Deal signs off on bills from special session

Deal signs off on bills from special session

Georgia lawmakers met in special session last week, and walked away Saturday morning with a hurricane relief package, a tax credit for certain taxpayers within Southwest Georgia’s timber industry who incurred significant expenses due to Hurricane Michael and suspension of the collection of the state’s 4 percent sales and use tax on jet fuel through the end of FY 2019. “The work of the General Assembly this week will help the families, businesses, farmers and communities that were most severely impacted by Hurricane Michael,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “By providing roughly $270 million to help our neighbors in Southwest Georgia, the appropriations in this amended budget will provide critical support for devastated communities, including those most heavily dependent on agriculture and the timber industry. I appreciate the General Assembly working together diligently and quickly to see that this relief funding will be delivered to those in need as rapidly as possible, as the rebuilding process is just beginning for some of Georgia’s citizens. I thank the leadership of both chambers and legislators from all over the state for coming together this week to support those most heavily impacted by this natural disaster.” On Saturday morning, at the close of the special session, Gov. Deal signed legislation (HB 1EX) which amends the Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Act to provide roughly $270 million in emergency funding for state agencies and local governments in areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Michael. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 162-1 and passed the Senate by a vote of 52-0. The Governor also signed HB 4EX, which allows timberland owners...
University System of Georgia Announces creation of Georgia FinTech Academy

University System of Georgia Announces creation of Georgia FinTech Academy

University System of Georgia officials announced a statewide initiative Tuesday to create a talent pipeline for Georgia’s fast-growing financial technology (fintech) business sector. According to the announcement by Chancellor Steve Wrigley and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, they are creating a hub at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business for all 26 colleges and universities in the system to learn and train more students for careers in the financial technology industry. This, they say, is designed to address a labor gap in the state. Fintech is one of six sectors identified by Gov. Nathan Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative. A segment of the financial services industry, Fintech uses new technologies to lower the costs and decrease time of financial transactions. In Georgia, more than 40,000 people are employed in fintech, which generates more than $72 billion in annual revenue “When we released the College 2025 report, we meant what we said about preparing graduates with innovative approaches,” said Wrigley. “The Georgia FinTech Academy is an innovative response to the call from the fintech industry for more and better workers. With the strength of all 26 institutions of the University System of Georgia behind it, I believe fintech will see immediate results from this new program.” Officials say the Georgia FinTech Academy will prepare individuals to enter fintech or transition from another career through degree programs, executive and continuing education, and apprenticeships and internships providing the practical experience required by employers. Continued growth and expansion of Georgia’s fintech sector is predicated on meeting an escalating demand for talent, including producing 5,000 new hires by...
2018 Farm Bill Includes Southern Agriculture Priorities

2018 Farm Bill Includes Southern Agriculture Priorities

U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) praised Senate passage of the Farm Bill last week — which they say include many benefits for Georgia farmers and rural communities across the state. According to Isakson, the bill will provide certainty and predictability to farmers and ranchers by improving crop insurance coverage and reauthorizing and improving farm and conservation programs. It also provides assistance to rural communities through expansion of broadband, opioid addiction treatment programs, and support for agriculture programs for veterans. “Our farmers feed the world, and it’s essential that we do everything we can to anticipate challenges down the road and make sure our policies reflect the needs of our farmers for the long term,” said Isakson. “This important legislation provides numerous benefits for Georgia agriculture and for our rural communities, which are struggling with the opioid epidemic and with lack of access to modern-day essentials such as broadband. The 2018 Farm Bill will help our commodity producers when prices go down, expand trade assistance to ensure we remain competitive worldwide, and invest in the future of American agriculture.” Calling the bill a ‘jobs bill,’ Perdue said “Agriculture is Georgia’s number one industry and a major reason why our state continues to be the best state in the country in which to do business. I’ve traveled across Georgia to listen to farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture industry. One thing is clear – this Farm Bill is a jobs bill. America’s food security is economic security. This bill saves more money than the last Farm Bill, cracks down on food stamp fraud, and preserves programs that have...
Isakson’s Landmark VA Legislation Signed into Law

Isakson’s Landmark VA Legislation Signed into Law

The VA Mission Bill, which is designed to expand health care access for American veterans and create greater accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, is now law. U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Wednesday applauded the president’s signing into law landmark legislation he authored. The signing took place less than a week after Sen. Isakson sat down with members of the media in Atlanta to discuss the highlights of the legislation. The John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act, called the VA MISSION Act for short, is a bipartisan bill that Isakson worked on for more than 18 months and is the 16th veterans bill signed into law since January 2017. “We owe our veterans the best possible care and support that they have earned,” said Isakson, who participated in the bill signing with the president. “This is a truly meaningful victory for our nation’s veterans, who will benefit from more choice and fewer barriers to care. The signing of this legislation marks the completion of the final piece in a great mosaic of veterans reforms that we set out to accomplish over the last two years. I thank President Trump for his unwavering support for our veterans, and I appreciate my colleagues in Congress who upheld our commitment to our veterans by voting for some of the most significant reforms to-date to improve the VA’s current healthcare delivery system.” Isakson called the bill the  “final crowning glory” of 11 VA reform measures that were part...
Solar cell manufacturer makes big investment in Georgia

Solar cell manufacturer makes big investment in Georgia

More jobs are headed to North Georgia. A Korean company, which is a  leader in the global solar industry, will create more than 500 jobs and invest $150 million in a new solar module manufacturing facility in Dalton, according to an announcement Wednesday by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. Hanwha Q CELLS Korea will produce high-performance and high-quality photovoltaic modules at the new facility. The facility is scheduled for completion in 2019. “Georgia has maintained strong partnerships with Korean businesses for more than three decades and this announcement is yet another reflection of our reputation as a premier destination for international business,” said Deal. “By establishing a presence in Whitfield County, Hanwha Q CELLS Korea will join a number of Korean-affiliated companies that operate at least 80 facilities in our state,” Deal added.  “As the No. 1 state for business, Georgia offers the skilled workforce and extensive manufacturing resources needed for Hanwha Q CELLS Korea to maintain its competitive edge in the global solar industry. We appreciate Hanwha Q CELLS Korea’s significant investment in Georgia and look forward to the company’s success in Dalton.” “We are excited to bring our technology leadership to Georgia in manufacturing solar modules and look forward to building long-term relationships to further expand our manufacturing base and contribute to environmentally sustainable energy solutions,” said James Choi, vice president of Hanwha Q CELLS Korea. According to information from the Governor’s office, Hanwha Q CELLS is headquartered in South Korea and currently operates manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and China. The company was founded in April 2011, and is an affiliate of Hanwha Group and a sister company...