proud of and the House of Representatives will stand firmly behind it if we consider it part of our 2022 budget process.”

Wednesday’s announcement came just two days after Ralston called for a $ 3 million increase in law enforcement funds during a meeting of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee to address the recent crime wave in Atlanta. The $ 3 million is part of the much larger funding package Ralston proposed on Wednesday.

The $ 75 million includes $ 25 million of one-time $ 1,000 sworn law enforcement officer bonuses made available to law enforcement through grants.

“Georgia is a state that stands by those who wear the badge,” said Ralston. “This $ 25 million is intended to reward the police officers and deputies who protect and serve our communities every day and who often endanger themselves as part of their duty.”

Of the other $ 50 million requested by the speaker, more than $ 20 million will go to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and $ 10 million will be used to raise salaries for prosecutors and public lawyers. The remaining $ 20 million will be split among a dozen other government agencies based on needs and programming needs, with an emphasis on mental health services.

Georgia ranks 51st and last in the country for access to mental health care. Ralston has made improving mental health services a top priority on his legislative agenda.

“I have said many times that in order to continue to be a great state, we need to focus on being a good state – one that takes care of those who need it,” he said. “Mental health affects almost every family in this state, so investing in mental health services and our justice courts is not only good business – it’s a way to help people recover and get back together with their families.”

Ralston’s spending proposals will be considered during the 2022 General Assembly session beginning January.