Georgia Democrats’ legislative priorities: health care and employee pay

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Georgia Democrats lack political power to pass their state legislative agenda this year, but incoming House Minority Leader Bob Trammell says they’ll keep talking about health care, livable wages and education funding.

Trammell, D-Luthersville, says House Democrats will use their platform in elected office to try to force a conversation on their priorities when the Georgia General Assembly convenes Monday.

"We need to use the 40-day legislative session to focus on the big issues that face our state," said Trammell, who replaces former Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, who resigned to run for governor. "If we can agree to have a conversation on something like Medicaid expansion, we'll be in a good position this legislative session."

By comparison, House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said this week he'll focus on helping rural communities, making adoptions more efficient and public transportation.

Republicans control about two-thirds of the Georgia General Assembly, but Democrats gained three seats during elections last year.

Many Republicans oppose expansion of Medicaid — the state-federal health care program for the poor and disabled — but they're considering federal Medicaid waivers that could allow greater flexibility in state health care funding.

Trammell said Medicaid expansion could help insure 600,000 more Georgians.

He also wants a debate on how to increase stagnant employee pay despite low unemployment rates.

“Many Georgians are working harder without seeing an increase in their wages,” he said. “They’re working harder for a less stable future. That’s something that’s another priority for us.”