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What the Democrats would like to get done in the legislature this year
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Raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, creating a paid leave system and voting issues top the agenda for the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus, according to its executive director, Liz Flowers.

ECONOMY

Democrats will once again push for raising the minimum wage in Georgia to $15 an hour from the federal mark of $7.25.

"This will strengthen Georgia’s families by ensuring that all working people are able to make a living wage, decrease the burden on the state’s social programs and grow the state’s economy and create jobs as more people are able to purchase goods and services from Georgia businesses," Flowers said.

Fourteen states are raising their minimum wage in 2016.

The highest of those will be $11.50 in Washington D.C. come July.

HEALTH CARE

Senate Democrats plan to continue pushing for the state to expand Medicaid to more than 650,000 residents under the Affordable Care Act.

"Medicaid expansion will save about 650 lives a year while bringing $8.2 billion a year into Georgia’s economy and creating over 70,000 jobs," Flowers said.

Democrats are also proposing the creation of a Georgia Family Planning Initiative aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies.

They also plan to introduce legislation to create a paid family leave system based on a model used in California.

"This legislation will create a fund paid for by a small payroll tax to provide workers with up to six weeks of partial pay to care for sick family members or care for a newborn child," Flowers said.

VOTING

Flowers said Democrats will push to expand early voting and end voter ID requirements, which they believe are discriminatory.

Democrats are also supporting the creation of an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission to fight gerrymandering as well as an independent ethics commission appointed by the judiciary rather than the governor and legislature.

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