News from Rep. Pam Dickerson | Georgia House District 113
January 20, 2015
Rep. Pam Dickerson

The first week of the 2015 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly concluded Jan. 15 and was mostly devoted to organizational tasks, committee assignments, the first wave of legislation being introduced and the State of the State address by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Following the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee are holding hearings and starting work on the $21.7 billion state budget proposal submitted by the governor. The full General Assembly will return to session Jan. 26.

Please feel free to contact me with your views on the issues facing our state, or whenever I can be of service. Thank you for allowing me to continue to serve you in the Georgia General Assembly.

Rep. Pam Dickerson 

Rep. Dickerson with Pastor Eric W. Lee (left) and fellow Rep. Mack Jackson in the House of Representatives chamber, following swearing-in ceremonies on the first day of the 2015 session of the General Assembly.
Georgia State Capitol

Governor outlines administration's legislative priorities for 2015

In his annual State of the State address to the General Assembly, Gov. Nathan Deal spoke in favor of an additional financial investment to improve the state's transportation infrastructure, as recommended by a special study committee.

While the Governor recommended increase spending on transportation, he did not come out in support of a specific plan to generate revenue for the additional spending. The study committee had estimated the need for an addition of $1 billion to $1.5 billion annually to maintain the current road system.

On education, Gov. Deal asked lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment to establish an "Opportunity School District," in which the state would take over the operation of individual failing schools. He has also appointed an Education Reform Commission for the purpose of overhauling the state's Quality Basic Education funding formula for local school systems.

The Governor continued his call for criminal justice reforms and proposed combining the supervision functions of three state agencies -- the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Corrections -- into a new Department of Community Supervision.

House Committee Assignments: Members of the House of Representatives received their committee assignments for the 2015-16 legislative term last week. I will be serving on the House Education Committee, the Game Fish & Parks Committee, the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, the Juvenile Justice Committee, the Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Committee and the State Planning & Community Affairs Committee.

End Cyberbullying Act: I will be sponsoring legislation to expand anti-bullying laws to protect our children. This is part of the "Educational Opportunity" initiative of the House Democratic Caucus legislative agenda aimed at providing quality education for Georgia's kids by supporting students, helping parents and improving schools for the 21st century.


Medical Cannabis: Legislation to authorize the limited use of cannabis oil for the treatment of certain medical conditions, including childhood seizure disorders and chronic pain has undergone changes to generate stronger support for its enactment. The new version of HB 1, the "Haleigh's Hope Act," does not allow the growth or production of marijuana in Georgia to obtain the cannabis oil used in the treatments but will allow the cannabis oil to be brought into the state for that purpose. The legislation would also create an advisory council to develop a regulatory model for future in-state growth and distribution of the substance.  


Tobacco Tax Hike Proposed: Supporters of a proposal to increase the state tax on tobacco products have announced they will introduced legislation that would cause the tax on cigarettes to go up by at least $1 per pack. The bill's sponsors said an increase of $1.23 per pack would put Georgia at the national average on taxing cigarettes and would bring in an estimated $624 million in additional state revenue. The legislation will have the support of Georgians for a Healthy Future, a statewide healthcare advocacy organization. 


Solar Financing Plan: Legislation aimed at assisting homeowners and small businesses with generating their own energy from solar panels has been approved by a subcommittee of the House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Committee. HB 57, which would allow residents and business owners to lease solar panel systems for their property, has the support of the Georgia Solar Energy Association. The bill now goes to the full committee for its consideration.

Contact Rep. Dickerson
At the Capitol:
611-E Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone 404-656-0314
In the District:
P.O. Box 1016, Conyers, GA 30013
Phone 770-602-0085