News from Rep. Pam Dickerson | Georgia House District 113
February 3, 2015
Rep. Pam Dickerson

Wednesday, Feb. 4, will be the 11th legislative day of the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly.

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 

Georgia State Capitol

Transportation funding legislation introduced in House of Representatives

Legislation intended to provide an additional $1 billion per year in revenue, which would be used for infrastructure maintenance and improvements in Georgia's transportation system, was introduced last week by members of the House of Representatives leadership.


A special Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding concluded in its Dec. 31, 2014, report that Georgia needs a minimum of $1 billion to maintain the state's existing roads, bridges, air and transit system infrastructure.


Key elements of HB 170 include:

  • Converting the current 7.5 cents-per-gallon state excise tax on gasoline, which when combined with sales tax amounts to a total of about 27 cents per gallon, to a consolidated excise tax of 29.2 cents per gallon, with no sales tax added. The excise tax would be indexed to account for increases in vehicles' gas mileage. Cities and counties would each be allowed to levy a local excise tax  to account for the loss of local sales tax revenue.
  • Implementing an annual fee on electric or natural gas-powered vehicles, which also use the state's roadways but are not subject to gasoline taxes. The fees would be $200 for personal cars and $300 for commercial vehicles and would not be charged on hybrid vehicles.
  • Adding $100 million to the bond package in the state budget to finance transit projects.

The study committee's report noted that Georgia currently ranks 49th in terms of state spending per capita on its roads, and additional investment is needed to relieve costly highway congestion and prepare for continued growth and increased use of freight and shipping lanes.


However, some representatives of city and county governments and school boards have expressed opposition to HB 170 in its current form due to concerns that the proposal would shift $500 million per year in local tax revenues to the state government. This would force city and county officials and school boards to raise taxes at the local level to make up for that revenue shift.


The legislation is expected to be the source of significant debate in the weeks ahead.


Amended FY 2015 budget approved


House members voted unanimously Jan. 29 to approve amendments to the state budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2015, which ends June 30. Changes to the $20.9 billion budget add $276 million worth of appropriations, including $128.5 million to local school systems to cover enrollment growth.


Other amendments include $4.9 million for 103 new child welfare case workers and $4.9 million for medical cannabis trials at Georgia Regents University.


For the first six months of FY 2015, state revenues have increased by 5.7 percent over the same period last year. The supplemental budget legislation (HB 75) now goes to the Senate for its consideration, while the House Appropriations Committee turns its full attention to the proposed $21.8 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, which starts July 1.


Medical cannabis shipments tied to legislation's fate


Sponsors of legislation to allow the use of cannabis oil strictly for the treatment of medical conditions have announced that a major manufacturer of the substance is planning deliveries to Georgia if HB 1 is successful.


In its current form, the legislation would provide immunity from criminal prosecution for persons who possess cannabis oil, a derivative of marijuana which has been effective in the treatment of certain conditions, including children's seizures. The sponsors of HB 1 said the manufacturer would ship the substance directly to Georgia families.


The bill is now under consideration in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.


426,000 Georgians get insurance through ACA exchange


Georgians' enrollment in the federal health insurance exchange affiliated with the Affordable Care Act is up by almost 35 percent over last year, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.


With two weeks remaining before the Feb. 15 open enrollment deadline, 425,927 Georgians have signed up for coverage, a significant increase over the 316,000 Georgians who enrolled last year. Of this year's enrollees, 57 percent were in the program last year, while 43 percent are newly covered.


Rep. Dickerson's Legislation
Recent action on legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Rep. Pam Dickerson:

HB 103 Kelsey's Law; enact (referred to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee)

HB 131 The End to Cyberbullying Act; enact (referred to House Education Committee)

HB 150 Taxation; additional credit amount for productions that employ veterans; provide (referred to House Ways & Means Committee)

HB 161 Income tax; new exemption for contributions used to promote the well-being of certain children; create (referred to House Ways & Means Committee)

Click here for all of Rep. Dickerson's 2015-2016 legislation.

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