Home » legislative updates » Voices’ Legislative Update – 2/13/17

Voices’ Legislative Update – 2/13/17

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As happens nearly every year, I get to spend an intimate Valentine’s Day at the state house with about 1500 of my closest friends, many of whom have no idea who I am.  Obviously, this disconnect significantly curtails my acquisition of Valentine’s flowers, chocolates, and cards (unless, of course, you consider a piece of legislation from the House Clerk’s office a romantic communication, which, just for the record, I do NOT). Plus, other gift-obtaining options are not viable: George Clooney is married; Brad Pitt has too much baggage; and I am a little too late for Paul Newman. Sigh.  What’s a girl to do?   Answer:  Read bills until my eyes fall out and hope that it is helpful to someone (but probably not to Paul).

Is reading bills really that painful, you ask?  Well, not always, but certainly, some are more fun than others.  It is a little harder to find joy in a 36-page bill full of pharmaceutical terminology than in a 2-page resolution about Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (March 20th, FYI), except maybe if you are a pharmacist with a lot of time on your hands.  One longish bill worth a gander, however, is the brand-spankin’-new HB 338 (Tanner-9th).  This is the “Plan B” Education bill that the world (or at least a little corner of it) has been waiting to see.  “Plan A” was the opportunity school district constitutional amendment that was on the ballot and did not pass in the November election. This bill, which will no doubt be vetted and vetted some more, is a good-hearted attempt to find a way to help schools (and their students) that have consistently poor outcomes.  How it pans out in the end is anybody’s guess at this point, but at least things like wrap-around services for kids are a significant part of the conversation.

Speaking of wrap around services, both chambers passed their own versions of the bill allowing dental hygienists to practice in safety net settings, like schools. HB 154 (Cooper-43rd) and SB 12 (Unterman-45th) now swap chambers for consideration, but the ultimate success of one of these almost identical bills looks promising. Yay!

In other news, the Senate passed its version of the FY 2017 Amended Budget.  They changed a few things from the House’s version (see below for the changes affecting children) and now the bill will go to conference committee so that the House and Senate can come to an agreement on what stays and what goes.  (Once that’s resolved, the bill will go to the Governor for his signature, which can include line item vetoes.)  The “big budget” for FY 2018 is still being looked over by the House.

But there are a ton of new bills to review, including some nice ones on effective school discipline (SB 149, SB 150, SB 152), protecting victims of family violence (HB 279), hearing aids for children (HB 228), and kinship care (HB 331).  So please check out the summaries below and then, please make a difference by acting on the advocacy asks at the end of this blast.

Until next week, here is a little Valentine-esque verse to spur you on:

Republicans are Red

And Democrats, Blue,

But what really makes a difference

Is action by YOU!

(I know, I know. That was painful.  I promise not to subject you to something that bad again…until next week.)


Senate Changes to the FY 2017 Amended Budget

Child Welfare

Transferred $1.6 Million from out-of-home care utilization to increase Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) foster parent per diem rates by 57% effective April 1, 2017(The Governor Requested $28.6 Million for out of home care utilization; the House made no change; then the Senate transferred $1.6 Million, leaving a total of $27 Million for out of home care utilization and a total of $2.6 Million for the DFCS foster parent per diems)

Budget Direction from the Senate: Coordinate with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and the Department of Human Services to recommend and fund an increase in Child Placing Agencies (CPA) foster parent per diem rates.

Child Health

Cut $1 Million from Department of Public Health (DPH) Adolescent and Adult Health Promotion.

Cut $628,000 from the DPH budget for personnel to enhance coordination and communication among providers and stakeholders of services to families.

Education

Cut $1 Million from the Special Needs Scholarship. (The Governor requested an addition of $6.5 Million; then the House cut a total of $8.5 Million.  Following that, the Senate restored a little less than a million, leaving the scholarship at a $1 Million deficit.)

Added $2 Million for career, technical, and agricultural education equipment grants to local school systems.  (The Governor had no additional request; then the House added over $3.5 Million and the Senate increased that by abut $2 Million, bringing the total to $5.6 Million.)

Transferred $2.5 Million from the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission to Department of Education testing program 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; House cut that by $1 Million, and then the Senate transferred the remaining $2.5 Million.)

Cut $1.5 Million from the governor’s request for grants for film and audio-video equipment to local school systems. (Governor requested $2.5 Million; the House made no change; the Senate cut $1.5 Million, leaving a total of $1 Million)

 


vulnerable youth

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee.  The bill now rests in House Rules 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 Judiciary Committee.

HB 212 (Beskin-54th) Allows the court or jury to remove work related child care costs from the calculation of child support, and divide the work related child care costs pro rata, to be paid within   time specified in the final child support order STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 242 (Prince-127th) Requires the Department of Family and Children Services to notify the Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program in the event of a report of child abuse by a military parent or guardian. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 266 (Kelley-16th) Increases the threshold value from $15,000 to $25,000 that a natural guardian may oversee for a minor without having to become a legally qualified conservator of the minor. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 267 (Alexander-66th) Requires employers to implement a sick time policy that allows an employee to earn and accrue at least 56 hours of paid sick leave per year. Paid sick leave accrues at the rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The leave may be used for self or family member. STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee.

HB 279 (Ballinger-23rd) Allows a petitioner who alleges to be a victim of family violence, to petition the court to file his or her petition to change his or her name or to change the name of his or her child under seal. If the court determines that the petitioner is a victim of family violence, the court may waive the requirements of publication, and when such petition is to change a child’s name, the court may waive the requirements of parental consent.   STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 291 (Beverly-143rd) “Domestic Violence Helping Hands Act”-Provides for one hour of domestic violence and sexual assault awareness training for barbers and cosmetologists. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee.

HB 293 (Silcox-57th) Establishes an effective date for any motion made, hearing or trial relating to the testimony of a child’s description of sexual contact or physical abuse. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 305 (Beskin-54th) Adds stepparent and former stepparents to the list of third parties who may be awarded custody of a child. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 307 (Scott-76th) Provides for in-state tuition at the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia for youth from foster care or homeless situations. The bill also excludes foster care assistance from consideration as income for purposes of calculating financial aid. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 308 (Beskin-54th) Enacts provisions recommended by the Georgia Child Support Commission relating to child support and the enforcement of child support orders. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 321 (Efstration-104th) Provides for de facto custodians custody and visitation arrangements. ‘De facto custodian’ means an individual who has shown by clear and convincing evidence to have accepted full and permanent responsibilities of a child as if he or she were a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation for the child and where, if the child is under 3 years old, has resided with the person for a period of six months or more, or if the child is three or older, has resided with the person for one year or more, and has developed a bonded and dependent relationship with the person that has been fostered or supported by either parent of the child. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 330 (Abrams-89th) Adds regional DFCS caseworkers or directors of a county or district DFCS as contact names provided in the notice to adult relatives of the alleged dependent child when conducting a diligent search for relatives as part of a dependency proceeding. STATUS: House Hopper.

HB 331 (Abrams-89th) Creates a mechanism for a kinship caregiver to give legal consent in the form of an affidavit for a child residing with him/her to receive educational services and medical services directly related to academic enrollment and to participate in curricular or extracurricular activities for which parental consent is usually required. STATUS: House Hopper.

HB 341 (Reeves-34th) Among other things, the bill adds patronizing and soliciting to the list of crimes which qualify as human trafficking offenses, revises provisions regarding the model notice for the human trafficking hotline, and clarifies provisions relating to the probation portion of a split sentence imposed for certain sexual offenses.  STATUS: House Hopper.

HB 344 (Dempsey-13th) Allows certain parties in a case concerning a child support order to request a genetic paternity test from the Department of Human Services. 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to the House 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. The bill will be heard in Committee this Tuesday.

SB 130 (Tillery-19th) Clarifies provisions relating to the waiver of the right to counsel for a party to a dependency proceeding who is not a child. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Committee this Tuesday.

SB 131 (Tillery-19th) Requires adoption proceedings be stayed while an appeal of an order to terminate parental rights is pending until such order becomes final by the conclusion of appellate proceedings or the time limit for seeking such a review expires. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 132 (Tillery-19th) Removes the statutory civil case filing and disposition forms and allows the Judicial Council of Georgia to promulgate such forms.  The bill also revises provisions for transmittal of the forms. The bill also cleans up language regarding civil practice, courts, and general provisions for child custody proceedings so that it is aligned with the changes the bill makes. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Committee this Wednesday.

SB 137 (Kirk-13th) Increases the fee the Department of Human Services can charge for collecting child support payments.  STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 145 (James-35th) Among other things, the bill revises the offense of rape for applicability to victims across genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary 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: Tabled in the 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 children 13-17 years old charged with aggravated assault involving the use of a firearm and aggravated battery against senior citizens and peace officers. The bill gives discretion to the superior court to transfer such cases back to juvenile court. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in Committee this Monday.

HB 213 (Golick-40th) Adds fentanyl to the list of controlled substances that are illegal to sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in Committee this Monday.

HB 258 (Powell-32nd) Increases penalties for aggravated assault upon a peace officer while the peace officer is engaged in, or on account of the performance of, his or her official duties. The bill also increases penalties for discharge of a firearm against a peace officer. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 259 (Powell-32nd) Gives superior court exclusive jurisdiction for cases involving children 13-17 years old charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery. The bill gives discretion to the superior court to transfer such cases back to juvenile court. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 261 (Werkheiser-157th) Allows certain individuals sentenced to a term of incarceration between March 18, 1968, and October 31, 1982, to petition the superior court in the county in which he or she was convicted for exoneration of guilt and discharge. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 105 (Jones-22nd) Makes possession of possession of two ounces or less of marijuana constitute a misdemeanor. Possession of half an ounce or less is punishable by a fine of $300. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Committee this Wednesday.

SB 149 (Jones-10th) Requires School Resource Officers (SROs) to complete 40 hours of training approved by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. Subjects include the role of a peace officer assigned to an elementary or secondary school, search and seizure in elementary and secondary schools, criminal offenses, gang awareness, drug awareness, interviews and interrogations, emergency preparedness, and interpersonal interactions with adolescents, including the encountering of mental health issues. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 150 (Jones-10th) Adds requirements to the written agreements required between School Resource Officers (SROs) and local schools, and requires SROs to be subject to a code of conduct, providing guidelines for interaction with students and personnel. The bill also requires local schools who employ SROs to provide a School Resource Officer Student Reference Guide to each student in order to enhance personal relationships and understanding between such law enforcement officers and students and staff in the schools. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 152 (Jones-10th) Requires that students cannot be suspended or expelled without assignment to an alternative education program and that students who are subject to compulsory attendance shall not be assigned to an alternative education program for more than 2 semesters except for those who have committed certain serious offenses such as physical assault or battery of school personnel or other students, bullying, and unlawful use or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol. Those who are assigned to alternative education programs for longer than 2 semesters may request a hearing to return to a regular classroom after 2 semesters have passed. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SR 146 (Kennedy-18th) Constitutional amendment providing for certain rights for victims who have suffered or been harmed due to a criminal act by an adult or juvenile. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Committee this Tuesday.

HB 154 (Cooper-43rd) and SB 12 (Unterman-45th) 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 orreduced-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 bepresent 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 cannot 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: HB 154 PASSED HOUSE.  Awaits committee assignment by the Senate. SB 12 PASSED SENATE.  Awaits assignment to a House Committee.

HB 198 (Dempsey-13th) Requires local school systems to provide information to parents and guardians of students in grades 6-12 on influenza and its vaccine whenever other health information is provided. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 228 (Raffensperger-50th) “Hearing Aid Coverage for Children Act.”-Requires private health insurance plans to cover the costs for hearing aids for children under 19 years old. The cost cannot exceed $3,000.00 per hearing aid. The plans must also cover replacement hearing aids every 48 months or sooner if the aid fails to work for certain reasons. STATUS: House Insurance Committee.

HB 241 (Hawkins-27th) Adds Krabbe disease to the list of metabolic and genetic conditions for which a newborn may be screened at the request of the parents.  Parents would pay for the screening. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 246 (Cantrell-22nd) Eliminates the sunset provision for Georgia SHAPE (which is an annual fitness assessment program administered by public schools). STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 263 (Taylor-173rd) Requires the Department of Community Health to competitively bid out and contract with two administrators for dental services for Medicaid recipients and PeachCare for Kids participants. The administrators cannot outsource, subcontract, or sign over any contractual rights or obligations.  STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 273 (Douglas-78th) Requires each local board of education to schedule a daily, 30-minute recess for students in kindergarten and grades one through five. The recess must include supervised, unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors. Local boards of education must establish policies to ensure that recess is a safe experience and that recess is scheduled so that it provides a break during academic learning. The bill also stipulates that recess is not to be used as a punishment. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 274 (Scott-76th) Prohibits smoking inside any motor vehicle when a child under 13 years old is present. The offense is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of $100.00. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 288 (Kirby-114th) Expands the category of persons who can use service dogs and tasks the Department of Human Services with issuance of information cards regarding the animals. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 313 (Waites-60th) “Logan’s Law”-Requires a person who transfers ownership of a dog to include as part of the transaction a document created by the Department of Public Health which contains statistics relating to injuries to humans caused by dogs. STATUS: House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs 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 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: PASSED SENATE.  Awaits assignment to a House 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 118 (Unterman-45th) Changes the age limit for coverage for autism spectrum disorders for an individual covered under a policy or contract from six years old or under to 21 years old or under. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill will be heard in Committee this Tuesday.

SB 121 (Miller-49th) The state health officer may issue a standing order permitting certain persons and entities, to obtain opioid antagonists under such conditions as the state health officer may impose. Such an order shall have statewide effect. Every pharmacy must keep a record of every opioid antagonist dispensed as a result of the standing order and maintain the record for two years, but pharmacists are not required to submit this information to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.  STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 141 (Thompson-14th) Requires the owner of a carnival ride to submit an engineering evaluation with a carnival ride permit application the first time the owner applies. STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

SB 142 (Kennedy-18th) Allows the use of automated traffic enforcement safety devices (cameras) in school zones. STATUS: Senate Government Oversight Committee.

HR 182 (Raffensperger-50th) Urges the Governor to negotiate with federal authorities to receive a waiver creating per capita block grant funding to be used for indigent health care. STATUS: House Appropriations Committee.

HR 240 (Cooper-43rd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Reforming HIV-Related Criminal Laws. STATUS: House Hopper.

SR 188 (Unterman-45th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Barriers to Georgians’ Access to Adequate Healthcare. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 250 (Ballinger-23rd) Allows an employee of an early care and education program who has received a satisfactory fingerprint records check determination within the previous 24 months to be exempt from submitting applications for an additional background check for purposes of providing care to children placed in a foster home. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee.  The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 297 (Bazemore-63rd) Requires early care and education programs shall prepare a safety plan for emergencies such as fire, floods, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, earthquakes, chemical spills, and acts of violence. STATUS: House Education Committee.

SB 98 (Parent-42nd) Allows capital outlay funds to be used for educational facilities for voluntary pre-kindergarten programs in public schools. The bill also allows the state Board of Education to include pre-kindergarten in student projection counts. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

education

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: Recommended Do Pass by the 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. The bill will be heard in Committee this Tuesday.

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. The bill will be heard in Committee this Tuesday.

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. Local school districts are directed to provide financial info to state Department of Education which will disseminate the information. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

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

HB 170 (Jones-53rd) “Student Online Personal Information Protection Act” – prohibit operators of educational sites, services, and applications from using personally identifiable student information or materials, in any media or format for advertising, profiling students, or selling a student’s identifying information. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 178 (Belton-112th) Requires each local school system to earn funding to pay the beginning salaries for one school counselor for every 200 military students in the local school system, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly. Each school counselor for military students must spend at least 50% of his or her time counseling or advising military students and their parents. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 211 (Beskin-54th) Creates an annual tax credit for up to five years for taxpayers who purchase, own, and occupy a dwelling that qualifies for a homestead exemption located within a school attendance zone assigned to a public elementary school that is among the lowest 5% of academic achievement public elementary schools in the state. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 229 (Dollar-45th) Limits yearly tuition and student fee increases within the University System of Georgia to zero or the rate of inflation as published by the Georgia Student Finance Commission.  The bill also allows the fees to be waived by the Senate Higher Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Higher Education.  Such a waiver may be granted in the event of recession, decline in state appropriations, change in institutional mission, consolidation, or any other circumstance which such committees deem appropriate. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 230 (Burnough-77th) Requires that otherwise eligible schools or programs that receive funds from School Scholarship Organizations maintain nondiscriminatory practices in hiring or admission on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or gender-related characteristics. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.”

HB 236 (Teasley-37th) Increases the amount of the aggregate cap on contributions to school scholarship organizations in order to receive income tax credits from $58 million to $150 Million by the end of 2019, and then by $7.5 million per year for each following year.  The bill also increases the application window for the scholarships from one to two times per year. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 237 (Coleman-97th) Authorizes the Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation to receive private donations( tax deductible) to be used for grants to public schools. The bill caps the aggregate amount of tax credits allowed at $15 million per tax year. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 269 (Evans-42nd) Allows members of the Georgia National Guard and reservists to be eligible as Zell Miller Grant Scholars. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 280 (Ballinger-23rd) Authorizes the carrying and possession of handguns by weapons carry license holders on property owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education.  Handguns may not be carried in certain locations on these properties, including buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, and preschool space. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

HB 311 (Powell-171st) Revises certain provisions relating to calculation of school system equalization grants. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 338 (Tanner-9th) Education bill to address struggling schools.  Brief summary (Thanks to Angela Palm, GA School Board Association!) A Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO) would be appointed by the State Board and report directly to them. The CTO will recommend personnel to serve as turnaround coaches for State Board approval.  The coaches will assist schools identified as in the greatest need of help with ongoing assistance and input. Coaches will be assigned to one or more schools and shall assist in creating local collaborations to address personal and community conditions impacting student achievement. The schools will be identified based on the number of years they have received “an unacceptable rating and any other factors deemed appropriate by the Chief Turnaround Officer.”  Local boards can amend their flexibility contracts to agree to receive assistance from the state.  Otherwise, the State Board has up to 60 days to implement one or more of the interventions in current law. Local boards that have no flexibility contract can sign an intervention contract to agree to receive assistance or the State Board will immediately implement one or more of the interventions in current law. Within 90 days of entering into the contract, a turnaround coach, RESA personnel, and possibly a third party provider shall conduct a comprehensive evaluation, make recommendations, and help develop an intensive school improvement plan. After 2 years, if the school is not improving, there are ten possible interventions including continuing the implementation of the plan. Before the implementation of any intervention, the local board can request a hearing before the State Board to show why the proposed intervention should not be implemented or that an alternative is better. An Education Turnaround Advisory Council would report to the State Board their recommendations on the qualifications and method of identifying and selecting the CTO.  They could also submit names of potential candidates for CTO and turnaround coaches. The Council would be made up of the executive directors or their designee(s) of GSBA, GSSA, PAGE, GAE, and the President of Georgia PTA. A Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process is also created in the bill.  The Committee shall also consider the possibility of establishing a school board review commission. After five or more consecutive years of one-half or more of a district’s schools receiving an unacceptable rating, the school board can be removed using the same procedures as are currently in place using the accreditation status as the trigger.  If the local board is under a contract amendment or intervention contract and is in substantial compliance with the contract, this is stayed.  STATUS: House Education Committee.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 139 (Hill-6th) Adds Leadership to the list of the GA Department of Education’s ” focused programs of study.” STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 151 (Jones-10th) Provides that a local board of education has the sole authority and responsibility to sue and be sued, including, but not limited to, the initiation and defense of any civil actions, including decisions on whether to pursue appeals. No local board of education shall delegate or attempt to delegate such authority and responsibility to any third party, including any attorney retained by the local board to advise it on school matters. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote this Tuesday.

SR 192 (Wilkinson-50th)  A constitutional amendment authorizing the election of local school superintendents by voters and election of members of local boards of education by grand juries (as an alternative to appointment of local school superintendents by local boards of education and election of local school board members by voters). STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

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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. The bill will be heard in Committee this Monday.

HB 121 (Efstration-104th) Changes provisions relating to minor or unborn beneficiaries of trusts, among other things. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 136 (Carter-175th) Alters certain law regarding drivers 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. The bill requires that any temporary license, permit, or special identification card issued to a noncitizen to include, in a prominent location on the document, the term ‘noncitizen’.  STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Motor Vehicles Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 334 (Waites-60th) Prohibits the issuance of a weapons carry license for any person against whom certain restraining orders or protective orders have been issued and makes it unlawful for any person convicted of an offense involving family violence to receive, possess, or transport any firearm. STATUS: House Hopper.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SR 194 (Wilkinson-50th) Recognizing Peanut Butter and Jelly Day on March 20, 2017!  Yay! STATUS: PASSED SENATE.

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