By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)


Another week has come and gone in Atlanta, leaving just 24 legislative days for us to introduce, vet and vote on bills. We’re really starting to get down to the nitty-gritty, and many important topics and bills are being discussed. Here are a few bills that were passed on the Senate floor this week that may impact businesses, healthcare and life in District 19:


SB 48 freezes the cost of a hunting and fishing license if the hunter renews his or her license before their expiration. As we all know, hunting season is the best season and this bill would make it cheaper for you to participate by cutting the cost of a license.


SB 14, or “the rural hospital tax credit,” expands the tax credit available to most companies to 70 percent of their tax liability or $10,000 dollars, whichever is less, when partnerships, LLCs and S corporations make a donation to a rural hospital. This is especially important to the hospitals in our district.


SB 12 would allow dental hygienists to perform certain duties while a dentist is out of the office. In places like Atlanta this may not be a big deal, but in areas like where we live, it can be. This bill will also help those wishing to volunteer their services at low-cost and charity dental clinics. We want our citizens to be able to receive the best care possible in a timely manner, and this bill would allow that to happen.


SBs 4, 40, and 52 all deal with the updating of services and procedures surrounding mental health and patient care.


In addition to these bills, we saw the amended Fiscal Year 2017 budget pass in the Senate. Included in the budget is over $27 million to fund law enforcement salary increases and over $100 million for education. This amended budget is the first step to making sure our state funds are being used responsibly and in a fiscally conservative manner.


Please let me if you have any questions or concerns about bills that you feel will affect our region. I enjoy hearing your feedback and always take into consideration your thoughts and feelings. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you.