2022 Action Alert Tracker

We encourage you to take part in advocating for bills that impact children and families through our Action Alerts. Below you'll find each bill included in an Action Alert during the 2022 Legislative Session and where it stands in the legislative process.

Expanding Coverage Under Medicaid to 12 Months Postpartum

Senate Bill 338 would extend postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth.

Why It Matters:

  • Georgia’s pregnancy-related death rate is one of the highest in the nation and Black women are 2.7x more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications that White women.
  • At least one-third of maternal deaths nationwide occur in the postpartum period.
  • At least one in ten women experience perinatal depression.

Senate Bill 338

100%

Passed Senate Committee

Passed Senate

Passed House Committee

Passed House

Signed into Law

Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

House Bill 272 raises the age of youth served by juvenile court to include non-violent 17-year-olds.

Why It Matters:

  • In juvenile court, more so than in adult court, a 17-year-old is much more likely to be mandated to attend school, make restitution to victims and attend community-based rehabilitative programs that focus on the causes of the problem behavior.
  • 17-year-olds who commit serious violent offenses will continue to be tried as adults under Georgia’s direct file law (SB 440).
  • Click here for our groovy factsheet on RTA!

House Bill 272

60%

Passed House Committee

Passed House

Passed Senate Committee

Passed Senate

Signed into Law

Mental Health Parity Act

HB 1013 embodies the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform & Innovation Commission (established in 2019). For a summary of the (77 page!) bill, click here.

Why It Matters:

Workforce, payer practices, and case management in our behavioral health systems for kids and adults face challenges that need systemic improvements to function well and serve Georgians. Consider these numbers:

  • In Georgia, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among children
  • In 2019, 94% of Georgia’s youth suicides were preventable
  • Children with ADHD, autism, or developmental delays are twice as likely to be chronically absent compared to kids without these conditions
  • An estimated 50-70% of youth in Department of Juvenile Justice long-term facilities have a mental health diagnosis severe enough to require ongoing treatment
  • 78 Georgia counties do not have a licensed psychologist
  • 53 Georgia counties do not have a licensed social worker
  • 45 Georgia counties do not have a licensed psychologist OR a licensed social worker

For Voices’ factsheet on the crisis in child and adolescent health, click here.

House Bill 1013

100%

Passed House Committee

Passed House

Passed Senate Committee

Passed Senate

Signed into Law

Vape-Free Air

House Bill 1348 prohibits vaping in the same places where smoking is currently prohibited.

Why It Matters:

Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.  Smoking and vaping can also lead to various long term negative health outcomes such as cancer and emphysema.  According to the CDC, young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.

In recent years,

  • 10% of high schoolers say they have smoked e-cigarettes within the past 30 days (2020)
  • 13% of high schoolers have reported using e-cigs/vapes at least once (2018)
  • Nearly 1 in 3 reported that they believed e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes (2018)
  • 26.6% reported that they believed e-cigarettes are less addictive than cigarettes (2018)
  • See our Teen Vaping Factsheet here

House Bill 1348

60%

Passed House Committee

Passed House

Passed Senate Committee

Tabled by the Senate

Signed into Law

Lowering Blood Lead Levels in Children

House Bill 1355 brings Georgia into compliance with federal blood lead level recommendations.

Why It Matters:

  • Children’s bodies absorb lead more easily, affecting brain and other physical development in organs and the nervous system.  Even low levels of lead can result in speech, language, and behavioral problems, a lower IQ, learning disabilities and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as damage to the nervous system.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends intervention for children with a blood lead level presence of 3.5 or more micrograms per deciliter.
  • Currently, Georgia law recommends intervention when blood lead levels are 10 or more micrograms per deciliter, which is extremely toxic, especially for children under age 6, who are at the greatest risk of lead poisoning.
  • See our lead poisoning factsheet for more info.

House Bill 1355

100%

Passed House Committee

Passed House

Passed Senate Committee

Passed Senate

Signed into Law

Requiring Recess for Elementary School Children

House Bill 1283 requires a daily 30-minute recess (unstructured time) for all students in grades K-5, unless they have already had a physical education class or structured activity time in the day.

Why It Matters:

  • Research overwhelmingly shows that recess and physical activity have a positive impact on children. We know that children learn best when they are engaged.
  • Recess improves academic performance. Studies show that schools that implement physical activity components into lessons perform at least 6% better on standardized test.
  • Check out our factsheet on the Benefits of Recess and Physical Activity

House Bill 1283

100%

Passed House Committee

Passed House

Passed Senate Committee

Passed Senate

Signed into Law

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