As Atlanta welcomed throngs of tourists and football fans for the big game, the legislature accomplished several things that could affect our community.
It gave me great pleasure to name fellow Savannahian State Representative Carl Gilliard as Chairman of the House Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee on International Trade and Commerce. I have confidence that Carl will build new relationships to foster new economic development for our great state. He brings a wealth of experience to this assignment along with an abiding commitment to moving Georgia forward as a top destination to live, work, play and visit.
And speaking of making our state a great place to work, I co-sponsored HB 41, which would provide an income tax credit for film, gaming, video, or digital production in Georgia, with an additional credit amount for productions that employ military veterans. I believe this is good legislation that will have economic benefits for our state as well as encourage hiring our veterans, who deserve to succeed in civilian life.
In an effort to lower healthcare costs for women, I’ve co-sponsored House Bill 8, which would eliminate taxes on feminine hygiene products. As a pharmacist, I see how taxes on medical necessities can quickly add up, particularly on those that are needed frequently. Products such as insulin syringes and hearing aids are already tax-free and it only seems fair that feminine products, considered a medical necessity by many, should be tax-free also. It is my hope that my colleagues will agree with me and pass this bill.
I joined some of my colleagues in co-sponsoring HB 1, which would change the name of the “Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act” to the “Senator Eric Johnson Scholarship Act.” The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program is available for special needs students attending Georgia public schools under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Many of you remember when Senator Eric Johnson served as President Pro Tempore from 2003-2010 and his strong support for providing Georgia’s special needs students with educational opportunities. I believe this is name change is a fitting recognition of Eric’s efforts in this area.
On a more somber note, I co-sponsored House Resolution 33 honoring the life and memory of Officer Anthony Christie, one of our most dedicated law enforcement officers who tragically lost his life in the line of duty on May 25, 2018. Officer Christie served with honor and distinction with the Savannah Police Department and was a dedicated public servant whose primary concern was the welfare of the citizens of Savannah. Our community will miss him.
Farmers effected by Hurricane Michael have access to funds through House Bill 4EX, allocated through the SAFETY 21 Loan Program. You may apply for a loan if you are a farmer who has lost income as a result of Hurricane Michael. The bill also allows for income tax credit for timberland owners. For more information, visit www.gdaonline.com or www.agr.georgia.gov.
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Representative Ron Stephens represents the citizens of District 164, which includes portions of Bryan, Chatham, and Liberty counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 1996.