Audio – Senator Keith Ingram Reporting News From 91st General Assembly
February 21st, 2019 • News

February 21, 2019

  • Two of the signature bills of this year’s session have been approved by the legislature and signed by the governor.
  • The first is a $97 million reduction in state income taxes. About 579,000 taxpayers who earn more than $38,200 a year will pay less in taxes, beginning with tax year 2020.
  • Teachers in 168 school districts will get pay raises because of legislation signed by the governor that raises the minimum salary by about $1,000 a year over the next four years.
  • The administration has set aside money to pay for the raises in the short term, but it will be the legislature’s duty to find permanent funding. For many school districts, the fiscal impact of the raises will be difficult to manage.
  • The bipartisan ethics package is making good progress. Two bills I’m sponsoring have passed the Senate already. One prohibits legislators from being registered lobbyists, in any jurisdiction.
  • The other bill raises the maximum fines that the Ethics Commission can impose for violations of campaign finance laws. The maximum will go from $2,000 to $3,500.
  • Legislation to fundamentally change the way juvenile offenders are sentenced is on its way to the governor.
  • Juveniles who commit minor offenses, such as truancy or misdemeanors, could not be sent to a lock-up unless the judge found specifically outlined reasons that the juvenile is a risk to society.
  • Two huge measures still await legislative action. One is the governor’s massive overhaul of state government. The actual bills are thousands of pages long, and I expect we’ll be debating the details of the bill until the session’s final days.
  • The other major issue to be resolved is a highway program. It was filed this week, and I expect the legislature will take a deliberate approach.
  • I know I’ll be involved every step of the way, because it’s important that we approve a bold and effective highway plan. This is not the time to slap a band-aid on the problem of highway construction.
      Click to Listen - Audio Recording from February 21, 2019