Legislative Update 4.1.19

Hello my friends – I could hardly wait to tell you my BIG news: George Clooney finally responded to my six years’ worth of fan mail with an apology for his tardiness and an offer to direct my next Two Minute Take as recompense. Of course, I graciously accepted his offer, forgave him for ignoring me (and even forgave him for marrying someone else), and kindly suggested that he bring the twins for the Take, since we are a children’s policy and advocacy shop. He has agreed. They will all be at the Capitol in seersucker (even the toddlers) on Tuesday as we shoot the Sine Die edition. So get out your favorite Montblanc pen and your faded-hot pink autograph book from your third grade field trip to Disneyland, and meet us in the rotunda at noon o’clock on Legislative Day 40! (Fame means nothing without a crowd.) Oh – and one other thing: April fools’!

Now that the obligatory annual prank is completed, I can get on with my litany of more meaningful (and actually real) information.

In all honesty, there has been a lot of big news this week. First of all, I lost 12 pounds – all because the General Assembly gave their final thumbs up to the FY 2020 Budget, which means that I can stop carrying around my marked up paper copy of the thing. [For our groovy chart of the child relevant parts of the budget, click here!] A few of my favorite bits were the $1.5 million to help the Georgia Complete Count Committees conduct the 2020 Census, the $3000 pay raise for certified school employees, the 2% pay raise for state workers, the huge bucket of change to help the state implement the federal Family First Prevention Services Act, dollars for lots of new medical residency slots, mental health, improved data systems, and an array of maternal and newborn services and screenings. All in all, a very nice bunch of priorities figured out by those we elect, and nudged along by brilliant and dedicated Administration, House and Senate budget directors and staffs. Thanks to all!

In addition, there were a number of contentious bills at play, as is common at this time of year. Some we cover here, and some you will simply have to read about in your daily newspaper (cue the airport and hospital bills!). For more on the state of things (meaning legislation), and to advocate for the last time (we hope) on a few bills in spitting distance of the finish line, scroll down.

See you in the funny papers!

 

 

 

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: 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. Tabled by Senate but could be taken off the table for the last Legislative Day on Tuesday. 

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. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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

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

HR 585 (Gilliard-162nd) Creates the House Study Committee on Gang and Youth Violence Prevention. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. 


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. PASSED SENATE. 

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”. Language from this bill was amended to SB 9. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in 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. PASSED SENATE. 

HB 70 (Efstration-104th) Revises provisions relating to guardians and conservators of minors and adults. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Tabled by Senate, but could be taken off the table for the last Legislative Day on Tuesday.

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. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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

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. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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. PASSED SENATE.

HB 381 (Efstration-104th) Cleans up terminology, grammar, and punctuation in statute related to child support provisions. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Tabled by Senate but could be taken off the table for the last Legislative Day on Tuesday.

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. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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. Tabled by Senate, but could be taken off the table for the last Legislative Day on Tuesday.

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. Tabled by Senate, but could be taken off the table for the last Legislative Day on Tuesday.

SB 9 (Jones-22nd) Prohibits sexual extortion or coercion of adults or minors. Language from HB 43 was amended to this bill. The amendment 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: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. Because the bill was amended by the House after it passed the Senate, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the Senate.

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. PASSED 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: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE.

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. House postponed the bill. It could be voted on the last Legislative Day, this Tuesday.

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

SB 269 (Payne-54th) Creates a penalty for persons who are classified as sexually dangerous predators who fail to report and update registration information as required by law. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SR 371 (Kirk-13th) Creates the Senate Protections From Sexual Predators Study Committee. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by 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. PASSED SENATE. 

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. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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

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. The Senate version of this bill, SB 1, was passed by both chambers. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil 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: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. 

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. A similar bill, HB 345 passed both chambers, but needs agreement. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

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

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: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. 

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. PASSED SENATE. 

HB 324 (Gravley-67th) Allows the production, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE, but the chambers could not agree on differences, so a Conference Committee has been appointed to negotiate.

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. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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. PASSED SENATE. 

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. The bill did not cross over. 

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. PASSED SENATE. 

HB 666 (Dollar-45th) Provides for the licensing of surgical assistants by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. STATUS: House Health & 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. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House 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. PASSED HOUSE. 

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

SB 104 (Payne-54th) Revises parental requirement for issuing orders related to whether or not to resuscitate a child. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. 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: SIGNED BY GOVERNOR. 

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

SB 272 (Robertson-29th) Prohibits the sale to and by minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

SB 274 (Orrock-36th) Creates the Advisory Council on Rare Diseases. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

HR 261 (Newton-123rd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Evaluating and Simplifying Physician Oversight of Midlevel Providers. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The Senate Joint resolution for the same study committee is SR 202.

HR 448 (Cooper-43rd) Creates the Joint Study Committee on the Safe Staffing of Nurses in Georgia. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health & Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee. 

HR 586 (Gordon-163rd) Creates the House Study Committee on Urban Farming. STATUS: House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

HR 590 (Bennett-94th) Creates the House Study Committee on Georgia’s Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. 

HR 592 (Hawkins-27th) Creates the House Study Committee on Health Care Reimbursement. STATUS: House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare.

HR 644 (Hawkins-27th) Creates the House Study Committee on Health Care Reimbursement. STATUS: House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare.

HR 647 (Schofield-60th) Creates the House Study Committee on Addressing Period (or Menstruation) Poverty in Girls in Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in Need in Georgia. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee. 

HR 648 (Setzler-35th) A resolution to bring awareness to vaccine injury in the State of Georgia. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee. 

HR 680 (Carter-92nd) Creates the House Study Committee on School Nutrition Program Funding. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by House Special Rules 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. The bill did not cross over.

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. The House version of this study committee bill is HR 261.

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: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee. 

SR 264 (Mullis-53rd) Creates the Joint Emergency Medical Services Study Committee. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Rules Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

SR 366 (Anderson-43rd) Creates the Senate Passenger Vehicle Seat Safety Belt Study Committee. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee. 

SR 431 (James-35th) Creates the Senate Reducing Waste in Health Care Study Committee. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee. 

SR 435 (Robertson-29th) Urges the State of Georgia to increase its cigarette excise tax to offset indigent health care costs. STATUS: Senate Finance Committee. 


EARLY CARE AND LEARNING

HB 693 (Shannon-84th) Requires the Department of Community Health to allow mothers giving birth to newborns to retain Medicaid eligibility for one year following such birth. STATUS: House Appropriations Committee.

HB 717 (Mathiak-73rd) Requires the licensure and regulation of midwives and creates the Advisory Board for Licensed Midwives. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 267 (Jackson-2nd) Requires the licensing of midwives and creates the Certified Community Midwife Board. STATUS: Senate Health & Human Services 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 did not cross over.

HR 588 (Newton-123rd) Urges the Georgia Department of Public Health to review maternal deaths in this state and to develop strategies for the prevention of maternal deaths in this state. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HR 589 (Newton-123rd) Creates the House Study Committee on Maternal Mortality. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. 

SR 520 (Jackson-2nd) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Midwifery Practices. STATUS: Senate Hopper.


EDUCATION

HB 32 (Tanner-9th) Revises school turnaround legislation by moving the Chief Turnaround Officer to the School Improvement Division of the Department of Education (as opposed to having oversight from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement). 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. Language from this bill was amended to SB 68. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

HB 59 (Belton-112th) Allows military students to enroll in a public school based on official military orders prior to physically establishing residency. The bill was amended to add HB 558, which states that 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: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House. 

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). The bill was amended with language from SB 173, which 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 150% of the federal poverty level, or documented victims of bullying. All students must have been in public school the prior year for the two FTE counts. Enrollment is frozen in any year that there is an austerity cut to QBE. After graduation, funds rolled over cannot be used for postsecondary purposes and must be returned to the state general fund. The program cap is 2.5% statewide and a 2.5% cap per district. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Tabled by Senate but could be taken off the table for the last Legislative Day on Tuesday.

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. Language from this bill was amended to SB 68. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in the House Rules Committee.

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

HB 134 (Rich-97th) Repeals a population provision regarding the disposition of law library funds in certain counties. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE.  

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. PASSED SENATE.  

HB 444 (Reeves-34th) Changes the name of the “Move on When Ready Act” to the “Dual Enrollment Act.” It reduces the number of dual credit hours that qualified high schoolers may enroll in at the expense of the state to 32 total academic hours or 63 total technical course hours, with a maximum of 16 credit hours per semester or quarter. It creates a GPA requirement of 3.0 for participation in academic courses, 2.6 for technical courses, or 2.0 for courses in the high demand career initiative. The bill requires newly eligible students to be in tenth grade for technical courses or at least eleventh grade for academic courses, unless the courses are online. The bill shifts responsibility for oversight and evaluation of the program from the Office of Student Achievement to the Georgia Student Finance Commission and provides for establishment of a transportation grant opportunity for public high schools. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Tabled by Senate but could be taken off the table for the last Legislative Day on Tuesday.

HB 464 (Momtahan-17th) Requires local boards of education to provide a public comment period during every meeting. The contents of this bill were amended to SB 68. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Education Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

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

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. PASSED SENATE.  

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. Language from this bill was amended to HB 59. 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. Language from this bill was amended to SB 83. STATUS: House Higher Education 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 2020-2021 school year and be established by the State School Superintendent. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. 

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

SB 68 (Sims-12th) Strengthens provisions for school system financial management. The bill was amended to include language from 3 more bills: The first, HB 32, which revises school turnaround legislation by moving the Chief Turnaround Officer to the School Improvement Division of the Department of Education (as opposed to having oversight from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement). 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 second bill amended to SB 68 is HB 86 which 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. The third bill amended to it is HB 464, which requires local boards of education to provide a public comment period during every meeting. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. Because the bill was amended by the House after it passed the Senate, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the Senate.

SB 83 (Mullis-53rd) Requires public schools to offer elective courses in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible to grades 9-12. HB 562 was amended to this bill. The amendment 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: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. Because the bill was amended by the House after it passed the Senate, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the Senate.

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

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. House postponed the bill. It could be voted on the last Legislative Day, this Tuesday.

SB 163 (Thompson-14th) “Tim Tebow Act” Allows home study students to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the student’s resident public school system. STATUS: Assigned to House Education 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. Language from this bill was modified and amended to HB 68. STATUS: FAILED SENATE.

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.

SB 276 (Jackson-2nd) Requires that the Technical College System of Georgia classify certain active duty service members as in-state for tuition purposes. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee.

HR 38 (Kendrick-93rd) Creates the House Study Committee on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fields. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by 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: PASSED HOUSE. 

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.

HR 682 (Jasperse-11th) Creates the House Study Committee on Higher Education Outcomes. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

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

SR 353 (Jones-10th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Community Schools. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee.

SR 464 (Martin-9th) Creates the Senate Higher Education Outcomes Study Committee. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee.

SR 468 (Davenport-44th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on the Educational Development of African American Children in Georgia. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee.

SR 521 (Jackson-2nd) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Creating an Agricultural and Mechanical University System. STATUS: Senate Hopper. 



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. PASSED SENATE. 

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. PASSED SENATE.  

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. PASSED SENATE. 

HB 459 (Ehrhart-36th) Creates a verification process for driver’s licenses of school bus drivers. The bill was amended to include language from HB 394, which allows non-certified personnel (“public safety ambassadors”) employed by or volunteering for law enforcement agencies or fire departments, to assist in traffic control. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. Because the bill was amended by the Senate after it passed the House, the bill awaits agreement to the changes by the House.

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. PASSED SENATE. 

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. PASSED HOUSE. 

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. House postponed the bill. It could be voted on the last Legislative Day, this Tuesday.  

HR 553 (Wilensky-79th) Creates the House Study Committee on Cyberbullying. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee. 

HR 681 (Clark-108th) Creates the House Study Committee on the Effects of Mental Health on Gun Violence. STATUS: House Health & Human Services Committee.

HR 723 (Dreyer-59th) A resolution recognizing the mission of the Children’s Freedom Initiative (CFI) to ensure that all children live with families in permanent, loving homes – NOT in nursing facilities, institutions, or other congregate settings. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.

SR 459 (Mullis-53rd) A resolution requesting that all persons testifying before the Senate tell the truth; providing for bans on persons found to have lied to the Senate from providing future testimony to the Senate. STATUS: Senate Ethics Committee.

SR 470 (Mullis-53rd) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Music Workforce Development. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by Senate Rules Committee.


 BE A VOICE FOR CHILDREN

2 Minute Advocacy Ask

House Agreement Votes — This Advocacy Ask is Time Sensitive!
 

The “Ask”: 
Please CALL members of the House of Representatives and ask them to AGREE to the changes the Senate made to the bills listed below in order to achieve final passage of each.

The What:

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.

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; 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.

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 two days.

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 How:

Click here for House members’ contact information. REMEMBER: Time is of the essence! So CALLING WORKS BEST.