Moving Forward: Vol. 18, Issue 5
AMENDED BUDGET HEARINGS: This week, the subcomittees for House Appropriations held the final budget meetings and votes. The FY 2013A budget bill is scheduled for for discussion in the House rules committee as this issue of Moving Forward goes to print; once the FY 2013A budget bill clears the full House, it moves to the Senate. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations subcommittees will begin hearings on next year's budget, FY 2014. This issue reviews the changes to the FY 2013A budget. You can view the budget yourself at http://opb.georgia.gov.
On Feb. 1, the House passed SB 24, which will allow the state to assess a fee on Georgia hospitals, in order to fund Medicaid in place of the expiring "bed tax." The bill passed the Senate last month. Without this new source of revenue, state hospitals in Georgia could have been in jeopardy of closure and Medicaid in the state would have faced significant cuts.
One bill advocates are watching closely is HB 142, introduced by House Speaker David Ralston (7th District) in response to statewide voter referendums calling for caps on lobbyist gifts. The bill contains a broad definition of a lobbyist to include anyone "advocating a position or agenda for the purpose of influencing the decision-making of any public officer." Under a strict inter-pretation of this law, individuals and parent advocates engaging in advocacy with legislators other than their own representatives could be subject to a lobbyist registration fee. The bill has drawn much attention and Ralston indicated earlier this week that tweaks are forthcoming.
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