By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)

Last week, the Senate began the first week of budget hearings at the state Capitol. While the weather wasn’t great and two days of snow caused delays, we began the process of determining state fund allocations.

Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget showed only two budget categories with percentage increases- education and healthcare. Some of the most significant allotments the Governor recommended are in these areas, including funding for K-12 enrollment increases and repairs and new projects for technical colleges across Georgia. These education allocations can be broken down into a pretty simple statistic–roughly 54 cents of every state dollar will be spent on education this year. This number is certainly something to be noted, especially because it is increasing year-after-year. While education is vitally important to our state, it’s also important to realize that this trend is not sustainable if we are continue funding other areas of government and look at new initiatives such as broadband. I look forward to working with my friends in the Senate and House to determine where our money is best used for everyone in our state.

The final thing that happened last week was the passage of the adoption bill, also known as HB 159, in the Senate. It’s certainly been a long time coming, and we still have a ways to go, but I am hopeful this bill will find itself waiting on the Governor’s signature at the end of the legislative session.

This week the Senate welcomed several special guests, like southeast Georgia native and MLB World Series Champion, Josh Reddick. We were also able to hear a bill in the Judiciary Committee that I introduced last year that would put a stay, or halt, on an adoption proceeding if parental rights are being terminated or relinquished at the same time. This ensures that the child is never without a parent throughout the process of adoption. The bill also would allow individuals the ability to waive their right to an attorney, as long as it is made knowingly, voluntarily and on the record. As the conversation is going on with updating the adoption code, this is one more piece of the puzzle that makes the process more clear and simple.

Locally, a bill altering the makeup of the Long County Commission, House Bill 682, passed the House and is now in the Senate. Local legislation extending the city limits of Soperton to include Treutlen County High School and the recreation department lands will also soon be on the Senate floor.

If you have and questions or concerns about legislation, please do not hesitate to let me know. I am more than happy to answer your questions via email at or by phone at 404-656-0089. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you.