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Voices’ Legislative Update – 1/30/17

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First of all, I don’t know how you guys function, but this morning, I woke up with nothing but decaf in the house, so I apologize in advance for any potential snooze-factor ahead.  I will do my best to find some dazzling wit amidst the caffeine-withdrawal headache I am currently enjoying, but no promises.

My favorite moment of the week was perhaps this year’s State of the Judiciary Address, delivered to the General Assembly by Chief Justice P. Harris Hines of the Supreme Court of Georgia.  He said a lot of nice things about juvenile justice and has a great delivery style, which makes a person want to be good.

Another favorite moment of the week was the one when the House passed their version of the Amended FY 2017 budget.  There was not a lot of fanfare, and hardly any changes from the Governor’s recommendation, but for us nerdy folks with just the right amount of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it was nice to check one more part of the process off the list.  One down, 9,357 to go.  It now goes to the Senate for a similar vetting. You can see the child relevant changes the House made in the budget section below.

What else happened last week?  Well, the daffodils in my front yard bloomed Monday, only to turn brown with frost bite the next day; my kids acknowledged my existence in front of their friends (a rare occurrence indeed!); and I finally could go from the first floor to the fourth of the capitol by stairs without having to call the Doctor-of-the-Day for resuscitation.  Oh – You were wondering what happened with the lawmakers!  Many committees got under way with organizational meetings, establishing rules and the like, gearing up for this week, when the representatives and senators will start to show us the stuff of which they are made.  And put your seatbelt on, because they have been busy as bees drafting bills and preparing for hearings.

I would like for you to do four things for me this week:

  1. Do the advocacy ask at the bottom of this update
  2. Register to come to the Voices Legislative Reception honoring the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  3. Watch a few of these four short videos (the project is called “This Child is Talking to You”) where kids ages 8-18 talk about their health.  Pretty powerful stuff.
  4. Have a great week.

 


FY 17 Amended Budget Highlights

Child Health

  • $150,000 Transferred from the Medicaid: Low-Income Medicaid program to evaluate cost-saving measures through accurate diagnosis of ADHD through NEBA (report back to the Georgia General Assembly by July 1, 2017). FYI, NEBA is a new kind of medical device cleared by the FDA that uses brainwaves (EEG) to help clinicians more accurately diagnose ADHD in children and adolescents (ages 6 through 17).

Child Welfare

  • $975,000 Added to increase Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) foster parent per diem rates by 57% effective April 1, 2017
  • $746,000 Added to implement a $1 per day increase for relative foster care providers effective April 1, 2017.

Education

  • $6.4 Million Added for increased student public school enrollment (The Governor requested $85.5 Million.  The House added $6.4 Million, bringing the total to $91.9 Million)
  • $452,000 Added to the governor’s request of $9.5 Million for charter system grants, bringing the total to $9.9 Million.
  • $8.5 Million Subtracted from the Special Needs Scholarship fund. The governor requested $6.5 Million. The House removed $8.5 Million, leaving a cut of nearly $2 Million for the midterm adjustment to the fund.
  • $3.5 Million Added for career, technical, and agricultural education equipment grants to local school systems
  • $1 Million Subtracted from funds to Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission to develop a formative assessment for the kindergarten through third-grade continuum of mathematics and reading skills in partnership with the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement to support flexible grouping and competency-based education pilots. Governor requested $3.5 Million. The House cut $1 Million, leaving $2.5 Million total.

Juvenile Justice

  • $50,000 Subtracted from Departmental Administration in the Department of Juvenile Justice.

vulnerable youth

HB 32 (Chandler-105th) Prohibits sexual contact between school employees or agents and students enrolled at the school employing the adult.  STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 52 (Oliver-82nd) Adds legal custodians to the list of caregivers eligible to accept Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) on behalf of the child in their custody. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 75 (Willard-51st) Exempts from public disclosure (open records) child abuse records that contain information provided by law enforcement or prosecutors related to criminal prosecution of a particular case. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.  NOTE: There will be a subcommittee hearing on this bill Monday at 1 p.m.

HB 86 (Oliver-82nd) Adds acts involving trafficking a person for sexual servitude to the definition of sexual abuse in the code section delineating requirements for mandatory reporting of child abuse. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 124 (Clark-98th) Moves section of law from the code section related to social services (Title 49) to one related to fraud (Title 16). The bill also defines “Food instrument” as a voucher, check, electronic benefits transfer card, coupon, or other document that is used to obtain public assistance, and defines “Public assistance” as “payment in or by money, medical care, remedial care, goods, or services to or for the benefit of needy persons.” The bill also adds a provision to current law which makes it a misdemeanor to aid anyone who is committing public assistance fraud. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 159 (Reeves-34th) Substantially revises general provisions applicable to adoptions, including provisions regarding the following: allowing a nonresident to allow an adoption of his or her child, adoption of foreign-born children, waiver to revoke a surrender of parental rights, the age for individuals to access the Adoption Reunion Registry, and the annulment of an adoption under certain circumstances. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 4 (Unterman-45th) Establishes the Georgia Mental Health Treatment Task Force to study the effectiveness of the services and health care programs currently available to individuals with, or at risk for, serious mental illness; and to understand the feasibility of using a Medicaid waiver to improve treatment for those with serious mental illness and, if appropriate, enable the General Assembly to make an informed decision as to whether the state should seek a Section 1115 waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services or apply for Medicaid block grant funding for mental health treatment and services. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 39 (Unterman-45th) Increases the penalty provisions relating to pimping and pandering.  The bill also requires registration on the State Sexual Offender Registry when an individual is convicted for the second time for pandering. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 63 (Tate-38th) Creates a program to compensate in part for the wage loss sustained by any individual who is unable to work due to such individual’s own sickness or injury, the sickness or injury of a family member, or the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a new child, and creates the Family Medical Leave Fund which consists of contributions required of individuals and their employers. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

juvenile justice

HB 5 (Caldwell-20th) Change provisions relating to state compensation of juvenile court judges, including the amounts paid to counties by the state for such. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 34 (Petrea-166th) Among other things, the bill makes open records of reports, files, records, and information of certain probationers, parolees, and offenders convicted of a serious offense; removes certain duties from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles pertaining to determining and taking action on violations of parole gives them to the superior court that imposed the sentence; removes the duty of supervision of parolees from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles and gives it to the Department of Community Supervision; requires certain notices and a public hearing before an offender may be released on parole, be granted a pardon, or have a death sentence commuted; removes certain duties from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles pertaining to issuance of subpoenas and gives them to the district attorney. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

HB 53 (Oliver-82nd) Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from children under 17 years of age to children under 18 years of age. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 67 (Boddie-62nd) Increases punishment for entering an automobile or other motor vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony, requiring a sentence of 1 to 15 years and a maximum fine $100,000.00; the first year of the sentence can not be suspended, probated, deferred, or withheld and shall run consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Does not permit the judge to have discretion to impose a lesser punishment. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 116 (Reeves-34th) Gives superior court exclusive jurisdiction for cases involving aggravated assault involving the use of a firearm and aggravated battery. The bill allows a superior court the discretion to transfer such cases back to juvenile court unless the victim was a police officers or over 65 years old. The bill also adds aggravated assault upon an emergency health worker as a class A designated felony. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 151 (Waites-60th) Prohibits the use of individual mechanical restraints, including handcuffs and shackles, on an inmate while she is experiencing labor or during delivery or post-delivery recovery unless it is necessary to prevent the inmate from injuring herself or others. STATUS: House Hopper.

HB 28 (Mitchell-88th) Requires testing for lead in drinking water in public and private schools and if found, for remediation plans or alternate sources of drinking water. Also requires the Department of Education to work with the department of Public Health to develop the rules and regulations regarding such. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 65 (Peake-141st) Adds Tourette’s syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, intractable pain (and provides a definition), post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) to the list of conditions treatable with Low THC oil.  The bill also eliminates the one-year waiting period for new Georgia residents and physicians’ quarterly reporting requirements. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HR 36 (Peake-141st) A constitutional amendment allowing the production of cannabis and sale of medical cannabis for medical usage to certain individuals. The proceeds derived from fees and state taxes paid for the production and sale of cannabis would be dedicated to a fund to support drug treatment programs.  STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 154 (Cooper-43rd) Allows licensed dental hygienists in certain school settings to apply topical fluoride and perform the application of sealants and oral prophylaxis under general supervision, with written permission of the student’s parent or guardian. They may also, without prior written permission of the student’s parent or guardian, provide oral hygiene instruction and counseling. School settings shall include only schools that are Title I schools under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, schools in which at least 65 % of the student population is eligible for free or reduced price lunch under federal guidelines, Head Start programs, and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. Licensed dental hygienists may also perform in other specified safety net setting such as nursing homes and hospitals. (FYI, ‘General supervision’ means that a licensed dentist has authorized appropriate duties of a licensed dental hygienist but does not require that a licensed dentist be present when such duties are performed.)  A licensed dentist may only authorize up to four licensed dental hygienists to provide dental hygiene services in such settings. A hygienist can not perform any dental hygiene services on a patient that has dental pain or clearly visible evidence of widespread dental disease. In such cases, the hygienist must immediately refer the patient to the authorizing licensed dentist for clinical examination and treatment. The licensed dental hygienist shall notate such patient’s file and the patient shall not be eligible to receive dental hygiene services until a licensed dentist provides written authorization for such.  STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 12 (Unterman-45th) Allows licensed dental hygienists in school settings to apply topical fluoride and perform the application of sealants and oral prophylaxis under general supervision, with written permission of the student’s parent or guardian. They may also, without prior written permission of the student’s parent or guardian, provide oral hygiene instruction and counseling. Licensed dental hygienists may also perform in other specified safety net setting such as nursing homes and hospitals. (FYI, ‘General supervision’ means that a licensed dentist has authorized appropriate duties of a licensed dental hygienist but does not require that a licensed dentist be present when such duties are performed.)  A licensed dentist may only authorize up to four licensed dental hygienists to provide dental hygiene services in such settings.  STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 16 (Watson-1st) Changes the definition of “low THC oil” from 5% to 3% by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Also adds Autism Spectrum Disorder to the list of conditions which may be treated with low THCoil. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 29 (Fort-39th) Require testing of drinking water in childcare learning centers and schools for lead contamination and for notice and reporting of test results and remediation plans. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 40 (Unterman-45th) Allows Emergency medical services personnel, such as  emergency medical technicians, cardiac technicians, paramedics, or first responders, to  transport any person within the county directly to an emergency receiving facility if they have responded to an emergency and believe that it is in the best interest of the person and the public to do such. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 61 (Tate-38th) Creates a Georgia Family Planning Initiative program within the Department of Public Health, with service for low income women and infants prioritized. Services may include long-term birth control and related counseling, breast and cervical cancer screening, pregnancy testing and counseling, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing; and other patient education and referrals. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 81 (Unterman-45th) “Jeffrey Dallas Gay, Jr., Act”-Among other things, this bill permanently increases access to Naloxone (a drug used to treat opioid overdoses) by allowing the state health officer to issue a standing order permitting certain persons, entities, or categories of persons or entities, to obtain opioid antagonists under such conditions as the state health officer may impose. The bill also changes from weekly to daily reporting by pharmacists on prescription information for controlled substances. Except in certain circumstances, a prescriber can not issue a prescription for a Schedule II, III, IV, or V controlled substance for a minor for more than a five-day supply at any time. The prescriber must discuss the risks associated with the use of the controlled substance, including the risk of addiction and overdose associated with such controlled substance and the dangers of taking it with alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other central nervous system depressants. Such consultation with a minor and the custodial parent, guardian, person having legal custody of the minor, or other person present at the time of such consultation shall include the medical need for the prescription. The bill requires the Department of Community Health to collect data and report back to leadership in the General Assembly on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.  Additionally, the bill requires inspections for all licensed narcotic treatment programs in the state, as well as patient outcome data from narcotic treatment programs be reported to the Department of Community Health on a monthly basis. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SB 88 (Mullis-53rd) Sets standards for narcotics treatment programs, and prioritizes treatment of drug-dependent pregnant women. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SB 94 (Fort-39th) “Bou Bou’s Law” – Limits the use of no-knock search warrants. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

HR 57 (Carter-175th) Creates the Joint Elementary and Secondary School Nutrition Programs Study Committee. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

SR 73 (Tate-38th) Constitutional amendment establishing the Family Medical Leave Fund. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 166 (Price-48th) Allows an operator of a licensed family child care learning home, who executes an affidavit stating that he/she is the operator of a familychild care learning home, to be excused or deferred from jury duty. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 24 (McKoon-29th) Exempts from licensure nursery schools, playschools, kindergarten programs, and other educational programs who serve children 0-6 years old for four consecutive hours per day and up to five days per week. (Current law is for children 2-6 years old for four hours per day up to two days.) STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. NOTE: There will be a subcommittee hearing on this bill Monday at 2 p.m.

education

HB 13 (Jones-167th) From January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021, certain educators in kindergarten through grade 12 shall be allowed a credit of 50 percent of up to $500.00 of eligible expenses incurred during the tax year by such taxpayer. Such expenses include with books, supplies, equipment, software, services, or other materials used in a classroom or instructional setting in a qualified school. The credit shall not exceed the taxpayer’s income tax liability. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 23 (Mitchell-88th) Requires charter schools to have the same accountability as public schools to students, educators, families, communities, and taxpayers for quality, equity, and transparency. The bill makes recommendations regarding student assessments and allows parents access to assessment responses and results for their own children. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 24 (Mitchell-88th) Creates a program of incentive pay for quality teachers in schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 29 (Mitchell-88th) Prohibit local boards of education from seeking or maintaining accreditation by an accrediting entity which does not make its records relating to sanctions it imposes open for inspection and copying. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 37 (Ehrhart-36th) Prohibits private postsecondary institution in Georgia from enacting, adopting, implementing, or enforcing any sanctuary policy. Failure to obey results in the withholding of state funding or state administered federal funding (other than funds to provide services specified in subsection (d) of Code Section 50-36-1). This includes funds provided to the private postsecondary institution directly as well as funding for scholarships, loans, and grants for students. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 51 (Ehrhart-36th) Requires employees of post-secondary institutions to report felony crimes committed on campus by or to students to law enforcement or the local district attorney. STATUS: House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee.

HB 77 (Kendrick-93rd) Requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and mental health experts, develop and provide a list of training materials for awareness in mental health, behavioral disabilities, and learning disabilities to all local school systems. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 114 (Dickey-140th) Prohibits local school systems from excluding eligible “Move On When Ready” high school students taking one or more dual credit  (post-secondary) courses from being eligible for valedictorian and salutatorian of their class. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 139 (Belton-112th) Requires local boards of education and state charter schools to make readily accessible to the public a great deal of school site budget and expenditure information for each school unless specifically made confidential by law, including data on the types of students served. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 148 (Glanton-75th) Provides for unique identifiers for students who are children of military personnel. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 3 (Tippins-37th) Enacts the “Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training (CONNECT) Act” which would provide for industry credentialing for students grades 6 through 12 who complete certain focused programs of study in work based learning programs such as internships, apprenticeships, cooperative education, service learning, or employability skill development.  The Georgia Department of Education would work with the Technical College System of Georgia and industry to develop such credentialing.  STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 5 (Cowsert-46th) Requires the lottery to return 26% of gross sales to the state in fiscal year 2018, 28% in 2019, and 30% in 2020. If ticket sales in any year drop by 5% or more, the percent return would be frozen and no further increase would be required. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 26 (McKoon-29th) Requires local boards of education to use a sealed competitive bidding to award contracts for professional services exceeding $50,000.00 over a 12 month period, unless the local board deems, by majority vote, that the professional services to be procured are unique and can only be obtained from a single source.  The bill also requires that the guaranteed maximum price submitted by a construction manager at risk to a local board of education not be changed after execution of a contract. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 30 (Fort-39th) Creates the “Unlocking the Promise Community Schools Act.” If appropriations are available, the Department of Education shall make grants available to plan, implement, and improve sustainable community schools. Monies would be available for schools which struggle with such factors as poverty or low graduation rates.  STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. NOTE: There will be a subcommittee hearing on this bill Monday at 2 p.m.

SB 68 (Hill-6th) Creates an individual student education account, which is aconsumer driven savings account composed of state funds accrued on behalf of an eligible student and which may be used for qualifying educational expenses, including future postsecondary education expenses, as well as payment that a parent could use for private school, curriculum materials, postsecondary instruction, etc.  Seems to be a sort of voucher program. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 76 (Black-8th) Allows an agreement between a county school system and one or more independent school systems within the county to decide how net proceeds of the sales tax for educational purposes shall be distributed. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SB 77 (Fort-39th) Raises the upper age of mandatory school attendance from 16 to 17 years of age. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SB 82 (Jackson-2nd) Creates a need-based HOPE scholarship and grant for eligible students whose family’s annual gross income is less than $75,000 for the prior 24 month period, or is solely responsible for his or her own care, custody, and earnings and has not been claimed by a parent as a dependent on the federal or state income tax returns for a period of 24 months immediately prior to the first day of classes for which the scholarship or grant is to be awarded; and has an annual gross income of less than $75,000.00.   STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SB 83 (Jackson-2nd) Raises the age of mandatory education for children from 16 to 17 1/2. The bill also changes the age a person is eligible for adult literacy training from 16 to 17 1/2. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

HR 58 (Taylor-79th) A constitutional amendment authorizing any municipality in the State to establish by local law an independent school system. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs.

HR 101 (Chandler-105th) Creates the House Study Committee on College Course Credit. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

SR 95 (Black-8th) Constitutional Amendment to allow an agreement between a county school system and one or more independent school systems within the county to decide how net proceeds of the sales tax for educational purposes can be distributed. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

misc

HB 9 (Blackmon-146th) Prohibits any individual to, knowingly and without the consent of the person (16 years or older) observed, use or install a device for the purpose of videotaping, filming, photographing, or video recording under or through such person’s clothing, for the purpose of viewing the body of or the undergarments worn by such person, under circumstances in which such person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Dissemination of such material is also unlawful.  STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 10 (Oliver-82nd) Prohibits the possession, sale, transport, distribution, or use of certain assault weapons, large capacity magazines, armor-piercing bullets, and incendiary .50 caliber bullets. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

HB 121 (Efstration-104th) Change provisions relating to minor or unborn beneficiaries of trusts, among other things. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.  NOTE: There will be a subcommittee hearing on this bill Monday at 1 p.m.

HB 123 (Scott-76th) Requires that tattoo consent forms include a warning notification that certain tattoos could disqualify the wearer from military service. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee.

HB 136 (Carter-175th) Alters certain law regarding drives licenses and permits.  The bill, among other things, allows any person who applies for a driver’s license, instruction permit, or limited driving permit shall indicate on the application whether he or she is in possession of any other valid driver’s license or permit including one from any other jurisdiction. Additionally, the Department of Driver Services shall issue a receipt to a person eligible to be issued a driver’s license, instruction permit, or limited driving permit which satisfy the requirements regarding proof of eligibility to operate a motor vehicle until the person has received his or her permanent driver’s license, instruction permit, or limited driving permit. Any person who willfully fails to surrender any valid driver’s license, instruction permit, or limited driving permit shall be considered to have committed an act of fraud.  The bill also removes requirement that a visually impaired parent or legal guardian must have previously held a valid driver’s license in order for his or her minor child to operate a motor vehicle.  STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee.

SB 45 (Walker-20th) Prohibits any individual to, knowingly and without the consent of the person (16 years or older) observed, use or install a device for the purpose of videotaping, filming, photographing, or video recording under or through such person’s clothing, for the purpose of viewing the body of or the undergarments worn by such person, under circumstances in which such person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Dissemination of such material is also unlawful. First violation is a misdemeanor, and second violation is a felony, punishable by a sentence of 1-5 years, $100,000 fine or both. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

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