Georgia House approves big pay raise for law enforcement, storm aid

The Georgia House approved a mid-year spending plan Thursday that adds $600 million to this year's budget and provides Gov. Nathan Deal some money to help South Georgia storm relief.

The measure includes about $27 million to give a 20 percent pay raise to thousands of state law enforcement, $50 million for a new cyber security program in Augusta and $109 million more for public schools.

About 3,300 law enforcement will get the big raises.

Most of what the House approved is included in Deal’s proposal released during the first week of the session.

However, House leaders added $5 million to Deal's emergency fund to deal with the killer tornadoes that struck South Georgia over the weekend.

The storms killed at least 15 people in South Georgia and four more across the Deep South.

Passage of the mid-year budget was the House's first key vote of the 2017 session, which began Jan. 9. The Senate is expected to make quick work of budget as well. After that both chambers will concentrate on the $25 billion spending plan for fiscal 2018, which begins July 1.

Both chambers must approve the budgets before the General Assembly session ends.