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Our policy agenda
Your priorities
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in session
January 14, 2013


 The 2013 Legislative Session in Georgia kicked off earlier today. Georgia Watch will be active at the Capitol throughout the session as a powerful voice for Georgia consumers! Through this newsletter, Facebook and Twitter, we'll keep you informed on legislation impacting consumers and call on you for action when it's needed.


Below is a summary of the issues we will be working on for you. We also hope to hear from you about the issues most important to you.



Elena Small Signature

Elena Parent
Executive Director
Our 2013 Public Policy Agenda

Georgia Watch works to make sure consumers get a fair shake and to level the playing field with powerful special interests in this state. We focus on ensuring fair utility rates, cleaner energy options, access to safe, affordable healthcare, and safeguarding personal finances.


These are our policy priorities in 2013:


Protect ratepayers from bearing the burden of cost overruns on Plant Vogtle

Construction on Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 is already months behind schedule and at least $88 million over budget. Currently, the entire cost of overruns could be unfairly borne by ratepayers alone. Southern Company shareholders, who own Georgia Power, have no skin in the game. Incredibly, the law in Georgia even allows Georgia Power to earn more than 11% profit on overruns! We want the state's legislature to amend the law so that Georgia Power cannot collect any profit on construction expenses that exceed the originally certified cost to complete the project. Such a mechanism clearly would provide Georgia Power with a strong incentive to manage the project efficiently in order to keep costs down and ensure greater equity between shareholders and ratepayers.


Hold nonprofit hospitals accountable for their tax-exempt status

We believe renewal of the provider Medicaid assessment fee paid by nonprofit hospitals in Georgia is critically important to ensuring the most basic access to care for low income, under- and uninsured Georgians, especially in rural counties.Failure of the state legislature to renew this provider fee would devastate the state's rural hospitals and significantly threaten the charity care safety net for the entire state.  However, we also believe nonprofit hospitals that do not pay any taxes should be held accountable for providing financial assistance and other community benefits in the communities where they operate. We support further legislation that would quantify the value of the tax exemption they receive and require a commensurate benefit in the form of charity care and other services to the community.


In addition, we support policies that:


Expand Medicaid to increase access to healthcare, reduce incidence of uninsured emergency room visits, which costs are passed on to the insured, and mitigate the economic toll of high healthcare costs, including bankruptcies and foreclosures


Enact meaningful ethics reform in state government


Defend against predatory lending products and practices


Promote expanded renewable energy options and increased EMC transparency
Please tell us your priorities
We want to know what issues are most important to you!
Are you concerned about energy bills, access to healthcare, holding hospitals accountable for their nonprofit status, government transparency and accountability, and/or predatory practices from financial institutions? Do you want to see more options for clean energy and affordable healthcare in Georgia? What other issues are important to you as a consumer? Please take a few minutes to email us your priorities. Also, please let us know if you want to get involved by emailing or calling your legislators, talking to the press, or writing opinion editorials and letters to the editor. 
Please send your priorities to our Grassroots and Outreach Director, Karla Johnson at We look forward to hearing from you!