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Sen. Shafer Discusses the 2014 Legislative Session

January 14, 2014
Senators discussing on the first day of the legilslative session

The 2014 Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly convened yesterday at the State Capitol. Legislators didn't waste any time getting down to business. First, the State Senate adopted and transmitted housekeeping resolutions to the Governor and the House of Representatives notifying them that the Senate was in session.

Next, the Senate took up the matter of electing the Secretary of the Senate.  This was a somewhat extraordinary event because secretaries of the Senate have historically served tenures of many years. We elected David A. Cook by unanimous consent, making him the fourth person elected to that position in 40 years. He succeeds Bob Ewing, who retired earlier this year.

The Senate also adopted a resolution recognizing January 13 as Korean American Day.  The first Korean immigrants arrived in America on this day in 1903, and like immigrants of all nationalities, Koreans have contributed mightily to our great nation.  The Korean-American population is one of the fastest growing populations in Georgia, and Korean businesses have invested heavily in our state, creating jobs for Georgians of all ethnic origins.  The State Senate acted to honor their many contributions by formally recognizing Korean American Day.  

The Georgia General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget each year. Tomorrow morning, Governor Deal will deliver his State of the State address and outline his proposed budget to the Georgia General Assembly. The Senate Appropriations Committee will then hold a joint hearing with the House Appropriations Committee before assigning the various parts of the budget to specialized subcommittees for more detailed scrutiny.

Bond rating agencies have expressed concern about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the state.  It has added significant costs to our State Health Benefit Plan for state employees and public school teachers.  Additionally, even without the proposed expansion of Medicaid, the ACA has added significantly to our cost of providing this program because of what experts are calling the “woodwork effect.”  Georgians who were eligible for Medicaid but had not signed up for the program are “coming out of the woodwork” because of the individual mandate that all Americans have coverage or be subjected to financial penalties.

I will continue to keep you posted as we move forward.

About the Author

GeorgiaGov Writer Noralil Ryan ForesSenator David Shafer serves as the President Pro Tempore of the Georgia State Senate.  He represents the 48th Senate District, which includes portions of Fulton and Gwinnett counties.  He may be reached at (404) 656-0048 or by email at david.shafer@senate.ga.gov.