Georgia Legislators Get Back to Business
GOALS FOR 2013
It’s been a busy first week for Georgia Legislators, though it's the first day, those elected from central Georgia are getting straight to business.
"Well today I dropped nine bills in the senate. This is the first day that we can present legislation,” says Georgia State Senator Cecil Staton, a Republican representing District 18. “All of those bills have to do with non-partisan elections in Macon and Bibb County.” Staton says while Macon and Bibb County are making a transition to a consolidated government in 2014, non-partisan elections will on prove to be beneficial to the economic and governmental development of the area.
Meanwhile, others are opposed. "You know that I am admittedly opposed to it,” says Georgia State Senator David Lucas, who’s returning to the Georgia Legislative body. “The people prior to me coming back did some things and you know and basically folks feel like you know, they can have their way now.”
Lucas added that he believes these bills will only serve to help politicians that don’t want to publicly acknowledge their true political beliefs.
Representative James Beverly serves Georgia House District 139. He thinks that one statewide tax will be a hot topic this year. "I think it's going to be the bed tax that people are talking about," he adds.
According to the Associated Press, currently, hospitals pay an amount based on net patient revenue. That money is then used to generate federal support for the Medicaid insurance program for poor, disabled and older Georgians. The arrangement expires in June. That means lawmakers could have to choose between steep cuts to Medicaid or backing the renewal of a tax.
A spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal says the governor is proposing a plan that would allow lawmakers to avoid an explicit vote on whether to extend an expiring hospital industry tax that helps finance Georgia's health care system.
While Representative Beverly thinks the number one issue is dealing with the Hospital Taxes, others from Central Georgia say healthcare is number one.
"Well number one is to do something about healthcare in the rural areas of my district," says Sen. David Lucas. He wants to fight for better healthcare services for two districts that he serves including Twiggs and Hancock Counties. He explained that the ambulatory service for Twiggs County is based out of Macon, according to some of constituents, arrival time can take up to forty-five minutes.
In Hancock County Lucas adds that there is nowhere for health care service after 5:00 p.m. or on the weekends. The citizens there have to travel to Augusta, Milledgeville or Macon to receive any kind of medical assistance during those times.
"We've got some adjustments to make for the affordable care act here in Georgia," says Representative Nikki Randall for Georgia House District 142. She adds that the transition is going to be on that the entire legislative body will have to dedicate hard work and interest to.
A hot topic last year is spilling over into 2013. The Macon- Bibb Consolidation Bill needs some tweaking to be finalized. Representative Nikki Randall, serves as the Chairwoman of the Macon Bibb Consolidation Transition Taskforce and assures that the transition will go as smoothly as possible. "The consolidation task force is moving right along. We have some committed citizens that are working very very hard," says Randall.
Representative Allen Peake says the people from his district, Georgia House District 137, spoke out on two concerns, Gun Regulations & the Future of Healthcare.
"How do we deal with the effects of Obamacare and the effects on the states treasury," says Peake, "We've got some tough challenges ahead of us."
Members of the house say they will be working very hard, to balance the state’s budget and bringing jobs and efficient health care to Central Georgia districts.