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Posted: February 12, 2017 5:00 a.m.

Anderson: Week Five under the Gold Dome

With the completion of legislative days 13 through 16, we now move into week 6 under the Gold Dome. As things really begin to heat up, we will see more discussions and debate surrounding legislation that will have a direct effect on the lives of Georgians.

This week, we saw three mental healthcare bills brought up for vote on the Senate floor. While they each covered different things, all three improve the provisions surrounding mental healthcare and allow for more services to be available to mentally ill patients. Measures like these are a step in the right direction in protecting and providing for our mentally ill citizens. Each bill was passed in the Senate and will now move to the House for consideration.

Senate Bill 129, which provides for retired military personnel to receive up to 60 month of creditable retirement service, was introduced on Wednesday. SB 129 has been referred to the Retirement Committee where it will be vetted and receive a “do pass” or “do not pass” recommendation. As a veteran myself, I believe doing everything we can to protect this underserved and underappreciated group is something that should be at the top of our to-do list. I am happy to cosponsor this legislation and look forward to supporting our state’s veterans in the future.

On Wednesday, the Senate also recognized Stop Violence Against Women Day that honored the many professionals and volunteers who help stop domestic violence against women in Georgia. Domestic violence affects all women, regardless of race, class, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation and religion. I am happy to support these professionals and am happy to see their dedication get the recognition it deserves.

Thursday, the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus held a press conference to introduce Senate Bill 119 or the “Georgia Civil Rights Act”. This act aims to extend the standards of nondiscrimination to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is important to fairly protect minority groups across the board and this provision would extend this protection to the LGBT community in our state.

The amended Fiscal Year 2017 budget was also passed in the Senate this week. In it, over $27 million is allocated to fund law enforcement pay raises and over $100 million will go to funding for education enrollment increases. These are important increases in funding for two of the most important and hardworking groups of people in the state of Georgia.

I am happy to be serving you at the state Capitol and enjoy updating you on what is happening under the Gold Dome. If you are ever concerned about legislation, have questions, or would like to visit the Capitol, please call me office at (404) 463-2598 or email me at tonya.anderson@senate.ga.gov. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

Senator Tonya Anderson represents the 43rd Senate District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties. She may be reached by email at tonya.anderson@senate.ga.gov.

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