The Legislature Wraps Up Week 3 and Day 8

The legislature wrapped up its business for January today by having the first bills pass in each chamber. For the House, it was the supplemental budget that sets final funding levels for FY 2015. The measure, which includes $276 million in new spending, passed unanimously, with a vote of 171-0, and now moves to the Senate.

On the other side of the Gold Dome, Senators debated and passed Senate Bill 1, the bill that would provide autism insurance covverage. The bill’s sponsor, Charlie Bethel, issued the following statement after the bill’s unanimous passage on a vote of 54-0:

My Senate colleagues have spent a great deal of time understanding the depth and complexity of this issue. It’s clear today that we all saw the bigger picture—and that’s the reality of a Georgia where we haven’t acted to address this issue. SB 1 will provide some much needed financial and emotional relief to parents by expanding access to early intervention and behavioral therapy programs. I hope my colleagues in the House will take a similar path with SB 1 in order to give autistic children in our state the chance to reach their full potential in life.”

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

The other big news of the week, of course, was yesterday’s announcement of the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 which, figures to be one of the biggest bills of the session. Although the bill is supposed to drop today, s of this writing, copies are not yet available, but we’re told that patience is a virtue, and that copies of the bill should be available later this afternoon.

Next week, the legislature is in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Things will start to get busier next week.