GA Legislative Updates

The first full week of the 2016 session is off to a historic start! The General Assembly closed on Friday Jan 22, making it only the second “snow day” in the last 48 years. Here’s a brief update on some of the highlights.
 
HTF Legislation
The Department of Planning and Budget proposed technical amendments to HTF bills, HB 683 (Peace) and SB 105 (Locke) to clarify that this funding will not come from the localities or transportation funds. HB 683 was originally sent to House Finance and is on the docket for Jan 25 in the morning, however it will be referred directly to Appropriations at the beginning of the meeting. Advocates should focus their efforts on the House Appropriations Committee. SB 105 will be heard in Senate Finance Committee, but likely not next week.
 
Delegate O’Bannon, the new chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce (where HTF funding will be discussed), is relatively new to the issue of housing and has asked a lot of good questions. Advocates should reach out and share information about the unmet housing needs of residents in the Commonwealth, and the role that housing plays in maintaining family stability, sustaining economic growth, and the recruiting and retaining quality talent for the workforce.
 
The Governor’s proposed budget includes $6 million a year for the HTF (in addition to the $4 million a year that’s currently there). Delegate Landes has submitted a budget amendment to remove the new funding and keep it level at $4 million annually. Housing advocates should contact Delegate Landes with their concerns regarding this cut.
 
Other Budget Items
Senator Janet Howell and Delegate Joseph Yost have submitted budget amendments to increase funding for permanent supportive housing. The Governor’s budget also proposes funding for rental assistance for the ID/DD waiver population and foster care to 21.