ATLANTA – Georgia House President David Ralston will ask House budget writers this winter to spend $ 75 million on additional law enforcement and mental health services.
Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, made the announcement on Wednesday, July 21 during a speech at the Prosecutors Council’s summer training conference on Jekyll Island.
“We owe it to our communities to strengthen law enforcement and mental health services at a time when parts of our state are experiencing dramatic increases in crime and the number of people in need of mental health care,” did he declare. “This proposal is a proposal that I am proud to bring forward and the House of Representatives will strongly support it when we consider it as part of our 2022 budget process.”
Wednesday’s (July 21) announcement came just two days after Ralston called for a $ 3 million increase in law enforcement funding during a House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee meeting to discuss the recent wave of crime in Atlanta. The $ 3 million is part of the much larger funding that Ralston offered on Wednesday, July 21.
The $ 75 million includes $ 25 million in one-time bonuses of $ 1,000 for sworn law enforcement officers, which will be made available to law enforcement agencies through grants.
“Georgia is a state that strongly supports those who wear the badge,” said Ralston. “This $ 25 million is intended to reward police officers and sheriff’s deputies who protect and serve our communities every day, often putting themselves at risk in the line of duty.”
Of the remaining $ 50 million requested by the speaker, more than $ 20 million will go to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and $ 10 million will go to salary increases for prosecutors and public defenders. The remaining $ 20 million will be distributed among a dozen other state agencies based on program demands and needs, with a particular focus on mental health services.
Georgia ranks 51st and last in the country for access to mental health care. Ralston has made improving mental health services a key priority on his legislative agenda.
“I have said many times that in order for us to continue to be a great state, we must also focus on being a good state – a state that cares about those who need it,” he said. -he declares. “Mental health is something that touches almost every family in this state, so investing in mental health services and our accountability courts isn’t just good business – it’s also a way to help people. to recover and reunite with their families. “
Ralston’s spending proposals will be considered at the 2022 General Assembly session starting in January.