COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Georgia State Legislature adjourned on April 4, 2022. Republicans won 34-22 majority in the Senate and a 103-77 majority in the House. Residents of Columbus were given a breakdown what bills will have the most impact locally.
The spending plan, made up of 30 billion dollars, will benefit teachers, veterans and will soon have big impacts on our health industry, especially when it comes to mental health.
“One of the most major pieces of legislation we had was the reform of mental health. And mental health has a lot to do with crime. It has a lot to do with homelessness. So mental health is a major quality of life issue.”Calvin Smyre – Georgia State Representative, District 135
Georgia House Bill 1013 or the mental health parity bill, hopes to bridge the pay and insurance gap between mental and physical health.
“The other thing that this bill does that I think is so important is that we’re putting the focus back in the community with not just hospitalization type services, but outpatient services and trying to prevent some of the more serious complications and problems with mental health conditions.”Debbie Buckner – Georgia State Representative, District 137
Funds will also be allocated towards building the mental health workforce to help take the pressure of our jail systems.
Another key bill signed into law, has major impacts on our local military and veterans.
“You have something like 700,000 veterans living in the state of Georgia. Columbus is no different. But what happens a lot of time is that they get out of the service and they go to Alabama or other border states like South Carolina, Tennessee. We think this will be a great, huge effort to turn that around.”Ed Harbison – Senator, District 15
With the passing of house bill 10-64, Georgia veterans will now be exempt up to 35 thousand dollars a year in military retirement from state income taxes. Cities like Columbus hope to retain more military members hoping they retire right here in Georgia.