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Guest opinion: BoE’s pay raise passes Ga. house
Rep Ron Stephens
State Rep. Ron Stephens - photo by File photo

By State Rep. Ron Stephens.

Editor’s note: The News covered the Bryan County School Board’s request for the pay raise on Feb. 4, 2021. 

We had our first full week of the 2022 Georgia General Assembly and while floor votes were mainly derived from local legislation made up of voting lines for counties, municipalities, and school districts.

The majority of our time was in committee hearings and organization on issues that we anticipate, as well as legislation left over from last year.

One of the local legislative votes was House Bill 897, a bill that would provide a pay raise for the Bryan County Board of Education. The legislation, asked for by the Board of Education, would provide a monthly salary for each member of the board, an amount of $750 per month. The chairperson will receive $875 per month.

This bill was unanimously passed and heads to the Senate for approval.

One bill I introduced is designed to extend the Georgia film tax credits for each year from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2027, while the aggregate amount of tax credits allowed under this Code section shall not exceed $10 million per year. House Bill 1053 is designed to aid Georgia to maintain its leadership role by extending a tax credit for certain expenditures made by postproduction companies.

Georgia is one of the leading states in making films for the United States.

Another piece of legislation I will be spearheading is the constitutional amendment to allow the Georgia Lottery to create a sports gaming bill. With the rising popularity of sports gaming, especially with the rising popularity of the National Football League, many states have legalized the practice. Even some of the biggest sports wagering companies are listed on major stock exchanges. With this being the 30th anniversary of the lottery vote creating the HOPE Scholarship, more than 2 million Georgians have lifted themselves up thru a higher education and technical college careers. More than 1.6 million families received pre-K head starts. We will take up sports gaming in the days to come to close the gap with HOPE and pre k. Bottom line, this will be another lottery game. Finally, a bill that I have pushed for many years finally looks like is going to get through the General Assembly. House Bill 123 states that for the period beginning on January 1, 2022, and ending on December 31, 2032, retirement income received as retirement benefits from service in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard and the reserve components and the uniformed components of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are included. The legislation also includes any survivor benefits for spouses of uniformed members on the transfer of those benefits after death.

I will speak to this in later postings as it makes its way through one of my committees, Ways and Means.

I will continue to be your voice in dealing with problems or questions about your state government. I encourage you to contact me with your input and thoughts on proposed legislation or current events that may impact our community. I am in 226-A of the State Capitol. My office phone number is (404) 656-5115 and my email is ron. I look forward to continuing this session and serving all of you.

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