ATLANTA — On March 29, Representative Chastain completed his first legislative session as a Representative of Dawson, Fannin, and Gilmer Counties in the Georgia House of Representatives.
As a community banker for 37 years, Representative Chastain was tapped to work as a member of the Banks & Banking and Small Business Development Committees. Outside of committees, Chastain focused on supporting the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget and fighting for quality educational choices for Georgia’s youth and families.
“It was an honor to represent the 7th district in the 2023 general assembly. I was sworn in on February 6th, which was session day 13, and went right to work. I was glad to support the Governor’s 2024 budget which delivered on kitchen table priorities that impact Georgia families every single day,” said Chastain.
Under the Gold Dome, Representative Chastain continued his commitment to economic conservatism while addressing core governmental and educational needs. Chastain supported House Bill 19, Governor Kemp’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget proposal. HB 19 addresses government staffing issues by giving a $2,000 pay raise to teachers and other state government employees.
HB 19 additionally promotes public safety by raising pay $4,000 across 11 state law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Act also authorizes the opening of a new State Patrol post and provides $2.7 million to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for the creation of a cold case specialty unit.
“Public safety is on every constituent’s mind, all over our district, and we always want to be behind our law enforcement community,” said Chastain.
The 2024 Budget also allocates $6.3 million to public school students from low-income families to provide nutritious school breakfasts and lunches, fully funds Georgia’s K-12 education system with $13.1 billion, and covers 100% tuition for HOPE Scholars—restoring the program to its integrity prior to 2011 budgetary constraints.
In addition to voting for $13.1 billion to public education funding and $2,000 teacher raises in HB 19, Chastain also supported HB 87. The Special Schools Bill, HB 87, seeks to authorize the
Georgia Board of Education to establish and finance “completion special schools.” Completion schools create opportunities allowing students to earn a high school diploma in a non-traditional manner.
“HB 87 was near and dear to my heart with two Mountain Education Schools in our district. This bill will keep their programs funded and allow students another option to obtain their high school diploma. I am very thankful to our Education Chairman, Chris Erwin, and Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones,” said Chastain.
Representative Chastain voted in favor of Senate Bill 233, the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act. If the act had passed, SB 233 would have allowed qualified students, in under-performing schools, access to a “school choice” grant via a state voucher program. Though the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act did not pass the House this year, Chastain looks forward to the opportunity to support the measure again next year while furthering parental oversight and school choice.