House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, also speaking at the event, said reauthorizing the fee is also a top priority. Her caucus hasn’t taken a position, but she said she’s hopeful it can be voted upon quickly – and that it could fit in with a broader debate about healthcare policy and the plight of rural hospitals.
“I’m not going to use the M-E word – Medicaid expansion – but we have to have a conversation about what we’re going to do about rural healthcare,” said Abrams. “We cannot as a state entice jobs to come to Georgia if we can’t provide healthcare.”
Some other tidbits from the event:
- Shafer said there will be a push to give other counties – and possibly the state Legislature – more say in MARTA’s governance. He expressed confidence in both Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and MARTA head Keith Parker. But he said as the transit agency expands, its oversight needs to be “regional in scope.”
- The Gwinnett Republican also said he favors moving “crossover day” – the final day for a bill to move from one chamber to the other – earlier in the session. It’s now the 30th day in the 40-day session, but he said he wants to boost it to day 25.
- He made no mention of the contentious fight over the “religious liberty” bill during his comments and declined to discuss the matter after his remarks.