State Rep. Ron Stephens, Guest writer.
The 2022 Georgia General Assembly session wrapped up this Monday April 4 when both the House of Representatives and the Senate will agree to adjourn “Sine Die” and bring the gavel down signaling the end of the session. But this past week was intense as senators and representatives hurried between committees to ensure their priority legislation would have a chance to pass before the session ends.
The Governor signed into law our effort to give excess tax dollars back to the taxpayer. House Bill 1302 created a one-time tax credit for taxpayers who filed a return for both 2020 and 2021 taxable years. Single filers would be eligible for a tax credit of $250, those filing jointly will be eligible for a credit of $500 and those filing as a head of household would be eligible for a $375 credit.
One bill that we passed will allow taxpayers to directly support veterans gaining new skills at their local technical college. Senate Bill 87, the “Senator Jack Hill Veterans’ Act”, offers taxpayers the opportunity to contribute to the Technical College System of Georgia Foundation through the Department of Revenue. Taxpayers may elect on their income tax form to authorize the Department of Revenue to reduce the amount of the refund check by the desired amount or to contribute the desired amount above the amount of taxes owed by adding to the taxpayer’s payment. The Department of Revenue shall transmit all funds received to the Technical College System of Georgia Foundation. The funds received by the foundation shall be used exclusively to award scholarships to veterans with service-connected disabilities. Sen. Hill was a long-time serving senator and a retired veteran of our Georgia Air National Guard.
With the Covid debate winding down, we passed S.B. 345, a bill that prohibits state and local governments from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of providing services, accessing a facility, issuing licenses or permits, performing duties, and other matters. Exceptions are applied if compliance would violate Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulations or federal contracts relating to workplace locations.
In an effort to penalize bad acting public servants, we easily passed S.B. 337. This bill discontinues tion for a public official if the official is suspended as a result of a felony indictment. This legislation is a signal to the citizens that those bad actors will not be collecting a paycheck while they are suspended from their elected or appointed duties.
We also passed S.B. 319 or the “Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2021”. S. B. 319 repeals the requirement for weapons carry license for those who are eligible to possess and carry a firearm. This bill has been a priority for those of us who wish to protect ourselves and our loved ones by allowing those eligible to carry a firearm to do so without another level of bureaucracy getting in the way of our 2nd amendment rights.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to continuing this session and serving all of you.