It was an unusual week for government nerds like myself. Thanks to the impending arrival of the Patriots, the Rams, and about a billion of their closest friends, the General Assembly scheduled themselves to be adjourned on Thursday and Friday. In addition, just in case Mother Nature turned our happy-go-lucky peach state into an arctic snow-scape, worthy of mushing dogs and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance, the governor closed state offices on Tuesday as well. As you may have noticed, we lucked out and dodged the intrepid onslaught of cold, but some folks, not to be outdone by the likes of Chicago or Wisconsin, still enjoyed the idea of snow. I, myself, took my son to see Metallica (school was out too), and came away from the experience a more enlightened, if slightly more hearing-impaired, parent.
All that to say, as capitol activities go, this week was a light one.
What did happen, was a fair amount of bills got thrown in the hopper and assigned to committee. Read on for the summaries and definitely check out our advocacy ask this week. It is pretty easy and groovy to do!
See you next week!
Voices for Georgia’s Children
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HR47 (Scott-76th) Creates the House Study Committee on the Decriminalization of Traffic Violations STATUS: House Hopper
HB 16 (Scott-76th) Provides for in-state tuition at units of the University System of Georgia and branches of the Technical College System of Georgia for youth who are 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 Prefiled.
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 Hopper.
HB 58 (Burnough-77th) Prohibits persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of family violence from receiving, possessing, or transporting firearms STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security 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: House Juvenile Justice Committee.
HB 70 (Efstration-104th) Revises provisions relating to guardians and conservators of minors and adults STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.
HB 79 (Gilliard-162nd) Prohibits discriminated against blind persons by the courts, Department of Human Services, or a child-placing agency in matters relating to child custody, guardianship, foster care, visitation, placement, or adoption 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.
SB 9 (Jones-22nd) Prohibits sexual extortion or coercion of adults or minors STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 35 (Jackson-2nd) Prohibits sex offenders from residing near or loitering near their victims and the victims’ immediate family members STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 40 (Jackson-2nd) Prohibits sexual contact between an employee or volunteer of any school and a student enrolled at that school STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.
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: House Interstate Cooperation Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Thursday.
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: House Interstate Cooperation Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this Thursday.
HB 55 (Bruce-61st) Prohibits the printing, production, or possession of certain firearms produced by means of three-dimensional printing STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security 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: House Insurance Committee
HB 75 (Ehrhart-36th) Clarifies which drivers must stop when meeting a school bus STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee
HB 78 (Clark-98th) Requires the GA Department of Education to develop and post on its website guidelines and other materials to inform students, parents, guardians and coaches about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest. The bill also requires students participating in sports to review the information. Additionally, if a student passes out in a sport then they will be removed from the activity by the athletic coach and if a student exhibits symptoms of cardiac arrest then the athletic trainer can remove the student and may notify the parents. Once a student has been removed, they cannot return until they have been evaluated and cleared to return by a health care provider STATUS: House Education Committee
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 88 (Thomas-56th) “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: House Judiciary Non-Civil 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 Hopper.
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 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: Senate Health & Human Services Committee
SB 36 (Henson-41st) Expands Medicaid to cover adults STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee
SB 44 (James-35th) Requires preparticipation physical examinations for youth athletes (7-18 years old) participating in youth sports leagues 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.
HB 116 (McClain-100th) Raises the minimum wage from $5.15/hour to $15.00/hour. The bill also raises base annual pay for people who work and live (without being charged board or lodging) in a nonprofit child-caring institution or long-term care facility for children or mentally disabled adults STATUS: House Hopper.
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: Senate State Institutions and Property Committee.
SB 46 (James-35th) Raises the minimum wage from $5.15/hour to $15.00/hour. The bill also raises base annual pay for people who work and live (without being charged board or lodging) in a nonprofit child-caring institution or long-term care facility for children or mentally disabled adults STATUS: Senate Hopper.
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 40 (Scott-76th) Requires every child to be screened for Dyslexia in grades K-2 and screened as needed in grades 3-12 STATUS: House Education Committee.
HB 53 (Carpenter-4th) “Student and Educator Faith Protection Act”- Protects religious speech for students and faculty members in public schools, including expression, class assignments, organization of religious groups and activities, and limited public forums. The bill also requires each local system to adopt a model policy on student expression and gives guidelines for that policy STATUS: House 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: House Education 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.
HB 69 (Turner-21st) Changes the “prior school year requirement” for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program STATUS: House Education Committee.
HB 86 (Benton-31st) Introduces an appeals process for the teacher’s evaluation system by allowing performance ratings contained in personnel evaluations to be subject to complaint for teachers who accepted a school year contract for the fourth or subsequent consecutive school year STATUS: House Education Committee.
HB 87 (Clark-98th) Allows home study students to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the student’s resident public school system STATUS: House Education 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 Hopper.
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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill now rests in the Senate Rules Committee.
SB 48 (Martin-9th) Requires all pre-kindergarten students to be screened for dyslexia. 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. The bill also requires local boards of education to develop policies for assisting students in kindergarten through grade three with dyslexia and other learning disabilities; and creates a pilot of “dynamic laboratories of learning” in three local school systems STATUS: Senate Hopper.
HR 38 (Kendrick-93rd) Creates the House Study Committee on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fields STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.
HR 52 (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: House Education Committee.
HB 20 (Bazemore-63rd) Prohibits persons convicted of family violence offenses from possessing or carrying firearms STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.
HB 61 (Glanton-75th) Requires motor vehicle insurance companies to offer qualified active duty military service members between 18 and 24 years old motor vehicle insurance policies underwritten at the same rates as for service members 25 years of age or more STATUS: House Insurance Committee.
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: Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 41 (Parent-42nd) Allows for a state refundable earned income tax credit (a refundable tax credit available to low-income, working taxpayers) STATUS: Senate Hopper.
SB 45 (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 Hopper.
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.
2 Minute Advocacy Ask
The ASK: Tune in to watch Voices, GSAN and a number of child policy leaders present to the joint House Juvenile Justice, House Health and Human Services and House Education Committees on the brand new Whole Child Primer.
The When: This Wednesday morning (Feb. 6) from 8:30-9:30 a.m.
The How: CLICK HERE on that day to stream (the link will be available then) – or come to the Coverdell Legislative Office Building Room 506.
Introduction – Considering Child Policy
Advocacy Director, Voices for Georgia’s Children
Georgia KIDS COUNT Coordinator, Georgia Family Connection Partnership
Veda Johnson, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
Dr. Erica Fener-Sitkoff
Executive Director, Voices for Georgia’s Children
Protection & Safety
Director, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia
School Discipline & Juvenile Justice
Presiding Judge, Fulton County Juvenile Court
Early Childhood Development
Executive Director, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS)
Education & Workforce
Director, Get Georgia Reading (GGR) Campaign Development
Afterschool and Summer Learning
Director, Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN)
Census 2020 Counting Children
Advocacy Director, Voices for Georgia’s Children
** BONUS ASK **
Voices’ and Georgia Statewide After School Network Events
The Ask: Mark your calendars to attend the following totally awesome events
Feb. 12 – Voices Legislative Reception honoring the Georgia Department of Agriculture (Freight Depot)(for sponsorship opportunities, please email me and I’ll set you up!)
Feb 20 – Afterschool Day (State Capitol)
Feb. 26 – Justice Day (State Capitol)
March 6 – Children’s Day (State Capitol)
Why: Because children are a big deal!