News from Rep. Pam Dickerson | Georgia House District 113
March 11, 2015
Rep. Pam Dickerson

Wednesday, March 11, is the 29th legislative day of the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly. We are approaching the all-important 30th day, also known as Crossover Day as it is the final day for most legislation to pass either the House of Representatives or the Senate in time to be considered by the other chamber this year. Crossover Day will take place Friday, March 13.

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 and Speaker David Ralston thank Morgan Williams (above) and Ryan Taylor (below) for their service as pages in the House of Representatives.


Georgia State Capitol
Transportation funding legislation receives House approval 


The House of Representatives dealt with one of the most significant issues of the 2015 legislative session March 5 by approving a plan to provide additional revenue to be used for infrastructure maintenance and improvements in Georgia's transportation system.
By a vote of 123 to 46, House members approved HB 170 in response to the report of a special Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding, which concluded that Georgia needs a minimum of $1 billion to maintain the state's existing roads, bridges, air and transit system infrastructure.
After substantial changes in the House Transportation Committee and the House Rules Committee, the major provisions of the legislation include the following:
  • Moving the state to an excise-tax only system on motor fuels. HB 170 calls for a 29.2 cents per gallon excises tax, to be indexed in future years to account for changes in vehicles' gas mileage efficiency. Sponsors of the measure said the excise tax would be a more stable and sustainable funding source than sales taxes on motor fuels, which rise and fall dramatically based on the price at the pump.
  • Special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) would continue to be levied on gasoline if renewed by the voters, but those revenues derived from motor fuel purchases would be dedicated to transportation purposes.
  • Local option sales taxes implemented for the purpose of rolling back local property taxes would no longer be collected on motor fuels, but the maximum rate on those sales taxes would be increased to 1.25 percent to account for the tax base loss to local governments.
  • Additional revenue will come from a significant bond package that will provide funding for the 128 transit systems across Georgia.
Other provisions of HB 170 call for the recapitalization of the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank as a source for loans and grants, elimination of the sales tax exemption on jet fuels and an end to the Governor's authority to suspend the collection of state motor fuel taxes, except in emergencies and with two-thirds approval of the General Assembly.
HB 170 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
House votes to end MARTA spending restriction

On March 5, the House voted to approve legislation that would remove the restrictions on how MARTA can use sales tax proceeds.
Under HB 213, MARTA would no longer be required to set aside 50 percent of its sales tax-generated revenue for the construction of additional facilities or improvements. Upon submission of an independent management audit to the Governor and the General Assembly every four years, MARTA would be free to exceed the 50 percent limit on its use of sales tax proceeds for operating expenses.
The House also approved HB 214, which would restore MARTA Board voting privileges to the executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority through Dec. 31, 2016. Both bills now go to the Senate for its consideration.
Other legislation approved by the House and sent to the Senate in the past week includes:
  • HB 71, which would require more public disclosure of information related to decisions of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.
  • HB 190, which would require ride-sharing companies to carry $1 million worth of commercial liability insurance on their drivers.
  • HB 200, which would increase the income tax credit for electric vehicle chargers and compressed natural gas fueling appliances.
  • HB 210, which would allow Georgians without driver's licenses to qualify for organ donations by utilizing state-issued ID cards.
  • HB 315, which would change the name of the Technical College System of Georgia to the Georgia Career College System.
  • HB 325, which would require seat belt use in 15-passenger vans, an increase over the current requirement for 10-passenger vans.
  • HB 328, which would enact reforms recommended by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.
  • HB 339, which would extend for three years a state income tax credit for film, video or digital production companies.
  • HB 504, which would require college students residing in campus housing to sign a document stating they have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease within the past five years.
Unemployment rate declines to 6.4 percent

Georgia's unemployment rate fell from 6.6 percent to 6.4 percent in January, its lowest point since July 2008 and nearly a full percentage point down from the 7.3 percent recorded in January 2014.
State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said, "Our unemployment rate dropped for the seventh month in a row as we had 4,400 fewer jobs available than in December. We also had fewer new claims for unemployment insurance benefits, which is a measure of new layoffs. While we lost (temporary holiday jobs) in January, as we often do, we had the strongest January-to-January growth we've had in 20 years. And six of our job sectors grew at least 3 percent."
January was the 90th consecutive month that Georgia's unemployment rate was above the national average, which now stands at 5.7 percent.
State revenues increase 12.4 percent in February

Georgia's total revenue collections totaled $943.7 million in February, an increase of 12.4 percent over the $838.1 million collected in February 2014.
For the first eight months of fiscal year 2015, state revenues have increased by 5.8 percent over the same period last year.  

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

HB 103 Kelsey's Law; enact (favorably reported by House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee)

HB 131 The End to Cyberbullying Act; enact (favorably reported by House Education Committee)

HB 379 Porterdale, City of; Redevelopment Powers Law; provide referendum (approved by House and Senate, awaits Governor's signature)

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 678-207-6043