Advocacy Update

Posted By: Lori Godfrey Advocacy Update,
Budget Hearings Begin
On Tuesday, Governor Brian Kemp presented his budget priorities to the General Assembly from Davos, Switzerland where he was participating in a panel at the World Economic Forum.  He is proposing that the state return about $1 billion, with most taxpayers receiving between $250 and $500.  His budget also calls for a cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.
The General Assembly will adopt two budgets.  The first adjusts state spending through the end of the current fiscal year, which runs until June 30.  The second larger budget begins July 1 and estimates about $32.4 billion in state revenue.
With the Governor’s balanced budgets as a starting point, the House Appropriations Committee will make adjustments to reflect their own priorities.  The Senate will do the same.  The bills will eventually move to a conference committee to iron out remaining differences before both chambers give final approval and send them to the Governor for authorization and enactment.
Lawmakers will return in earnest on Monday for a four-day work week and the pace of session will quicken.  Next week’s report will feature newly introduced legislation of interest.

House Committee Chairs & Assignments Announce
​On January 17, the House released committee leadership appointments for the 2023-2024 session.  Of particular interest, Rep. Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville) has been named Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Rep. John LaHood (R-Valdosta) will lead the Governmental Affairs Committee.  These are new assignments for both lawmakers.
Other key leadership posts remain unchanged:
Noel Williams (R-Cordele) remains chair of Banks and Banking, Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) returns as Chair of Ways and Means, and Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R-Glennville) will continue to lead Industry and Labor.  Together, these five key committees account for more than 60% of the bills tracked by the Association last year.
Members of the House Banks and Banking Committee are shown below.  Members new to the committee are highlighted in yellow.

Governor’s Announces Floor Leaders
On January 19, Governor Brian Kemp announced his Floor Leaders.  Because the Governor is not a member of the legislature, the office relies on specific members in the House and Senate to advance priority measures.  Floor leaders include:
​Of particular interest to the Association, both Sen. Hodges and Rep. Wade have banking backgrounds.  Hodges was the founding director and senior officer of the First Bank of Brunswick until it was acquired by Ameris Bank in 2001.  He now serves as president of its southeast Georgia coastal market.  Rep. Wade is the Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at River City Bank in Rome and was previously with Pinnacle Bank and others.
The next legislative update will be available on January 27