Home » legislative updates » Voices’ Legislative Update – 2/27/17

Voices’ Legislative Update – 2/27/17

Know where you want to go? Click below to skip ahead.

Question: What can possibly be more embarrassing than testifying in committee with lipstick on your teeth?  Answer: Testifying in committee with lipstick on your teeth and wearing Mardi Gras beads a week early because your kids told you it was Fat Tuesday a whole week before it actually was Fat Tuesday. In fact, all I got right about the whole thing was the Tuesday part. Welcome to my world.

As it turns out, this Tuesday is Mardi Gras – an important day for those of us who enjoy bead-wearing, King Cake and gumbo, and somehow believe that purple, green and yellow actually go together.  So unless I am channeling Bill Murray and Tuesday is actually Groundhog Day, I’ll untangle the beads and head back to the capitol to try again. aissez Lles bon temps rouler (let the good times roll). (And just for the record, my son thinks the links are the best part of this update, so click away!)

So what does a “bon temps” at the capitol look like?  Not much like New Orleans, I can tell you.  This week, a “good time” will be had by all as the chambers try to cram as many bills through committee and onto the chamber floors for votes as they can.  Probably no bead throwing, probably no parades and most likely Hurricanes only after we all hike to our cars in the dark and stumble into our homes, exhausted from the chaos.

Why is it so busy? Because Friday is the 28th legislative day, also known as “Crossover Day.”  This is the last day that a bill can pass in its originating chamber and still have enough time to be vetted by the other chamber to be viable for passage this year.  So you can just imagine the intensity as bill sponsors show up, humble, contrite and hopeful before the powerful House or Senate Rules Committee, trying to get the committee to agree to put their bill on the floor.  It is pretty entertaining. If you are interested, you can watch the House Rules committee happen most mornings about 9 a.m. by clicking here. (The Senate does not televise anything except the chamber floor). It is pretty groovy TV.

Anyway, I’ll shut up now and let you all read the bill summaries below.  And please do the Action Alerts at the bottom.  It is a big week for this stuff!


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. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary 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). 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 food stamp, Medicaid or public assistance fraud. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits assignment to a Senate 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

HB 305 (Beskin-54th) Adds stepparent and former stepparents to the list of third parties who may be awarded custody of a child. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE.  Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Human Relations and Aging Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Human Relations and Aging Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

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 Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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

HB 359 (Fleming-121st) “Supporting and Strengthening Families Act”-  Replaces the existing “Power of Attorney for the Care of a Minor Child Act” and would allow a parent to delegate caregiving authority to grandparent, step-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle, cousin, sibling, or someone associated with a child placing agency or a non-profit for up to one year by executing a power of attorney that conforms to the form set forth in statute, without approval of a court, but registered in probate court. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 467 (Hugley-136th) Authorizes the Technical College System of Georgia to establish a program whereby any student from a foster home situation may attend a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia without payment of fees, except for supplies and laboratory or shop fees.  STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

SB 104 (James-35th) Adds government buildings to the list of locations required to post the human trafficking hotline notice and requires government entities to have a hyperlink to the human trafficking hotline model notice on their websites.  The bill also deletes the sunset provision for posting of the notice in all of the designated locations. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Institutions and Property Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

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

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

SB 137 (Kirk-13th) Increases the fee the Department of Human Services can charge for collecting child support payments.  STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Committee.

SB 168 (Miller-49th) Allows access to child abuse records in the Central Child Abuse Registry by the department or a county or other state or local agency investigating allegations of child abuse and to certain child-placing entities conducting foster and adoptive parent background checks. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 170 (Hill-6th) Allows for the certification of volunteers to provide childcare services for foster children and their families with limited immunity.  The bill establishes the Georgia SERVES Act Advisory Committee to advise the Department of Human Services on establishing a uniform certification system and guidelines for individuals serving as volunteers for foster children and their families. STATUS: Senate Special Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

SB 236 (James-35th) Requires the prosecuting attorney to provide a copy of the traffic citation and all pertinent documents to the county department of family and children services when certain offenders are convicted for endangering a child by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in order to aid in an investigation of possible child abuse. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 250 (Mullis-53rd) Requires registration on the State Sexual Offender Registry when an individual is convicted in another country. The bill also states that the sentencing superior court judge will make the risk assessment classification as part of sentencing for sexual offenders convicted in Georgia, and sets up an appeal process for a sexual offender who is classified by the sentencing superior court judge as a Level II risk assessment classification or as a sexually dangerous predator. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

SR 307 (Unterman-45th) Creates the Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Joint Task Force. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee, but will be heard in Senate Health and Human Services Committee this Monday.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee.  The bill now rests in House Rules 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. The bill will be heard in subcommittee this Tuesday.

HB 67 (Boddie-62nd) Increases punishment for entering an automobile or other motor vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in Rules 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 peace officers. The bill gives discretion to the superior court to transfer such cases back to juvenile court. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

HB 213 (Golick-40th) Adds fentanyl to the list of controlled substances that are illegal to sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote 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. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

HB 450 (Powell-32nd) Allows for the acceptance of up to 30 hours of DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction courses by a court as satisfying required community service hours as condition of probation for conviction of certain drug offenses. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 478 (Strickland-111th) Revises the requirements which must be met before an arresting law enforcement agency may provide or make available a copy of a booking photograph to state that a photograph cannot be made available of an individual who has not been convicted of an offense or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor unless the requestor requests the photo in person and presents a current driver’s license or GA identification card. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 491 (Waites-60th) Allows an individual to petition the superior court to restrict access to criminal history record information if that person was convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment for ten years or less, successfully completed the terms of the sentence and, since completing the sentence, has not been arrested for at least five years (excluding any arrest for a non-serious traffic offense) and, was not convicted of a certain felony violation or under any other state’s law with similar provisions. STATUS: House Hopper.

HB 497 (Efstration-104th) Automatically extends the period for filing a petition for delinquency when informal adjustment or other non-adjudicatory procedures are being used, until such informal adjustment or procedures have failed. The bill also provides for joint child custody arrangements between a parent and a de facto custodian of a child. STATUS: House Hopper.

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 Monday.

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 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.

SB 154 (Kirk-13th) Increases penalties for the offenses of aggravated assault and aggravated battery on a public safety officer engaged in his or her official duties, to jail time and a fine of $5,000.00. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Awaits assignment to a House Committee.

SB 160 (Harper-7th) Grants the superior court exclusive original jurisdiction over the trial of any child aged 13-17 who is accused of aggravated assault or aggravated battery with a firearm on a peace officer engaged in his or her official duties.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Awaits assignment to a House Committee.

SB 174 (Kennedy-18th) Enacts reforms recommended by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.  Highlights are as follows: Adds Division of Family and Children Services employee to the list of participants who are required in a planning group for family treatment court; clarifies and improves protocols involving family treatment courts; revises provisions concerning non-violent felonies, probation, and validation of the Department of Corrections’ Risk Needs Assessment. The bill emphasizes the use of evidence-based programs and permits the Board of the Department of Community Supervision (DCS), either acting alone or in cooperation with the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia or other educational organizations and agencies, to provide educational programs for probationers to encourage gainful employment and discourage return to criminal activity. The board may also enter into agreements to attain program certification for its vocational and technical education programs. The DCS board will develop a Program and Treatment Completion Certificate that may be issued to probationers to symbolize a probationer’s achievements toward successful reentry into society. The bill clarifies and revises provisions regarding probation, parole, conditional release, and fees.  Provisions involving supervision are revised taking into account consideration of behaviorof an offender while under supervision. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 175 (Kennedy-18th) In any proceeding involving a child in need of services or a delinquent child or a child involved in a risk reduction program, a juvenile court may issue an order restraining or otherwise controlling the conduct of a child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian in order to promote treatment, rehabilitation, and welfare of the child.  In doing so, the court must consider the best interests of the child, the risk to public safety the delinquent child poses, evidence of a repeated pattern of behavior by the child, and the extent to which enhanced involvement and supervision of the child may ameliorate public safety concerns. If a child is detained in a secure residential facility or non-secure residential facility and the court determines that such child is incompetent to proceed, within five days of such determination the court shall issue an order to release the child to a parent or guardian, or detain the child in the least restrictive setting, if the child is alleged to have committed a delinquent act and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child’s detention or care is required in order to reduce the likelihood that he or she may inflict serious bodily harm to others, or because he or she has a demonstrated a pattern of theft or destruction of property, or that detention is required to protect the property of others, or that detention is necessary to secure his or her presence in court to protect the jurisdiction and processes of the court.  If a child is unrestorably incompetent to proceed, he or she shall not be detained in a secure residential facility or non-secure residential facility after a comprehensive services plan has been adopted.  A child found incompetent but remediable cannot be detained longer than the disposition for the alleged delinquent or designated felony offense. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 189 (Tillery-19th) Bill regarding the Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC), which, among other things, changes provisions relating to the legal defense of indigents, clarifies the authority and responsibilities of the GPDC and its director, creates more divisions within the council, and clarifies the obligation of the council and circuit public defender offices in representing individuals and providing services.  As far as juveniles are concerned, the bill clarifies that the GPDC is statutorily required to provide representation only in delinquency cases. (Note, however, that GPDC offices can still provide representation in CHINS or dependency actions, but only through a contract with the county or juvenile court). STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 217 (Stone-23rd) Any person employed or appointed as a municipal probation officer on or after July 1, 2017, shall not be authorized to exercise the power of arrest as a municipal probation officer unless that person is certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards Training Council. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

HB 200 (Newton-123rd) Requires local boards of education to adopt policies authorizing students to carry and self-administer sunscreen STATUS: House Education 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: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits assignment to a Senate Committee.

HB 246 (Cantrell-22nd) Eliminates the sunset provision for Georgia SHAPE (which is a annual fitness assessment program administered by public schools). STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth 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 360 (Cooper-43rd) Allows prescribing or dispensing antibiotic drugs to the sexual partner or partners of a patient clinically diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea without physical examination of the partner or partners. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

HB 458 (Powell-32nd) Allows the use of automated traffic enforcement safety devices (cameras) in school zones. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. The bill will be heard in subcommittee this Tuesday.

HB 473 (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 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. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

SB 81 (Unterman-45th) “Jeffrey Dallas Gay, Jr., Act”- Gives the state health officer the authority to issue statewide standing orders permitting people entities or categories of people or entities to obtain opioid antagonists (NARCAN) from pharmacies.  Pharmacies would be required to maintain a copy of the order and records of all opioid antagonists distributed and requires pharmacies that are required to report scheduled prescription drugs to make reports daily instead of weekly.  It would allow information from the statewide prescription database to be used to analyze a patient’s usage in addition to abuse and misuse. The bill also requires prescribers to review information from the database whenever prescribing benzodiazepines or opiates to a patient for the first time and at least every 90 days thereafter if prescription continues, unless the patient is in hospice, the patient is inpatient with drugs issued from an on-site pharmacy, the patient is receiving methadone or buprenorphine to treat addiction, the prescription is for three days or fewer, or the system is down. The bill limits initial prescriptions for benzodiazepines or opiates to five days unless necessary to treat for palliative care, acute pain, chronic pain, cancer or substance abuse.  Knowing or intentional failure to use the system would be punished as an under $200 misdemeanor for a first offense, a $200 – $500 misdemeanor for a second offense, a $400 to $5,000 high and aggravated misdemeanor for a third offense, and a felony of 1-5 years and a $50,000 fine for subsequent offenses. Health care providers, coroners, and medical examiners must report instances of neonatal abstinence syndrome where a newborn was exposed to addictive drugs in the womb to Department of Public Health who would release an annual report on the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome in Georgia. It would give Department of Community Health (DCH) the authority to conduct onsite inspections of narcotic treatment programs and require programs to report patient outcomes to DCH. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 88 (Mullis-53rd) Licenses and regulates narcotic treatment centers.  It would create 49 regions across the state and only allow four centers in each region unless Department of Community Health (DCH) issues a waiver. If DCH receives more than four applications, it would use a scoring system to decide who gets licenses. DCH would set rules for safety, staff competency, and procedural guidelines, create an annual or biennial open enrollment period for narcotic treatment centers to apply for a license and create an applications review committee made up of DCH and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) employees.  The committee would review the qualifications of the proposed center and the availability of existing centers within 75 miles, the patient populations, whether or not the applicant has sought community input, and whether the applicant had been cited for violations at other facilities. The center would have to register with all law enforcement within 25 miles and all drug courts within 75 miles.  Centers would be subject to on-site inspection every three years.  Licenses would not be transferable for changes in ownership or location. Programs licensed prior to June 1, 2016, would not be covered.  Programs licensed before June 30, 2017,would not be subject to the regional maximum, but any region with four programs would be considered full. People with criminal records would not be able to own treatment centers, and applicants must submit to a background check. It would prohibit centers from offering discounts or referral incentives.  Centers would have to maintain records of all patients that DCH could access with identifying information removed. They would have to participate in the DBHDD opioid registry to prevent multiple enrollments. Centers would be required to have priority treatment for pregnant women. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Health and Human Services 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote this Monday.

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Regulated Industries Committee.

HB 161 (Price-48th) Provides that employees and agents of harm reduction organizations (an organization which provides direct assistance and services, such as syringe exchanges, drug treatment, and screening, to at-risk individuals to slow the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases among intravenous drug users) are not subject to certain offenses relating to hypodermic needles. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

SB 166 (Unterman-45th) Allows Georgia to join the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact, allowing licensed nurses to operate in states belonging to the compact. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 193 (Unterman-45th) Alters and clarifies provisions regarding the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program, removing references to indigent women and stating that an agency using the grant shall not refer, encourage, or affirmatively counsel a person to have an abortion unless the person’s attending physician diagnoses a condition which makes such abortion necessary to prevent a woman’s death. The bill also states that the language of the article does not prohibit any direct client service provider from promoting orexpending non-grant funds for a political or religious purpose. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 201 (Miller-49th) “Family Care Act”- Requires an employer of ten or more individuals that provides sick leave to allow an employee to use such sick leave for the care of an immediate family member. An employer is not required to allow such leave for an immediate family member for more than five days of earned sick leave. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote this Monday.

SB 206 (Martin-9th) “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: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

SB 234 (James-35th) Provides that leaving a child six years of age or younger unattended, or supervised by someone who is younger than 13 years of age in vehicles under certain circumstances constitutes cruelty to children in the third degree. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 235 (James-35th) Encourages local boards of education, nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, governing bodies of charter schools, and public recreation facilities to provide youth athletes participating in gridiron football with a helmet which has at least a four-star rating on the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings scale at the time of its use. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

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

HR 354 (Kendrick-93rd) Urges the Georgia Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and mental health experts, to develop and provide to local school systems a list of training materials that would serve to increase awareness of mental health issues and behavioral and learning disabilities. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HR 388 (Kirby-114th) Creates the House Study Committee on Meeting the Demand for Nursing Care in Georgia. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

HR 431 (Turner-21st) Creates the House Study Committee on the Ramifications of Changes in Federal Health Care Policy. STATUS: House Hopper.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Special Judiciary Committee.

HB 391 (Clark-98th) Expands the locations where a newborn child can be left to include fire stations and police stations. The bill also allows the mother to decline to provide her name and address when a child is left in the physical custody of a medical facility, fire station, or police station. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee.  The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 463 (Dempsey-13th) Authorizes the Department of Early Care and Learning to establish a nonprofit corporation to qualify as a public foundation. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 494 (Dempsey-13th) Authorizes the use of hearsay in preliminary hearings regarding emergency closure of an early care and learning program or the emergency placement of a monitor or monitors and adds certain misdemeanors to the definition of “crime” for purposes of background checks. The bill also provides that background checks are not valid if an individual has been separated from employment from an early care and education program for more than 180 consecutive days. STATUS: House Hopper.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate 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 Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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: 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: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits assignment to a Senate Committee.

HB 194 (Jones-25th) Requires counties and municipalities to consider the effect of a proposed zoning action on local school systems and the potential overcrowding of schools within that system.  STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Governmental Affairs Committee.  The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 217 (Carson-46th) Increases the amount of the aggregate cap on contributions to school scholarship organizations in order to receive income tax credits from $58 million to $100 Million by the end of 2021.  The bill also limits the total amount of tax credits approved for C corporations, trusts, or other similar entities that qualify for the credit to 25% of total tax credits. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Ways & Means Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 222 (Blackmon-146th) Allows members of the Georgia National Guard or the armed forces of the United States located in Georgia to be classified as a legal residents of Georgia for the purposes of eligibility for the HOPE scholarship or grant. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee.

HB 224 (Belton-112th) Allows the parent of a military student to enroll the child in a public school located where the student resides in military base or off-base military housing. The parent is responsible for and cost of transportation of the student to and from the school. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits assignment to a Senate Committee.

HB 237 (Coleman-97th) Allows authorize 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: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits assignment to a Senate 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 338 (Tanner-9th) Education bill to address struggling schools.  Measures include selection of a Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO), turnaround coaches to assist schools identified as in the greatest need of help with ongoing assistance and input. For an excellent summary of the bill by the Georgia School Board Association, click here. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 415 (Meadows-5th) Requires the State Board of Education to designate a nonprofit organization to govern high school athletics for public schools. The organization will not be considered a state agency and nonpublic school that wishes to compete in high school athletics with a public high school may join the organization. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 423 (Stovall-74th) Requires local boards of education to make its unused facilities available to any state charter schools that are located within the local school system boundaries. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 425 (Chandler-105th) Encourages local school systems to allow the administration of standardized assessments in a paper-and-pencil format for any student whose parent or guardian requests it and to any student 18 years of age or older who requests it.  The bill also discourages punitive actions for students refusing to participate in federal, state, or locally mandated standardized assessments. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 429 (Teasley-37th) Allows a tax credit of 25% of up to $1,000.00 of qualified education expenses per dependent child incurred during the tax year. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 430 (Brockway-102nd) Implements recommendations from the Governor’s Education Reform Commission with respect to charter schools.   STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 432 (Dubnik-29th) Allows an institution that lacks accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to be approved for tuition equalization purposes if previously deemed an approved school. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 437 (Dickey-140th) Recreates the former Agricultural Education Advisory Commission, which had been abolished by law on December 31, 2016. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 447 (Evans-42nd) Mandates that students who receive the HOPE scholarship and graduate on time with an associates degree receive retroactive payments for the difference between HOPE scholarships and the full cost of tuition. The bill also mandates a similar retroactive payment for HOPE grant students who graduate on time and earn a diploma or certificate. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 448 (Williams-119th) Gives the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC) the authority it needs to require information on a periodic basis to confirm that an exempt institution is maintaining the qualifications for an exemption. The bill also proposes to reduce NPEC’s board from 15 members to 11 members by removing the congressional district qualification. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 482 (Cantrell-22nd) Georgia Educational Scholarship Act’- Allows state funds to deposited on behalf of a participating student and which may be used for qualified education expenses including tuition for private school. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 483 (Cantrell-22nd) Georgia Educational Scholarship Act’- Allows state funds to deposited on behalf of a participating student and which may be used for qualified education expenses including tuition for private school. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 500 (Bentley-139th) If a school board member’s immediate family member is named as the local school superintendent, principal, assistant principal, or system administrative staff in the local school system, the board member must resign their post on the school board. STATUS: House Hopper.

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

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 Higher Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

SB 186 (Tippins-37th) Clarifies language relating to the effect of dual credit courses on HOPE scholarship stating that students who earned a high school diploma through certain dual credit coursework are eligible for a HOPE grant toward an associate degree. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 203 (Thompson-14th) Requires the State Board of Education to designate a nonprofit organization to govern high school athletics for public schools. The organization will not be considered a state agency and nonpublic school that wishes to compete in high school athletics with a public high school may join the organization. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 208 (McKoon-29th) Provides that the award amount for HOPE scholarships shall be based on the previous year’s average cost of tuition for institutions within the university system. The bill also clarifies that the HOPE amount would vary based on the amount of time a person spends as a student (half time) and there remedial and developmental classes would not be included under HOPE. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 209 (McKoon-29th) Creates a Student Advisory Council and the Faculty Advisory Council to advise the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia regarding issues of concern to students and faculty.  STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 211 (Tippins-37th) Addresses assessments at various levels of K-12.  It requires consideration of local reading programs when establishing aresearch-baseddformative assessment with a summative component for grades one and two; a review and recommended solution for ongoing assessments in kindergarten through grade five in reading and mathematics and for the assessments in grades three through eight, and a comparability study to determine and establish the concordance of nationally recognized academic assessments with content standards and assessments in grades nine through 12. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 215 (Williams-27th) Freezes college tuition for students at the amount established for freshman year. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 243 (Mullis-53rd) Sets up an agricultural education program pilot for certain elementary schools via participation in the Future Farmers of America.  STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 245 (Miller-49th) Names the section of Georgia law that deals with teaching students about cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of automated external defibrillators in schools the “Cory Joseph Wilson Act”. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

SB 253 (Jones-25th) Requires a local school system to allow home study students to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

HR 58 (Taylor-79th) A constitutional amendment authorizing any municipality in the State to establish by local law an independent school system. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Governmental Affairs Committee.  The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HR 319 (Epps-144th) A constitutional amendment authorizing local boards of education to impose, levy, and collect a 1% sales and use tax for maintenance and operation expenses of the local school system. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HR 363 (Carson-46th) Creates the House Study Committee on the Qualified Education Expense Credit (School Scholarship Organizations). STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

HR 405 (Teasley-37th) A constitutional amendment to allow for the election of members to the State Board of Education. STATUS: House Education Committee.

SR 255 (Williams-27th) A constitutional amendment authorizing the General Assembly to regulate the amount of tuition and fees for institutions of the University System of Georgia. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.

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.  STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits assignment to a Senate Committee.

HB 329 (Powell-171st) Replaces Georgia’s graduated structure with a flat tax rate of 5.4%; Creates a nonrefundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) set at a 10% match of the federal credit, and fixes a tax break that allows some taxpayers to deduct the value of their state income taxes twice. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Ways & Means Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 471 (Brockway-102nd) Creates establishment of free speech policies for institutions of the university system and forbids public institution of higher education from requiring any student to pay any student activity fee as a condition of matriculation. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 488 (Evans-42nd) Adds sexual orientation, gender identity, age to the list of categories protected from discrimination by state civil rights law regarding housing, public accommodations, and employment. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

SR 130 (Hufstetler-52nd) Creates the Joint Transparency and Open Access in Government Study Committee. The goal is to evaluate ways the state can appropriately, efficiently, and securely share data between and within state agencies to allow for quicker, more impactful cross-agency analysis, thereby allowing policymakers to make quicker, more informed decisions. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Science and Technology Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SR 294 (Williams-27th) Recognizes March 6, 2017, as Children’s Day at the state capitol. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This