Cagle Announces Appointments to Study Committees

Over the last few weeks, we’ve gotten the names of those appointed to various House study committees. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn. Friday afternoon, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announced the composition of eight Senate and Joint study committees, created pursuant to various resolutions passed during the 2016 legislative session.

In a statement, Cagle said, “With the General Assembly adjourned, the interim provides an opportunity for legislators to delve into the numerous issues facing Georgians. These study committee chairs and members are uniquely qualified to develop real, lasting solutions aimed at building a better Georgia now and for future generations. I look forward to evaluating the findings of these committees as we look ahead to next session and beyond.”

Senate Resolution 842 established the Senate Study Committee on the Legislative Process. The committee will examine how bills, amendments and resolutions are dealt with in the upper chamber, and will see if better efficiency and transparency can be achieved. Members include:

Senator Jeff Mullis, Chair
Senator David Shafer
Senator Bill Cowsert
Senator Steve Henson
Senator John Wilkinson
Senator Renee Unterman
Senator Elena Parent

The Senate passed Senate Resolution 876, the Joint High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for all Georgians Study Committee. Nathan described its purpose here, and Speaker Ralston has already named the House members on the committee, including co-chair Don Parsons. Here are the Senate members:

Senator Steve Gooch, Co-Chair
Senator Rick Jeffares
Senator Tyler Harper
Senator John Wilkinson
Senator David Lucas

As you may know, Georgia is has developed a thriving industry for processing credit card transactions, one of the largest in the country. The Joint Study Committee on Incentives for Financial Technologies and the Payment Processing Study Committee, which was established by Senate Resolution 883, will examine the challenges facing the financial technology industry, including competition from other states and countries, and will also consider whether any financial incentives should be given by the state to promote the industry. The committee will be co-chaired by Rep. Ron Stephens from he House, and includes these members of the Senate:

Senator Brandon Beach, Co-Chair
Senator Burt Jones, Banking and Financial Institutions Committee Chairman
Senator John Albers, Senate Member with Expertise in Financial Technology

In addition, these leaders of the state Economic Development Department will serve on the joint committee:
Chris Carr, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development
Dawiet Zamadie, Director of Information Services, Georgia Department of Economic Development

It’s an unexpected “gift” many people receive following a hospital stay. Your hospital is in your insurance company’s network, so you are not expecting a large bill. However, one of the doctors or technicians that worked on your procedure is out of network, causing a huge spike in the hospital bill. That’s what the Senate Surprise Billing Practices Study Committee will look at, and try to make some recommendations based on what other states are doing to address the issue. It was created by Senate Resolution 974.

Senator Renee Unterman, Chair
Senator Dean Burke
Senator Ben Watson
Senator Chuck Hufstetler

It’s no secret that tuition has been increasing at the institutions within the University System of Georgia. One of the realizations resulting from last year’s study committee on how to preserve the Hope Scholarship was that each tuition increase meant that the students receiving Hope had to bear a larger share of the costs. Senate Resolution 1001 established the Senate Study Committee on Higher Education Affordability. Members include:

Senator Fran Millar, Chair
Senator Donzella James, Vice Chair
Senator Jack Hill
Senator P.K. Martin
Senator Judson Hill
Senator Lindsey Tippins
Senator Charlie Bethel
Senator Elena Parent

The Joint Alternative Fuels and Vehicles Study Committee will tackle a classic chicken and egg problem in the Peach State. Consumers are looking at alternatively fueled vehicles, perhaps electric or natural gas, as a way to protect the environment and save money. However, there aren’t too many places to recharge or refuel these vehicles, so consumers are reluctant to purchase them. Meanwhile, alternative fuel providers don’t want to invest in the infrastructure necessary to provide these fuels, because there are too few vehicles using them. The solution? Form a joint study committee to look at the problem, which is what Senate Resolution 1038 did. You can see the House members on the committee here, along with more information on what the study committee will do. The Senate members include:

Senator Jeff Mullis, Co-Chair
Senator Butch Miller
Senator Rick Jeffares
Senator Frank Ginn
Senator Emanuel Jones

There has been a lot of talk about improving transit options in the Atlanta metro area, but there remain major questions over funding and governance of an expanded regional transit system. Two tears after passing House Bill 170, which covered improving roads and bridges, the legislature might be ready to consider transit. The House and Senate established separate committees to look at options and make recommendations. Formed by Senate Resolution 1085, the Senate Regional Transit Solutions Study Committee consists of:

Senator Steve Gooch, Chair
Senator Brandon Beach
Senator Lindsey Tippins
Senator Fran Millar
Senator P.K. Martin
Senator Nan Orrock
Senator Valencia Seay

The next committee will examine what to do with the Invest Georgia initiative. Invest Georgia was authorized by the General Assembly in 2013 to help promote early stage companies by providing venture capital to assist in their growth. Sounds like a good idea until you realize you have the state investing in private companies, in hope of getting a return later. Which means you could end up with the Peach State’s version of Solyndra and a huge loss. Oops. Is it worth the risk, and can anything be done to minimize the risk? How much money should the state invest in the program? That’s what the Senate Study Committee on Venture Capital Investments formed by Senate Resolution 1132 will examine.

Senator Brandon Beach, Chair
Senator Judson Hill
Senator Elena Parent

In addition to the three senators, Lt. Gov. Cagle appointed the following people to serve on the committee:
Chris Carr, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development
Hala Moddelmog, President, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
Lynn Riley, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Revenue
Gardner Garrad, TTV Capital- General Partner from Georgia Based Venture Capital Fund
Jeff Muir, Fulcrum Equity Partners, General Partner in Georgia Based Private Equity Fund
Blake Patton, Advanced Technology Development Centers Representative
Sam Burch, General Counsel, University System of Georgia
Sean Banks, TTV Capital, Board Member-Technology Association of Georgia

But wait, there’s more. In addition to the committee positions filled today, there is a slew of additional committees needing members. Look for those appointments over the next days and weeks.

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