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Voices’ Legislative Update – Sine Die Edition

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Well, I don’t know about you, but there are some things I am going to really miss about the state house, now that the 2017 legislative session is over.  Some things, not so much.

Here are the things I am going to miss:

  • Free tiny bags of peanuts in state house offices (yum!)
  • Finely sculpted biceps from carrying around paper copies of the state budget (well, I at least miss the idea of them.  They never quite arrived in the way I had envisioned.)
  • Entertaining you lot with this sort of drivel (much thanks!)
  • George Clooney (though he never did get his lobbying badge, or, actually, even show up)
  • The cuteness of the House and Senate pages
  • The nice page ladies
  • The nice house and senate administrative aids
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (yum again!)
  • Being surrounded by good-deed-doers and good-deed-doer wannabes, not to mention so many closet stand-up comics
  • Um…

Things I am not going to miss:

  • Sine-Die-ing at 1 a.m. (yuck.)
  • Metal detectors (yuck.)
  • The Capitol mascot (click here to view) (Double yuck.)
  • My rolling bag
  • Your rolling bag
  • The 34-degree meat locker, also known as Room 341
  • The smell of day-old Varsity Dogs  (yuck again.)
  • The Pete Hackney parking deck
  • The walk to the Pete Hackney parking deck
  • Talking to people with lipstick on my teeth
  • Talking to people while running up two flights of marble stairs in high heels
  • Reading legislation at 12:30 a.m.
  • Reading legislation at 8 a.m.
  • Reading legislation at 2 p.m.
  • Reading legislation at 6 p.m.
  • Reading legislation at…(you get the idea)

Anyway – just because the session is over does not mean that I am just going to walk off and leave you without anything to cure your insomnia or to call lawmakers about, so read on and do the action alerts at the end.

And please remember, that this update was composed dangerously close to the chaos that we know to be Sine Die (the last day), so while I have tried my hardest to catch all the last minute amendments and such, I may have missed a thing or two. If you find an error, or just want to express your undying devotion (George!), please email me back at pmckinney@georgiavoices.org, and we will make the correction in the next update, which will come out once the Governor has gone through the bill review period for the things that passed both chambers and landed on his desk (ending May 9). As you remember, the governor can veto, sign into law, or let stay on his desk, in which case a bill will automatically become law after 40 days without his signature.

Thanks again for all your great advocacy!

–Polly


 

vulnerable youth

HB 32 (Chandler-105th) Prohibits sexual contact between school employees or agents and students enrolled at the school employing the adult.  STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. Contentwas amended to SB 154, which never got to the House floor.

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

HB 75 (Willard-51st) Exempts from public disclosure (open records) child abuse records that contain information provided by law enforcement or prosecutors related to criminal prosecution of a particular case. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 159 (Reeves-34th) Substantially revises general provisions applicable to adoptions, including provisions regarding the following: allowing a nonresident to allow an adoption of his or her child, adoption of foreign-born children, waiver to revoke a surrender of parental rights, the age for individuals to access the Adoption Reunion Registry, and the annulment of an adoption under certain circumstances. 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 was in Senate Rules Committee but was recommitted to Senate Judiciary, where no action was taken. The content of the bill was amended to SB 130 by the House and passes the House as such, but SB 130 was recommitted to committee by the Senate.

HB 177 (Marin-96th) Requires each department, agency, board, commission, or authority of the state or any political subdivision to take reasonable steps to provide equal access to public services for individuals with limited English proficiency. The bill tasks Department of Human Services, in consultation with the office of the Attorney General, to provide central coordination and technical assistance to state entities to ensure implementation. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs.

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.

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

HB 266 (Kelley-16th) Increases the threshold value from $15,000 to $25,000 that a natural guardian may oversee for a minor without having to become a legally qualified conservator of the minor. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.

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

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

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

HB 293 (Silcox-57th) Establishes an effective date for any motion made, hearing or trial relating to the testimony of a child’s description of sexual contact or physical abuse. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 305 (Beskin-54th) Adds stepparent and former stepparents to the list of third parties who may be awarded custody of a child. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE.  Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

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

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

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

HB 330 (Abrams-89th) Adds regional DFCS caseworkers or directors of a county or district DFCS as contact names provided in the notice to adult relatives of the alleged dependent child when conducting a diligent search for relatives as part of a dependency proceeding. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE.  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. This language was amended to SB 186. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Senate Health and Human Services Committee.Language was amended to SB 186 and passed on that bill.

HB 341 (Reeves-34th) Adds those who patronize or solicit a person who is the victim of sexual servitude to the offense of sex trafficking. Moreover, sex trafficking a person for sexual servitude is added to the list of dangerous sexual offenses where the violator must register as a sex offender. The bill also clarifies and corrects the Code regarding probation for consecutive sentences for sexual offenses where probation can only be imposed upon the final consecutive sentence. In addition, the bill adds pimping and pandering to a list of offenses where the offender must serve at least 24 hours of incarceration. HB 341 also removes the sunset provision on the requirement for posting the human trafficking hotline in certain locations. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill was tabled by the Senate.

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. On Governor’s Desk

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.

HB 522 (Beverly-143rd) “Domestic Violence Helping Hands Act”-Provides for 5 hours of domestic violence and sexual assault awareness training for barbers and cosmetologists. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 605 (Spencer-180th) Changes provisions relating to the revival of certain claims involving childhood sexual abuse and provides for civil actions by the Attorney General under certain circumstances related to such. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 623 (Welch-110th) Allows the Georgia Crime Information Center to retain fingerprints of certain individuals under certain circumstances and submit such fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation relating to beverages, banking and finance, civil practice, commerce and trade, criminal procedure, domestic relations, education, fire protection and safety, guardian and ward, health, insurance, law enforcement officers and agencies, mental health, military, emergency management, and veterans affairs, motor vehicles and traffic, penal institutions, professions and businesses, and social services. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

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 both chambers with differences.  The House disagreed with the Senate changes and the bill therefore failed.

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

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

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.  And incorporates key elements of  HB 9 and SB 104 which prohibits any individual to, knowingly and without the consent of the person 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. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

SB 130 (Tillery-19th) as the House amended it, clarifies provisions relating to the waiver of the right to counsel for a party to a dependency proceeding who is not a child and also allows adoption proceedings to be stayed while an appeal of an order to terminate parental rights is pending.  The bill also clarifies that, with the exception of proceedings in connection with an adoption, the court should continue its duties while an appeal is pending.  The House also amended the bill to include House language from HB 159, which modernizes provisions relating to adoption proceedings in Superior Court, as well as enacting adoption reforms based on best practices and the best interest of all involved in the adoption triad: the child, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents. STATUS: Different versions passed Senate and House.  The Senate recommitted the most recent version passed by the House to committee, so the bill did not pass.

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.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

SB 137 (Kirk-13th) Increases the fee the Department of Human Services can charge for collecting child support payments.  STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

SB 145 (James-35th) Among other things, the bill revises the offense of rape for applicability to victims across genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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.

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 of 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.  STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

SR 307 (Unterman-45th) Creates the Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Joint Task Force. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Recommended Do Pass by House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SR 352 (Unterman-45th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Homelessness. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. As it is a study committee, it does not require approval by the House.

SR 504 (Williams-27th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Parents Who Misuse the Judicial System in Child Custody Proceedings. STATUS: Senate Rules 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. On Governor’s Desk.

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

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

HB 67 (Boddie-62nd) 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. Tabled by Senate.

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 against peace officers or correctional officers and aggravated battery against peace officers or correctional officers. The bill gives discretion to the superior court to transfer such cases back to juvenile court. Language has been added to this bill to align with SB 160. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Content of this bill was incorporated into SB 160, which passed.

HB 151 (Waites-60th) Prohibits the use of individual mechanical restraints, including handcuffs and shackles, on an inmate while she is experiencing labor or during delivery or post-delivery recovery unless it is necessary to prevent the inmate from injuring herself or others. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security 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 by the Senate, but the content was added to HB 231 (about controlled substances) and passed on that bill.

HB 258 (Powell-32nd) Increases penalties for aggravated assault where a person 17 years old or older discharges a firearm 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 significantly increases penalties for obstructing or resisting public safety officials. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE.  Senate Public Safety Committee.

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

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

HB 396 (Reeves-34th) When a court imposes consecutive sentences for sexual offenses, the bill requires that the court impose a probated sentence of at least one year shall only apply to the final consecutive sentence imposed.  STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

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 Judiciary Non-Civil 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. Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 105 (Jones-22nd) Makes possession of possession of two ounces or less of marijuana constitute a misdemeanor. Possession of half an ounce or less is punishable by a fine of $300. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 149 (Jones-10th) Recommends that School Resource Officers (SROs) 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. The bill was amended to include provisions addressing contraband in GDC, and provisions from SB 217 addressing the power of arrest as a municipal probation officer. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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

SB 152 (Jones-10th) States that the state prefers that students not be suspended or expelled without assignment to an alternative education program and that that students who are subject to compulsory attendance 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. The state prefers that those who are assigned to alternative education programs for longer than 2 semesters be able to request a hearing to return to a regular classroom after 2 semesters have passed. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. FAILED IN HOUSE.

SB 154 (Kirk-13th) While the bill originally increased penalties for the offenses of aggravated assault and aggravated battery on a public safety officer engaged in his or her official duties, it was gutted and replaced with language which states that it is considered sexual assault when a school employee has sexual contact with a student. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by House Judiciary Non-Civil 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. Language has been Added to HB 116 to align with this bill. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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.

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. Content was amended to SB 149 and passed on that bill.

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

HR 689 (Jackson-128th) Creates the House Study Committee on the Transfer of Probation Supervision in Misdemeanor Probation Cases. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil 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 28 (Mitchell-88th) Requires testing for lead in drinking water in public and private schools and if found, for remediation plans or alternate sources of drinking water. Also requires the Department of Education to work with the department of Public Health to develop the rules and regulations regarding such. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 65 (Peake-141st) Increases the list of conditions that are eligible for treatment with medical cannabis. The new conditions are: tourette’s syndrome; autism spectrum disorder; epidermolysis bullosa; alzheimer’s disease; HIV; AIDS; and peripheral neuropathy. Patients in a hospice program are also eligible. In addition, the bill allows for reciprocity regarding medical cannabis registration cards of other states, so long as the medical cannabis in such a person’s possession comports with the laws of Georgia. Also, the reporting requirement for doctors has been reduced from quarterly to annually. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 154 (Cooper-43rd) Allows licensed dental hygienists in certain school settings to apply topical fluoride and perform the application of sealants and oral prophylaxis under general supervision, with written permission of the student’s parent or guardian. They may also, without prior written permission of the student’s parent or guardian, provide oral hygiene instruction and counseling. School settings shall include only schools that are Title I schools under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, schools in which at least 65 % of the student population is eligible for free or reduced-price lunch under federal guidelines, Head Start programs, and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. Licensed dental hygienists may also perform in other specified safety net setting such as nursing homes and hospitals. (FYI, ‘General supervision’ means that a licensed dentist has authorized appropriate duties of a licensed dental hygienist but does not require that a licensed dentist be present when such duties are performed.)  A licensed dentist may only authorize up to four licensed dental hygienists to provide dental hygiene services in such settings. A hygienist 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. On Governor’s Desk.

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.

HB 173 (Chandler-105th) Adds licensed marriage and family therapists to the list of professionals who can perform emergency examinations of persons for involuntary evaluation and treatment for mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse. STATUS: House Health and Human Services.

HB 184 (Boddie-62nd) “Georgia Pregnant Workers Fairness Act”- Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to job applicants and employees for circumstances related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. The bill also requires the Department of Labor to develop courses and educate the public on such accommodations. STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee.

HB 188 (Abrams-89th) Expands Medicaid. STATUS: House Appropriations.

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. The bill was amended to also include language from HB 246 which eliminates the sunset provision for Georgia SHAPE (which is a annual fitness assessment program administered by public schools), SB 245 which 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,” and HB 382 which administratively attaches the GA Commission on Women to the Department of Public Health. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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. SB 206, however, with similar language, passed both chambers.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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. Language was amended to HB 198 and passed on that bill.

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

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

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

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

HB 300 (Duncan-26th) Transfers the state health care benefit plan from the Department of Community Health to the Department of Administrative Services, requires incentives for public employees to use federally qualified health centers, and provides for the identification of up to 100 potential new sites for federally qualified health centers. The bill also creates a task force to advise the department in identifying up to 100 additional new sites by the rapid deployment assessment team, in ways that opioid addiction could best be addressed through federally qualified health centers and in ways to encourage utilization of federally qualified health centers by veterans for their primary health care needs. The task force may be authorized to study and make recommendations on any other issues as deemed necessary by the commissioner. The bill also provides for the transfer of health care benefit plans for state employees and public school teachers and employees. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 313 (Waites-60th) “Logan’s Law”-Requires a person who transfers ownership of a dog to include as part of the transaction a document created by the Department of Public Health which contains statistics relating to injuries to humans caused by dogs. STATUS: Withdrawn.

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: PASSED HOUSE.  Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The language was added to SB 193 and passed on that bill.

HB 400 (Evans-42nd) Requires that before a prescriber issues a prescription to a patient for an opioid, the prescriber must first attempt a non-opioid prescription to alleviate pain (this does not apply to a patient in hospice care). A prescriber cannot issue a prescription for an opioid for more than a seven-day supply and no refills are permitted. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 402 (Cooper-43rd) Allows Georgia to join the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact, allowing licensed nurses to operate in states belonging to the compact. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee. Language was amended to SB 109 and passed on that bill.

HB 458 (Powell-32nd) Allows the use of automated traffic enforcement safety devices (cameras) in school zones. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Senate Government Oversight Committee.

HB 473 (Kirby-114th) Expands the category of persons who can use service dogs and tasks the Department of Human Services with the issuance of information cards regarding the animals. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 513 (Dickerson-113th) Requires the Department of Community Health to develop a sign to be posted at any medical facility stating that such facility is an authorized location to leave a newborn child. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

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.

HB 542 (Dunahoo-30th) Establishes a social host’s criminal responsibility and civil liability when people under 21 receive or consume alcoholic beverages at the host’s function.   STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 637 (Silcox-52nd) Permits Georgia to enter into an interstate compact known as the “Interstate Medical Licensure Compact” which provides a streamlined process that allows physicians to become licensed in multiple states. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

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 or reduced-price lunch under federal guidelines, Head Start programs, and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. Licensed dental hygienists may also perform in other specified safety net setting such as nursing homes and hospitals. (FYI, ‘General supervision’ means that a licensed dentist has authorized appropriate duties of a licensed dental hygienist but does not require that a licensed dentist be present when such duties are performed.)  A licensed dentist may only authorize up to four licensed dental hygienists to provide dental hygiene services in such settings. A hygienist can not perform any dental hygiene services on a patient that has dental pain or clearly visible evidence of widespread dental disease. In such cases, the hygienist must immediately refer the patient to the authorizing licensed dentist for clinical examination and treatment. The licensed dental hygienist shall notate such patient’s file and the patient shall not be eligible to receive dental hygiene services until a licensed dentist provides written authorization for such.  STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Assigned to House Health and Human Services Committee. The same bill was passed by both chambers in the form of HB 154.

SB 16 (Watson-1st) Also adds Autism Spectrum Disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, Epidermolysis bullosa, Alzheimer’s disease, Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and Peripheral neuropathy to the list of conditions which may be treated with low THC oil. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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: PASSED SENATE. House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

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

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

SB 81 (Unterman-45th) Limits the amount of benzodiazepines, opiates, opioids, opioid analgesics, or opioid derivatives that may be prescribed to no more than a five-day supply for an adult patient being seen for the first time. Also requires prescribers of certain Schedule II, III, IV, or V substances to register with a new electronic database to track patient information in an attempt to cut down on efforts by individuals to get medication from multiple doctors.  STATUS: PASSED SENATE. House Health and Human Services 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. On Governor’s Desk.

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

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

SB 142 (Kennedy-18th) Allows the use of automated traffic enforcement safety devices (cameras) in school zones. STATUS: Senate Government Oversight 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: PASSED SENATE.  Language was amended to SB 109 and passed on that bill.

SB 188 (James-35th) Requires each local board of education to adopt a policy that prohibits school personnel from denying any student access to programs or services because the parent or guardian has refused to place the student on psychotropic medication; or compelling, attempting to compel, or requiring any specific actions by the parent or guardian in placing a student on psychotropic medication STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth 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. The bill was amended to include language from HB 360 which 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: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee.

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

HR 57 (Carter-175th) Creates the House Elementary and Secondary School Nutrition Programs Study Committee. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE (As it is a House Study Committee, it does not need to pass Senate).

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

HR 240 (Cooper-43rd) Creates the House Study Committee on Reforming HIV-Related Criminal Laws. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE (As it is a House Study Committee, it does not need to pass Senate).

HR 282 (Carson-46th) Creates the House Study Committee on Distracted Driving. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE (As it is a House Study Committee, it does not need to pass Senate).

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 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 Health and Human Services Committee.

HR 446 (Boddie-62nd) Creates the Johnny Tolbert III House Study Committee on Heatstroke. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee.

HR 464 (Price-48th) Creates the House Study Committee on Infectious Disease Preparedness. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee.

HR 468 (Bennett-94th) Creates the House Study Committee on Health in Georgia. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

HR 627 (Rakestraw-19th) Creates the House Study Committee on Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Funding Mechanisms. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee.

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

SR 188 (Unterman-45th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Barriers to Georgians’ Access to Adequate Healthcare. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. As it is a study committee, it does not require approval by the House.

SR 238 (James-35th) Creates the Senate Electroshock Therapy Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SR 489 (Ligon-3rd) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Prescribing Patterns for Antidepressants and Other Psychotropic Medications. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee.

SR 506 (Dugan-30th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on the Excessive and Duplicative Regulatory Oversight of Community Based Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Services. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee.

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

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

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. On Governor’s Desk.

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. SIGNED BY GOVERNOR.

HB 494 (Dempsey-13th) Authorizes the use of hearsay in preliminary hearings regarding the 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 Education Committee.

SB 24 (McKoon-29th) Exempts from licensure nursery schools, playschools, kindergarten programs, and other educational programs who serve children 0-2 years old for four consecutive hours per day and up to 20 hours per week. (Current exemption rules limit 0-2 year-olds to four hours per day up to 8 hours per week.) STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 97 (Parent-42nd) Changes the Georgia child care plan for child care subsidies so that a parent who is attending a job training or educational program may receive child care assistance for up to 24 consecutive months. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

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

education

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

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

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

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

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

HB 51 (Ehrhart-36th) Requires employees of post-secondary institutions to report suspected felony crimes committed on campus by or to students to campus law enforcement or the local law enforcement agency. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Rests in Senate Judiciary Committee.

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

HB 114 (Dickey-140th) Prohibits local school systems from excluding eligible “Move On When Ready” high school students taking one or more dual credit  (post-secondary) courses from being eligible for valedictorian and salutatorian of their class. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Content was amended to SB 211 and passed on that bill.

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. Was amended to include content from HB 148 which provides for unique identifiers for students who are children of military personnel. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

HB 148 (Glanton-75th) Provides for unique identifiers for students who are children of military personnel. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Content was amended to HB 139 and was passed on that bill.

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

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

HB 179 (Raffensperger-50th) Changes the eligibility requirements for HOPE scholarships, HOPE grants, and Zell Miller Scholarships regarding scores on standardized college admission tests for home study students and students graduating from ineligible high schools. STATUS: House Higher Education 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.

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

HB 216 (Buckner-137th) Gives preferences to Georgia companies and those who employ Georgians when state entities are bidding Georgia service providers and certain supplies, materials, equipment, and agricultural products grown,manufactured, or produced in this state.  The bill also requires local boards of education require that a local school system, when issuing a request for a competitive bid, to consider information relating to the effects on employment within this state. No bid shall be considered unless accompanied by an employment impact statement. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs.

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 $65 Million. The administrative withholding fee for the student scholarship organizations was reduced from 10% to 3%. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. FAILED SENATE.

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 legalresident of Georgia for the purposes of eligibility for the HOPE scholarship or grant. The bill was amended by the Senate to include language from SB 5 as it passed the Senate.  This language requires the Georgia Lottery Corporation to increase the delegated amount for education (HOPE and Pre-K) by one percent each year for three years starting at 26.5 percent in Fiscal Year 2018. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE as amended but the House insisted on the version without the Senate amendment, so the bill therefore failed.

HB 223 (Waites-60th) Requires each local board of education which operates a school with grades 9- 12 to provide an elective course in driver education and training for one-half unit of credit. The course must be taught by a driving instructor who is licensed by the Department of Driver Services or approved by the Professional Standards Commission with a Safety and Driver Education endorsement.  The bill also raises the minimum age for the issuance of certain licenses and permits. STATUS: House 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. On Governor’s Desk.

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

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

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

HB 237 (Coleman-97th) Allows authorize the Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation to receive private donations (tax deductible) to be used for grants to public schools. Individuals and corporations would receive a dollar for dollar tax credit. The bill caps the aggregate amount of tax credits allowed at $5 million per tax year and sunsets after 3 years. FYI this bill was created to provide a funding mechanism for HB 338. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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

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

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

HB 338 (Tanner-9th) Creates an alternative system of supports and assistance for the lowest performing schools that fall under the State Board of Education’s intervention power in the form of a turnaround school. Schools performing in the lowest 5% in this state, according to the statewide accountability system, are eligible for selection as a turnaround school. This alternative intervention will include a chief turnaround officer, turnaround coaches, and a turnaround advisory committee who will work together to ensure resources are targeted to increase student achievement in turnaround schools. HB 338 further amends Georgia law relating to the removal process of local school board members upon potential loss of accreditation. This legislation also includes the creation of two study committees; the Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process and the Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a Leadership Academy. For a more thorough summary, Click Here. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

HB 376 (Lopez-99th) Eliminates a provision making students ineligible for the HOPE scholarship seven years after high school graduation. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 392 (Fleming-121st) Allows funding for students taking dual credit courses (Move on When Ready) at eligible postsecondary institutions which use nonstandard term systems to be eligible for payment for up to five nonstandard terms per academic year. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 411 (Clark-98th) Establishes the Blue Star Family Scholarship Program for children of military service members. The program creates a savings account composed of state funds accrued on behalf of an eligible student and which may be used for qualifying educational expenses, including private participating schools and future postsecondary education expenses. STATUS: House Education 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: Recommended Do Pass by 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 and requires the State School Superintendent to develop guidelines for supervision of students who do not take the tests. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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, including language around the funding disbursement from the district to the charter schools was to clearly state that it is as earned. The definition of unused facilities was also changed to be a facility which has not been used to house students for two years and is not included in the five-year facilities plan. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Senate Higher Education Committee.

HB 437 (Dickey-140th) Recreates the former Agricultural Education Advisory Commission, which had been abolished by law on December 31, 2016. STATUS: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by Senate Higher Education 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 Education Committee.

HB 524 (Teasley-37th) Creates a digital learning tax credit available for donations to eligible nonprofit organizations to be used to provide improved technology to county, municipal, and independent school districts, facilitating Internet access for student learning initiatives. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 625 (Hatchett-150th) Requires local boards of education to have a public comment period at every meeting. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 628 (Golick-40th) Provides that performance ratings contained in personnel evaluations for teachers and other school personnel are subject to complaint. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 634 (Jasperse-11th) Creates the Georgia Endowment for Teaching Professionals to foster a public-private partnership for support of postsecondary teaching professionals in high demand courses. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 648 (Jasperse-11th) Creates the Pay As You Earn Education Program which requires an eligible and accepted student to pay $1,000.00 each year toward the student’s cost of attendance to participating eligible postsecondary institution in exchange for the institution providing the remaining funds in the form of a payment plan based upon the future earnings of the student for a period of 15 years after the student’s graduation.  STATUS: House Higher 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 both chambers with differences.  Failed to get out of conference committee and therefore did not pass.

SB 5 (Cowsert-46th) Requires the Georgia Lottery Corporation to increase the delegated amount for education (HOPE and Pre-K) by one percent each year for three years starting at 26.5 percent in Fiscal Year 2018. This language was amended to HB 222, but ultimately failed on that bill. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Failed.

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

SB 30 (Fort-39th) Creates a pilot program for 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.  Was for a brief period amended to HB 430, but was stripped out on sine die, and therefore did not pass.

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

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

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

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

SB 113 (McKoon-29th) Allows automatic eligibility for a HOPE scholarship to the children of law enforcement officers, firefighters, or prison guards who have been killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. STATUS: Senate Higher 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. House Education Committee.

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

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. The bill was amended by the House to include language from HB 331, which 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. On Governor’s Desk.

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 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. Was amended to include HB 114 which 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. On Governor’s Desk.

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 contents of this bill were amended to HB 198 and passed on that bill.

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.

SB 260 (Mullis-53rd) Adds educators and parents that are not residents of Georgia to the list of people/entities that may request and investigation by the Professional Standards Commission of alleged violations by educators. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 268 (Harbin-16th) Revises HOPE eligibility requirements and creates a match for wages earned by the student while attending college. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 287 (Hill-4th) Adds The Georgia Military College to the list of post-secondary institutions eligible to participate in certain grant and scholarship programs. STATUS: Senate Higher Education 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.

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

HR 159 (Dollar-45th) Constitutional Amendment to limits yearly tuition and student fee increases within the University System of Georgia to zero or the rate of inflation as published by the Georgia Student Finance Commission.  The bill also allows the fees to be waived by the Senate Higher Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Higher Education.  Such a waiver may be granted in the event of recession, decline in state appropriations, change in institutional mission, consolidation, or any other circumstance which such committees deem appropriate. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HR 316 (Stovall-74th) Creates the House Study Committee on Stakeholder Engagement in School Redesign. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

HR 318 (Kirby-114th) Creates the House Study Committee on Inclusive Postsecondary Education. STATUS: House Special 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: Recommitted to 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: Recommended Do Pass by the 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: PASSED HOUSE (Since this is simply a recommendation, it does not need Senate approval).

HR 608 (Stephens-164th) Creates the Joint Study Committee on the Georgia Public Schools Calendar. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Rules Committee.

HR 634 (Coomer-14th) Creates the House Study Committee on Civics Education in Georgia. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE (As it is a House Study Committee, it does not need to pass Senate).

HR 686 (Tanner-9th) Creates the House Study Committee on Equitable Local Education Funding. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE (As it is a House Study Committee, it does not need to pass Senate).

HR 702 (Smith-41st) Creates the House Study Committee on the Criteria Used to Assess Schools and School Systems. STATUS: House Hopper.

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. PASSED HOUSE. As it is a constitutional amendment, it does not require the Governor’s signature. It will be on the ballot in 2018.

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 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. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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

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

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

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

HB 175 (Cox-108th) Permits counties and municipalities by resolution or ordinance to reduce the prohibited distances from school buildings, school grounds, college campus, or housing authority property in which eating establishments may sell beer and wine for consumption on the premises. STATUS: Regulated Industries.

HB 249 (Tanner-9th) This bill moves the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP to the Department of Public Health from the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency. HB 249 requires that all physicians register and consult the PDMP under certain prescribing conditions and that providers report certain benzodiazepine and opioid-based prescriptions to the database. The bill also requires the tracking and reporting of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and codifies the Governor’s emergency order on an overdose reversal drug (naloxone), making it available without a physician prescription. The bill also requires the inspection of licensed narcotic treatment programs and an annual report on aggregate data regarding patients in those programs. The bill also adds drug overdose to the list of deaths requiring notification be given to coroner or county medical examiner. The bill also includes language from SB 245 which 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: PASSED. On Governor’s Desk.

HB 329 (Powell-171st) Caps Georgia’s tax rate at 5.65% The bill was amended to include language requiring online retail sales to be taxed. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE amended. The bill failed to get an agreement between the chambers, and therefore failed.

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

HB 509 and HR 432 (Rakestraw-19th) A Constitutional Amendment and enabling legislation which prevents a retailer from selling or leasing a product that makes pornographic content accessible on the Internet unless the product contains an active digital blocking capability that renders obscene material inaccessible. Such material includes child pornography, revenge pornography, and websites known to facilitate prostitution and the trafficking of persons for sexual servitude. The bill also creates the Georgia Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Trust Fund which is funded by fees charged for the deactivation of digital blocking capability. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

SB 45 (Walker-20th) Prohibits any individual to, knowingly and without the consent of the person 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. The crime is considered a felony, punishable by a sentence of 1-5 years, $10,000 fine or both. STATUS: PASSED SENATE.  Recommitted to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 110 (Fort-39th) Reduces the minimum age requirement to hold civil office from 21 to 18. STATUS: Senate Ethics Committee.

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 Rules Committee.

SR 105 (Heath-31st) Constitutional amendment allowing religious or faith-based organizations to receive public aid, directly or indirectly for the provision of social services. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Government Oversight 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: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. As it is a joint study committee, it does not require the Governor’s signature.

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