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Rep. Ron Stephens' update from State Capitol (week of Feb. 22)
Rep Ron Stephens
Rep. Ron Stephens - photo by File photo

This week marked the halfway point of the 40 legislative-day session. While much was accomplished, both in committees and on the House floor, most significantly the Amended Fiscal Year 2019 Budget was passed, a fiscally responsible, balanced budget. The bill, HB 30, includes appropriations for many important initiatives that will benefit our schools, farmers, healthcare, and senior citizens, totaling $26.9 billion. The largest portion of the budget is allocated to education at 53.7 percent, with the second largest percentage allocated to health care at 21.7 percent. HB 30 is now on the governor’s desk for his approval.

Because healthcare is essential for every Georgian, not just those that can afford it, I sponsored House Bill 186 and was pleased that it passed overwhelmingly. This bill ensures that the proceeds from the sale or lease of a hospital owned by a hospital authority or political subdivision of the state are put into an irrevocable trust and are only used to provide indigent health care. If certain conditions are met by the hospital authority or political subdivision, additional investment options are permitted. I believe this is good legislation that will provide for Georgians in need.

HR 37 will create the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics, to develop a comprehensive business plan for statewide freight and logistics infrastructure so our state can remain economically competitive. With our booming Port and the I-95 and I-16 corridors, it is important to assess the needs for providing a system of freight and logistics investment projects and priorities. The Commission will consist of three members of the House appointed by the speaker and three members of the Senate appointed by the lieutenant governor, including the chairs of the House and Senate Transportation committees; six representatives of entities which provide freight and logistics services, possess expertise in the operations of a major airport hub, or lead a major commodity or major commodity shipper, major air shipping provider, or major manufacturing operation based in this state. In addition, the executive directors of the Georgia Municipal Association and Association County Commissioners of Georgia will serve on the committee, along with the presidents of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. The Commissioner of Transportation and the executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority will serve in ex officio positions. With a strategic approach, we can ensure that action taken over the next several years will result in the growth and support of this important industry for the betterment of our state.

As the session continues, your input is valuable to me as I represent you at the capitol and consider legislation that could affect your family, job and future. Please know that I’m available to you at 404-656-5115 or at Thank you for allowing me to represent you!

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