3/20/17

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With only two weeks to go until the last day of the 2017 Legislative Session (which ends Thursday, March 30), I find myself wavering between sorrow and joy. For starters, I will be deeply sad when it ends, when all of my favorite advocates, lobbyists and random citizens will no longer collect under one dome, where I can simply look across the open rotunda to spot whomever I need to ask a question, tell a fact, or regale with my dazzling wit.  On the other hand, I anticipate nothing short of exuberance as I leave the capitol late that last night, knowing that my evenings of long and unpredictable hearings in windowless committee rooms, beset with the aroma (a generous term) of yesterday’s fried chicken, hot dogs and banana pudding, will draw to a close for another year.  Sigh.

But in the meantime, there’s work to do.  The Senate passed its version of the FY 2018 budget last week, so budget conferees (three from each chamber) are set to meet and resolve their conflicts.  I have noted the Senate’s changes below. Remember, a balanced state budget is the one bill that the General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass each year.

In other news, the game of “Vehicle Vehicle, Who’s Got a Vehicle?” is well underway, as lawmakers scramble to amend bills (nicknamed “vehicles”) right and left, attempting to find passage for legislative language that did not make it to the other chamber by Crossover Day.

And what do the rest of us do while all this is going on?  Well, there are a number of things one can do to pass the time:

  1. Try to help certain bills pass or die;
  2. Calculate how many more marble steps can be traversed before you have to have bunion surgery;
  3. Try to remember what bills still need to come out of Rules Committee onto the floor of the House or Senate;
  4. See if you can recall each of the 937 times you went through a metal detector this session, and of those times, how many apologies you muttered for getting your rolling bag stuck in the conveyor belt; and
  5. Imagine what other people do for a living and try to convince yourself that if you can just last these last two weeks without having a nervous breakdown, then you can transition into something less stressful, like being a combat heart surgeon.
    Oh – And
  6. Make sure that you all act upon the Action Alerts at the bottom, because time is running short to advocate!

FY 2018 Budget – Senate Changes to the House Version

Child Health

  • $100,000 Added to evaluate and recommend a program to reduce maternal mortality using outcomes-based research due December 1st, 2017. (Georgia currently ranks fiftieth in maternal deaths in the United States.)
  • $180,000 Subtracted for Memorial University Medical Center to partner with Gateway Behavioral Health to start a psychiatry residency program.  (Governor had no request in his budget, then the House added $360,000 and the Senate cut that by half, leaving a total addition of $180,000.)
  • $153,000 Added for 10 more slots in OB/GYN residency programs, with 4 slots each at Emory, Medical College of Georgia, Memorial University Medical Center, Morehouse, and Navicent Health Care Macon. (Governor had no request; House added money for 10 slots and the Senate doubled that, making the total addition $306,660)
  • $596,000 Added for a $500 add-on payment for newborn delivery in rural counties (population less than 35,000).
  • $333,000 Subtracted for environmental health specialist positions. (The House added 15 positions at $1 Million, then the Senate cut that by a third, leaving 10 positions) (Note, this is in addition to $1.5 Million the governor requested for a 5% increase for recruitment and retention of environmental health personnel) They inspect things like swimming pools and restaurants (DPH).
  • $250,000 Added for three Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) community start-up grants in Cook County, Seminole County, and Lowndes County (House added two FQHCs in Cook County and Lincoln County at $500,000. Then the Senate removed Lincoln County but added Seminole and Lowndes counties for a total of $750,000 for all 3 locations)
  • $614,452 Used in existing state funds to match with federal funds for a 10% reimbursement rate increase for select dental codes (Medicaid-ABD), plus 10% Reimbursement rate increase approved for select dental codes in Peachcare for Kids. (Note the House had both increases at 5%, but the Senate doubled them to 10%)

Child Welfare

  • $72,000 Added for a $1 per hour increase for the Division of Child Support Services Special Assistant Attorneys General (SAAGs)
  • $1.2 Million Subtracted, reducing amount for raises from $5/hour to $1/hour for to DFCS Special Assistant Attorney Generals (SAAGs). (House had requested $5/hour at $1.5 Million and the Senate reduced it to $1/hour at $300,000)
  • $288,000 Added to support the 46 state-certified domestic violence shelters.
  • $917,000 Added for personnel, supplies and overtime for 8 scientist and 4 technician positions to address the backlog rape kits analyzed by the GBI.(House requested $600,000 for 4 scientist and 2 technician positions, then the Senate doubled that, bringing the total to $1.52 Million)
  • $3.1 Million Added for the Families First COACHES program.

Education

  • $2.25 Million Reduction for Audio-Video Technology and Film Grants (Governor requested an addition of $2.5 Million; House zeroed that out and then the Senate further reduced the amount by $2.25 Million)
  • $500,000 Subtracted for transportation grants for children participating in Move On When Ready.
  • $300,000 Subtracted in Innovation Grants to recognize future increase in funds for low-performing schools through (HB 237)
  • $50,000 Added for Sustainable Community Grants (SB 30)
  • $300,000 Million Subtracted for Positive Behavior and Intervention Support specialists to convert part-time staff to full-time staff (under Regional Educational Service Agencies) (Governor made no request, then the House added $1.3 million and the Senate removed $300,000, leaving a total of $1 Million)
  • $200,000 Subtracted from GA Student Finance Commission for the HERO Scholarship
  • $425,000 Added for State Charter Schools Administration to reflect projected expenditures
  • $425,000 Added for testing models (SB 211)
  • $15,000 Added for Dougherty County to plan and develop a project with AmeriCorps that supports elementary level reading and math programs.
  • $25,000 Added for the American Association of Adapted Sports Program (AAASP) to provide services for physically disabled youth in public schools.
  • $50,000 Added for Innovation Grants
  • $200,000 Subtracted from funds to expand vocational/technical programs at 10 state prisons.
  • $500,000 Requested in bonds for CONNECT grants (SB 3)
  • Disagreed with House on funding for AP STEM exams (Which basically stopped the transfer of $1.47 Million from the DOE testing program to the GOSA program)
  • Budget Note: Department of Education shall provide an audit on the financial and operational status of all Residential Treatment Facilities to the Governor and Georgia General Assembly by July 1, 2017.
  • Budget Note: Use $1.2 Million in existing innovation grant funds for a competitive grant program that would provide certified school counselor-graduation specialists for the lowest performing high schools in the state, giving a priority to those schools on the chronically failing schools list.  (House Budget note directed use of $1.5 Million, but the Senate cut the amount by $300,000.)

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. PASSED SENATE.

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. PASSED SENATE.

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. The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill to include language allowing adoption placement agencies to refuse DFCS referrals based on the agency’s mission as evidenced by its written policy, statement, or other document. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. The bill now rests in Senate 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Subcommittee this Wednesday.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Subcommittee this Wednesday.

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: PASSED HOUSE.  Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services 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: PASSED HOUSE.  Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Subcommittee this Wednesday.

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 care-giving authority to grandparent, step-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle, cousin, sibling, or is approved as an agent by an organization licensed as a child-placing agency or a nonprofit entity that is focused on child or family services 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: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE.

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

SB 170 (Hill-6th) Directs the Division of Family and Children Services in consultation with its residential child care licensing unit and with child placing agencies, to establish a uniform system for the approval of volunteers to provide appropriate services, including babysitting and mentoring of youth, to children in foster care who are in the custody of the department and the foster parents. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SR 352 (Unterman-45th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Homelessness. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SR 307 (Unterman-45th) Creates the Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Joint Task Force. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Subcommittee this Wednesday.

HB 67 (Boddie-62nd) Creates the offense of hijacking a motor vehicle in the second degree when such person obtains a motor vehicle from an individual without his or her consent or from the presence of another individual without his or her consent or attempts or conspires to do so. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 213 (Golick-40th) Adds fentanyl to the list of controlled substances that are illegal to sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill was tabled this past Thursday.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Subcommittee 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: PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education 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. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil 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: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HR 630 (Fleming-121st) Creates the House Study Committee on Sentencing Alternatives for Misdemeanors. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

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: PASSED HOUSE.  HB 154 – Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee. SB 12 – PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Health and Human Services 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be on the Senate Floor for a vote this Monday.

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.  Assigned to Senate 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

HB 541 (Strickland-111th) Prohibits persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of family violence or subject to family violence protective orders from receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 88 (Mullis-53rd) Licenses and regulates narcotic treatment centers.  It would create 49 regions across the state and applies to any system of treatment provided for chronic heroin or opiate-like drug-dependent individuals thatadministers narcotic drugs under physicians’ orders either for detoxification purposes or for maintenance treatment in a rehabilitative context. The Department of Community Health (DCH) is directed to create all rules and regulations necessary for narcotic treatment programs. There will be an open enrollment period for potential applicants. The DCH shall issue up to four licenses per region to a governing body for any narcotic treatment program which meets all the rules and regulations; however, the department shall establish a review process to determine if a waiver should be granted to allow any additional licensed narcotic treatment programs in a region. Narcotic treatment programs shall not provide a bounty, free services, free medication, or other rewards for patient referral to such program. To prevent the simultaneous enrollment of a patient in more than one program, all programs shall comply with the policies and participate in the central registry operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Recommended Do Pass by House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 125 (Jeffares-17th) Authorizes a physician to delegate to a physician assistant or nurse practitioner the authority to prescribe limited quantities of hydrocodone compound products. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee 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. Recommended Do Pass by the House Regulated Industries Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

SB 201 (Miller-49th) “Family Care Act”- Requires an employer of 25 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: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Industry and Labor Committee. The billis on the House floor but the vote has been postponed.

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: PASSED SENATE.  Recommended Do Pass by the House Insurance Committee.  The bill is on the House floor for a vote this Monday.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee.

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

HR 282 (Carson-46th) Creates the House Study Committee on Distracted Driving. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Judiciary Committee.

HR 627 (Rakestraw-19th) Creates the House Study Committee on Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Funding Mechanisms. STATUS: House 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 12 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. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Special Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Special Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Subcommittee 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 139 (Belton-112th) Requires local boards of education and state charter schools to make readily accessible to the public a great deal of school site budget and expenditure information for each school unless specifically made confidential by law, including data on the types of students served. Local school districts are directed to provide financial info to state Department of Education which will disseminate the information. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be on the Senate Floor for a vote this Monday.

HB 148 (Glanton-75th) Provides for unique identifiers for students who are children of military personnel. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be on the Senate Floor for a vote this Monday.

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

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 legal residents of Georgia for the purposes of eligibility for the HOPE scholarship or grant. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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. Assigned to Senate Finance Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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

HB 338 (Tanner-9th) Education bill to address struggling schools.  Measures include the 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 (written by the Georgia School Board Association) of the bill as passed by House, click here. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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 and requires the State School Superintendent to develop guidelines for supervision of students who do not take the tests. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

HB 430 (Brockway-102nd) Implements recommendations from the Governor’s Education Reform Commission with respect to charter schools.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

HB 437 (Dickey-140th) Recreates the former Agricultural Education Advisory Commission, which had been abolished by law on December 31, 2016. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

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 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee.

SB 30 (Fort-39th) Creates the “Unlocking the Promise Community Schools Act.” If appropriations are available, the Department of Education shall make grants available to plan, implement, and improve sustainable community schools. Monies would be available for schools which struggle with such factors as poverty or low graduation rates.  STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Education Committee.

SB 139 (Hill-6th) Adds Leadership to the list of the GA Department of Education’s ” focused programs of study.” STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee.

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

SB 211 (Tippins-37th) Addresses assessments at various levels of K-12.  It requires consideration of local reading programs when establishing a research-based formative 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: PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Education Committee.

SB 287 (Hill-4th) Adds The Georgia Military College to the list of post secondaryinstitutions eligible to participate in certain grant and scholarship programs. STATUS: Senate Higher Education 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 561 (Ealum-153rd Recommends that the higher learning institutions of Georgia adopt the American Council on Education criteria to allow separating service members to count applicable military training and experience for academic credit toward degree requirements. STATUS: House Defense and military Affairs Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

HR 634 (Coomer-14th) Creates the House Study Committee on Civics Education in Georgia. STATUS: House Hopper.

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  the appointment of local school superintendents by local boards of education and election of local school board members by voters). STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Failed in House Education 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: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by House Ways & Means Committee. The bill, however, has been recommitted to 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in Subcommittee this Tuesday.

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

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Monday.

SB 290 (McKoon-29th) Repeals a Resolution Act from 1956 which declared certain United States Supreme Court decisions of 1954 and 1955 in school segregation cases and similar decisions by the Supreme Court to be null, void, and of no effect in this State. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

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