Legislative Update 3.4.19

Let me just start by saying that today is PB&J Day at the Capitol. Each year, the Georgia peanut industry comes to the state house and brings a bunch of sandwiches and milk with them to share with the likes of us. It is one of my favorite days because not only can I live like a hobbit with a second breakfast (and lunch!), but also, it reminds me of the value of celebrating the stuff that makes our state a little something special. For instance, this year, the state has honored (among many others) a man known as “Mr. Peanut Man,” Smokey the Bear (who is 75 years old, but doesn’t look a day over 30), and the 2018 Georgia Peach Queens (it is not a real day in the capitol without a tiara floating around somewhere). I know it sounds silly, but I truly respect the “we notice you” thing. You see, committee hearings are often heavy with heartfelt and important conversations about topics like children with disabilities, family violence, or homeless youth, and in the constant motion of session, it is easy to forget that there is a lot of good in Georgia too. So today, as I relish my goober-laden bread, I’ll be sure to raise a bottle of milk to all the happy, fun and pleasantly quirky folks and things our state holds dear. I suggest you do the same!

One thing we hold dear, by the way, is money. This week, the House passed its version of the FY 2020 budget. If you just love a good chart, click here to see our kid relevant budget summary (FYI, the green rows are the ones that the House changed from the governor’s recommendations). Now, the budget is in the Senate, waiting to be vetted. Remember, the budget is the only bill that the General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass each year.

Another thing we hold dear, albeit in a slightly stressful kind of way, is Crossover Day, which happens this Thursday (March 7), the 28th Legislative Day. And no, Crossover Day has nothing to do with voting with the other party, dribbling a basketball, or any sort of weird virus-mutation-thing thought about by the CDC and Walking Dead fans. What Crossover Day is, actually, is the last day when a bill can pass one chamber and still be viable for passage in the other chamber this year. That means that this week, there will be a lot of bills flying through committee (or getting stuck there) and there will likely be a lot of full-chamber voting going on. So make sure your brain and your shoes are strapped on extra tight, and read on to see some of the bills that are on-the-move.

And remember, do the action alerts below and keep your eyeballs peeled (what a gross turn of phrase!) for more as the week progresses.

Happy peanut!

 

 

 

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



Know Where You Want to Go?

Juvenile Justice/Effective School Discipline

Child Welfare/Vulnerable Youth

Child Health and Safety

Early Care and Learning

Higher Education

Miscellaneous

2 Minute Advocacy Ask


 JUVENILE JUSTICE/EFFECTIVE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE

HB 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: The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this MONDAY.

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

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: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.


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

HB 227 (Frye-118th) Expands the prohibitions on discrimination against victims of family violence to include victims of sexual assault. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Insurance Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules 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 281  (Anulewicz-42nd) Increases the penalty provisions relating to pimping and pandering. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Awaiting committee assignment in Senate.

HB 381 (Efstration-104th) Cleans up terminology, grammar, and punctuation in statute related to child support provisions. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules 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 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: House Code Revision Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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 Hopper.

SB 9 (Jones-22nd) Prohibits sexual extortion or coercion of adults or minors. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY. 

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. Awaiting committee assignment in House. 

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: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: Senate Health & Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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: Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.



CHILD HEALTH AND SAFETY

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: House Health & Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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. Awaiting committee assignment in Senate.

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. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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

HB 290 (Cooper-43rd) Establishes a pilot program to provide preexposure prophylaxis drug assistance or services to persons at risk of being infected with HIV. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House 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: The bill will be on the House floor for a vote this MONDAY.

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

HB 370 (Cooper-43rd) Allows nurses practicing in an emergency medical services system to order up to a 14 day supply of nonnarcotic drugs as necessary in an emergency situation. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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 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 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: House Health & Human Services 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 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: House Judiciary Non-Civil 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 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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 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: The bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote this MONDAY. 

SB 104 (Payne-54th) Revises parental requirement for issuing orders related to whether or not to resuscitate a child. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

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

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 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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: Senate Education & Youth 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: House Health & Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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.

SR 233 (Orrock-36th) Recognizes October 9, 2019, as PANDAS Awareness Day at the state capitol. STATUS: Senate Read and Adopted.

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 Rules Committee.


EARLY CARE AND LEARNING

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.

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.


EDUCATION

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 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. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY. 

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

HB 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. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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 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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY. 

HB 444 (Reeves-34th) Revises criteria for Dual Enrollment. STATUS: House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY. 

HB 464 (Momtahan-17th) Requires local boards of education to provide a public comment period during every meeting. STATUS: House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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 Health & Human Services 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 527 (Dickey-140th) Changes program weights in the Quality Basic Education Formula for funding purposes. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 530 (Hitchens-161st) Prohibits parents or guardians from withdrawing or removing a child from a public school for the purpose of avoiding compliance with laws relating to mandatory attendance, school discipline, parental involvement, or parental responsibilities; and creates additional requirements with regard to declarations of intent to home school. Also, if the local school system determines there are reasonable grounds to believe that a child is a victim of educational neglect, or a child is withdrawn from school without notification, or stops attending school for an extended period of time and cannot be located, the local school system shall refer the matter to the Division of Family and Children Services, which will conduct a thorough investigation. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice 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.

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 ESPLOST capability. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Appropriations Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY.

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: The bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote this MONDAY. 

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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

SB 161 (Tippins-37th) Provides for weighted scores for certain coursework for purposes of determining HOPE scholarship and Zell Miller scholarship eligibility. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate 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: Senate Education & Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY. 

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: Senate Education & Youth 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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Finance 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Retirement Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

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: Senate Education & Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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: Senate Education & Youth Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

HR 291 (Park-101st) Creates the House Study Committee on Increasing Access to Afterschool Programs. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Rules Committee. The bill now rests in House 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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 Hopper.

HB 459 (Ehrhart-36th) Creates a verification process for driver’s licenses of school bus drivers. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security 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 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: House Health & Human Services 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.

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 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 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, with no limit to the number of such permits a licensed dealer may be issued. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities 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. The bill will be heard in committee this MONDAY.

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

House Bill 234 – “Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act”
HURRY! The vote is this morning!

The “Ask”: 
Call members of the House of Representatives and ask them to vote YES on House Bill 234, the Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act. 

The What: 

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

The Why:

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

The How:

Click Here to call or email members of the House to deliver the message below.

The Message:

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


**BONUS ASK**
Safe and Stable Housing
 

The Ask: 
Call members of the House Rules Committee and ask them put House Bill 346 on the floor for a vote as soon as possible.

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

The Why: 
This bill creates reasonable protections for both tenants and landlords when conflicts arise regarding eviction, retaliatory rent increases, or utility cut-offs. This bill would also protect landlords by prohibiting frivolous or vindictive complaints by a tenant. Families who rent their homes need protections when they ask landlords for improvements in housing conditions. Currently, raising concerns about code violations, mold, disrepair or other unsafe and unhealthy conditions can result in retaliatory responses by landlords, including things such as eviction and rent increases. 

Children fare best when they, and their parents or caregivers, are in safe and stable housing. Unreliable housing can cause stress, and even exacerbate other challenges families face such as precarious mental health conditions and access to consistency of services and schools. Of course, it can also lead to homelessness, a problem which we already suffer from in Georgia. In fact, last year alone, an estimated 45,500 children and youth experienced homelessness. (source: GA Alliance to End Homelessness) Click here for more information on Homelessness and Children in Georgia

Additionally, when viewing this issue through the lens of children’s health, these following three statistics are incredibly important and should be considered when voting on this bill:
1. According to the GA Department of Public Health, in 2014, more than 10 percent of Georgia children suffered from asthma. Asthma is often exacerbated by environmental factors, including housing conditions.
2. Asthma prevalence was higher among children whose family annual household income was less than $25,000 than among children from families making $75,000 or more per year.
3. Asthma is the leading cause of chronic disease-related school absenteeism.

Children require healthy homes in order to reach their fullest potential. HB 346 is modeled on Texas law, and would allow Georgia to join 41 other states that ban retaliation against tenants for seeking housing code enforcement, including Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, NC, SC, Mississippi, and Virginia. 

The Message: 
Dear Representative __________, Please ask for House Bill 346 to be put on the floor for a vote as soon as possible. I believe it is important to provide protections for low income families with children who seek to improve unhealthy and unsafe housing conditions by holding landlords accountable. Children fare best when they, and their parents or caregivers, are in safe and stable housing. Unreliable housing can cause stress, and even exacerbate other challenges families face such as precarious mental health conditions and access to consistency of services and schools.  Thank you for your service and your thoughtful work on behalf of our children and youth.

The How:
Click Here to contact members of the House Rules Committee  (Remember, calling is most efficient!)