ATLANTA (April 6, 2009)— Last week the Senate passed its most crucial legislation as we worked to finish out our duties on Day 40, Sine Die. We passed a responsible balanced budget, provided tax relief, and improved education and transportation.
ATLANTA (March 27, 2009)— As this Legislative session comes to an end, I am focusing my time to ensure my bills in the House can see a passage on to the Governor. With only 3 legislative days left, all the hard work from this year comes to a head. Along with my colleagues, our focus has been to see an overall lifestyle improvement for you, and some effective legislation has gone through to support this. Below is an updated account on the progression of the most important bills I have written or supported.
By Sen. Bill Heath
ATLANTA (March 20, 2009)— I can happily report that economic relief and trauma care continue to make their way through the Senate this session. I support a more efficient economy and trauma care system, because these are important issues throughout Georgia that no one can take for granted. I hear your concerns, and relief will be coming your way with the passage of this legislation.
By Sen. Bill Heath
ATLANTA (March 13, 2009)—Thursday of this week marked a milestone in the legislative process – Day 30 which is the last day bills can pass out of the Senate to the House. Crossover Day ends at midnight and any legislation we support or wrote that hasn’t been passed this year will have to wait until the 2010 Legislative Session. It is a long day that requires a lot of devotion and consideration, and from this day forward our time will be spent on legislation that passed out of the House.
ATLANTA (March 9, 2009)—Fiscal responsibility resonates throughout this Legislative session, and efforts to alleviate mismanaged funds in Georgia have flown out of the Senate. Thursday the Senate took a major step in real transportation relief for Georgians. With the passage of the Transforming Transportation Investment Act (SB 200), the Senate voted for an understandable and equitable funding process that will enable transportation dollars to be spent more efficiently, effectively and strategically.
This bill was put forward by Senate and House leadership in concert with the Governor and we look forward to the House now carrying the momentum forward and getting this important legislation through the General Assembly. SB 200 allows for a new, transparent model for funding decisions that gives the General Assembly and the Governor direct appropriation powers, much like the way other agencies in Georgia are funded and governed. As legislators, we will be able to represent our constituents’ needs much better by having greater say in the appropriations process and directing what projects are funded. Local governments will also see increased funding, as a minimum of 25 percent of the State Motor Fuel Funds collected annually will be deposited into a Local Grant fund and will be dedicated to local transportation projects.
Accusations of tax fraud by some Georgia state legislators also topped the news this week, and I must say that I have no tolerance for this. Anybody who hasn’t paid their taxes should not serve in a public office, no matter their political affiliation. Whether it’s paying power bills, tax bills, or making house payments, everybody should be doing their part. I have filed all my tax returns since the time I drew my first paycheck at the age of 15. I assure you I am current with all my taxes as every Georgia citizen should be no matter their occupation or title.
My efforts to help Georgians with identity security (Senate Bill 124) passed with a majority vote out of the Senate this week. The bill prevents social security numbers of public employees from being publicly disclosed. Everyone needs the surety of their identity protection, and this provision closes a loophole in Georgia law that granted any representative of the news media access to social security, birthdates, and other private information not otherwise available in an open records request.
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Sen. Bill Heath serves as Chairman of the Retirement Committee and Governor Sonny Perdue’s Floor Leader in the Senate. He represents the 31st Senate District which consists of Haralson and Polk counties and portions of Bartow and Paulding counties. He may be reached at 404.651.7738 or by email at email@example.com.