Legislative Update 2.18.19

Download a PDF of the update here

Each week I spend an inordinate amount of time in a comfy chair in my office, reading legislation, answering emails, and generally thinking about how to make legal-eze and government policy seem interesting and dynamic to the average Joe or Jane. As you can imagine, in the course of such a potentially Quixotic quest, I sometimes find myself lulling into dreamland (and I don’t mean the barbeque joint in Tuscaloosa), where my imagination slaps together all kinds of weird stuff, so that when I jerk awake ten minutes later, somewhat disoriented, I not only wonder why my shoes are no longer giant hot dog buns, but also what hot-air balloons have to do with Aquarium license plates. Shaking off my stupor, I find that there are actually weird things in real-life, like the guy who caught a 20 pound goldfish with a biscuit, or a bill that somehow links “anatomical gifts of human organs” to hunting and fishing licenses. “Wow.” was my response to both.

While those things are basically interesting, some real-life things are disturbing, and more like a nightmare for some folks. For instance, the fact that adults prey on children for sex, or that many folks, both adults and children, do not have access to healthcare concern me greatly. The good news is that elected types and others in the state house are trying to fix these things. Lately, we have been watching folks under the Gold Dome try to figure out how to get more adults covered (with an array of different proposals surrounding access to healthcare and insurance coverage), a few of us are trying to streamline ways to get more kids covered, and also, we saw the introduction of House Bill 234, the Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act (Please act on the Action Alert at the end of this blast!). All that to say, hot dog shoes or not, it makes my heart warm to know that our leaders mostly want to make Georgia a better place to be.

And with that, I am going back to my Elysian slumber, where I hope to dream of a single George Clooney, a size 4 ballgown, and blister-proof shoes.

Goodnight.

Polly McKinney
Advocacy Director
Voices for Georgia’s Children 
pmckinney@georgiavoices.org 


Know Where You Want to Go?

Juvenile Justice/Effective School Discipline

Child Welfare/Vulnerable Youth

Child Health and Safety

Early Care and Learning

Higher Education

Miscellaneous

2 Minute Advocacy Ask


 JUVENILE JUSTICE/EFFECTIVE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE

HB 309 (Kennard-102nd) Provides for the restriction of criminal history records for convictions of certain non-violent misdemeanors and felonies after the completion of the sentence and payment of any restitution. The option for records restriction is not available if the ex-offender is applying for a job at a public school, private school, child welfare agency, or a job with an adult or child day care, after school care or working with people with mental health issues or disabilities. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 318 (Bruce-61st) Creates a treatment program within the juvenile court relating to the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

SB 64 (Ligon-3rd) Makes a terroristic threat by a child 13 or older against an individual or a public or private school a class B felony. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY. SEE ACTION ALERT BELOW


CHILD WELFARE/VULNERABLE YOUTH

HB 43 (Setzler-35th) Revises the crime of sexual assault when committed by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority over a student in a school setting. The degree of the crime and punishment vary based on a number of factors including age of the perpetrator and victim. The bill also better defines the term “dangerous sexual offense.” STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 64 (Prince-127th) Requires the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to make efforts to determine whether a parent or guardian of a child who is the subject of abuse allegations is on active duty in the military and if so, to notify military installation family advocacy programs. The bill also grants immunity for reporting child abuse to military law enforcement. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 70 (Efstration-104th) Revises provisions relating to guardians and conservators of minors and adults. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 80 (Werkheiser-157th) Require individuals to cooperate with the child support enforcement program as a condition of eligibility for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in subcommittee this WEDNESDAY.

HB 227 (Frye-118th) Expands the prohibitions on discrimination against victims of family violence to include victims of sexual assault. STATUS: House Insurance Committee.

HB 228 (Welch-110th) Raises the minimum marriage age to 17 and requires the other party to a marriage with a minor to be no more than 4 years older; requires the minor to have been emancipated (declared a legal adult) by a juvenile court after a hearing to determine that the minor is mature and self-sufficient; ensures that an attorney is appointed to advise the minor in the emancipation proceeding; requires the court to examine additional evidence about an intended marriage and spouse to assess what’s in the minor’s best interest; institutes a waiting period between an emancipation order and a marriage license; requires minors to have premarital education before applying for a marriage license; and requires minors to receive a factsheet on rights and resources available to victims of domestic violence. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 234 (Efstration-104th) This bill is in response to the Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act and represents the shift away from criminalization and towards providing victims with services. It authorizes DFCS to provide care and supervision to children who are victims of human trafficking; allows a law enforcement officer or agency or DFCS to refer any child suspected of being a victim of commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking to a certified statewide victim services agency which provides comprehensive trauma-informed services designed to alleviate the adverse effects of trafficking victimization; raises the age from 16 to 18 for purposes of determining the offense of prostitution and codify the process for identifying sex trafficking victims; and makes it easier to prosecute owners of places where trafficking occurs. This bill would align Georgia law with federal trafficking laws such as the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Families Act and the Trafficking Victims Protections Act. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee. SEE BONUS ASK BELOW

HB 258 (Boddie-62nd) Adds aggravated sexual battery to the list of offenses for which the statute of limitations may be suspended if the victim is younger than 16 years of age. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY.

HB 259 (Ballinger-23rd) Requires the Georgia Crime Information Center to provide criminal history record information to the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board uponm request of the board. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 260 (Ballinger-23rd) Revises the offense of home invasion in the first degree to incorporate family violence battery. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 281  (Anulewicz-42nd) Increases the penalty provisions relating to pimping and pandering. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 331 (Ballinger-23rd) Revises the definition of family violence regarding a protective order alleging a dating relationship or a relationship involving a past or present pregnancy. STATUS: House Hopper.


CHILD HEALTH AND SAFETY

HB 26 (Belton-112th) The “Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact” authorizes the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists to allow psychologists who are licensed in other compact-participating states and who meet certain criteria to practice in Georgia via telepsychology and temporary practice (defined as 30 days per calendar year) STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Interstate Cooperation Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee. 

HB 37 (Trammel-132nd) Expands Medicaid to cover adults who live at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. STATUS: House Appropriations Committee.

HB 39 (Belton-112th) Creates the “Physical Therapy Licensure Compact Act” which allows physical therapists licensed in other compact states to practice in Georgia. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Interstate Cooperation Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 63 (Cooper-43rd) Requires health benefit plans to establish step therapy protocols. (Step therapy is a type of prior authorization. In most cases, the patient must first try a less expensive drug on the drug list that has been proven effective for most people with the same condition before you can move up a “step” to a more expensive drug). STATUS: PASSED HOUSE.

HB 83 (Douglas-78th) Requires schools to provide 30 minutes of recess daily for grades K-5. Recess would not be required on any day on which a student has had physical education or structured activity time. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 112 (LaHood-175th) Prohibits the sale to and by minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan (a medication most often used as a cough suppressant in over-the-counter cold and cough medicines). STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee. 

HB 113 (Carson-46th) Specifies that anyone driving with a Class C learners permit, Class C license, or Motorcycle instruction permit is prohibited from using a stand-alone electronic device or wireless telecommunications device unless it is an emergency. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

HB 158 (Silcox-52nd) Requires that Medicaid recipients have the same access to antiretroviral regimens used to treat HIV and AIDS as to those included in the formulary established for the Georgia AIDS Drug Assistance Program. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 168 (Taylor-173rd) Extends an exemption from sales and use tax for five additional years regarding the sale or use of tangible personal property to nonprofit health centers and nonprofit volunteer health centers. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 178 (Hogan-179th) Amends Title 37 Chapter 3 (Mental Health Examination, Treatment) to create a unit within the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to provide support to court-ordered, outpatient treatment programs. The bill creates an advisory council for these programs which would meet quarterly and evaluate aggregate data and review the contents of the training and education programs. This bill also provides for a pilot program to determine whether to expand the establishment of assisted outpatient treatment programs, and training and education for service providers. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 241 (Schofield-60th) Requires indoor air quality assessments of all public buildings (i.e. any building which provides facilities or shelter for public use or assembly or which is used for educational, office, or institutional purposes, and any library, museum, school, hospital, auditorium, dormitory, or university building). STATUS: House Natural resources and Environment Committee.

HB 280 (Anulewicz-42nd) Prohibits the use of individual mechanical restraints, including handcuffs and shackles, on an inmate while she is experiencing labor or during delivery, unless there is a reasonable basis to believe that restraints are necessary to prevent her from injuring herself or others. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 287 (Dubnik-29th) Deletes an income tax deduction for certain physicians serving as community-based faculty physicians and creates a new income tax credit for licensed physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, or physician assistants who provide uncompensated preceptorship training to medical students, advanced practice registered nurse students, or physician assistant students. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 290 (Cooper-43rd) Establishes a pilot program to provide pre-exposure prophylaxis drug assistance or services to persons at risk of being infected with HIV. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 310 (Morris-156th) Moves the annual due date that the Department of Insurance must submit an autism coverage report to the General Assembly from January 15 to June 15. STATUS: House Insurance Committee.

HB 324 (Gravley-67th) Allows the production, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. STATUS: House Regulated Industry Committee.

HB 345 (Cooper-43rd) Prohibits pregnant, in labor or postpartum inmates from being required to squat or cough during a strip search conducted by a custodian during the second or third trimester of pregnancy or being required to undergo any vaginal examination unless prescribed and performed by a licensed health care professional. The bill also prevents such inmates from being restrained with handcuffs, waist shackles, leg irons, or other restraints unless she appears to be an immediate and serious threat of harm to herself or others or a substantial flight risk and cannot be reasonably contained by other means. In those cases, the rationale by the official must be documented within three days. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 15 (Albers-56th) “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act” – Requires schools to conduct threat assessments every two years on buildings, facilities, and campuses by a person or agency approved by the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency; makes private schools subject to the same requirements for safety plans as public schools; adds requirements to school safety plans to address security issues in school safety zones, at school functions, and while transporting students; creates a task force within the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center and authorizes the task force to “curate individual student profiles from school records and records of the Department of Human Services and law enforcement agencies for the purpose of evaluating potential threats to public and private schools”; creates school safety coaches and requirements for them STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee. 

SB 16 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) “Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act” – Allows Georgia to enter into an interstate compact to allow physicians, assistants, and certain other health professionals from other compacts states to practice in Georgia STATUS: PASSED SENATE. In House Health and Human Services Committee. 

SB 101 (Beach-21st) Requires volunteer coaches with youth athletic associations to undergo training to reduce the likelihood of injuries to youth athletes engaged in high risk athletics (e.g. any organized sport in which there is a significant possibility for a youth athlete to sustain a serious physical injury, including, but not limited to, the sports of football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, ice or field hockey, cheerleading, and lacrosse). STATUS: Senate Education & Youth Committee.

SB 104 (Payne-54th) Revises parental requirement for issuing orders related to whether or not to resuscitate a child. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 106 (Tillery-19th) Authorizes the Department of Community Health to submit a Section 1115 waiver request to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and authorizes the Governor to submit a Section 1332 innovation waiver proposal to the United States Secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury in order to expand Medicaid and shore up the private insurance marketplace. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 109 (Walker-20th) Allows a physician to delegate to an advanced practice registered nurse the ability to order radiographic imaging tests in non-life-threatening situations and increases the number of advanced practice registered nurses with whom a delegating physician can enter into a nurse protocol agreement. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 115 (Unterman-45th) “Medical Practice Act of the State of Georgia” – Provides for telemedicine licenses for physicians licensed in other states to engage in the practice of telemedicine with patients in this state. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SB 118 (Unterman-45th) Renames the “Telemedicine Act,” the “Telehealth Act,” and revises various definitions regarding telemedicine and telehealth. The bill also prohibits insurers from requiring insureds to use telemedicine, and sets policy for pay equity for health care providers using telemedicine. STATUS: Senate Hopper. 

SR 12 (Albers-56th) Amends the Constitution of Georgia so that sales tax for educational purposes may be used for school security projects, including physical structure, personnel, and mental health personnel. STATUS: Senate Finance Committee.

SR 193 (Kirk-13th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Transferring Oversight of Developmental Disabilities to the Department of Community Health. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SR 194 (Kirk-13th) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Transferring Oversight of Developmental Disabilities to the Department of Community Health. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

SR 195 (Harbin-16th) Urges Georgia’s school districts to have an emergency medical technician (EMT) present during all full-contact sporting events. STATUS: Senate Hopper.



EARLY CARE AND LEARNING

SB 4 (Jordan-6th) Requires a private lactation room open to the public in either the Capitol Building or the Paul D. Coverdell Legislative Office Building. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate State Institutions and Property Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 85 (Henson-41st) Establishes an early child care scholarship program administered by the Department of Early Care and Learning, subject to appropriations by the General Assembly. STATUS: Senate Education & Youth Committee.



EDUCATION

HB 32 (Tanner-9th) Chief turnaround office clean-up legislation. Changes the title “turnaround coach” to “transformation specialist”, creates a Georgia Turnaround Collaborative to complement the work of the Education Turnaround Advisory Council and serve as an advisory group to the Chief Turnaround Officer. The purpose of the collaborative is to increase the alignment and coherence of efforts to address the academic and nonacademic needs of turnaround school students and their families. The collaborative includes a variety of agency heads, appointed legislators, and various stakeholders. The bill also creates a stipend ($5k from state and $2.5k from local) to attract more teachers to turnaround schools. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 36 (Trammel-132nd) Establishes the HOPE tuition-free grant for students seeking a certificate or diploma in a designated high demand field at a branch of the Technical College System of Georgia . STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 59 (Belton-112th) Allows military students to enroll in a public school based on official military orders prior to physically establishing residency. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 60 (Belton-112th) Requires dependent children of active duty military members to be classified as in-state for purposes of tuition and fees by the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 68 (Carson-46th) Prohibits any entity that operates, owns, is affiliated with, or is a subsidiary of an association, organization, or other entity that provides accreditation of elementary or secondary schools from becoming a student scholarship organization (SSO). STATUS: House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in subcommittee this WEDNESDAY.

HB 69 (Turner-21st) Changes the “prior school year requirement” for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. This bill now rests in the House Rules Committee. 

HB 109 (Benton-31st) Modifies conditions of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia for people who first became members on or after July 1, 2019. Among other things, the bill changes from 2 years to 5 years the number of highest years of compensation used to determine retirement benefits; eliminates the ability to apply unused sick leave towards retirement credit; and changes age of retirement and benefits access. STATUS: House Retirement Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY. 

HB 123 (Werkheiser-157th) Moves administration of the Georgia Workforce Investment Board from the Technical College System of Georgia to the GA Department of Labor. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Industry and Labor Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee. 

HB 126 (Nix-69th) Authorizes the Department of Labor to establish the ‘GeorgiaBest’ program (a business employability skills training program) to assist the state’s existing and emerging workforce in developing employer-identified skills needed to be successful in the workplace. Curriculum may include skills relating to punctuality, critical thinking, and the ability to work in a team. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Industry and Labor Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee. 

HB 130 (Nix-69th) Authorizes the Georgia Foundation for Public Education to establish a nonprofit corporation to qualify as a public foundation. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee. 

HB 169 (Hugley-136th) Mandates public schools to require an age-appropriate course of study in financial education for students in kindergarten through 12. STATUS: House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in subcommittee WEDNESDAY. 

HB 218 (Williams-145th) Changes HOPE eligibility criteria for homeschooled children from 93rd to 92nd percentile on the ACT, and expands the timeframe for eligibility from 7 to 10 years following high school graduation. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 232 (Clark-147th) Classifies dependent children of active duty military members as in-state for purposes of tuition and fees by the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 263 (Stovall-74th) Allows a parent or guardian to enroll a student in a school using the address of an individual residing in the school’s attendance zone who has approved such use. The bill prohibits the parent or guardian from paying or providing any other valuable consideration to the individual for the use of the individual’s address, with the exception that a parent or guardian may reimburse for expenses incurred by the resident in the care of the student. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 301 (Cantrell-22nd) Establishes educational scholarship accounts, which are consumer directed accounts composed of state funds deposited on behalf of a participating student and which may be used for qualified education expenses, such as tuition, textbooks, therapies, computers, transportation, etc. The scholarship accounts are not needs based but prioritize the following categories of applicants: Children with special needs, in foster care, of parents on active duty in the military, in public school and in a family with income below 200% of the federal poverty level, or documented victims of bullying. Enrollment is limited to one-half of 1 percent of the statewide total public school enrollment in the 2017-2018 school year. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 320 (Belton-112th) Permits certain public employers to employ beneficiaries of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia for academic instruction of students in pre-k through 12 in science, technology, engineering, arts, or math. STATUS: House Retirement Committee.

HB 336 (Blackmon-146th) Requires certain public employers to make employer and employee contributions to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia for teachers who return to service full-time as teachers without affecting their benefits. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 21 (James-35th) Requires each local board of education to prescribe mandatory instruction concerning cybersecurity in every year in every grade from kindergarten through grade 12. STATUS: Senate Education & Youth Committee.

SB 25 (Heath-31st) Clarifies that a driver can pass a stopped school bus when a school bus is on a separate roadway that is separated by a grass median, unpaved area, or physical barrier STATUS: SIGNED BY GOVERNOR. 

SB 48 (Martin-9th) Requires all kindergarten students to be screened for dyslexia and refer students in grades 1st-3rd for screening to have been identified as having characteristics of dyslexia. The bill would require a dyslexia screening tool to be delivered by a professional and ensure that parents provide informed consent before the screening tool is used and that parents are notified with the results of the screening. The bill also requires the department to make available a dyslexia informational handbook that includes guidance, technical assistance, and training to assist all local school systems in the implementation of evidence-based practices for instructing students identified with or displaying characteristics of dyslexia, and to collaborate with the Professional Standards Commission to improve and update professional development for teachers specifically relating to dyslexia. This bill also creates a pilot in three local school systems which would begin in the 2019-2020 school year and be established by the State School Superintendent. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education & Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 67 (Burke-11th) Allows drawdown of K-12 capital outlay funding to complete restoration of fire or disaster damaged school buildings. Educational facilities that are more than 20 years old and are extensively destroyed or damaged by a fire or natural disaster can supplement insurance to rebuild all of the building, even undamaged parts. Expands low wealth category to include systems consolidating schools but lacking sufficient ESPLOST capability. STATUS: Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 86 (Mullis-53rd) Prevents high schools which receive funding through the “Quality Basic Education Act,” from participating in or sponsoring interscholastic sports events conducted by any athletic association unless the association has separate regions and playoffs. STATUS: Senate Education & Youth Committee.

SB 91 (Hufstetler-52nd). STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 92 (Beach-21st) Prohibits professional licensing boards from refusing to issue a license or suspending or revoking the license of a person who is in default with a student loan. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 102  (Jones-10th) Creates the “Unlocking the Promise (UP) Community Schools Program,” a grant program that would serve as comprehensive service delivery centers offering academic, health care, and community involvement programs in addition to existing classroom instruction. STATUS: Senate Education & Youth Committee.

SB 108 (Martin-9th) Requires courses in computer science in middle school and high school (phase-in) and for grants for professional development programs for computer science teachers. The bill also requires annual reporting to select General Assembly members regarding outcomes related to this legislation. STATUS: Senate Education & Youth Committee.

HR 196 (Mitchell-88th) Creates a House Study Committee to Review the Education Equalization Grant. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

HR 211 (Hugley-136th) Recognizes February 20, 2019, as Afterschool Day at the state capitol. STATUS: House Read and Adopted.

SR 189  (Payne-54th) Recognizes February 20, 2019, as Afterschool Day at the state capitol. STATUS: Senate Hopper.



MISCELLANEOUS

HB 77 (Clark-98th) Creates penalties for aiding and abetting someone who commits public benefits fraud and adds Medicaid to the list of benefits that are encompassed by the repercussions for fraud STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 129 (Stephens-164th) Allows sale or furnishing of knuckles which are designed with rings to fit around no more than two fingers and sold or furnished for the purpose of defense. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY. 

HB 197 (Dempsey-13th) Establishes the establishment of the Strategic Integrated Data System (SIDS) under the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, which would facilitate interagency data sharing. STATUS: House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee.

HB 209 (Gambill-15th) Establishes a specialty license plate to benefit the Georgia Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Inc. STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee.

HB 226 (Lariccia-169th) Extends the sunset for penalties related to violation of Joshua’s Law to 2022. FYI, Joshua’s law is the part of Georgia law related to drivers license requirements for teen drivers. STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY. 

HB 261 (Ballinger-23rd) Changes the name of the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board to Sexual Offender Risk Review Board. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 267 (Mitchell-88th) Prevents imposition of the death penalty if the only evidence of the defendant’s guilt is the testimony of a single eyewitness. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 346 (Cooper-43rd) Protects tenants from retaliation by landlords for certain actions, and protects landlords from such tenant actions when the tenants intent is vindictive. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 1 (Parent-42nd) “C.J.’s Law”- Creates a felony and 1-10 year sentence for a driver who causes an accident that results in bodily harm, and then leaves the scene of the accident. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 45 and SR 84 (Beach-21st) Establishes pari-mutuel horse racing in Georgia at a limited number of licensed equestrian centers and creates the Georgia Horse Racing Commission. State proceeds from the racing shall be in a designated account and used to fund education, health care, and rural development programs. STATUS: Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this WEDNESDAY.


 BE A VOICE FOR CHILDREN

2 Minute Advocacy Ask

Senate Bill 64 – Terroristic Threats

The “Ask”:
Call members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote NO on Senate Bill 64.


The What: 
SB 64 (Ligon-3rd) Makes a terroristic threat by a child 13 or older against an individual or a public or private school a class B felony.


The Why:

Often, as a result of immaturity, fear, anger, or perceived comic or status-gaining opportunity, children and youth use words or imagery that can be misinterpreted as terroristic threats. Additionally, children with behavioral health challenges, such as autism, Tourette Syndrome, adverse trauma, and the like, sometimes cannot control their immediate responses or emotions, yet are in no way terrorists or actually threatening terrorism. That said, more appropriate, tiered responses, such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), counselling services, family therapies, and evidence-based interventions are more effective in addressing misbehavior than prosecution of a child for a felony. Preventing a child’s frustration from escalating into something more serious by using a thoughtful process is more likely to result in positive outcomes than further traumatizing him/her with court involvement and incarceration. 


The How:
Click Here to call or email members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to deliver the message below.


The Message:
Hello Senator _______. Please to vote NO on House Bill 64, which makes a terroristic threat by a child 13 or older against an individual or a public or private school a class B felony. Often, as a result of immaturity, fear, anger, or perceived comic or status-gaining opportunity, children and youth use words or imagery that can be misinterpreted as terroristic threats. Additionally, children with behavioral health challenges, such as autism, Tourette Syndrome, adverse trauma, and the like, sometimes cannot control their immediate responses or emotions, yet are in no way terrorists or actually threatening terrorism. Preventing a child’s frustration from escalating into something more serious by using a thoughtful response such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), counseling services, family therapies, and evidence-based interventions is more likely to result in positive outcomes than further traumatizing a child with court involvement and incarceration. Thank you very much for your consideration and for your service on behalf of Georgia’s children and families.

**BONUS ASK**
House Bill 234 – “Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act”

The Ask: Call members of the House Juvenile Justice Committee and ask them to vote YES on House Bill 234, the Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act

The What: HB 234 (Efstration-104th) Authorizes DFCS to provide care and supervision to children who are victims of human trafficking; allows a law enforcement officer or agency or DFCS to refer any child suspected of being a victim of commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking to a certified victim services organization which provides comprehensive trauma-informed services designed to alleviate the adverse effects of trafficking victimization; raises the age from 16 to 18 for purposes of determining the offense of prostitution; and makes it easier to prosecute owners of places where trafficking occurs.

The Why: A holistic, victim-centered response to child sex trafficking is key to getting trafficked, molested children the services that they need. Additionally, it is vital to hold the adults involved, from pimps to johns to bad-acting property owners responsible. Such a protective response, without criminalizing children for their own rape can start to turn the tide on this epidemic of abuse.

The How: Click Here to call or email members of the House Juvenile Justice Committee to deliver the message below

The Message: Hello Representative _______. Please to vote YES on House Bill 234, the Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act. This bill provides a protective response for child sex trafficking, without criminalizing children for their own rape. Also, it is extremely important to hold the adults involved in the molestation, from pimps to johns to bad-acting property owners, responsible in order to stop this epidemic. Thank you very much for your consideration and for your service on behalf of Georgia’s children and families.
 

**BONUS BONUS ASK**
Voices’ and Georgia Statewide After School Network Events

The Ask: Mark your calendars to attend the following totally awesome events

The When: 
THIS WEDNESDAY! Feb 20 – Afterschool Day (State Capitol)

Feb. 26 – Justice Day (State Capitol)

March 22 – Children’s Day (State Capitol) (NOTE THE DATE CHANGE) 

Why: Because children are a big deal!