Legislative Update 3.11.19

Sometimes, at the state house, waiting for a lawmaker to emerge from chambers, or for 374 school children to get through the metal detector at the Washington Street entrance, you can find me daydreaming about other career choices I could have made. “What would it be like,” I wonder, “to have been a fill-in-the-blank?” I ponder occupations such as Metallica roadie, bi-plane pilot, feline psychologist, squirrel exterminator, or even, Queen of Liechtenstein. This past week, while waiting through the 2 hour 40 minute airport debate in the Senate (SB 131 – about whether or not the state should take over operations of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ), I imagined being a game-designer. Me being me, of course, the sort of game I would design would be fun yet educational; surprising yet predictable, and complicated, invigorating, frustrating, and ultimately, over. What I have just described, in fact, is the last few weeks of the legislative session! And what a game it is! It is sort of like a combination of Chess, Hide-and-Seek, Yahtzee, and Whack-A-Mole. The rules would be something like this:

Objective of the Game: To make it through Sine Die with the best bills passed and the worst ones defeated.

Rules of the Game:

  • Each player selects a badge (Senator, Representative, Staff, Lobbyist, etc.)
  • Place the badge on your right lapel, so that when someone shakes your hand, they can nonchalantly scan up your arm and pretend like they have not forgotten your name. Points are deducted for asking why they are squinting.
  • Each player then selects as many bills as they can retain, understand, or physically carry. Including the LC Number when discussing the bills triples your score.
  • Using a sharpie, mobile phone, pen, pencil, or piece of coal, keep track of amendments made to all of your bills. Identifying which amendments are policy-driven and which are simply gamesmanship adds 2 points per amendment. The complete gutting of a favorite bill or its failure to get a hearing or vote docks the player 25 points and loses him or her their Rook.
  • In high heels, slippery loafers, or with hot and lidless coffee in your hand, chase down sponsors of troublesome bills as they ascend or descend marble stairs. In the process, you must maintain a relaxed, knowledgeable, and professional persona that the elected official can trust, joke around with and sometimes ask you questions that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Points are gained for affecting change of legislation, but lost for being so flustered that you forgot why you chased the person in the first place. Points are also lost for bad breath, calling them by their first name, or spilled beverage.
  • The most points can be gleaned for staying hopeful, charming, and strategic right up to the bitter-midnight-end of the 40th day. Deductions are made for not staying hydrated, giving up on a bill, or losing your phone charger. Please note: Points are neither gained nor lost for eating your weight in pizza, Girl Scout cookies, and/or peanuts on the last day.
  • The game ends when both the House and the Senate have adjourned “Sine Die” and all the legislators have littered their chambers with paper.

And with that, I encourage you to read below to see what bills made it through one chamber and into another last Thursday (Crossover Day) and which ones didn’t. I also encourage you to scroll to the special action alert below and pick a few bill sponsors to thank for their work thus far, here at the midway point of the session.

Until next week, Game On!

 

 

 

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



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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

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HB 426 (Efstration-104th) Revises the criteria for imposition of punishment for crimes involving bias or prejudice to specify that bias or prejudice mean the individual’s belief or perception regarding the race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability, and then revises the sanctions for such crimes. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 470 (Sainz-180th) Requires analysis and collection of DNA for individuals charged with a felony offense but sentenced as a first offender or under conditional discharge. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 472 (Reeves-34th) Requires the court to consider alternatives to foster care and specifically authorizes the court to impose interim measures that would keep the child out of care pending a preliminary protective hearing. The bill also adds criteria concerning juvenile court intake officers and their training. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

SB 222 (Stone-23rd) (Re)Creates the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform for the purpose of conducting periodic comprehensive reviews of criminal laws, criminal procedure, sentencing laws, adult correctional issues, juvenile justice issues, enhancement of probation and parole supervision, better management of the prison population and of the population in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and other issues related to criminal and accountability courts. The Council is effective through June 30, 2022. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 179 (Moore-1st) Removes discipline data from the criteria for evaluating school climate. STATUS: House Education Committee.

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 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.

HB 359 (Holcomb-81st) Revises the terminology used in determining whom to arrest in instances of family violence when complaints are received from opposing parties. The revision changes the term “primary aggressor” to “dominant aggressor.” The bill also states that an officer shall not threaten, suggest, or otherwise indicate that all parties will be arrested and, that when determining who the dominant aggressor is, an officer shall consider threats that created the fear of physical injury. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 364 (Bodie-62nd) Allows some defendants to have a second conviction cleared if they were 17-25 years old the first time they were sentenced and at least five years have passed. (Currently, certain first-time offenders can have their criminal convictions cleared after completing their sentence, but they can only take advantage of that opportunity once) . STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 403 (Holcomb-81st) Prevents a private entity from operating a detention facility, including prisons, jails, immigration detention centers, parole revocation centers, long-term and short-term youth detention centers, boot camps, and probation detention centers. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

HB 438 (Ballinger-23rd) Limits the use of restraints on a child in the courtroom. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 439 (Ballinger-23rd) Requires the juvenile court judges to be elected by the electors of the judicial circuit in which such judge would serve. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 440 (Ballinger-23rd) Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 441 (Bruce-61st) Creates a “program of safe care” for children under juvenile court jurisdiction for treatment of substance abuse and for services for substance abuse prevention. The program brings together drug treatment professionals, social programs, and local and state government agencies, including, but not limited to, the Department of Human Services, to develop safe care plans. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 528 (Ballinger-23rd) Expands convictions for which records restriction is not available and sets parameters for victim notification and petition to seal records. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil 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.

SB 166 (Jackson-2nd) Revises the criteria for imposition of punishment for crimes involving bias or prejudice to specify that bias or prejudice mean the individual’s belief or perception regarding the race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability, or physical disability, and then revises the sanctions for such crimes. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

HR 47 (Scott-76th) Creates the House Study Committee on the Decriminalization of Traffic Violations. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.


CHILD WELFARE/VULNERABLE YOUTH
HB 12 (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. 

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 70 (Efstration-104th) Revises provisions relating to guardians and conservators of minors and adults. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 227 (Frye-118th) Expands the prohibitions on discrimination against victims of family violence to include victims of sexual assault. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Insurance and Labor 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.

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 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 codifies the process for identifying sex trafficking victims; and makes it easier to prosecute knowing 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 281  (Anulewicz-42nd) Increases the penalty provisions relating to pimping and pandering. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 381 (Efstration-104th) Cleans up terminology, grammar, and punctuation in statute related to child support provisions. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 424 (Silcox-52nd) Expands the definition of Criminal Gang Activity to include trafficking persons for labor servitude or sexual servitude, keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, and pandering. The bill also revises rules pertaining to the admissibility of a complainant’s past sexual behavior in prosecutions for certain sexual offenses. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 478 (Ballinger-23rd) Removes children under 18 from the state child abuse registry; reforms parameters of due process for alleged offenders; and establishes a process for expungement of those on the registry. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.  

HB 543 (Efstration-104th) Allows an individual to be adjudicated an equitable caregiver of a child provided that the relationship between such individual and the child is in the best interest of the child and providing that there is no open child welfare and youth services case involving such child or his or her parent. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. 

HB 553 (Dempsey-13th) Eliminates the Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children from the membership of the State Victim Services Commission and the bill of rights for foster parents, as the agency reference is now obsolete. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee. 

SB 9 (Jones-22nd) Prohibits sexual extortion or coercion of adults or minors. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. 

SB 158 (Strickland-17th) 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 17 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice Committee. 

SB 167 (Brass-28th) Allows a foster placement for a child to be deemed as the child’s fictive kin in determining such child’s permanency plan, if after 6 months and reasonable diligent search efforts conducted by DFCS, no relatives or fictive kin have been located. In all cases in which the child has reached the age of 11, the judge shall consider the desires of the child. Additionally, if a child has been in a stable foster placement for 12 months or more, a presumption shall exist that remaining in that placement is in the child’s best interests. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice Committee. 

SB 190 (Kennedy-18th) Allows a party to bring a counterclaim for contempt or enforcement of a child custody order or for modification of legal or physical custody in response to a complaint seeking a change of legal or physical custody. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice Committee. 

SB 225 (Walker-20th) Brings Georgia law into conformity with the federal Social Security Act and the Family First Prevention Services Act. It increases the standard of evidence in proving maltreatment in cases involving children who are members of federally recognized Indian tribes. The bill also creates the category of foster-care placement known as a Qualified Residential Treatment Program, including definition and lays out the qualifications for clinicians offering the treatment, procedures for assessing children for this placement, judicial oversight and the mechanism for the child’s family to work through a case plan overseen by the court and the Division of Family and Children Services. The bill also requires DFCS, to provide a youth in foster care for more than six months any official documentation necessary to prove the child was previously in foster care before aging out of foster care. And finally, the bill brings Georgia in compliance with the Social Security Act’s title IV-E by requiring that the final decision for hearings on benefits be made by the state agency distributing those benefits. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice Committee.

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

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

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 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.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 259 (Ballinger-23rd) Requires the Georgia Crime Information Center to provide criminal history record information to the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board upon request of the board. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, but was withdrawn from the Rules Committee and recommitted to Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 260 (Ballinger-23rd) Revises the offense of burglary in the second degree to incorporate an instance where a person enters or remains within an occupied dwelling of another and commits an act of simple battery or battery. 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 Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 393 (McLeod-105th) Allows for a state income tax deduction for child support payments. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 416 (Williams-145th) Establishes the State Vaccine Consumer Protection Office and creates a State Vaccination Information Sheet. The bill also to provide for rights of consumers to decline administration of vaccines to themselves or their children and prevents the refusal of vaccination from being used when considering child protective services complaints or reunification in child protective services cases. In addition, child protective services can not authorize or facilitate the administration of any vaccine to a child in its custody without written parental consent. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 489 (Taylor-173rd) Expands the definition of cruelty to children in the second degree to include allowing a child under the age of 18 to witness or be present for any unlawful manufacture, distribution, delivery, possession, sale, use of any controlled substance or the commission of any forcible felony. The bill expands the definition of cruelty to children in the third degree to include the witnessing of any felony, including family violence battery. The bill also establishes the offense of traveling to meet a minor for indecent purposes. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 555 (Carpenter-4th) Adds public child welfare case manager to the list of people for whom arrest warrants may be issued by a superior court judge, a state court judge, or a probate court judge for any offense alleged to have been committed while in the performance of the case manager’s duties. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

HB 578 (Dempsey-13th) Adds persons seeking to serve as volunteers, interns, students, or employees to the list of individuals for whom the Department of Human Services can review of certain law enforcement conviction data when considering final selection service. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules 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.

SB 150 (Jordan-6th) Prohibit persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of family violence or persons subject to family violence protective orders from receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 229 (Robertson-29th) Adds the Parental Accountability Courts (PACs) to the definition of accountability courts in the Code to allow the provisions afforded to other accountability courts. It also allows the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to work with the Council of Accountability Court Judges to adopt uniform practices for PACs and allow for the Department of Law to provide legal guidance. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.



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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services 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. Assigned to Senate Insurance and Labor 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee. 

HB 158 (Silcox-52nd) Requires that Medicaid recipients have the same access to anti-retroviral regimens used to treat HIV and AIDS as to those included in the formula established for the Georgia AIDS Drug Assistance Program. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Finance 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned Senate Finance 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

HB 324 (Gravley-67th) Allows the production, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee. 

HB 514 (Tanner-9th) Creates the Georgia Mental Health Reform and Innovation Commission and initial subcommittees (Children and Adolescent Mental Health; Involuntary Commitment; Hospital and Short-Term Care Facilities; Mental Health Courts and Corrections; and Workforce and System Development). STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 551 (Hill-3rd) Requires the Georgia Bureau of Investigation shall work with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency to identify a standard level of kratom alkoloids and to determine a recommended dosage. The bill also makes it a misdemeanor to sell Kratom to anyone under 18 years old, and illegal to be used by anyone under 18 years old. It also stipulates labeling details. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee. 

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 school safety coaches and requirements for them. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education 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 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 60 (Martin-9th) 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee. 

SB 104 (Payne-54th) Revises parental requirement for issuing orders related to whether or not to resuscitate a child. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare. 

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Health and Human Services Committee.

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: PASSED SENATE.Assigned to House Insurance Committee. The bill will be heard in subcommittee this MONDAY. 

SB 207 (Burke-11th) Changes the name of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce to the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce and changes the composition of the board’s membership. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Health and Human Services Committee. 

HB 8 (Buckner-137th) Creates an exemption from state sales and use tax for certain menstrual products. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 10 (Bazemore-63rd) Requires instruction on the best practices for and risks associated with the use of tampons in a course of study in sex education and AIDS prevention instruction. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 17 (Scott-76th) Creates a misdemeanor and $100 fine for smoking inside any motor vehicle when a person under 13 years of age is present. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil 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 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 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 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 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 137 (Bazemore-63rd) Prevents persons convicted of certain first offender family violence offenses from possessing or carrying firearms. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security 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 198 (Hatchett-150th) Lifts restrictions in private competition for hospitals by eliminating Certificate of Need requirements (CON) for hospital care facilities, with the except for long-term care facilities and services. FYI, Certificate of Need is a state regulation which is used by the Georgia Department of Community health to evaluate proposals for new or expanded health care facilities (There are a number of CON bills moving. We will summarize the outcome at the end of the session). STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare. The bill made it through rules and to the House floor, but failed.

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 351 (Holly-111th) Increases the penalties for passing a school bus. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

HB 369 (Wilkerson-38th) Require the development of an educational fact sheet for elementary and secondary students about the use and misuse of opioid drugs in the event that a student-athlete or cheerleader is prescribed an opioid for a sports-related injury. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 370 (Cooper-43rd) Allows nurses practicing in an emergency medical services system to order up to a 14 day supply of non-narcotic drugs as necessary in an emergency situation. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 376 (Gilligan-24th) Designates September 1 of each year as Childhood Cancer Awareness Day in Georgia. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Rules Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 398 (Smith-41st) Allows local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles upon sidewalks by persons under the age of 16 or with disabilities. STATUS: House Transportation Committee.

HB 409 (Powell-32nd) Authorizes the delegation by a physician to an advanced practice registered nurse to order radiographic imaging tests in non-life-threatening situations. The bill also increases from four to eight the number of advanced practice registered nurses with whom a delegating physician can enter into a nurse protocol agreement and supervise at one time. STATUS: House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare.

HB 442 (Schofield-60th) Creates a grant program to encourage physicians to practice in underserved areas of the state. STATUS: House Appropriations Committee.

HB 457 (Jones-25th) Requires the wearing of seatbelts in off-road farm vehicles or pickup trucks being used for farming. The bill also states that failure to wear a seatbelt in any seat of a motor vehicle which has a seat safety belt or belts shall not be any basis for cancellation of insurance coverage. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 477 (Stephens-164th) Exempts pools located in condominium complexes from public health inspections. STATUS: House State Planning and Community Affairs Committee.

HB 515 (Jasperse-11th) Requires certain state departments and agencies to provide recommended school construction designs and measures that advance school safety and requires new school safety plans to be based upon the operational guide for preventing targeted school violence issued by the United States Secret Service. The bill also requires the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) to visit schools to inspect the school safety plan every 3 years. The bill requires schools to conduct drills every year, but leaves it to the discretion of the school as to whether students participate in the drill. The bill also creates a state-wide threat management team to coordinate school safety efforts. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 521 (Gaines-117th) Authorizes temporary licenses for dentists licensed in other states to provide dental care to indigent populations in Georgia. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 524 (Stover-71st) Creates a foundation to fund the Georgia Apex Program and provides an income tax credit for donations to the Public School Mental Health Services Foundation. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 544 (Efstration-104th) Revises procedures regarding emergency involuntary treatment, and requires the affidavits of the persons upon which an emergency involuntary treatment order is based to be made part of the patient evaluation and among the documents that influence treatment decisions. The bill also revises provisions around curt ordered outpatient treatment, including accountability and informative measures. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 550 (Scott-76th) Raises the amount of marijuana that constitutes a misdemeanor from 1 ounce to 2 ounces. The bill also lessens penalties for such possession. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 580 (Wilson-80th) The “Youth Mental Health Protection Act” – Prohibits the practice of conversion therapy for children under 18 years old. (Conversion therapy is defined as any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity). STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee.

SB 10 (Jones-22nd) Narrows the law regarding marijuana possession to state that possession of one-half ounce or less be punishable by a $300 fine, and that possession of one-half ounce to two ounces be punishable by imprisonment up to one year, a fine of $1,000 or less and/or community service. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 36 (Henson-41st) Expands Medicaid to cover adults. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 44 (James-35th) Requires pre-participation physical examinations for youth athletes (7-18 years old) participating in youth sports leagues. STATUS: Senate Education & Youth Committee.

SB 74 (Brass-28th) Lifts restrictions in private competition for hospitals by eliminating Certificate of Need requirements (CON) for hospital care facilities, with the except for long-term care facilities and services. FYI, Certificate of Need is a state regulation which is used by the Georgia Department of Community health to evaluate proposals for new or expanded health care facilities. STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities 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 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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill made it to the Senate floor but was tabled and did not cross over.

SB 145 (Harbin-16th) Requires healthcare insurers to develop selection standards for provider participation. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

SB 148 (Robertson-29th) Requires the wearing of seatbelts in off-road farm vehicles or pickup trucks being used for farming. The bill also states that failure to wear a seatbelt in any seat of a motor vehicle which has a seat safety belt or belts shall not be any basis for cancellation of insurance coverage. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee. 

SB 151 (Burke-11th) Creates the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination to adequately integrate state and private resources to strategically improve access to care, effective health management strategies, and cost control measures. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 160 (Anderson-43rd) Requires all occupants of a passenger vehicle to be restrained by a seatbelt. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee.

SB 199 (Williams-39th) Requires testing of drinking water in child care learning centers and schools for lead contamination and remediation. The bill also requires public posting of results. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 210 (Mullis-53rd) 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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 223 (Mullis-53rd) Requires the Georgia Bureau of Investigation shall work with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency to identify a standard level of kratom alkoloids and to determine a recommended dosage. The bill also makes it a misdemeanor to sell Kratom to anyone under 18 years old, and illegal to be used by anyone under 18 years old. It also stipulates labeling details. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 226 (Robertson-29th) Requires all occupants of a passenger vehicle, whether in a front seat or back seat, be restrained by a seat safety belt. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee.

HR 261 (Newton-123rd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Evaluating and Simplifying Physician Oversight of Midlevel Providers. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill made it to the Senate floor but was tabled and did not cross over.

HR 367 (Pullin-131st) Urges Georgia’s school districts to have an emergency medical technician (EMT) present during all full-contact sporting events. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HR 448 (Cooper-43rd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on the Safe Staffing of Nurses in Georgia. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

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 Rules Committee.

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

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 Education & Youth Committee.

SR 202 (Hufstetler-52nd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Evaluating and Simplifying Physician Oversight of Midlevel Providers. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee.

SR 217 (Ligon-3rd) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Prescribing Patterns for Antidepressants and Other Psychotropic Medications. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SR 263 (Mullis-53rd) Creates the Senate Emergency Medical Services Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee.

SR 264 (Mullis-53rd) Creates the Joint Emergency Medical Services Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Read and Adopted.


EARLY CARE AND LEARNING

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 Industry and Labor Committee.

HB 188 (Shannon-84th) Repeals the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 475 (Dreyer-59th) Requires appropriate and skilled prenatal, perinatal, and postpartum care and resources for female inmates, including clothing and supplies, psychiatric care, education, appropriate medical facilities, and qualified medical staff. The bill also prohibits restraints for female inmates except under certain circumstances and requires parent child visitation for families with children under 18 years of age. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 577 (Cannon-58th) The “Working for Two Act” – Requires accommodations in the workplace for pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. The bill requires the Commissioner of Labor to promulgate rules and regulations regarding such and gives the department the power to assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000.00 for each act of misconduct, but limits the cumulative fine to $5,000.00. STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee.

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 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 Insurance and Labor 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.

HR 421 (Dempsey-13th) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Infant and Toddler Social and Emotional Health. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HR 447 (Kendrick-93rd) Encourages the General Assembly to fund a study of the causes of infant and maternal mortality in this state and to appoint a commission to propose solutions. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.


EDUCATION

HB 59 (Belton-112th) Allows military students to enroll in a public school based on official military orders prior to physically establishing residency. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee.

HB 130 (Nix-69th) Authorizes the Georgia Foundation for Public Education to establish a nonprofit corporation to qualify as a public foundation. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee.

HB 134 (Rich-97th) Repeals a population provision regarding the disposition of law library funds in certain counties. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Special Judiciary Committee.

HB 218 (Williams-145th) Extends the window to access the HOPE scholarship from 7 to 10 years and states that active military duty shall not count against that window. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee.

HB 444 (Reeves-34th) Revises criteria for Dual Enrollment. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee.

HB 527 (Dickey-140th) Changes program weights in the Quality Basic Education Formula for funding purposes. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned Senate Finance Committee.

HB 530 (Hitchens-161st) Requires the Georgia Department of Education provide a copy of a parent or guardian’s declaration of intent to utilize a home study program for their student to the local school systems in which the home study programs are located, and should a child stop attending public school for 45 days without submitting such a declaration to GaDOE, the school shall refer the matter to the Division of Family and Children Services to conduct an assessment to determine whether the withdrawal was to avoid educating the child. If a parent/guardian can present a copy of a filed declaration, the Division shall immediately terminate the assessment. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee.

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education 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 E-SPLOST capability. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Appropriations Committee.

SB 68 (Sims-12th) Strengthens provisions for school system financial management. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee.

SB 83 (Mullis-53rd) Requires public schools to offer elective courses in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible to grades 9-12. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Appropriations 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee.

SB 161 (Tippins-37th) Provides for weighted scores for certain coursework for purposes of determining HOPE scholarship and Zell Miller scholarship eligibility. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Higher Education Committee.

SB 163 (Thompson-14th) Allows home study students to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the student’s resident public school system. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee.

SB 175 (Black-8th) Requires certain public employers to make employer and employee contributions to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia for employed beneficiaries. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Retirement Committee.

SB 219 (Jordan-6th) Requires high school students and students seeking a general educational development (GED) diploma to correctly answer 60 percent of the questions on the United States Citizenship Civics Test in order to receive a high school diploma or a general educational development (GED) diploma. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee.

HB 1 (Petrea-166th) Changes the name of the ‘Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act” to the “Senator Eric Johnson Scholarship Act”. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 11 (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 authorized such use. STATUS: House Prefiled.

HB 32 (Tanner-9th) Revises school turnaround legislation. Shifts the responsibility of revising the state-wide accountability system and monitoring local school systems’ progress from the Office of Student Achievement to the Department of Education. Gives the Governor the authority to appoint the Chief Turnaround Officer. Requires the Chief Turnaround Officer to prepare an annual report of schools with poor ratings. Gives additional responsibility to the State School Superintendent to identify schools in greatest need and ensure resources and funding for those schools and to oversee the Turnaround Advisory Council. The bill also creates a pilot program to be conducted by the State School Superintendent. The purpose of the pilot is to attract and retain effective teachers. The five-year pilot will provide stipends ($5,000 in state and $2,500 in local funds) for turnaround instructional innovation specialists who agree to teach for a minimum of three years. After three years, the specialists will be eligible for a permanent salary increase. The bill eliminates a component providing for grants from the Office of Student Achievement for schools with financial need. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules 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 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 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 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. The bill now rests in the House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Retirement Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

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 133 (Clark-108th) Require that any public school course of study in sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention instruction is medically accurate. STATUS: House Health & Human Services 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.

HB 170 (Taylor-173rd) Increases the state minimum aggregate allowance for tax credits for qualified education donations from $5 million to $15 million. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 181 (Mitchell-88th) Provides that the initial term or any renewal term of a charter school shall be for no more than three years. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 206 (Mitchell-88th) Requires the charter petitioner, local board of education, and State Board of Education to review the content of, design of, and time and money resources for standardized assessments used by charter schools. The bill also allows a student’s parent or guardian to inspect and review the student’s assessment . STATUS: House 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 state-wide 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 Retirement Committee.

HB 389 (Wilensky-79th) Requires excused school absences for students voting in state-wide elections. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 390 (Benton-31st) Allows certain members of the Teachers Retirement System to be eligible to obtain creditable service towards retirement for international teaching service by paying the full actuarial cost of obtaining such creditable service. STATUS: House Retirement Committee.

HB 414 (Kennard-102nd) Lower the age of compulsory school attendance from six years old to five years old and requires kindergarten for all children prior to entering into first grade. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 421 (Stephens-164th) Prohibits a school year from starting before the second full week in August, with the exception of year-round schools, and requires the local board of education to seek input on the school year calendar from community organizations and parent organizations. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 464 (Momtahan-17th) Requires local boards of education to provide a public comment period during every meeting. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 476 (Stovall-74th) Mandates that child entertainer students performing during one or more school days shall not be counted absent from school. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 496 (Hopson-153rd) Requires a course of study in personal financial literacy and money management in public middle schools and high schools. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 513 (Scott-76th) Prohibits a local school system from leasing or selling a public school in such system to a private entity unless such public school has been in existence for at least 15 years. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 519 (McLeod-105th) Requires the State Board of Education to retain an independent third party to evaluate the Quality Basic Education Formula and its program components and make recommendations to the State Board of Education and the General Assembly as to any necessary changes, and to reassess the formula every 5 years. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 526 (Jones-25th) Requires annual training (up to 12 hours) for governing board members of nonprofit organizations of charter schools. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 533 (Jones-167th) Creates a tax credit for educators K-12 of 50 percent of up to $500.00 for eligible expenses such as school supplies. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 558 (Jones-25th) A state charter school with an attendance zone that includes all local school systems in this state shall be considered to have state-wide jurisdiction. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 562 (Dickey-140th) Establishes the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Scholarship Program, and sets its criteria. The bill also stipulates that the scholarship, which is subject to available funding, will provide $10,000.00 for each REACH scholar for the first year of the REACH participating school system’s participation, and then each year after, the participating school system will be responsible for providing a proportionate share of the scholarship based on the school system’s designated tier in the Department of Community Affairs’ job tax credit designation. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

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 57 (Rahman-5th) “Pay Forward, Pay Back Student Grant Act” – Creates a grant program to pay tuition and fees of University System of Georgia students in exchange for an agreement for the student to pay a percentage of their annual adjusted gross income to the Georgia Student Finance Authority for up to a certain number of years once certain criteria are met. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

SB 70 (Jackson-2nd) Raises the compulsory age of education from 16 to 17. STATUS: Senate Education & Youth 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 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 165 (Thompson-14th) Requires the State Board of Education to designate a nonprofit organization to govern high school athletics for public schools. A nonpublic school that wishes to engage in high school athletic competition with a public high school may become a member of the nonprofit organization. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 173 (Dolezal-27th) 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 state-wide total public school enrollment in the 2017-2018 school year. STATUS: FAILED SENATE.

SB 209 (Jones-10th) Eliminates the star rating for financial efficiency from the state indicators of quality of learning in individual schools and school systems. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill made it out of Rules Committee and onto the Senate Floor, but was tabled and therefore did not cross over.

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.

HR 137 (Metze-55th) Creates the House Study Committee on the History of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

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

HR 291 (Park-101st) Creates the House Study Committee on Increasing Access to Afterschool Programs. STATUS: House Special Rules Committee.

SR 87 (Parent-42nd) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Digital Education and Screen Time in Georgia Public Schools. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee.


MISCELLANEOUS

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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Science and Technology 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Public Safety 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB 459 (Ehrhart-36th) Creates a verification process for driver’s licenses of school bus drivers. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee. 

HB 481 (Setzler-35th) The “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act” – Among other things, the bill requires that unborn children at any stage of development be included in state population-based determinations and states that life begins at the moment a human heartbeat is present in the womb. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Science and Technology 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 144 (Anderson-24th) Allows a licensed tobacco dealer to apply for a special event tobacco permit for off-premise sales of cigars, cigarettes, or loose or smokeless tobacco for a special event or a temporary location offsite from the licensed location for a period of 1-10 days. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Ways and Means 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.

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 122 (Trammel-132nd) Revokes the authorization for the carrying and possession of handguns by weapons carry license holders in certain buildings or on real property owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security 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.

HB 165 (Trammel-132nd) Allows for the filing and retention of fingerprints submitted for the purpose of obtaining and renewing a weapons carry license. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

HB 205 (Mitchell-88th) Requires the Department of Driver Services to include in its drivers’ manual instructions for best practices for facilitating the safety of all parties during a traffic stop by law enforcement. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security 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 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 348 (Martin-49th) Each full-time, non-temporary employee of the State of Georgia or of any branch, department, board, bureau, or commission thereof shall be entitled to apply for up to eight hours of paid leave per calendar year for the purpose of volunteering in this state. Such leave is only authorized for activities directly related to volunteering and providing nonprofit support. It may not be used for volunteering for political purposes or agendas. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee.

HB 363 (Marin-96th) Requires each department, agency, board, commission, or authority of the state or any political subdivision to take reasonable steps to provide equal access to public services for individuals with limited English proficiency. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee.

HB 418 (Anulewicz-42nd) Extends the statute of limitations for civil action by adult victims of child sexual abuse from 23 years old to 55 years old, and the date for civil action to occur from two years to four years. The bill also clarifies the term “childhood sexual abuse”. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 434 (Hitchens-161st) States that a campus policeman who is employed by a private educational institution of higher learning and who commits a tort while acting within the scope of his or her official duties or employment or authorized law enforcement powers shall not be subject to lawsuit or liability. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 473 (Park-101st) Creates a refundable earned income tax credit. STATUS: House Ways & Means Committee.

HB 479 (Clark-147th) Extends the statute of limitations for civil actions for childhood sexual abuse from 2 to 4 years and limits the age of the plaintiff between 23-38 years old. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 542 (Jones-25th) Authorizes health care facilities to purchase and sell charity care credits (a value computed for uncompensated indigent or charity care based on a fixed-price schedule utilizing Medicare diagnosis-related groups) through an exchange and creates the Georgia Charity Care Exchange. STATUS: House Human Relations and Aging Committee.

HB 546 (Lott-122nd) Pending reversal of Roe v. Wade or an amendment to the United States Constitution that, in whole or in part, restores the authority to prohibit abortion to the State of Georgia, this bill defines and provides penalties for the offense of criminal abortion. The bill also lays out exceptions to the definition. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HB 581 (Dukes-154th) Authorizes the application for limited paid leave for state employees in the event of the death of a child. STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee.

HB 588 (Gaines-117th) Creates a nonrefundable earned income tax credit. STATUS: House Ways & Means 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 Finance 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 50 (Harrell-40th) Revokes the authorization for the carrying and possession of handguns by weapons carry license holders in certain buildings or on real property owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee.

SB 54 and SR 85 (Harbison-15th) Requires the Georgia Lottery Corporation to offer one or more games to benefit veterans. STATUS: Senate Finance Committee.

SB 62 (Butler-55th) Increases the value of a tax credit based on the federal tax credit for certain child and dependent care expenses from 30% to 100% of the federal tax credit. STATUS: Senate Finance Committee.

SB 218 (Thompson-14th) The “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act” – Among other things, the bill requires that unborn children at any stage of development be included in state population based determinations and states that life begins at the moment a human heartbeat is present in the womb. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 221 (Harbin-16th) Permits a person to use a claim of burden of religious exercise as a defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 228 (Jones-25th) Extends the statute of limitations for civil actions for childhood sexual abuse from 2 to 4 years and limits the age of the plaintiff at 55 years old. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

HR 345 (Holly-111th) A constitutional amendment allowing persons 17 years of age and older to vote in elections in this state. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee.


 BE A VOICE FOR CHILDREN

2 Minute Advocacy Ask

Post-Crossover Day
 
This past Thursday was CROSSOVER DAY (the last day when a bill can pass out of its originating chamber and still be viable for full passage this year). A lot of good stuff made it across! So put your seatbelt on, warm up your email and get ready to thank some hard working sponsors.

The “Ask”: 
Contact as many of the Senators and Representatives (listed below) as you’d like and thank them for their hard work in getting their bills passed out of the first chamber and onto the second one.

 

The Why:

It takes quite a bit of hard work and determination to make good policy. The folks below have made it to the half-way point for their bills and still have a ways to go, but a thank you at this point can really mean a lot (and encourage them to keep going!).

The How:

Simply click the Senator or Representative’s name and jot a short thank you in the email that appears.

SB 222 (Re-)Creates the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.
Sen. Jesse Stone

HB 227 Expands the prohibitions on discrimination against victims of family violence to include victims of sexual assault.
Rep. Spencer Frye

HB 228 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 and requires the minor to have been emancipated.
Rep. Andy Welch

HB 234 Authorizes DFCS to provide care and supervision to children who are victims of human trafficking; raises the age from 16 to 18 for purposes of determining the offense of prostitution and codifies the process for identifying sex trafficking victims; and makes it easier to prosecute knowing owners of places where trafficking occurs.
Rep. Chuck Efstration 

SB 158 Authorizes DFCS to provide care and supervision to children who are victims of human trafficking; raises the age from 16 to 17 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.
Sen. Brian Strickland

HB 478 Removes children under 18 from the state child abuse registry; reforms parameters of due process for alleged offenders; and establishes a process for expungement of those on the registry.
Rep. Mandi Ballinger

SB 167 Allows a foster placement for a child to be deemed as the child’s fictive kin in determining such child’s permanency plan, if after 6 months and reasonable diligent search efforts conducted by DFCS, no relatives or fictive kin have been located. If such child is 11, the judge smust consider the desires of the child. If a child has been in a stable foster placement for 12 months or more, a presumption shall exist that remaining in that placement is in the child’s best interests.
Sen. Matt Brass

SB 225 (Walker-20th) Brings Georgia law into conformity with the federal Social Security Act and the Family First Prevention Services Act. (See our factsheet on the Act by clicking here!)
Sen. Larry Walker III 

HB 26 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).
Rep. Dave Belton 

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.
Rep. Demetrius Douglas

HB 290 Establishes a pilot program to provide pre-exposure prophylaxis drug assistance or services to persons at risk of being infected with HIV.
Rep. Sharon Cooper

HB 345 Prohibits pregnant, in labor or postpartum inmates from being required to squat or cough during a strip search during the second or third trimester of pregnancy or being required to undergo any vaginal examination unless performed by a licensed health care professional. The bill also prevents such inmates from being restrained with handcuffs, waist shackles, leg irons, etc. unless she appears to be an immediate threat of harm to herself or others or a substantial flight risk.
Rep. Sharon Cooper 

HB 514 Creates the Georgia Mental Health Reform and Innovation Commission and initial subcommittees (Children and Adolescent Mental Health; Involuntary Commitment; Hospital and Short-Term Care Facilities; Mental Health Courts and Corrections; and Workforce and System Development).
Rep. Kevin Tanner 

SB 48 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 and requires the department to collaborate with the Professional Standards Commission to improve and update professional development for teachers specifically relating to dyslexia.
Sen. P.K. Martin, IV

HB 218 Extends the window to access the HOPE scholarship from 7 to 10 years and states that active military duty shall not count against that window.
Rep. Rick Williams 

HB 530 Requires the Georgia Department of Education provide a copy of a parent or guardian’s declaration of intent to utilize a home study program for their student to the local school systems in which the home study programs are located, and should a child stop attending public school for 45 days without submitting such a declaration to GADOE, the school shall refer the matter to the Division of Family and Children Services to conduct an assessment to determine whether the withdrawal was to avoid educating the child. If a parent/guardian can present a copy of a filed declaration, the Division shall immediately terminate the assessment.
Rep. Bill Hitchens 

SB 67 Allows drawdown of K-12 capital outlay funding to complete restoration of fire or disaster damaged school buildings.
Sen. Dean Burke

HB 197 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.
Rep. Katie Dempsey

HB 346 (Cooper-43rd) Protects tenants from retaliation by landlords for certain actions and protects landlords from such tenant actions when the tenant’s intent is vindictive.
Rep. Sharon Cooper