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The first bill of 2015 passes the Georgia Senate
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The third week of the 2015 legislative session saw a significant piece of legislation pass through the Georgia State Senate. I am proud to say that with unanimous consent, Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate and is now under consideration in the House.

Specifically, the legislation seeks new guidelines for the coverage of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in children up to six years old, including diagnostics and medically necessary treatments or therapies.

Georgia will become the 36th state to require some form of autism insurance coverage if SB 1 receives final approval by the General Assembly and the Governor.

In order to remain nationally and globally competitive, as well as maintain the safety of our roadways, Georgia must take immediate and significant steps to increase its investment in transportation infrastructure.

This week, our House counterparts unveiled legislation that will adequately fund our transportation infrastructure.

I plan to spend a great deal of time analyzing this proposal, while also considering other legislative options. Creating a responsible transportation plan is of utmost priority to lawmakers under the Gold Dome during the 2015 legislative session.

What we do -- perhaps more importantly, what we don't do -- will echo throughout our state for decades to come.

Some of you have contacted me about Gov. Nathan Deal's budget recommendations, in particular, eliminating coverage for approximately 11,500 school cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other employees who work less than 30 hours per week.

In response to the Governor's proposal, the House passed their version of the amended FY 2015 budget last week; specifically including language supporting the idea of keeping health coverage for these valued staff members.

These individuals play a vital role in the quality of our children's education, and should be compensated for their important jobs.

Bus drivers safely transport our students to and from school, and cafeteria workers feed our students.

Maintaining health insurance for these employees and their families remains a priority of mine in the Senate.

I look forward to continuing the conversation with you throughout the 2015 Legislative Session.

I encourage anyone with questions or comments to contact my office at any time. I will be happy to talk with you and address any concerns you may have.

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to represent District 51 at the Georgia State Capitol.

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District, which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties. He may be reached at (404) 656-9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

 

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