In his 446-page draft budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, Gov. Nathan Deal names a few midstate projects he’d like to see.
Some of them reflect policy changes he has made to shift Georgians away from prison, if they can be helped to a productive life instead.
Eleven new district attorneys would be hired to work in so-called accountability courts, where judges put certain offenders, such as veterans, under intense supervision paired with counseling, rehabilitation and other services.
The midstate’s Macon, Dublin and Towaliga judicial circuits would be part of $915,000 the governor would like to see spent.
Then there’s a $6 million bond proposed to create a new Georgia National Guard Youth Challenge Academy in Baldwin County. It would house a program meant to divert young high school dropouts away from unemployment and toward a degree, a job and training.
For wayward youths, Laurens County would get a bond for a $15.6 million youth detention center in Cadwell.
For the non-wayward, Deal supports some new facilities for education.
There’s a $3.1 million bond for equipment for the new Health Services Center at Middle Georgia Technical College, and another at $1.5 million for a place to train truck drivers at Middle Georgia State College’s Military Academic and Training Center.
Beeson Hall at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville would be renovated with a $9.1 million bond.
MILLEDGEVILLE-BALDWIN COUNTY MERGER BILL
The long-running discussion of the idea of merging Milledgeville and Baldwin County into one unified government got a little closer this week. State Rep. Rusty Kidd, I-Milledgeville, filed a bill containing a proposed 65-page charter, as drawn up by a committee of county notables.
The unified government would be run by a five-member commission plus a mayor and a vice mayor elected at large.
Barring any objection from the Legislature on House Bill 67, Milledgeville and Baldwin County voters would decide on the proposal in November.
Chairing a committee in the state Legislature is a hefty honor, if it’s a good committee. The chairmanship comes with a big say over which bills can even appear on the House or Senate floor for debate.
State Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, will take over the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee this year.
State Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, remains at the head of the Natural Resources and the Environment Committee.
Committee hearings start the week of Jan. 26.