Isakson applauds passage of ‘VA Mission Act’

Isakson applauds passage of ‘VA Mission Act’

The United States Senate passed bi-partisan legislation last week that Senator Johnny Isakson, (R-GA) believes will strengthen healthcare services at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while streamlining the department’s community care programs to ensure veterans receive efficient, timely and quality care, whether inside the VA system or from providers in their communities. Isakson serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. S.2372, 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, includes some of the most significant reforms proposed to-date to improve the VA’s current healthcare delivery system and help provide veterans with more choice and fewer barriers to care. The VA MISSION Act builds on legislation previously introduced by Isakson to consolidate and improve VA community care programs, which allows veterans to receive healthcare services provided by private hospitals and doctors. The legislation also includes provisions to improve VA’s ability to hire high-quality healthcare professionals, expand VA caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras and establish a process to evaluate and reform VA’s existing facilities to best serve veterans. “The Senate passage of the VA MISSION Act is a major victory for our nation’s veterans who will benefit from more choice and fewer barriers to care,” said Isakson. “I’d like to thank House Chairman Phil Roe, Senator Tester and our committee members from both chambers and on both sides of the aisle for passing this legislation through Congress so quickly. I look forward to sending this to the president’s desk to be signed...
A look at finances in the Georgia Gov.’s race

A look at finances in the Georgia Gov.’s race

Even though many of Georgia’s gubernatorial candidates were not allowed to fundraise for three months during the 2018 legislative session, big money numbers were turned in the latest reporting period. In fact, the candidates for governor reported millions of dollars added to their campaign funds, according to financial disclosures filed this weekend. The report covers Jan 31 through March 31, which gave some candidates only two days of fundraising after the session ended March 29 at midnight. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has the most money on hand, although he was limited to two days of fundraising (which brought in $20,206)  because of the General Assembly limitations. He currently has over $4.5 million on hand which he has set aside for heavy TV airtime. His total contributions to date are $6,790,315. Cagle has also begun his second Bus Tour across Georgia. The two Republicans who seem to be fighting it out for the second spot, former state Senator Hunter Hill and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, each have over $1 million in cash on hand. Hill pulled in major donations from Braves chief executive Terry McGuirk and Robert Loudermilk of the Loudermilk Companies real estate firm during this reporting period, and now has $1,120,864 cash on hand. His total contributions this reporting period were $442,891, and he reported spending $500,000 on campaign ads which hit TV airways during this time period. Hill has raised $2,702,053 to date. Kemp, who was limited in fundraising this period as a state Constitutional Officer, raised  $34,970 this period, but has  $1,631,521 cash on hand. He has spent over $500,000...
Port of Savannah project makes big progress

Port of Savannah project makes big progress

As Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced that the Army Corps of Engineers has completed outer harbor dredging at the Port of Savannah — marking the midpoint of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) — an economic impact study conducted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business looked at the statewide economic impact of Georgia’s deepwater ports. According to the study, the Port of Savannah is the fastest-growing container port in the U.S. and the fourth busiest, behind only Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York-New Jersey, and has a major statewide economic impact including: · $84.1 billion in sales (9.6 percent of Georgia’s total sales) · $33.2 billion in state gross domestic product (7.2 percent of Georgia’s total GDP) · $20.4 billion in income (5.3 percent of Georgia’s total personal income) · 370,000 full-time and part-time jobs (8.4 percent of Georgia’s total employment) · $4.5 billion in federal taxes · $1.3 billion in state taxes · $1 billion in local taxes In an announcement recently, Governor Deal spoke on the progress of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, and the importance of staying on the timelines. “The completion of outer harbor dredging marks the midpoint for SHEP and represents a crucial milestone for the Savannah community, the State of Georgia and the nation as a whole,” said Deal. “The Port of Savannah is already the second busiest port in the nation for exports and the timely completion of this project will be a major step forward for our nation’s infrastructure. To ensure that SHEP remains on schedule, my FY 2018 budget proposal calls for $35 million in additional...
Deal considers special session for Amazon

Deal considers special session for Amazon

Will Georgia’s legislators be called in for a special session regarding Amazon? According to Gov. Nathan Deal, if Georgia is among Amazon’s top three choices, he is prepared to call a special legislative session so lawmakers can pass additional incentives. “Until such a time as we are given notice that we are on the shortlist of candidates, it would be very unwise for this session of the General Assembly to consume valuable time trying to guess what Amazon is going to do,” said Gov. Deal recently at the annual Eggs & Issues breakfast of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. “Such speculation may in fact do us more harm than good.” Although details of Georgia’s bid have not been disclosed, the governor reassured those in attendance at the Eggs and Issues breakfast that Georgia made a “strong, highly competitive offer” to Amazon last fall and it could be months before the company narrows its choices. Metro Atlanta is among the 238 cities and regions in the U.S., Canada and Mexico that submitted proposals last fall for Amazon’s second headquarters and the promise of 50,000 new jobs. Deal said the state wants to offer big incentives to land Amazon’s expansion, which would bring about billions in investment and tens of thousands of jobs, but it would need the Legislators to do that. But don’t expect those issues to be discussed in this regular session of the General Assembly, according to the Governor. “To those who believe we should instead spend that time passing Amazon-specific legislation, let me assure you that if Georgia makes the list of final three contenders for HQ2,...
Tennessee Conference Highlights DeVos Policy

Tennessee Conference Highlights DeVos Policy

  NASHVILLE, TN — After affirming that she is “not going anywhere” amid rumors that she is about to step down from her position, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos warned the 1,200 education stakeholders attending Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education in Nashville, Tenn. last week that America is “still a nation at risk.” Nearly 35 years after the publication of the 1983 report “A Nation at Risk” DeVos said America remains “stuck in the middle” on the “Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).” “We are being outpaced and outperformed by countries like China, Vietnam, German and the U.K.” DeVos said. “We are a nation still at risk. We are a nation at greater risk.” While this caught the attention of the record-setting crowd, it was DeVos’ opening remark that brought many to their feet for a standing ovation. Echoing a Mark Twain quote, DeVos opened her remarks by stating, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. I’m not going anywhere! In fact, I’m just getting started!” This, DeVos said, could be bad news for “the teacher union bosses, the defenders of the status quo, the ‘education-expert’ bloggers and muckrakers and many of our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle in Congress.” DeVos said that other countries that have embraced school choice are performing better in education than the United States. The secretary also praised personalized learning — allowing students to learn at their own pace — during her address. She expressed concerns that there is some risk of losing high-achieving students who “become bored”, as much as students who have struggles in...