Week One of the 2018 Georgia Legislative Session


The Atlanta weather was very cold when the legislators came to town for the start of this year’s session.


During the first four days of the legislative calendar, the major events were the Governor’s final State of the State Address, the release of the adjusted FY18 budget and the new FY19 budget.  Hearings on the budgets will start on Tuesday, January 16th.  The new budget documents have been posted on the Georgia Budget and Management web site.  In the adjusted FY18 budget, the education budget begins on Page 88.  In the FY19 budget, the education section begins on page 142.

John Zauner, Executive Director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, provided a quick overview of the educational portions of the budgets in his Friday newsletter, which was sent to Georgia Superintendents.  Below are the members of the legislative appropriations committee.

Chairman Hill, Jack S. R-04 Reidsville
Vice Chair Unterman, Renee S. R-45 Buford
Secretary Gooch, Steve R-51 Dahlonega
Member Albers, John E. R-56 Alpharetta
Member Black, Ellis R-08 Valdosta
Member Burke, Dean R-11 Bainbridge
Member Cowsert, Bill R-46 Athens
Member Davenport, Gail P. D-44 Jonesboro
Member Ginn, Frank J. R-47 Danielsville
Member Harper, Tyler J. R-07 Ocilla
Ex-Officio Hufstetler, Chuck R-52 Rome
Member Kennedy, John F. R-18 Macon
Member Ligon, William T. R-03 Brunswick
Ex-Officio Lucas, David D-26 Macon
Member Miller, Butch R-49 Gainesville
Member Mullis, Jeff R-53 Chickamauga
Member Orrock, Nan G. D-36 Atlanta
Member Seay, Valencia M. D-34 Riverdale
Member Shafer, David J. R-48 Duluth
Member Sims, Freddie Powell D-12 Dawson
Member Stone, Jesse C. R-23 Waynesboro
Member Tate, Horacena E. D-38 Atlanta
Member Thompson, Curt B. D-05 Tucker
Member Tippins, Lindsey A. R-37 Marietta
Member Watson, Ben L. R-01 Savannah
Member Wilkinson, John K. R-50 Toccoa
Member Williams, Michael E. R-27 Cumming

As the hearings progress next week, more budget details will be available.  Remember that the process will include hearings and negotiations before the two budgets are voted on by both chambers and signed by the Governor.  State Superintendent, Richard Woods, is scheduled to present the education budget at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  You can watch the budget presentations live from Hearing Room CAP 341.  The full committee hearings will be on Tuesday and Wednesday.

You can follow the progress of the bills of interest to the education community that GSSA is tracking, at  At the web site, click on the legislation tab.  Once on the legislative page, click on the watch tab to view those legislative bills that we are tracking so far in this session.  Bills may be added to this list everyday depending on bills introduced over the forty days.  If you click on the monitor tab, you can view those bills of interest to the education community that were introduced during the 2017 session and could be brought up at any time during this session. With the main emphasis on the budget hearings, other committees have not scheduled meetings yet this year.  If you are interested in various committee meetings, you can view them on your computer.  Both the House and Senate will have committee hearings on-line this year.


Watch for special daily reports during the session, as well as our weekly reports.


Please remember to make an effort to reach out and communicate with your legislative delegation during the session.  Your conversations really do make a difference.

If you have any comments or questions for me during the session, call me at 404-909-1639 or email at


Thank you for all you do for the youth of Georgia.


Michael Surma

Legislative Liaison

Georgia School Superintendents Association


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