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Welcome to my Legislative Update!
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Welcome to my first legislative update of the 2017! I am sincerely hopeful that this series of updates will give you insight, issue guidance, as well as, a glimpse into what life under the Gold Dome is really like. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to me anytime. 

Session Update- Week One

Last Monday, I was honored, with Missy by my side, to be sworn into office beginning a new term as the Senator from Georgia's 30th. As we begin a new session, I look forward to addressing many of the issues facing our district and Georgia citizens. Soon after the ceremony, we began working immediately in preparation for the long days ahead.
 
The Georgia General Assembly meets for only 40 legislative days every calendar year, which usually spans from January to April. While three months sounds significant, it really isn't that much time when you think about the issues we need to tackle. This year will be no shortage of controversy or debate as we discuss casino gaming, medical cannabis, public safety, healthcare access and education reform. 

State of the State

On Wednesday, January 11th, Gov. Deal delivered his annual State of the State address covering our accomplishments from last year while highlighting hopes for the new. The Governor's agenda includes a 20 percent pay raise for state-level law enforcement officers and newly developed officer training courses; an expansion of veteran assistance programs and healthcare access; expansion of Medicaid and PeachCare for Georgia youth; strengthening of Georgia’s drug monitoring program; two percent pay increase for teachers.

The largest proposal in Gov. Deal’s agenda includes plans for the development of the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, a $50 million state-owned facility designed to promote innovation in cybersecurity technology. In conjunction with the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency this center will be teaching and preparing students to combat cyber-attacks. The addition of the Cyber Innovation and Training Center will ensure that Georgia is leading the national effort in preventing and fighting cyber-attacks, a major concern in today’s world.

Out of the many budget proposals presented by Governor Deal, I most look forward to reviewing the Law Enforcement Officer pay raise initiative and the Veterans healthcare expansion measures. Georgia's enforcement officers are long overdue for a pay increase, as their current compensation is the lowest in the country. The increase would move Georgia from 50th in officer pay to 24th, respectively. It is only appropriate that we properly compensate those whom we have entrusted to protect us.  As a Veteran, I also look forward to learning more about Governor Deal's healthcare expansion and program initiatives for our vets. Please click here to see the full proposal.

Week Two- Budget Hearings

The only thing we are required to do by law is pass a balanced budget. Budget hearings began Tuesday, January 17th. For the remainder of the legislative session we will await as the Appropriations Committee in the House and Senate deliberate and make suggestions as to where state funds should be allocated.  The budget is a living document that will change many times before final passage in the last days of session. There are only so many ways to "split a penny," so as you can imagine, budget issues can be contentious when you have 236 legislators fighting hard to bring home a piece of the budget pie. Like my colleagues, I will be working hard on your behalf to ensure our district receives necessary funding and assistance from the state level for future capital investments. I will update you throughout the remainder of the session on any budget news pertaining to our region of the state. 

Mike in Action

 
Committee Work
I look forward to working with fellow members of the senate on the following committees over the next two years:
Economic Development and Tourism - Chairman
Public Safety - Secretary
Transportation - Secretary
Veterans, Military and Homeland Security - Secretary

Committee work is where the legislative rubber meets the road. While floor votes are exciting, the majority of the work takes place during our committee process. Click here for a full list of Standing Senate Committees. 

Sponsored Legislation

I have had the pleasure during my time in office to sponsor a number of bills for the betterment of our state. This year is no different, as I hit the ground running, immediately filing Senate Bill 2, known as "The FAST Act - Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency - Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed."
 
The FAST ACT is meant to relieve small businesses from the current "gotcha" nature of which government regulatory agencies have become famous. This legislation will require that regulatory agencies do their part in streamlining and facilitating information such as regulation changes, deadlines and requirements. Far too many small business owners are punished for not "keeping up" with the ever changing rules and regulations which essentially creates an environment where the "house always wins." If passed, this law will help close the loophole between new regulation and proper communication of such from regulatory agencies to small businesses. It is not fair to punish small business owners when we are the ones constantly changing the rules.
 
Growing up in our region of the state, I know firsthand the impact and importance small businesses play in a thriving community. Small businesses are the lifeblood of Georgia's economy and I want to ensure they have every opportunity to be successful. This legislation has been assigned to the Committee I currently Chair and I will keep you updated on the progress of this bill as we move through session.
 
Capitol Hill District Visits 
While I enjoy my time in Atlanta, it is always nice to see familiar faces from home! Last week I had the pleasure of hosting Sandhill Elementary from Carrollton. I was telling the kids that before I was elected, the last time I made a visit to the Capitol was when I was about their age. Seeing their excitement and promise makes me feel good about the future. Who knows...one of these bright young students may very well be the future state Senator from our district and that in itself is exciting. 
In closing, I want to remind you that I will be sending these updates weekly. You can either sign up to receive the newsletter or check my social media every Monday. Thank you for allowing me the honor to serve you and represent your interests under the Gold Dome! If you are interested in making a visit to the Capitol, in or out of session, please contact my office to set up your visit. In the meantime, if you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

Respectfully,
Mike Dugan
Senator of Georgia's 30th
Copyright © |2017| Senator Mike Dugan, All rights reserved.

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Senator Mike Dugan · 106 Champion Drive · Carrollton, GA 30116 · USA

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