128th Edition

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128th EditionJanuary 13, 2022

Happy New Year!

As we look ahead into the new year, the OGCA team is excited to share our 2022 goals and updates for the federal, state, and local levels of government. As we begin what is expected to be a busy year, please tune into these bi-weekly newsletters for the latest government and community news relevant to Emory.

Federal Affairs

On the federal level, OGCA will continue to establish Emory as an expert in the areas of patient care, pandemic preparedness, maternal health, research, innovation, and the student experience.

Congressional Update

President Biden’s key legislative priority, the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, appears to be indefinitely stalled following Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) opposition to the package back in December. Though the $1.7 trillion legislation is side-lined, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has expressed his wish to continue negotiations.

Moving on from BBB, Congress is positioning itself to focus on voting rights legislation over the next week with Leader Schumer claiming a vote will take place prior to Martin Luther King Day. In the House, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act has 223 Democratic co-sponsors. There are 48 cosponsors in the Senate but currently 60 votes are required to bypass a potential filibuster. This legislation, and others related to elections and voting rights like the Freedom to Vote Act, will likely lead to more serious conversations related to changing the Senate filibuster rules.

  • Funding the government
    • Congress is once again facing a quickly approaching deadline to fund the federal government as the current Continuing Resolution is set to expire on February 18, 2022. Many Democrats would prefer to fund the government through a comprehensive, omnibus bill rather than another short-term extension given that many federal agencies are still operating under the previous administration’s funding levels.
  • Tracking Pathogens Act
    • Emory is signing on as a supporter of the Tracking Pathogens Act, which will enhance the ability to prepare for future pandemics and strengthen the nation’s ability to conduct genomic sequencing for pathogens. The bill, being introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin through the HELP Committee, plans to build off of the Tracking COVID-19 Variants Act that was included as part of the American Rescue Plan.
  • Protecting Medical Research
    • On January 11, members of the Energy and Commerce Committee introduced various bills aiming to combat influence from China on American medical research. There were seven bills introduced, all sharing the goals of increasing transparency, improving oversight, and protecting biomedical intellectual property associated with research being conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services. Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA 1) introduced H.R. 5270, Pausing Enhanced Pandemic Pathogen Research Act of 2021. The OGCA team is working to educate the Congressman about the bill's potential unintended impact.

The Secretary of Homeland Security has announced it is reestablishing the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC), a discretionary federal advisory committee. The purpose of the HSAAC is to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary and senior leadership at Homeland Security on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. The committee will be composed of two members from four-year institutions (one public and one private), with the remaining positions being reserved for members from HBCUs/HSIs/Tribal Colleges/etc. The OGCA team is closely following congressional interest in this area and working closely with the Association of American Universities and our colleague institutions. We will keep our community updated on this important issue.

State Affairs

On the state level, OGCA will continue to advance Emory's brand as an integral player, and partner, in the State of Georgia.

2022 Legislative Session Begins

The Georgia General Assembly convened for the 2022 Legislative Session on Monday, January 10, 2022. Each chamber met briefly to conduct procedural business and to adopt the Adjournment Resolution which was set until Legislative Day 7 on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. 

Earlier today, Governor Brian Kemp delivered his State of the State address. He provided an overview of his legislative and budget priorities for the year, and shared his budgetary proposals for the Amended Fiscal Year 2022 and Fiscal Year 2023 budgets. His proposals will be reviewed and vetted by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees next week. Committee members will hear from state agencies on their proposed budgets and any funding requests they have. Governor Kemp previously announced that agencies should keep a flat budget and avoid making any funding requests unless they are for specific programs like those that have a federal match. 

2022 Eggs and Issues Breakfast

On January 12, Governor Kemp, Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston outlined some of their priorities for the upcoming session. Governor Kemp expressed his gratitude to the legislature, business community and all Georgians for their efforts and work to keep Georgia the number one state in which to do business for an eighth year in a row. During his remarks, he outlined his priorities to address education, health care and public safety reform.

Lt. Governor Duncan detailed his priorities to address public safety and foster care changes. His office will introduce legislation to establish a tax credit initiative - like the current rural hospital tax credit program - for Georgians who give contributions to local law enforcement agencies. Speaker Ralston announced his three priorities which will focus on public safety, mental health and the state budget. His recommendations include a $50M appropriation to address these three areas. Within mental health, a portion of this appropriation would be used to increase the number of crisis care beds, de-escalation training and accountability courts. Additionally, legislation will be introduced to improve mental health care delivery, accessibility and parity among providers. Workforce provisions also will be included to ensure that those who seek assistance for mental health will remain outside of the criminal justice system.

Local Affairs

On the local level, OGCA will continue to grow our local community engagement efforts with the support of elected officials in Metro Atlanta, including DeKalb County. In addition, we will amplify the One Emory Strategic Pillar #4, which is to Unleash Emory and Atlanta's shared future to mobilize change for the world. 

Atlanta Mayoral Inauguration

On a cold January 3, Atlanta’s 61st Mayor, Andre Dickens, was sworn in at Bobby Dodd Stadium at GA Tech, Dickens’ alma mater. David Payne, Betty Willis and Alan Anderson (shown below) represented Emory at the event, where Atlanta Municipal Court Judges and City Council members, including new Council President Doug Shipman (Emory alum) also took the oath of office. Mayor Dickens highlighted his priorities which include reducing crime, providing more affordable housing, helping the homeless, ensuring equitable transportation and enlisting the technology and telecommunications industries to help eliminate the digital divide. He also decried the effort to separate Buckhead from Atlanta saying we need to unify and not divide and “we must be one city with one bright future.” Like President Fenves, Mayor Dickens is an engineer, and the two of them have already engaged in productive conversations and are looking forward to a great partnership.

Inspiration for 2022

In the areas of personal health and fitness, OGCA team member, Alan Anderson serves as a 2022 inspiration to us all! This past weekend, he completed the Walt Disney Dopey Challenge in Florida. This race consisted of completing a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon over four consecutive days; he earned six total medals in the process. Congratulations Alan!

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