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Voices’ Legislative Update – 3/12/18

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I bet you can’t guess what my favorite event of the week was. Was it the final passage of the Amended FY 2018 budget? No. Was it the passage of the House version of the FY 2019 budget? No. Was it the governor’s signing of House Bill 159, the big huge adoption bill that we like? No. Or watching the week-long parade of determined men and women qualifying to run for office this year? Not that either. Maybe it was the great time we had at Children’s Day at the Capitol and Georgia Pre-K’s 25th Birthday Bash? Nope and nope again. And I promise you that it was definitely not schlepping my lunch and folders through the metal detectors at the state house 37 times or that terrible moment when I got my heel stuck in a crack in the sidewalk in front of a member of the state Senate.

My favorite event of the week was…(drum roll please)…the addition of the term dumpster fire to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary! As many of you may already know, “dumpster fire” can refer to blazing rubbish in a huge, boxy trash receptacle, or it can refer to “an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence.” Both things are completely possible at the Capitol, though neither would be my first choice of life experiences.

Yet, as we all up the ante on lobbying, trying to get bills passed or killed as the legislative session stumbles to its end (March 29), one must be extra vigilant regarding the “Sound the Alarm” category.  Many of us have our best fire-retardant business suits standing by, tricked-out extinguishers (complete with cup-holder, wifi and texting capability), and are stocking up on that blind hope and optimism that one needs to get through the last few legislative days. As much as I enjoy saying the words, there will be no dumpster fire on my watch, if I can help it.

And with that, read on for more of what is afoot under the gold dome – And please remember to do the Advocacy Asks at the end.

Polly

P.S. Welcome to Daylight Savings Time!  (The clock in my car is finally accurate again!)

 

 


 

“Get your acronym on” with this handy key!

DBHDD = Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

DCS = Department of Community Supervision

DECAL = Department of Early Care and Learning

GDEcD = Department of Economic Development

DHS = Department of Human Services (which houses DFCS = Department of Family and Children Services, as well as DCSS = Division of Child Support Services )

DJJ = Department of Juvenile Justice

DOE = Department of Education

DOL = Department of Labor

DOR = Department of Revenue

DPH = Department of Public Health

GBI = Georgia Bureau of Investigation

CJCC = Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (attached to GBI)

CJCJ = Council of Juvenile Court Judges (attached to Juvenile Courts)

GDC = Georgia Department of Corrections

GOSA = Governor’s Office of Student Achievement

GSFC = Georgia Student Finance Commission

GPDC = Georgia Public Defenders Council

PAC = Prosecuting Attorneys Council

TCSG = Technical College System of Georgia

USG = University System of Georgia


 

Final Amended FY 2018 Budget

Child Health

NOTE: All the Child Health amendments were regarding monies to serve children (0-21 years old) with Autism as follows:

  • $1.25 Million Added for Crisis Services (DBHDD)
  • $2.27 Million Added to develop capacity for behavioral health services (DBHDD and DCH)
  • $300,000 in existing funds for telehealth services (DBHDD) and three positions for behavioral health services (DBHDD) plus one program coordinator (DCH) and one program support coordinator position to provide behavioral health services (DPH)
  • $1.1 Million allocated within the State Health Benefits Plan to reflect enrollment growth to match Medicaid age requirements for the treatment of autism (DCH)

Other Child Health Monies:

  • $1.22 Million Added for grants to offset the cost due to the higher number of flu cases and services provided within hospitals (CC added full amount)
  • $1 Million Added to the State Office of Rural Health to fund a grant program, as proposed in SB14 (2017 Session), to encourage health systems or primary care providers to purchase data analytic or electronic/digital population health tools to improve health outcomes in rural Georgia. (G and H requested $0; S added $1 Million)
  • $750,000 Added to analyze the Medicaid delivery system to identify efficiencies and service delivery improvement opportunities (G requested $0; H added $750,000; S reduced to $658,000; CC restored the H request.) (Federal match brings the total to $1.5 million)
  • $100,000 Added for the State Office of Rural Health to conduct a request for proposal process to identify a postsecondary institution within the state as an appropriate location for the Rural Center for Health Care Innovation and Sustainability (as recommended by the House Rural Development Council) (G requested $0; H added $75,000; S added $25,000; bringing the total to $100,000)
  • $40,000 Added for a statewide residency recruitment fair (as recommended by the House Rural Development Council) (G requested $0; H added $40,000; S added $40,000; CC restored the H request; bringing total to $40,000)
  • $60,000 Added for the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce to coordinate with the University System of Georgia and the State Office of Rural Health to develop a one-stop shop residency website (as recommended by the House Rural Development Council)(G requested zero; H added $60,000)
  • $110,000 Subtracted from the Gateway Behavioral Health psychiatry residency program (to reflect actual expenditures)
  • $100,000 Subtracted from the Accelerated Track program at Memorial Health (to reflect actual expenditures)
  • $827,400 remains for the Office of Children and Families (which is tasked with enhancing coordination and communication among providers and stakeholders of services to families) This is the same amount as FY 2017.  (G and H requested $0; S subtracted $173,000; CC restored baseline)
  • $26,000 Added for the Equal Access to Gainful Learning and Employment program (GCDD)(CC added full amount)
  • $220,000 Added for the Albany Advocacy Resource Center (DBHDD) (CC added full amount)

 

Child Welfare

  • $15.1 Million Added for out-of-home care for children in foster care (DFCS)
  • $550,000 Added for design, construction and equipment for the new Division of Family and Children Services Building, Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County (G requested $0; H added $550,000; S eliminated all; CC restored the H addition)
  • $0 Added for legal services in Child Welfare Services under DHS (G and H requested $0, S added $1.6 Million, CC reduced to $0)
  • Budget Note: Change the name of the Child Care Services program to the Child Care Assistance program (DHS)

 

Juvenile Justice

  • $912,000 Added to provide for youth who pose a public safety risk during determination of competency to stand trial. $403,000 was also redirected from Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) operations for this purpose. (DJJ) (G requested $1.3 Million; H subtracted $391,000)
  • $750,000 Added for equipment for the conversion of Central PDC to a 56 bed Cadwell Regional Youth Detention Center (DJJ)
  • $129,000 Added for one-time funding for startup costs for the culinary vocational program at Macon Youth Detention Center (S addition)

 

Education

  • $15.5 Million Added to purchase 204 school buses statewide (DOE) (G requested $15 Million; H Transferred from $500,000 GOSA to DOE; S added $250,000)
  • $85.9Million Added for increased public school enrollment (QBE) (DOE)
  • $16.4 Million Added for State Commission Charter school supplement (DOE)
  • $1 Million Subtracted from the Special Needs Scholarship (DOE)
  • $60.74 Million Added for Forestland Protection Grants reimbursements to school districts and local municipalities and counties (DOR) (G requested $17.6 Million; CC increased to $60.74 Million)
  • $9.56 Million Added for Dual Enrollment (GSFC) (G requested $10.75 Million; S subtracted $1.19 Million from that request)
  • $65,000 Subtracted for the unfilled Residential Treatment Center program manager position with the expectation that the Department will fill the full-time position by July 1, 2018 (DOE) (G requested $0; H reduced by $125,000; senate restored all funds; CC reduced by $65,000)
  • $111,000 Subtracted for Residential Treatment Facilities based on attendance (G and H requested $0; S subtracted $110,00)
  • $408,000 Added for one non-STEM AP exam for low-income students. (GOSA) (H addition)
  • $400,000 Added for start-up funds to establish a statewide leadership academy for principals per HB 338 (2017 Session) (GOSA) (H addition)

 

Higher Education

  • $0 transferred from the Audio-Video Technology and Film Grants program to the Technology/Career Education program to provide funds for equipment grants to local school systems, and for grants for middle school STEM coding. (G requested $0; S transferred $1.5 Million; CC returned to $0)
  • $46,000 Added for Zell Miller Scholarship students attending private postsecondary institutions
  • $18.13 Million Added for Zell Miller Scholarship students attending public postsecondary institutions
  • $2 Million Added for four mobile welding laboratories for HOPE Career Grant welding training on-site around the state (G requested $1 Million for 2 labs; H doubled that request)
  • $75,000 Added for planning for the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovations) as recommended by the House Rural Development Council (G requested $0; H added $75,000; S reduced that by $50,000; CC restored the H addition)
  • $2 Million Added to further expand marketing efforts to promote educational opportunities available at state technical colleges (CC addition)
  • $10.3 Million Added in one-time funds for a statewide equipment refresh for technical colleges (CC addition)
  • $75,000 Added for start-up funds for the transition of the Cedartown Career Center to an adult education and workforce development facility (CC addition)
  • Budget Note:  Perform a market study of professional and masters level degrees currently offered at university programs in South Georgia to include recommendations for adjustments to offerings based on matriculation, demand, and industry interest and report to the House Rural Development Council, Rural Georgia Senate Study Committee, and the House and Senate Higher Education Committees by September 1, 2018

 


 

FY 2019 Budget 

(Changes made by House to the Governor’s Requested Budget)

 

Child Health

Regarding children (0-21 years old) with Autism:

  • $568,000 to increase the reimbursement rate for the Marcus Autism Center to cover the costs of treating children with autism with the most significant needs (DCH)
  • $125,000 Added for the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism.
  • $399,000 Transferred from the Office of Children and Families program for the Emory autism contract. (DPH)

Regarding recommendations from the Commission on Children’s Mental Health:

  • $1.53 Million subtracted from the Governor’s request of $3.06 Million for supported employment and education assistance for an additional 500 young adults at the rate of $6,120 per year (DBHDD). The House further stipulated that this is “to plan and implement supported employment and education assistance…” This leaves a total of $1.53 Million.
  • $1.4 Million Added for the development and statewide availability of a mental health crisis services and suicide prevention mobile application in coordination with the Georgia Crisis and Access hotline.
  • $1.6 Million Added for student mental health awareness training. (DOE)
  • Budget Note: Promote student awareness of the crisis access line mobile application, funded in the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, through the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program and mental health awareness training. (DOE)

Other Child Health Monies:

  • $183,000 Subtracted from the Governor’s request of $1.92 Million for 122 new residency slots in primary care medicine. This brings the total to $1.73 Million and the number of slots to 99. (DCH)
  • $632,000 Restored to the $581,000 cut the Governor requested for school nurses. This brings the total addition to $51,200. (DOE)
  • Budget Note: The Department of Community Health shall include language in all managed care contracts and State Health Benefit Plan contracts requiring the plan sponsor to annually report the following to the department: all pharmacy claims; the amount paid to the pharmacy provider per claim, including but not limited to the cost of drug reimbursement; dispensing fees; copayments; and the amount charged to the plan sponsor for each claim by its pharmacy benefit manager. If there is a difference between these amounts, the plan sponsor shall report an itemization of all administrative fees, rebates, or processing charges associated with the claim. The department shall provide a report using aggregated data to the chairs of the House Appropriations and Senate Appropriations Committees on the implementation of this initiative and its impact on program expenditures by December 31 of each year. Nothing in the report shall contain confidential proprietary information.
  • $1 Million subtracted for one-time start-up funds for Federally Qualified Health Centers (DCH)
  • $500,000 Added for Federally Qualified Health Center start-up grants for a primary care center in Bryan County and a behavioral health center in Emanuel County (DCH)
  • $85,000 Added to hire a full-time position to coordinate donated dental services (DCH)
  • $75,000 Annualized to oversee the competitive bid process for the Rural Health Systems Innovation Center (DCH)
  •  $250,000 Added for the start-up of the Rural Health Systems Innovation Center (DCH)
  • $120,000 Added for Gateway Behavioral Health for the second year of start-up for the new psychiatry residency program (DCH)
  • $180,000 Transferred from the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce: Physicians for Rural Areas program for the Memorial Accelerated Track Program (DCH)
  • $40,000 Added for a statewide residency recruitment fair as recommended by the House Rural Development Council (DCH)
  • $130,000 Added for insurance premium assistance for physicians with a practice in underserved counties that currently have one or less physicians (DCH)
  • $150,000 Added for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia for sickle cell outreach offices to improve access to care and reduce unnecessary emergency room costs. (DPH)

Child Welfare

  • $3.73 Million Added to the Governor’s request of $7.46 Million Added for a per day increase for relative foster care rates. This brings the total per day rate from $2.50 (G) to $3.75 (H), and the total addition to $11.19 Million (DHS)
  • $1.34 Million Added to the Governor’s request of $2.67 Million Added for an increase for child placement agency (CPA) foster parent per diem rates. This brings the total per day rate from $2.50 (G) to $3.75 (H), and the total addition to $4.01 Million. With the federal match, the total comes to $4.41 Million (DHS)
  • $2 Million Subtracted for the Families First COACHES program. (DHS)
  • $238,500 Added to Family Connection to increase each county’s allocation to $50,000. (DHS)
  • $490,000 Added for child advocacy centers to provide an increase in equipment and therapeutic, medical, and outreach services. (DHS)

Juvenile Justice

  • $ 385,000 Subtracted from the Governor’s request of $1.87 Million to provide for youth who pose a public safety risk during determination of competency as provided in SB 175 (2017 Session). This brings the total addition to $1,481,353. (DJJ)
  • $122,600 Subtracted from the Governor’s request for one Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) statewide coordinator position (CJCJ) (Leaving the total at $0)
  • $1.5 Million subtracted from Governor’s request of $2.4 Million for additional assistant district attorney positions to support juvenile courts. The reduction equates to a total of $899,000 for 9 positions instead of 24 (PAC).
  •  $701,000 Added for 9 additional juvenile public defenders. (GPDC)

 

Early Care and Learning

  • $552,000 Added to increase the occupational and physical therapy rates in the Babies Can’t Wait program. (DPH)
  • $2 Million Added to address maternal mortality in Georgia. (DPH)
  • $215,700 Added to improve perinatal hepatitis C surveillance, linkage to care, and testing to address the statewide increase of the hepatitis C virus due to the opioid epidemic. (DPH)
  • Budget Note: Utilize increased grant funds available in the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement for birth-to-five literacy/numeracy in rural Georgia (DECAL)

 

Education

  • $201,000 Subtracted in addition to the $4 Million Subtracted in the Governor’s request from the Georgia Network of Educational Therapeutic Supports (GNETS) for declining enrollment. This brings the total cut to $4.19 Million. (DOE)
  • $143,000 Added for Residential Treatment Facilities to recognize 20 additional students. (DOE)
  • $270,000 Subtracted from the governor’s request of $1 Million for enrollment growth and training and experience in preschool disability services. This brings the total addition to $736,000. (DOE)
  • $7.21 Million Subtracted from the Governor’s request of $119.53 Million for a 0.38% enrollment growth in public schools (DOE)
  • $5.1 Million Subtracted from the Governor’s request of $9.85 Million for the State Commission Charter School supplement. This brings the total addition to $4.76 Million. (DOE)
  • $7.66 Million Subtracted from the Governor’s request of $34.38 Million for Dual Enrollment (once called “Move on When Ready”). The addition now totals $26.72 Million. (GSFC) The House added a note:  “Increase funds to meet the projected need based on the implementation of a 15-credit hour per student per semester rate and a policy requiring that courses be taught by higher education faculty not directly employed by a high school effective January 1, 2019.
  • $150,000 Added for the Young Farmer programs in Polk County and Pataula Charter Academy (DOE)
  • $50,000 Added for a Young Farmer Executive Director position (DOE)
  • $1 Million Transferred for the chief turnaround officer from the Central Office program to the Chief Turnaround Officer program (DOE)
  • $227,570 Added for the Turnaround Schools Rural Character Education Grant for soft skills training and character education development for the lowest performing schools in rural Georgia (DOE)
  • $132,000 Transferred for pupil transportation from the Quality Basic Education program to the recreated Pupil Transportation program. (DOE)
  • $230,000 Added in the pupil transportation formula to reflect a per student increase for new FTE enrollment. (DOE)
  • $500,000 Eliminated in elimination of the GSFA transportation grant. These funds are reflected in the Department of Education Pupil Transportation program for school bus replacement.
  • $10 Million Added for an annual allotment for school bus replacement. (DOE)
  • Budget Note: Utilize bond funds to encourage the use of alternative fuel buses where practical. (DOE)
  • Budget Note: Direct the Department of Education to provide a report on the number of counselors and nurses per school and school system to the General Assembly by September 1, 2018.
  • $642,500 Added to purchase and staff a mobile audiology clinic to provide audiological care to children in rural Georgia. (DOE)
  • $750,000 Added for one non-STEM AP exam fee for low-income students. (GOSA)
  • $14,000 Added for an agricultural careers summer camp for youth with disabilities (DBHDD)
  • $324,000 Added for six educator positions to support Agricultural and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, and the Family and Consumer Sciences educational program. (USG)
  • $125,000 Added for Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers. (USG)

 

Higher Education

  • The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development is being transferred from the GDEcD to the Technical College System of Georgia to leverage workforce development initiatives and educational resources to meet industry workforce training demands. Funds for the customized recruitment initiative are being transferred as well.  These dollars are all federal, and are expected to total $82.39 Million. (DOL/TCSG)
  • $125,000 Added for the personal services and operations related to the transition of Cedartown Career Center to an adult education and workforce development facility. (TCSG)
  • Budget Note: Utilize $500,000 in existing state funds to provide ongoing support and scholarships for the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) program.(DHS)
  • Budget Note: Encourage the collaboration with other state agencies, including public libraries and technical schools, to maintain a physical presence where career centers have closed and to continue the expansion of online services. (DOL)
  • Budget Note: Utilize existing system funds for the University of Georgia to provide new experiential learning opportunities through the School of Public and International Affairs that promote careers in public service and provide an annual report on outcomes to the university’s president. (USG)

 

 

 


 

juvenile justice

 

HB 670 (Powell-32nd) Adds one legislative representative to the Georgia State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision and clarifies that the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate each makes one such appointment. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote this MONDAY.

HB 740 (Nix-69th) Requires local school systems to conduct a multi-tiered system of supports, such as response to intervention, (unless the student possessed a weapon, drugs, or other dangerous instrument or his/her behavior endangers the physical safety of students or school personnel) for a student in pre-school through third grade prior to expelling or suspending for five or more consecutive or cumulative days. If the student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, then the school or program shall also convene an IEP or Section 504 meeting to review appropriate supports being provided as part of those plans. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Education and Youth Committee this past week but no action was taken. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 763 (Nix-69th) Expands the student attendance protocol committees to assess school climate as well.  Also requires local boards of education to report aggregated student discipline data (in addition to student attendance rates) to the committee and the State Board of Education at the end of each school year. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Education and Youth Committee this past week but no action was taken.

HB 765 (Thomas-56th) “C.J.’s Law”-Changes the mandatory minimum for hit and run accidents that result in death or serious injury to one to ten years. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 890 (Fleming-121st) Makes it a misdemeanor to use an emergency exit after having shoplifted. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee this past week but no action was taken.

SB 315 (Thompson-14th) Defines the crime of unauthorized computer access, placing it alongside the crime of computer password disclosure. Denotes the penalty for these crimes as a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 348 (Harper-7th) Allows campus policemen and other security personnel who are regular employees of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council to have the power to make arrests for offenses committed upon any property under the jurisdiction of the TCSG and for offenses committed upon any public or private property within 500 feet of TCSG property. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

SB 368 (Kirk-13th) Allows the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to provide technical support and assistance, including equipment, grant funding, operations, training, or official local agency needs, to any local law enforcement agency when the council finds that the local law enforcement agency would otherwise lack access to adequate technical support and assistance. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

SB 407 (Strickland-17th) This year’s bill resulting from the Criminal Justice Reform Council – Among other things, the bill addresses provisions involving bail reform, data collection and sharing, and  citations for misdemeanors. It also clarifies matters relating to sentencing, first offender treatment, pay-only probation, and the use of community service. It addresses inmate access to Medicaid and increases certain penalties relating to the theft of, the use of an altered identification mark on, or the transfer of a firearm to certain individuals. The bill establishes the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board under the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. The bill was heard by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee this past week, but no action was taken.

 

 

vulnerable youth

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. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 654 (Beskin-54th) Adjusts provisions involving calculations of child support payments, so that in certain circumstances the court may allow for the use of separate worksheets to show the final child support amount to be paid for all such children and the adjusted amount of support to be paid as each child becomes ineligible to receive support. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 655 (Williams-145th) Requires every public school to post a sign containing the toll-free telephone number operated by the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 668 (Price-48th) Allows a petition for guardianship to be filed for a proposed ward who is 17 years old if the petitioner has a good faith reason to believe that the child will still need a guardian upon turning 18 years old. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 732 (Silcox-52nd) Expands the offense of trafficking an individual for sexual servitude to include individuals who pay for such servitude and solicit and pay for it from people 16 years old or older. Essentially the same as SB 335, which is currently in House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 762 (Cantrell-22nd) Requires annual age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in kindergarten through grade 9 and that professional learning and in-service training may include programs on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill did not cross over, but may be amended to HB 655.

HB 834 (Ballinger-23rd) Allows a tenant to terminate his/her rental or lease agreement effective 30 days after providing the landlord with a written notice of termination when a civil family violence order or criminal family violence order has been issued. The notice must be accompanied by a copy of the applicable civil or criminal family violence order. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee this past week but no action was taken.

HB 897 (Efstration-104th) Revises the “Uniform Power of Attorney Act.” Provisions relevant to children currently state that when power of attorney is granted, that the person granted the power of attorney must perform the acts necessary to maintain the customary standard of living of the principal, the principal’s spouse, the principal’s minor children, the principal’s adult children who are pursuing a postsecondary school education and are under 25 years of age. This bill provides that, if there has been an established pattern of payments or an indicated a clear intent to make payments for the children or the adult descendants who are under 25 years of age, or not the principal’s children, and pursuing a postsecondary school education, those payments must be fulfilled and maintained appropriately. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 906 (Dempsey-13th) Excludes public disclosure of personal information of Division of Family and Children Services foster parents or former foster parents that reveal his or her home address, home telephone number, day and month of birth, social security number, insurance or medical information, mother’s birth name, credit card information, debit card information, bank account information, account number, utility account number, password used to access his or her account, financial data or information other than compensation by a government agency, or unlisted telephone number if so designated in a public record or that reveal the identity of his or her immediate family members or dependents. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 920 (Dempsey-13th) Allows the Department of Human Services (particularly Division of Family and Children Services) to access information concerning an adopted child, the child’s biological parents, and the child’s adoptive parents may when, after the adoption, such child dies, suffers a near fatality, or is an alleged victim of child abuse or neglect. The department may also provide such information to the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children.  STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

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

SB 127 (Kennedy-18th) When a victim in a case has made a written request to the prosecuting attorney to be notified of all proceedings and has provided contact information to the prosecuting attorney, and such victim asserts that he or she was not provided notification of a proceeding, he or she may file a motion requesting to be heard on such matter.  STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 335 (Unterman-45th) Expands the offense of trafficking an individual for sexual servitude to include individuals who pay for such servitude and solicit and pay for it from people 16 years old or older. Essentially the same as HB 732, which is currently in Senate Judiciary Committee. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 336 (Unterman-45th) Provides that when a subpoena is issued for production of electronic communication service records for computer or electronic devices that are used for certain offenses against minors, the provider of the service shall not provide notice of such subpoena to the subscriber or customer of such service. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.  HB 623 was amended to SB 336 in subcommittee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

SB 337 (Unterman-45th) Expands acceptable testimony of a child’s description of sexual contact or physical abuse to include any motion made or hearing or trial in the past. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Committee.

SR 774 (Stone-23rd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Adoption Expenses. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

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

 

 

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

HB 697 (Taylor-173rd) Extends an exemption from state sales and use tax for five additional years (up to June 30, 2023) regarding the sale or use of tangible personal property to certain nonprofit health centers, including some volunteer centers which serve indigent patients. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Finance Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 743 (Clark-98th) “Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act”-Requires the GA DOE to develop and post on its publicly accessible website guidelines and relevant materials to inform and educate student, parents, guardians and coaches participating in or desiring to participate in an interscholastic athletic activity about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest. Public and private schools must also hold informational meetings in the subject and parents/guardians must sign a form acknowledging that they have reviewed the information.  Protocols are also established for removing students who faint, pass out or exhibit any other symptoms possibly related to cardiac issues from participation. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Education and Youth Committee this past week but no action was taken. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 835 (Lott-122nd) Allows the issuance of special event tobacco permits to licensed dealers authorizing off-premise sales of certain tobacco products (cigars, cigarettes, or loose or smokeless tobacco) at special events or temporary locations. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Finance Committee this past week but no action was taken.

HB 844 (Houston-170th) Expands the membership of the Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons from 7 to 10 members. It also creates a multiagency task force to establish a system of collaborative governance responsible for making recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor regarding improvements to the statewide system of developmental and educational services that support age-appropriate language and literacy proficiency for children who are deaf or hard of hearing from birth to third grade. The bill also provides for a state-wide coordinated longitudinal data management system for all children who are deaf or hard of hearing and requires integrated and seamless services from birth through literacy. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 909 (Silcox-52nd) Allows the Department of Public Health to establish separate criteria for perinatal facilities (meaning a hospital, clinic, or birthing center that provides maternal or neonatal health care services) levels of maternal care and neonatal care. Such criteria may include, without limitation, data collection and reporting, arrangements for patient transportation, and protocols for coordination with and referral of patients to and from other health care facilities. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 74 (McKoon-29th) Raises the standard of proof needed for and unemancipated minor seeking a waiver of the parental notification requirement for an abortion. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice 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 12 years old or under. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Insurance Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

SB 318 (Rhett-33rd) Requires the Department of Community Health to create a one-year pilot program to examine the execution of a physician’s certificate for emergency examination of a person for involuntary evaluation and treatment for mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse based on consultation with an emergency medical technician or paramedic who has personally observed the person. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

SB 357 (Burke-11th) Establishes the Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia (to be assigned to the Office of Planning and Budget for administrative purposes), with a director of health care policy and strategic planning who reports directly to the Governor.The bill also requires a number of health-related boards, councils and the like to report on certain health related data. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

SB 364 (Hufstetler-52nd) Authorizes a higher supervisory ratio for physician assistants who have completed a board approved anesthesiologist assistant program. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

SB 437 (Payne-54th) Provides that when a minor child is a candidate for non-resuscitation, an order not to resuscitate may be issued with the oral or written consent of the minor’s parent.  STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HR 1417 (Powell-32nd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Cultivation, Manufacture, and Dispensing of Medical Cannabis Low THC Oil. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in the Medical Cannabis Working Group this MONDAY.

HR 1160 (Hill-3rd) Creates the House Study Committee on Risks Associated with Kratom. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this TUESDAY.

HR 1321 (Cox-108th) Creates the House Study Committee on High Risk Exposure to HIV and Hepatitis B and C STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

HR 1363 (Cooper-43rd) Urges the United States Congress to amend the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so as to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug so that its medical benefits and effects may be researched or, if Congress is unwilling to reclassify marijuana, to enact the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act (MEDS Act). STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HR 1375 (Dempsey-13th) Encourages the State of Georgia to advise all public and private schools to educate students and parents about the dangers of meningococcal disease. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SR 935 (Albers-56th) Creates the Senate School Safety Study Committee. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Rules Committee.

SR 983 (Brass-28th) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Cultivation, Manufacture, and Dispensing of Medical Cannabis Low THC Oil. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

 

 

HB 184 (Cannon-58th) “Georgia Pregnant Workers Fairness Act”- Requires employers to provide for 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. The bill was heard in committee this past week, but no action was taken.

HB 494 (Dempsey-13th) Authorizes the use of hearsay in preliminary hearings regarding emergency closure of an early care and learning program or the emergency placement of a monitor or monitors and adds certain misdemeanors to the definition of “crime” for purposes of background checks. The bill also provides that background checks are not valid if an individual has been separated from employment from an early care and education program for more than 180 consecutive days. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Education and Youth Committee this past week but no action was taken. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 513 (Dickerson-113th) Requires the Department of Human Services 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

 

education

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. PASSED SENATE.

HB 448 (Williams-119th) Exempts nonpublic law schools, accredited by the Bar Association and primarily located in Georgia, and proprietary institutions accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges from regulation by the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission. Allows exempt nonpublic law schools’ students to receive federal financial aid. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. Must return to the House for agreement.

HB 700 (Belton-112th) Authorizes types of service cancelable educational loans financed by state funds and issued by the Georgia Student Finance Authority in exchange for two years of service in the Georgia National Guard. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.

HB 759 (Turner-21st) Revises eligibility for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program to state that the student is not eligible if the student previously qualified for the scholarship. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 787 (Hilton-95th) Allows state charter schools may receive services from regional educational service agencies (RESAs); includes the use of flexible and student centered accountability systems in the principles and standards for charter school authorizers; develops individualized measures for virtual students beyond the sole reliance on standardized tests; changes the state charter supplement so it is based on the statewide average local revenue rather than the average of the lowest five school systems; adjusts the statewide average total capital revenue; and requires the capital revenue calculation be made for virtual charters if they provide computer hardware, software and the like. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 852 (Smith-41st) Allows a student who has attended a public school for more than half of the school year and who moves during the school year to another attendance zone within the local school system to continue to attend the initial public school through the completion of the school year; provided that the student has not had chronic disciplinary problems. The parent is responsible for transportation of the student to and from the school. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Education and Youth Committee this past week but no action was taken. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 853 (Dempsey-13th) Provides that children placed in psychiatric residential treatment facilities as a result of a physician’s order may not be charged tuition. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill was heard by the Senate Education and Youth Committee this past week but no action was taken.

HB 1006 (Setzler-35th) Revises the crime of sexual assault by delineating degrees of the crime and revising punishments for persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority and adds non-supervisory personnel to the list of individuals subject to the provisions of the law.  STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill did not cross over, but may be amended to another piece of legislation (likely SB 335).

HB 1007 and HR 1341 (Cox-108th) Constitutional Amendment and Enabling legislation creating the Student and School Safety Fund and related commission to impose, collect, and dispose of additional fees for violation of certain criminal and traffic laws. Collected funds will be used to implement and enhance student and school safety measures. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. The bill did not cross over. Nevertheless, the bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

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. Assigned to House Education Committee. The bill was taken up again in committee this past week, but no action was taken.

SB 82 (Jackson-2nd) Clarifies that being a member of the Georgia National Guard or a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States located in Georgia is classified as a legal resident of Georgia for the purposes of eligibility for HOPE scholarships and grants. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by House Higher Education Committee.

SB 139 (Hill-6th) Authorizes local school districts, charter schools, and college and career academies to develop and submit additional career pathways, including recommended content standards, for consideration by the State Board of Education. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

SB 330 (Wilkinson-50th) Based the agricultural education program provided in this state on the nationally recognized three-component model of school based agricultural education: daily instruction in an organized classroom and lab environment; hands-on, real-world learning opportunities through the supervised agriculture experience (SAE) program; and leadership and learning opportunities through participation in the Future Farmers of America. The bill also requires the GA Department of Education to conduct a pilot program, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, for agricultural education in six elementary schools in this state with the goal of determining whether and how to implement an elementary agricultural education program state wide. The bill also requires the Professional Standards Commission to extend in-field certification for agricultural education to include kindergarten through grade five by July 1, 2018. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

SB 362 (Tippins-37th) Establishes an innovative assessment pilot program, including exemptions from certain state-wide assessment requirements, yet aligned with state academic content standards. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

SB 401 (Tippins-37th) Provides for guidance in career oriented aptitudes and career interests in developing an individual graduation plan. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HR 1162 (Coleman-97th) Creates the House Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process for public schools and school systems. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE.

HR 898 (Coleman-97th) Creates the Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process for public schools and school systems. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HR 1039 (Belton-112th) Creates the House Study Committee on Ennobling the Teaching Profession. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

HR 1414 (Jasperse-11th) Creates the House Study Committee on School Security. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this TUESDAY.

HR 1467 (Stover-71st) Constitutional Amendment authorizing the use of educational special purpose local option sales and use taxes for school security purposes, namely school security capital outlay projects and improvements and armed security personnel and the necessary equipment for the armed security personnel. STATUS: House Hopper.

HR 1472 (Gurtler-8th) Urges all local boards of education to implement the provisions of Georgia law regarding the arming of school personnel. STATUS: House Hopper.

HR 1017 (Corbett-174th) Encourages all schools, local educational agencies, and the state educational agency to recognize that dyslexia has a profound educational impact that must be addressed. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE.

SR 953 (Gooch-51st) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Evaluating the School Year Calendar of Georgia Public Schools. STATUS: Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY.

SR 972 (Miller-49th) Encourages local educational agencies to support Georgia’s talented and gifted students by complying with all State Board of Education and Georgia Professional Standards Commission guidelines for gifted education. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SR 977 (Williams-39th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

 

misc

HB 121 (Efstration-104th) Changes provisions relating to minor or unborn beneficiaries of trusts, among other things. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

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: FAILED HOUSE VOTE. The bill language was amended to SB 336 in a House subcommittee this past week. SB 336 will be heard in the full House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee this MONDAY.

HB 703 (Hitchens-161st) Creates the Governor’s Office of Public Safety Support (assigned to the Department of Public Safety for administrative purposes). This office would provide counseling services or any other critical incident support services to all requesting public entities that employ public safety officers for incidents, including situations involving death or other tragedies. Counseling services would be for public safety officers or their immediate families. The Governor appoints the director. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill will be heard in full committee this MONDAY.

HB 721 (Powell-32nd) Revises the criteria by which the Department of Driver Services authorizes licensed driver training schools to administer the on-the-road driving skills testing. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

HB 831 (Rogers-10th) Creates the Employment First Georgia Council, to be administratively attached to the Department of Human Services. The Council would develop an employment first training plan for providers of services to individuals with disabilities, coordinate and conduct educational activities to increase awareness of the employment first policy, evaluate the funding mechanism for daytime services in the state for individuals with disabilities and for students attending inclusive postsecondary institutions.  STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 951 (Shaw-176th) Creates the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation (to be physically located within a college or institution of the University System of Georgia which awards Bachelor of Science degrees in rural community development) to study the conditions, needs, issues, and problems affecting rural economic development and shall examine related policy areas as it may deem necessary and appropriate, including, but not limited to, population studies, access to health care, infrastructure, education, unemployment, and economic growth incentives. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 999 (Coomer-14th) Clarifies the type of hospitalization as an inpatient in any mental hospital that prohibits the issuance of a weapons carry license. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 426 (Gooch-51st) “Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act”-Streamlines the deployment of wireless broadband in the public rights of way and limits the ability of local governing authorities to prohibit, regulate, or charge for use of public rights of way under certain circumstances. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.

HR 1431 (Cooper-43rd) Creates the House Study Committee on Healthy Housing. STATUS: House Hopper.

HR 1224 (Gonzalez-117th) Creates the House Study Committee on the Establishment of a Living Wage. STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee. The bill was heard in committee this past week, but no action was taken.

 

 

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