Welcome to the Voices for Georgia’s Children Legislative Update. Each week of the legislative session, our Update will arrive in your inbox with brief summaries of select legislation and session activity. For those of you who would like to get more involved, the very bottom of each blast will provide an opportunity for advocacy action, complete with message and contact information of key policy makers who need to hear from you.

We hope that this will be a useful resource. Please feel free to forward this blast to others who are interested (or might be interested) in child policy. They can simply click here to receive these emails.

Thanks for making children a priority

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

P.S. Also, if you are looking for a quirky way to spend a couple of minutes and wondering if real people actually work on this legislative policy stuff, please tune into Polly’s Two Minute-ish Takes. Each week this session, we will deliver a short video, loaded with candor, odd locations and good dose of super raw, super unpolished stand-up legislative commentary from yours truly (and anyone else I can bribe to stand next to me MASKED!). What it lacks in technical acumen, it makes up for in campy entertainment value! Please watch, but please don’t hold it against us!

Hi there. I sure have missed you! Well, for that matter, I have missed everybody! Welcome back to the Voices Legislative Update! Before we get into the goings-on at the state capitol, it seems like an opportune time to reflect on a few lessons learned over the past year:

  1. Wear a mask over your face, including your nostrils.
  2. Stay far away from people (at least 6 feet, but 10 is better, and for some, give them a good mile or so).
  3. Do not lick flag poles, railings, shopping carts, your fingers or other people’s fingers.
  4. Do not touch your eyeballs or other people’s eyeballs.
  5. Zoom works better than Teams.
  6. Teams works better than Zoom.
  7. There is such a thing as a “dress-up gym shoe.”
  8. Even my mom can use Instacart. (although in the time it takes her to order, she could buy seeds, plant a garden, harvest her crops, put them up and then cook them into 82 individual dinners.)
  9. I can watch TV/Livestream/Instagram/Twitter/TiKTok 24 hours a day, seven days a week and still not feel smarter.
  10. Garbage day is Wednesday.

I don’t know about you, but I am NOT sorry to see 2020 go. In fact, I think rather than talking about Two Cities, Charles Dickens was talking about the last 12 months when he wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, to it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Let’s just hope that we can all move on.

Which is exactly what I plan to do! This past week was quite a ride, from national issues, to the start of the 2021 Georgia legislative session! I am going to focus only on the latter here, since, well, you know…

So what was the best part of the first week of session, you ask? I would probably have to say that Timothy Miller singing the National Anthem on the first day was my favorite part. I liked the rest also, at least from what I could tell watching everything online, but the man who sings for the Braves games and often wears a corsage made out of a cut-up baseball makes me happy. Other highlights included the Governor’s State of the State (SOTS) address and the Democratic responses by the Senate and the House. The SOTS is where the Governor lays out his priorities for the state and subsequently, the budgets for changes addressing the current year (Amended FY 2021) which topped out at $26.57 billion and the whole upcoming year (FY 2022) at $27.24 billion. Our child-focused summaries of both of the Governor’s budget recommendations are below. Also note there is a budget-focused action alert below that you can act on as well!

Of course, this week also marks the start of “bill dropping season” at the state house. Every year about 2000 pieces of legislation get “dropped” (translate “created”) and usually only about 8-10 percent of them actually get passed. The vast majority of them with bipartisan support. We have summarized the child and family relevant ones below as well.

Other than that, the week was marked by twice-a-week COVID spit tests for all lawmakers and staff, a few cases of COVID at the state house (unfortunately) and a lot of determination to carry on the essential state business with as few extra folks and extra germs around there as possible. The upcoming week will be consumed with budget hearings starting tomorrow (Tuesday) and the members return for legislative day 5 (out of 40) the following Tuesday, January 26.

If you are curious what policy thoughts and concerns are crossing the minds of various lawmakers from both parties, tune in here to watch “What’s In It For Kids” which has all kinds of interesting lawmaker interviews we have conducted to share with you!

In the meantime, have a good Martin Luther King Day, do some public service in his honor and think of his words as you do: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

See you next week.

Polly

DBHDD = Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

DCS = Department of Community Supervision

DECAL = Department of Early Care and Learning

GDEcD = Department of Economic Development

DHS = Department of Human Services (houses DFCS = Department of Family and Children Services, as well as DCSS = Division of Child Support Services)

DJJ = Department of Juvenile Justice

DOE = Department of Education

DOL = Department of Labor

DOR = Department of Revenue

DPH = Department of Public Health

GBI = Georgia Bureau of Investigation

CJCC = Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (attached to GBI)

CJCJ = Council of Juvenile Court Judges (attached to Juvenile Courts)

GDC = Georgia Department of Corrections

GOSA = Governor’s Office of Student Achievement

GSFC = Georgia Student Finance Commission

GPDC = Georgia Public Defenders Council

PAC = Prosecuting Attorneys Council

TCSG = Technical College System of Georgia

USG = University System of Georgia

FY21 Budget (Senate and House Version)

Governor’s Recommendations for the Amended FY 2021 Budget

Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

  • $500,000 Repurposed for a study on implementation of a behavioral health crisis center for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by September 1, 2021 to the Office of Planning and Budget, the House Budget and Research Office, and the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office. (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)

Dept. of Community Affairs

  • $20 million Added (to $23.7 million existing funds) to establish a broadband infrastructure grant program to enable rural communities to leverage existing federal, local, and private resources to quickly target high-need broadband expansion within their areas (Payments to OneGeorgia Authority)

Dept. of Community Health

  • Budget Direction: Review optional Medicaid services to improve access to care and improve outcomes for children and adolescents involved with Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). (Departmental Administration)
  • $750,000 Added for an All-Payer Claims Database to enable analysis and public reporting of health care costs and utilization for medical, dental, and pharmaceutical services. (Departmental Administration)

Patients First Act (2019 Session)

  • $6.6 Million Added for implementation of the Patients First Act, which includes flexibilities affecting Medicaid and the health insurance marketplace. ($1,803,847 from DCH; $707,702 plus $4,080,449 from DHS)

Dept. of Public Health

  • $289,000 Transferred for the continued coordination of emergency room use (money moved from the Infant and Child Essential Health Treatment Services program to the Grady Regional Coordinating Center)
  • $379,200 Repurposed for comprehensive health services to infants and children (Infant and Child Essential Health Treatment Services)
  • $379,200 Repurposed for comprehensive health services to infants and children (Infant and Child Essential Health Treatment Services)

Dept. of Human Services (includes the Division of Family and Children Services)

  • $412,900 Transferred to cover a projected deficit in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) contract due to an increase in SNAP cases related to the COVID19 Public Health Emergency. (from Out-of-Home Care to Departmental Administration)
  • $300,000 Added to the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Commission
  • $3.48 Million Repurposed for adoptions caseload growth. (Adoptions Services)

Dept. of Juvenile Justice

  • Budget Direction: Use existing funds for a 10 % pay raise for juvenile correctional officers in secure facilities (Youth Detention Centers and Regional Youth Detention Centers) effective April 1, 2021.

GA Bureau of Investigation

  • $223,600 Added for the second phase of the criminal gang database (one-time funding) (Regional Investigative Services)

Dept. of Education

  • $505,700 Added for the Area Teacher Program, Extended Day/Year, Young Farmers, and Youth Camps (Agricultural Education)
  • $420,000 Added for feminine hygiene grants (Non Quality Basic Education Formula Grants)
  • $2.52 Million Added for Preschool Disabilities Services grants
  • $829,200 Subtracted for Equalization grants to reflect corrected data for Cartersville City schools (Quality Basic Education Equalization)
  • $1.93 Million Subtracted to adjust Local Five Mill Share for new State Commission charter schools and to correct data for Cartersville City schools (Quality Basic Education Local Five Mill Share)
  • $41.1 Million Added for a enrollment growth (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $26.4 Million Added for the State Commission Charter School supplement (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $3.3 Million Added for the State Commission Charter School supplement training and experience (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $4.95 Million Subtracted to reflect corrected data for Coastal Plains Charter School (for training and experience) (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $419,700 Added to the charter system grant (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $567.55 Million Added for K-12 education (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $889,500 Added for grants to RESAs (Regional Education Service Agencies)
  • $300,000 Added for State Schools (for children who are blind and/or deaf).
  • $674,000 Added for Extended Day/Year, Vocational Supervisors, Industry Certification, and Youth Apprenticeship programs (Technology/Career Education)
  • $5.37 Million Added to administer Georgia Milestones in accordance with Federal requirements (Testing)
  • $1.16 Million Added to revise testing standards to align with curriculum changes for Math and English in accordance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Testing)
  • $362,600 Added for the PSAT and AP exams (Testing)
  • $93,100 Added for Tuition for Multiple Disability Students
  • $85,700 Added for Communities in Schools
  • $3.7 Million Added for Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS)

Dept. of Revenue

  • $25 Million Added for Forestland Protection Act grants (these grants provide reimbursement for forestland conservation use property and qualified timberland property to counties, municipalities, and school districts
  • $86,175 Added for contractors to provide regulations of the distribution and sale of vaping products (HB 375, 2020 Session) (Industry Regulation)

Dept. of Corrections

  • Budget Direction: Use existing funds for a 10 % pay raise for state prison correctional officers effective April 1, 2021
  • Budget Direction: Prioritize offender bed use at existing facilities statewide (Detention Centers, State Prisons, and Transitions Centers) due to a reduced offender population to mitigate the need for future facility expansions

Governor’s Office

$118,649 Added for Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) to account for increased workload due to the pandemic

Governor’s Recommendations for the FY 2022 Budget

Juvenile Courts

  • $122,600 for a Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Statewide Coordinator position

Dept. of Juvenile Justice

  • Budget Direction: Utilize existing funds to implement a 10 % increase for juvenile correctional officers in secure facilities (YDCs and RYDCs)
  • $230,000 Added for teacher training and experience

Dept. of Community Health

  • $68 Million to provide funds to begin the implementation of the Patients First Act (passed in the 2019 Session), with $65 million allocated for benefits
  • $750,000 Subtraction to reduce one-time funds for planning and implementation of an All-Payer Claims Database
  • $72,078,593 Subtraction to reduce funds for growth in Medicaid based on projected need
  • $132.2 Million added for growth in Medicaid based on projected need
  • $4 Million added for growth in PeachCare for Kids based on projected need
  • $2.6 Million added for 188 new residency slots in primary care medicine

Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

  • Budget Direction: Utilize existing funds to expand the housing supports pilot program for the Georgia Housing Voucher Program
  • $67,000 to replace one-time other funds with state funds for the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education program with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

Dept. of Early Care and Learning

  • $1.5 Million to increase formula funds for training and experience for Pre-K teachers

Dept. of Education

  • $5.9 Million Subtraction to transfer funds to the Testing Program to reflect real estate rental savings due to the transition to a remote workforce model across multiple programs
  • $576.7 Million added to offset austerity reductions across multiple programs (agricultural education, Communities in Schools, GNETS, feminine hygiene grants, preschool disabilities services, K-12 education, RESAs, state schools, tech/career education, and tuition for multiple disability students)
  • $175.6 Million Subtracted to reduce QBE formula funds based on enrollment decline across multiple programs
  • $113.8 Million to increase QBE formula funds for training and experience
  • $72 Million to increase QBE formula funds for equalization grants
  • $36.25 Million to increase QBE formula funds for the charter system grant and the State Commission Charter School supplement
  • $179,000 Added for transportation grants based on formula growth
  • $112 Million Subtraction to adjust formula funds for the Local Five Mill Share
  • Budget Direction: Maintain current funding and hold harmless for formula reduction for school nurse funding ($1,067,491)
  • $893,000 Subtraction to reduce formula funds for differentiated pay for newly certified math and science teachers

Student Finance System of GA

  • $7.25 Million Added to meet the projected need for HOPE Grants
  • $2.7 Million Added to meet the projected need for the HOPE Scholarships (public and private schools)
  • $6.15 Million Added to meet the projected need for Zell Miller Scholarship students attending public and private postsecondary institutions

University System of GA

  • $350,000 Added for the public libraries formula based on an increase in the state population

Dept. of Human Services (includes the Division of Family and Children Services)

  • $4.5 Million Added for caseload growth in adoptions
  • Budget Direction: Recognize $1.1 Million in marriage and divorce fee collections for the Children’s Trust Fund for child abuse and neglect prevention
  • $8.2 Million to provide funds to begin the implementation of the Patients First Act (passed in the 2019 Session)
  • $14.3 Million Subtraction to reflect savings from a reduction in Out-of-Home Care utilization due to a decline in average monthly placements
  • $6.6 Million Added to reflect the loss of Title IV-E funds associated with the October 1, 2021 implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act and the statewide transition to increased family-based placement settings
  • $350,000 Added to reflect collections (Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Commission)

Judicial Council

  • $275,000 Added for grants for legal services for domestic violence and kinship care families
  • $244,000 Added for the operation of the Juvenile Data Exchange Program
  • $236,000 Added for the operation of the Weighted Caseload project

Dept. of Community Affairs

  • $39.5 Million to establish a Rural Innovation Fund via OneGeorgia Authority to assist rural communities developing targeted solutions for economic, medical, technological, or infrastructure challenges within their regions
  • $10 Million to establish a broadband infrastructure grant program via OneGeorgia Authority to enable rural communities to leverage existing federal, local, and private resources to quickly target high-need broadband expansion within their areas

Dept. of Transportation

  • Budget Direction: Utilize existing funds ($10 Million) for broadband and rural development initiatives to enhance broadband access in underserved areas and promote safety and innovation on rural roadways

Dept. of Corrections

  • Budget Direction: Utilize existing funds to implement a 10% increase for correctional officers in state prison facilities.

GA Bureau of Investigations

  • $270,000 provide funds for three positions to support the Legal Division and the GBI Gang Task Force
  • Budget Direction: Maintain responsibility for managing and administering accountability court grants
  • $30 Million Subtraction to transfer funds for accountability court grants to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council: Council of Accountability Court Judges program
  • $700,000 Added for grants to local domestic violence shelters and sexual assault centers

Dept. of Public Health

  • $506,000 Added to support Grady Memorial Hospital’s efforts to continue the coordination of emergency room use in the 13-county metro Atlanta area

Dept. of Revenue

  • $25 Million Added for Forestland Protection Act grant reimbursements to provide reimbursement for forestland conservation use property and qualified timberland property to counties, municipalities, and school districts
  • $210,000 Added for one advanced auditor and associated expenses, and three contractors to provide regulation of the distribution and sale of vaping products (per HB 375, passed in the 2020 Session)

HB 12 Scott-76th Raises the legal limit of marijuana possession from one ounce to two ounces and reduces the penalty from $1,000 to $300. The bill also eliminates the requirement for obtaining fingerprints and other identifying data on persons arrested or taken into custody for misdemeanor marijuana possession. STATUS: Prefile

HB 13 Scott-76th Changes provisions regarding criminal record restrictions such that criminal history record information for convictions shall be eligible for restriction after a conviction-free period of time following the completion of a sentence, based upon the original offense, to two years if the offense is a misdemeanor or four years if the offense is a felony. STATUS: Prefile

HB 15 Scott-76th Requires training on de-escalation techniques for peace officers, including nonlethal and communication tactics, the use of the lowest level of force first and re-evaluation as threat progresses, mental health and substance abuse awareness, and crisis intervention strategies. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 16 Scott-76th Disallows law enforcement agencies from accepting and possessing certain combat equipment from the US Department of Defense, such as controlled firearms, grenades, explosives, controlled vehicles, unmanned aircraft that are armored or weaponized, controlled aircraft that are combat configured, silencers, or long-range acoustic devices. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 17 Scott-76th End Racial Profiling Act – Prohibits racial profiling by law enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies; requires certain policies and procedures by law enforcement agencies to do so. The bill also requires relevant certain data collection and an annual report. It also revises the state waiver of sovereign immunity under certain circumstances. STATUS: Prefile

HB 18 Scott-76th Requires peace officers to: provide their business card at any time upon request; to have a legal basis for making contact with an individual; to report certain information following contact to their employing law enforcement agency, including demographic and reason for and result of contact. Requires that peace officers first use nonviolent means before resorting to physical force. Revokes peace officers’ certification in any case where the officer pleads guilty or nolo contendre in cases claiming their unlawful use of force. Makes unlawful the use of kinetic impact projectiles (e.g., rubber bullets) in a manner that targets head, pelvis, or back or indiscriminately into a crowd; use of chemical agents or irritants (e.g., tear gas or pepper spray) prior to issuing an order (that is heard) to disperse and allowing time for compliance with the order. Waives the defense of sovereign immunity when needed for the actions outlined in this bill to proceed. Disallows the use of deadly force to apprehend a suspected felon in cases where the officer believes the individual to have a deadly weapon or in cases where an individual is attempting to escape. Requires law enforcement agencies to: provide a body-worn camera to all peace officers and states that when an officer fails to activate it, discipline shall be imposed, and, in an investigation, it can be inferred that the officer is guilty of misconduct. Statements provided by the officer in lieu of the recording are inadmissible. In instances of a formal complaint of police misconduct, law enforcement agencies must release all video and audio recordings to the public within 21 days of the complaint, and in cases of death, all recordings must be provided to the deceased’s family at least 24 hours before release to the public. Requires the Attorney General to: produce an annual report and statewide, public database regarding deaths as a result of use of force by an officer; instances where an officer resigned while under investigation; data related to contacts made by officers, such as demographic information, reason for and result of contact; instances of unannounced entry into a residence, with or without a warrant. STATUS: Prefile

HB 21 Scott-76th Revises the offense of unlawful conduct during 9-1-1 call to include bias motivations in calling or otherwise contacting 9-1-1. The bill also provides for a cause of action against persons who knowingly causes a peace officer to arrive at a location, owing to false reporting or bias purposes. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 35 Scott-76th Provides that a law enforcement officer alleged to have committed misconduct or a violation of law while acting within the scope of his or her official duties or employment shall be subject to lawsuit or liability. STATUS: Prefile

HB 45 Gilliard-162nd Repeals Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest law. STATUS: Prefile

HB 47 Gilliard-162nd Creates the Legislative Gang Prevention and Intervention Commission. The commission would submit an annual report recommending a gang prevention plan for strategic, coordinated, and collaborative efforts between educational institutions and community and social services organizations provide informational resources, strategic guidance, research, and best practices to social services and community organizations in the implementation of programs and initiatives designed to prevent and intervene in criminal gang participation by youth. STATUS: Prefile

HB 69 Kendrick-93rd Provides that certain state officers or employees shall be liable when causing the deprivation of certain rights. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee

SB 10 Jones-10th Makes various aspects of participation in drag racing or laying drag an offense and lays out fines and other punishments. STATUS: Senate Hopper

HB 52 Bazemore-63rd Prevents persons convicted of certain family violence offenses from possessing or carrying firearms. STATUS: Prefile

HB 91 Jackson-64th Defines “cash assistance” for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), basing it on a standard of need that is equal to 50% of the federal poverty level for the applicable family size and which equates to a maximum monthly amount equal to 75% of such amount for each such family size. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 96 Clark-108th States that in all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, there shall be a presumption, rebuttable by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, that a child’s interests are best served by equal or approximately equal parenting time with each parent. Alternative forms of custody may be considered by the judge at either a temporary or permanent hearing in the event that there is a finding that clear and convincing evidence exists that either parent is not fit, willing, or able to participate in such an arrangement. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 9 Scott-76th Requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and others, to develop guidelines for the use of telehealth services in public schools to provide mental health and behavioral health services to students at school or during any school related function. The bill also defines the term “telehealth. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 11 Scott-76th Limits the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered professional nurse in specified situations in hospitals and states, though nothing shall preclude a hospital from assigning fewer patients to a registered professional nurse than the established limits (i.e., a limit of 1 patient in an operating room; 2 patients in critical care units and post-anesthesia care; 1-3 in emergency department, pending circumstances; etc.) The bill also requires the adoption of written policies and procedures for the training and orientation of nursing staff by hospitals and imposes a penalty for not complying with the above. STATUS: Prefile

HB 34 Belton-112th Allows Georgia to enter into the “Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact”, which would allow qualified audiologists and speech-language pathologists to practice across state lines with other compact members. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee

HB 37 Schofield-60th Requires every public school to have an operational wheelchair onsite at all times and provides a tax credit for donations of wheelchairs to public schools. STATUS: Prefile

HB 39 Schofield-60th Requires certain consumer protections for individual short-term health insurance plans, including a 181 day coverage limit, the inclusion of most essential health benefits, the prohibition of medical underwriting, that preventive services shall be included at no additional cost to the insured, and the required provision of certain consumer disclosures. STATUS: Prefile

HB 40 Schofield-60th Prohibits the use of certain chemical flame retardants known to cause birth defects, cancers or other maladies. STATUS: Prefile

HB 41 Schofield-60th Called the Health Benefit Plan Network Access and Adequacy Act, requires that any health carrier providing a network plan maintain a network of providers that is sufficient in numbers and type of providers (including those that serve low-income, medically underserved individuals) to assure that all covered services to covered persons, including children and adults, will be accessible without unreasonable travel or delay. Establishes a single, standard form prescribed by the Commissioner of Insurance for continuity of care requests, which carriers must accept; an advisory committee on continuity of care; and a mediation process. STATUS: Prefile

HB 42 Schofield-60th Establishes a Physician Underserved Area Grant Program under the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce, selecting physicians with the needed specialty in that area and who are willing to continue practicing in the area after the program. Physicians may receive up to $25,000 for participating in the program up to a maximum of four years. STATUS: Prefile

HB 49 Hutchinson-107th Requires that insurer treatment of claims concerning mental and substance use disorders are treated in parity with other health insurance claims. STATUS: Prefile

HB 54 Bazemore-63rd Provides for instruction on the best practices for and risks associated with the use of tampons in sex education and AIDS prevention instruction. The bill also encourages physicians and nurses providing a tampon for use by any female patient under his or her care to recite and provide certain written information regarding the best practices for and risks associated with the use of tampons. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 57 Scott-76th Requires the Georgia Department of Public Health and penal institutions to provide (free of charge) access to, breast pumps such that lactating women can express breast milk postpartum. Requires that women who are incarcerated receive prenatal and postpartum medical care. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 58 Schofield-60th Called the Georgia Women’s Care (Child Care Alternatives, Resources, and Education) Act, allows a woman who is pregnant and convicted to defer her sentence to 12 weeks post-delivery, maintaining perinatal care in the interim. Requires penal institutions to report to Georgia Department of Public Health data on the number of women who were incarcerated, pregnant, and who declined deferred sentencing. STATUS: Prefile

HB 72 Hugley-136th Allows the state to request from the Federal Government permission to extend Pregnant Woman’s Medicaid from six months postpartum to twelve months postpartum. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 73 Hugley-136th Limits the total cost-sharing amount that an insured (public or private) person is required to pay for covered prescription insulin to $50.00 per 30 day supply of insulin, regardless of the amount or type of insulin needed to fill the covered person’s prescription. STATUS: House Insurance Committee

SB 1 Burke-11th Requires entities that receive certain tax credits and that provide self-funded, employer sponsored health insurance plans to submit data to the Georgia All-Payer Claims Database. STATUS: Senate Finance Committee

SB 4 Kirkpatrick-32nd Prohibits patient brokering by drug abuse treatment and education programs and also considers excessive, fraudulent, or high-tech drug testing of certain individuals (the elderly, the disabled, or any individual affected by pain, substance abuse, addiction, or any related disorder, to or by an insurer, broker, or any agent thereof, or directly or indirectly to an insured or uninsured patient) a fraudulent insurance act. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee

SB 5 Kirkpatrick-32nd Provides patient protection measures for patients undergoing sedation in dental settings and for dental procedures in medispas and in physician offices and medispas. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee

HB 1 Bonner-72nd Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act – Prevents the creation of “free speech zones” at public institutions of higher education. STATUS: Prefile

HB 4 Scott-76th Prohibits a local school system from leasing or selling a public school to a private entity unless the public school has been in existence for at least 15 years. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 7 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 and excludes foster care assistance from consideration as income for purposes of calculating financial aid. STATUS: Prefile

HB 8 Scott-76th Requires postsecondary educational institutions to deposit a portion of all revenue derived from its athletic teams’ involvement with intercollegiate postseason athletic contests into an escrow account to be distributed to eligible student athletes on a pro rata basis upon graduation. STATUS: Prefile

HB 10 Scott-76th Creates grants by the State Board of Education to support students living in poverty. Student Living in Poverty is defined as a student who lives in a family unit receiving SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits, lives in a family unit receiving TANF benefits; Is homeless, is in foster care or Is a migrant. STATUS: Prefile

HB 23 Oliver-82nd Allows affected local schools systems to participate in the annexation dispute resolution process. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee

HB 25 Oliver-82nd Allows local school systems to become parties to bond validation hearings. STATUS: Prefile

HB 26 Kendrick-93rd Revises an income tax credit to include historically Black colleges and universities in the list of qualified businesses in which an investment is eligible for a credit of 35 percent of the amount invested against the tax imposed. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 27 Kendrick-93rd Revises an income tax credit so that only investments in historically Black colleges and universities are eligible for the credit, which is 35 percent of the amount invested against the tax imposed. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 32 Belton-112th Establishes a teacher recruitment and retention program for a refundable income tax credit for teachers who agree to teach in certain rural schools or certain low-performing schools. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 46 Gilliard-162nd Reinstates excise tax exemptions for public mass transit vehicles, vehicles operated by a public campus transportation system, and school buses. STATUS: Prefile

HB 60 Cantrell-22nd Creates a voucher program for public school students to attend private schools. Eligible students wouldzsss be those whose local public schools did not offer face-to-face instruction in the prior school year, live in low-income households, have been adopted from foster care, have been bullied, or have certain special education needs. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 66 Oliver-82nd Allows local school systems to become parties to bond validation hearings. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee

HB 67 Martin-49th Extends from June 30, 2021 to July 1, 2026 automatic repeals of certain provisions regarding nonlapsing revenue of institutions in the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 71 McLeod-105th Creates a pilot program to implement the funding recommendations of the 2015 Education Reform Commission and to mandate pre-kindergarten and kindergarten for all children prior to entering first grade and to include pre-kindergarten programs in the student based allocation of state funds. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 87 Evans-57th Makes students at the Technical College System of Georgia who are taking remedial and developmental courses for a degree eligible to receive HOPE grants. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 88 Evans-57th Requires HOPE grants to equal the student’s undergraduate tuition amount for the current academic standard year. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 89 Evans-57th Allows students who do not qualify as freshmen but who meet other certain grade point average criteria to be eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship. STATUS: House Hopper

SB 3 Jackson-2nd Raises the age of mandatory education from 16 to 17. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 7 Beach-21st Requires designated research universities to ensure that at least 90% of early action admissions are offered to Georgia resident students. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 15 Anderson-43rd Creates a new category of coursework dealing with the history of Black people and their contributions to American society. This course may be taken by students between ninth and twelfth grade and may be required by the local education authority for high school graduation. STATUS: Senate Hopper

SB 17 Jones-10th Creates a certification program for whole child model schools. STATUS: Senate Hopper

HB 2 Singleton-71st Called the “Georgia Constitutional Carry Act”, allows non-licensed weapons carriers, who are not otherwise prohibited by law, to carry weapons without a license. Specified locations include parks, government buildings, churches, courthouses, mental health facilities, school safety zones, postsecondary educational institutions, within 150 feet of polling places, motor vehicles, and aircraft, among others. Eliminates the requirement that licensed weapons holders must have their license on them at all times while carrying a weapon. STATUS: Prefile

HB 5 Scott-76th Requires the Georgia Lottery Corporation to offer one or more games to benefit homeless military veterans. STATUS: Prefile

HR 1 Scott-76th Constitutional Amendment – Requires the Georgia Lottery Corporation to offer one or more games to benefit homeless military veterans. (HB 5 is the enabling legislation for this constitutional amendment) STATUS: Prefile

HB 28 Kendrick-93rd Requires the composition of each statutorily created board and commission reflect the general population. STATUS: Prefile

HB 70 Kendrick-93rd Requires the composition of each statutorily created board and commission reflect the general population. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee

HB 79 Allen-40th Gives regulation of the dates and times for the lawful use or ignition of consumer fireworks exclusively to counties and municipal corporations. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee

HB 95 Lim-99th Creates a refundable earned income tax credit equal to 10% of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that such taxpayer is allowed. STATUS: House Hopper

HR 4 Cantrell-22nd Constitutional Amendment which, starting in 2024, limits House members of six consecutive terms; increases the Senate term to four years with a limit of three consecutive terms and limits the Lt. Governor to two consecutive terms. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee

SB 16 Anderson-43rd Creates the Georgia Commission on Black Women and Girls. The commission would be administratively attached to the Georgia Department of Public Health. STATUS: Senate Hopper

SB 18 Jones II-22nd Eliminates the statute of limitations on the offenses of rape, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery; to provide that a prosecution for the offenses of rape, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery. STATUS: Senate Hopper

2 Minute Advocacy Asks

The “Ask”:

Start or build upon a relationship with your own state representative or senator.

The Why: 

Advocating is made easier by nurturing respectful but clear communications with elected officials.

The Message:

“Hi – My name is __________ and I live in your district. Issues such as child health, child welfare, juvenile justice, childcare and learning are important to me. Please be sure to ask ‘Is it good for kids?’ as you study, develop and vote on legislation and budgets of all sorts. Thank you for your time and your dedication to public service. I look forward to more opportunities to work together for the children in our district and in our state.”

The How:

Click HERE to find your elected officials, and then call or email them with the message above.

2 Minute Advocacy Ask
Budget Ask

The Ask
Call House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen (below) and ask them to increase funding for child and adolescent behavioral health in the FY 2022 budget.

The Details
The governor’s FY2022 (FY22) budget recommendation did not include restored funds for the child- and adolescent-focused behavioral health services and supports which were reduced in the pandemic-driven economic hardship which affected the 2021 budget. This year more than ever, many of Georgia’s kids will need access to various mental health services as they reckon with and process their experiences over the last year.

The Message

Dear Chairman England/Chairman Tillery, I am concerned about the mental health crisis facing our children and youth as they reckon with their experiences over the past year. Please make sure that the Departments of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Education and Juvenile Justice have the funding they need to provide school based mental health services, crisis stabilization and evidence-based and promising treatment and practices to help our kids through this difficult time. Thank you for your service and for all you do for Georgia’s children.

The How
Click here for contact information for the House Appropriations Chairman Terry England
Click here for contact information for the Senate Appropriations Chairman Blake Tillery