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2014 Legislative Session Update 

by Senator Nan Orrock, District 36
I am honored to serve my neighborhood of Ormewood Park, Grant Park, Benteen Park, Glenwood Park, and all of District 36, a vast sweep of Atlanta, since my 2006 election to the Georgia Senate. As your voice in the Senate, I urge you to contact me with your input at nan.orrock@senate.ga.gov or (404) 463-8054. Also, mark your calendar to join me from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on April 21 at Manuel’s Tavern for a post-session neighborhood celebration.
While progress was made on addressing health concerns with diabetes, lupus, Alzheimer’s, and dementia-related diseases, the 2014 legislative session saw a continued assault on education, access to health insurance, voting rights, and civil liberties.
Since 2002, education spending (pre-K-12) has been cut by $8 billion in Georgia. Nearly 80 percent of our school districts have exceeded class-size caps, and 80 percent will have furloughed teachers this year. I stand with Jason Carter to prioritize education spending, separating it from the state budget, and only fund the rest of the government once we’ve adequately secured a budget for our schools. I helped defeat Senate Bill 167, which would have dismantled the standards for which our educators and students have spent years preparing.
Healthcare legislation proved to be equally troubling. Senate Bill 98, which passed both the House and the Senate, bars state employee health insurance from covering abortions, making no exception for rape, incest, or fetal anomaly. An egregious attack on women, it parallels further moves to create barriers for healthcare. Families were broken-hearted and weeping in the Capitol halls to see the death of a bill to increase insurance coverage for autistic children and a medical marijuana bill to provide relief to children suffering from repetitive brain seizures.
House Bill 990 creates higher barriers to the expansion of Medicaid to cover nearly 700,000 uninsured Georgians. According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the move, funded by federal dollars, would actually bring in $6.5B annually to our state economy and fund the creation of 70,000 jobs over 10 years that cannot be outsourced. Instead, the majority voted to deny our neediest neighbors access to healthcare, which studies show could result in 600-1100 people dying annually from lack of care.
I supported an important bill to streamline community improvement districts in Fulton County to enhance infrastructure and broaden our tax base. Other legislation impacting urban neighborhoods died on the Senate floor. House Bill 960 would have expanded the state law governing urban redevelopment to allow the private sector to help finance and build transit projects, therefore streamlining projects for the Atlanta Beltline.
Other problematic bills had mixed results:

  • Reduction of restrictions on guns in houses of worship, bars and airports (PASSED)
  • Allow for refusal of services based on religious objections, essentially denying healthcare services to women and allowing discrimination against the LGBQT community, (DEFEATED)
  • Reduction of early voting  in municipal elections, from three weeks to six days (DEFEATED)

 
Let me know how I can assist you. Thanks for caring and following urgent public policy issues.  The Primary Election is now Tuesday, May 20. Your vote is your voice, and I urge you to speak loudly.
 
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