Last Wednesday I was privileged to join Gov. Sonny Perdue in recognizing two local 9-1-1 heroes from Forsyth County. Both were 9 years old at the time of their emergencies.
Kayla Thurmond did not hesitate to call 9-1-1 when her mother suffered a seizure. She remained calm and cared for her younger brother until help arrived.
Tristan Livingston was with his grandmother when she told him she thought she was having a heart attack. Tristan immediately dialed 9-1-1 and answered all questions quickly and clearly and followed medical directions given.
According to authorities, he was very composed during the call and thanked fire and emergency services personnel when they arrived.
Way to go, Kayla and Tristan. You are truly heroes. All of us are proud of you and the call-takers: Sherry Avery, Danny Murray and Denny Lewis.
On day 33 of our 40-day Session, the Senate passed the Hospital Fee for Service (HB 307) legislation to fill the Medicaid hole in the Budget.
With that piece of legislation passed, it opens the way for passage of an agreed upon FY 2011 Budget.
Remember, the House and Senate held joint budget hearings earlier in the session, but declining revenues created controversy on how to fund portions of it.
To overcome the current economic recession, we must help businesses create jobs for Georgians. House Bill 1023, the Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2010, tackles this vital issue by creating tax credits for investors and by providing tax cut incentives to help Georgians return to work.
These measures will encourage entrepreneurship and investments in Georgia, resulting in business expansion and job growth. The expansion of business and job growth will help spur economic recovery.
On day 33 the Senate passed HB 1023 and sent it on to the governor for signature. Last year’s “jobs bill” was vetoed. We hope that changes made this session will encourage the governor to sign this one.
While passing HB 1023 was a positive first step towards economic improvement, we must continue to look for other ways to promote growth.
With this in mind, we passed House Bill 1405, which will form the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians. This special council will study Georgia’s revenue structure and make recommendations for a more fair and balanced tax structure. I look forward to seeing the council’s recommendations during the next legislative year and applying them to future legislation.
As we implement long-term plans like HB 1023 and 1405, we must also find short-term solutions to help state agencies manage their reduced budgets.
House Resolution 1203 and House Bill 1020 do this by providing school systems with greater flexibility to manage their budgets. Together, these two pieces of legislation will allow voters to decide if they should lift restrictions on how Education Special-Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) revenues are used.
Currently, these funds can only be used for major improvements, such as building projects or the purchase of new buses.
If approved by Georgia voters, this legislation would expand their use to include maintenance projects and operation costs.
With this expansion, schools systems would have the option to choose to use ESPLOST funds to cover budget cuts, such as teacher furloughs.
In addition to passing legislation for state economic improvement, we also passed several bills to protect Georgians.
House Bill 567, also known as the “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights,” does this by keeping crime victims informed of the justice process for their case.
For example, HB 567 ensures that victims be heard at a convicted offender’s pre-sentence hearing. It also helps victims receive restitution when required and expands victims’ rights to notifications pertaining to their offender, such as notice of the offender’s motion for a new trial or release.
Another measure aimed at protecting Georgians is House Bill 853, which ensures safer usage of tanning beds and increased awareness of their associated health risks.
Tanning beds are well-known contributors of skin cancer, immune suppression and eye damage.
Skin cancer has increased dramatically over the past few years and is the second most common form of cancer among young adults ages 15 to 29.
HB 853 seeks to help prevent skin cancer by requiring warning signs to be posted in all tanning salons.
The bill also prohibits tanning bed use for children under the age of 14 and requires children under the age of 18 to obtain parental permission prior to use of tanning beds.
The House continues to support downsizing government.
HB 1431 consolidates the Department of Administrative Services, the State Properties Commission and the State Personnel Administration into one agency, which will be called the Georgia Services Administration.
Finally, we passed House Bill 1184 on Crossover Day.
This bill allows Georgians to purchase individual health insurance plans across state lines. This will provide Georgians with more choices and a greater range of health insurance options, which will ultimately allow Georgia’s uninsured population to purchase less expensive health insurance plans.
The bills were passed by the House on Crossover Day, and will now go to the Senate for consideration. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, they will become law.
When this session of enormous fiscal challenges is finally over, I hope most folks will say of it: “They did the most with the least and met their constitutional responsibilities in a fair and balanced manner.”
Two more Saturday breakfasts with constituents remain on the expanded schedule. I will be at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Dahlonega at 8 a.m. on April 10 and 17. Come over and learn more about what we accomplished this term.
Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 401 Capitol Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30334; (404) 657-8534; fax (404) 463-2044; e-mail email@example.com. Or contact Gerald Lewy at (706) 344-7788.