The Georgia General Assembly convened for the 2023 Session on January 9, 2023. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives met in their respective chambers to begin their work of the people’s business. Being a new legislative session, and the seating of the governor and other constitutional officers following the results of the 2022 elections, several important rites had to take place the first week. The initial part of our business was the swearing-in of the 180 state representatives. Then the House proceeded with the election of the Speaker of the House and the Speaker Pro Tem of the House and the rules governing the changes the House would operate. I am grateful that we elected our neighbor from Effingham County, the Honorable Jon Burns, who was sworn in as our new Speaker of the House.
This past week, the Georgia General Assembly begins their work on our most important tasks, the work on our two budgets. These two pieces of legislation that we must pass each session are the FY 2023 amended budget that allows us to incorporate any funding shortfalls that we hadn’t anticipated in the last session, and the “big budget,” which incorporates our spending to fund education, health care and other government agencies for FY 2024. That being said, we will be reviewing many more legislative priorities of the governor and the legislators. We are limited by our state Constitution to complete your business in 40 legislative days.
After reviewing Gov. Kemp’s budget proposals presented this week, the General Assembly will begin drafting two budget bills: the Amended Fiscal Year 2023 (AFY 2023) budget and the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024) budget. First, the amended budget directs spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year and uses a more accurate estimate of state revenue to account for any differences between the projected estimate and actual revenue obtained. Based on updated revenue estimates, the AFY 2023 budget will include approximately $2.3 billion in additional revenue that our state can utilize over the next six months.
Next, the FY 2024 budget will determine state spending for the entire upcoming fiscal year beginning on July 1, and this full budget is set at a revenue estimate of $32.4 billion. The governor’s version of the current and upcoming fiscal year budgets includes a range of budgetary items that prioritize the required state spending on education and health care, as well as other important government agencies.
With the House and Senate out of session for this past week to allow the Appropriations Committee to have joint hearings on budgetary matters, we also expect that the House leadership will begin the process of assigning the 180 members of the House their committees on which they will serve. I have been selected to serve on the Appropriations Committee; the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, the Higher Education Committee, the Human Relations and Aging Committee, and the Urban Affairs Committee.
On a side note, I have been chosen to be the Parliamentarian of the Women’s Legislative Caucus. With over 60 women serving in the Georgia Legislature, our state is certainly being a leader in electing women to our legislature.
In conclusion, I encourage you to please let me know of issues that are important to you in Chatham County. I am in office 604-C of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. My office phone number is (404) 656-0265 and my email is edna.jackson@ house.ga.gov. I look forward to this session and serving all of you.