Sometimes I think I am the only person left on the planet who reads a paper newspaper. How do I know this? Because it seems that when people in the neighborhood need fire-starter, weed control or fish wrap, they ask me if I have any newspapers lying around (which I usually do). Alas, with the advent of the 24-hour TV news cycle, the smart phone, and the accompanying array of information apps, it appears the general interest – and perhaps attention span – of the average Joe or Josephine for a “paper ‘paper” has all but disappeared.

 

So, what’s the big deal about a “PP” (strike that unfortunate abbreviation!) – I mean, a printed newspaper? Well, for one thing, you can actually hold it in your hands and read it without scrolling. Better than that, you can cut articles out if you want to. For instance, I happen to have a series of articles on shark attacks that I cut out and save for my wetsuit-owning daughter who wants to be a surfer. Nothing says “I love you” like a stack of terrifying, oddly-sized newsprint rectangles waiting on your bed when you come home from college. Also good is the fact that I am not the one choosing what news I think is the most interesting. I enjoy seeing not only what news editors decide to put on what page and what they think important enough to be “above the fold”, but I love seeing what they tuck away between obituaries and the public notices, or, god-forbid, woven in between the crossword puzzle and Dear Abby. The other thing about getting a paper ‘paper during a pandemic is that it forces you to go out of your house once a day to rescue said journal from the driveway. Sometimes that expedition is the only way I remember that I actually own a vehicle, a mailbox and a large garbage receptacle.

Most of all, though, I deeply enjoy starting my day sipping on a hot beverage, holding the paper two inches from my pre-contact-lensed eyes and seeing (or trying to see) who did what for or to the state. Take this past week, for instance squinting at the paper I learned that Chief Justice Harold Melton, will step down after many years of excellent service to our state. I learned also that he has three kids in college (and wondered if he leaves shark-attack articles for them) and is only a couple of years younger than I am. While it made me feel like I maybe could have achieved more by this age had I not squandered my youth skipping college calculus to “audit” modern dance class, I nevertheless felt closer to the world knowing those two small details about a man I have never met. This past week, I also learned that an issue that Voices is SUPER supportive of is big enough to warrant a call from a reporter and make it into the paper! HB 163 (see action alert below), championed by Rep. Sharon Cooper, the Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is on the House floor Tuesday for a vote! And the press thinks that is important, because it IS IMPORTANT. This one bill could get 60,000 kids or more health insurance coverage. Other things I learned: The Amended FY21 budget made it to the Governor’s desk with a bunch of school buses in it (520, to be exact) and raises for state employees earning under $80,000/year. Then I actually read the budget myself (again) and summarized it for you below. Plus I learned that Shaquille O’Neal owns the Krispy Kreme on Ponce and plans to rebuild it after that heart-breaking fire (giving “Hot Doughnuts Now” a whole new, tragic meaning); and that Bumble (speaking of Valentine’s Day) is owned by a 31-year-old woman who just became a billionaire (again, making me think “too much modern dance, not enough math”).

Anyway, here is my news for you. You can print it out using the pdf link, and then hold it in your ands and read it with a hot beverage. Next time I’ll try to find some bills on sharks.

Editorially yours,

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

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

Amended FY 2021 Budget

as passed by House and Senate and transferred to the Governor

Total State Funds = $26,566,711,626

 

General Note:

One-time salary supplements for state employees making less than $80,000/year are appropriated across the AFY21 budget, paid for sometimes using state dollars recouped from extra funds the federal government contributed to cover Medicaid expenses during this public health emergency, sometimes from federal COVID relief grants and, when appropriate, lottery dollars.


Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

  • Repurpose $1,757,154 in savings from the extension of the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for a behavioral health crisis center for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (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)
  • $150,000 Added to hire a grant administrator and perform mapping maintenance 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)
  • $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

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

  • $485,997 Added for a chief medical officer, a deputy commissioner of public health, a chief data officer, a senior programmer, and a financial manager to support the agency with COVID-19 pandemic response as well as provide ongoing public health leadership
  • $16 Million Added to replace and modernize the public health surveillance system to improve current COVID-19 pandemic response as well as future epidemiologic surveillance capacity (i.e., the GRITS system)
  • $11.1 Million Repurposed to support the department (the appropriation was not itemized by budget writers). Monies came from two bonds originally intended for a new Clinical Billing Information Technology System.
  • $15.44 Million Added for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) to support the increased utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic (Infectious Disease Control)
  • $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)

 

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)
    $208,350 Subtracted to reflect savings from vacant child support services agent positions (Child Support Services)
  • $226,670 Subtracted to reflect the delayed start dates of 12 supervisor-mentor and foster care support services positions (Child Welfare Services)
    $176,500 Added for contracts for educational services with the Multi-Agency Alliance for  Children (Child Welfare 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

Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

  • $455,000 Added for domestic violence shelters and sexual assault centers

GA Bureau of Investigation

  • $223,600 Added for the second phase of the criminal gang database (one-time funding)
    $427,400 Added for the recruitment and retention of medical examiners

Dept. of Early Care and Learning

  • $61,873 Subtracted to reflect the actual start date for the State Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health coordinator (Child Care Services)

Dept. of Education

  • $589,272 Added for the Area Teacher Program, Extended Day/Year, Young Farmers, and Youth Camps (Agricultural Education)
  • $514 Million Added to purchase 520 school buses
  • $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)
  • $79.53 Million Subtracted to adjust Local Five Mill Share for QBE (Quality Basic Education Local Five Mill Share)
  • $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 enrollment growth
  • $26 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)
  • $480,152 Added to the charter system grant (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $567.55 Million Added for K-12 education (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $1.9 Million Added for the Special Needs Scholarship (Budget note: Increase funds to reflect the growth in the Special Needs Scholarship ($2,598,671) and reduce funds (($698,671)) based on actual expenditures for Quarters 1-3 (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • Eliminated $600,000 that the House had added to hold harmless Harriet Tubman School of Science and Technology, Delta STEAM Academy, Atlanta Unbound Academy, and Yi Hwang Academy of Language Excellence for a decline in elementary school enrollment (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $2.75 Million Added for increased enrollment in State Charter Schools (State Charter School Commission Administration)
  • $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)
    $840,924 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 and lapse funds should testing not occur due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • $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)
  • $8,580 Allocated for the PSAT and AP exams with the note: Increase funds for AP exams, maintain $3,734,130 for AP exams for one non-STEM AP exam for low-income students and one AP STEM exam for every student taking an AP STEM course, and maintain existing funds of $1,190,000 for PSAT exams
  • $500,000 Added to administer reimbursable grants to local systems for developing the GMAP and Navvy assessment pilots from SB362 (2018 Session) and authorized under the federal waiver
  • $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)

Governor’s Office of Student Achievement

GA Student Finance Commission

  • $192,200 Added for the Engineer Scholarship
  • $138,869 Subtracted funds for updated projections for the HOPE Grant

Dual Enrollment

  • $7.04 Million Subtracted from Dual Enrollment based on updated projections of enrollment

University System of Georgia

  • $1.46 Million Added for 4 H Youth Development (Cooperative Extension Service)
  • $539,170 Added to increase funds for public library materials grants by five cents from $0.35 to $0.40 per capita

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
  • $114,676 Added for one tax examiner, three call center contractors, and one-time expenses to provide regulations of the distribution and sale of vaping products (HB 375, 2020 Session)

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

  • $7.5 Million Added to the Governor’s Emergency Fund which is in place to draw on when disasters create extraordinary demands on government
  • $118,649 Added for Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) to account for increased workload due to the pandemic

Dept. of Labor

  • $100,000 Added to fund a Chief Labor Officer, to be appointed (subject to appropriate legislation), to oversee all unemployment insurance matters and respond to financial audit requests

Secretary of State

  • $150,000 Added for the Georgia Board of Nursing to issue temporary permits to practice nursing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and monitor patients for any adverse reactions

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: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

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: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

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 Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

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 Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

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 Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

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: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

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

HB 127 (Williams-145th) Requires wireless service suppliers to make location information of subscribers available to law enforcement agencies upon request. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 133 (Mainor-56th) Amends the Victims’ Bill of Rights to ensure that a judge conducting a judicial proceeding in which a notification to the victim is required asks the prosecuting attorney at the start of the proceeding whether the victim has been notified of the proceeding. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 145 (Boddie-62nd) Changes the law regarding law enforcement officers’ use of deadly force. Requires that an officer use nondeadly force before resorting to lethal force. Specifies certain instances in which deadly force is allowed (such as to make an arrest, only when all other means of apprehension are unreasonable and other certain circumstances apply). Orders officers to give a clear verbal warning prior to use of deadly force. Prohibits the use of chokeholds by officers. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 168 (Petrea-166th) Declassifies confidential information in inmate Department of Correction files pertaining to sentencing for a serious violent felony or a dangerous sexual offense against a person less than 18 years of age when requested by the district attorney for purposes of responding to proposed actions of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. This bill now rests in House Rules Committee

HB 175 (Boddie-62nd) Creates the crime of aggravated strangulation by a peace officer. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 190 (Holcomb-81st) Prevents any private corporation from operating a detention facility. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 232 (Jackson-64th) Repeals the procedure for indictment or special presentment of a peace officer for a crime committed in the performance of his or her duties and the right to testify before a grand jury. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 233 (Beverly-143rd) Prohibits use of no-knock search warrants. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 247 (Carson-46th) Strengthens Georgia’s distracted driving law by enforcing the maximum fine and removing the ability of a person to be found not guilty if proof of purchase of a no-hands cell phone holder is shown. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

HB 272 (Ballinger-23rd) Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 274 (Ballinger-23rd) Provides a $6,000 salary supplement for juvenile court judges in counties that also have an accountability court and meet other criteria. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 288 (Belton-112th) Allows that certain persons (who are not convicted of serious violent felonies or considered repeat offenders) who are sentenced to 21 to 75+ years in prison be eligible for consideration for parole after serving certain lengths of time (based on the length of their sentence). STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 300 (Kennard-102nd) Defines “Law enforcement officer” and reduces the criteria for certain misdemeanor and felony criminal record restriction. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 308 (Wilson-80th) Authorizes counties to adopt ordinances governing and punishing the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana in the unincorporated areas of a county. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 313 (Park-101st) Creates a Georgia State Law Enforcement Citizen Review Council within Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Center. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 327 (Momtahan-17th) Increases vendor reporting requirements and penalties for theft regarding the sale and purchase of store valued cards (e.g. gift cards). The bill creates the definition of “organized retail theft”. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 335 (Kennard-102nd) Prohibits court from imposing a period of probation that exceeds 24 months. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 349 (McLeod-105th) Incorporates “putative (someone considered or reputed to be) father or caregiver” into Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia, also referred to as the juvenile code. The bill also adjusts other provisions of law affecting the placement of children upon and following removal from the home, including with whom the child can. be placed as well as lay guardian ad litem representation for a child in certain circumstances. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 371 (Gunter-8th) Permits for court appearance via video conference for prisoners and certain witnesses. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 378 (Shannon-84th) Requires law enforcement agencies to require its officers to report in writing every use of force against any subject and to make those reports publicly available on a database. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 404 (Kennard-102nd) Revises the handling of arrest-only criminal history record information requiring automatic restriction of an individual’s criminal history record information upon arrest and allowing such criminal history record information be made publicly available only upon the issuance of an indictment, accusation, or other charging instrument. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HR 120 (Corbett-174th) Creates the House Study Committee on Motor Vehicle Crimes. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

SB 10 (Jones-10th) Makes various aspects of participating in drag racing or laying drag an offense and lays out fines and other punishments. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 28 (Hatchett-50th) Basically expands the resources available to juvenile courts to respond to the safety needs of children and ensures all reliable information is made available to the court in order to make decisions in a child’s best interests, including requiring an annual minimum 2 hours of training for juvenile court intake officers; to provide for the consideration of evidence, including hearsay evidence, in certain juvenile proceedings; to revising provisions pertaining to the reporting of child abuse. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 42 (Mullis-53rd) Excludes discipline data from any school climate rating. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this WEDNESDAY

SB 77 (Jones II-22nd) Increases the amount of marijuana possession considered a misdemeanor from 1 ounce to 2 ounces. Creates a lower-level punishment of a $300 fine for possession of one-half ounce or less. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 78 (Jones II-22nd) Increases the penalties for electronically transmitting or posting nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos for purposes of harassing the depicted person to a web page that is accessible to the general public. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 85 (Albers-56th) Increases penalties for hazing resulting serious physical or mental injury or death and establishes an obligation to render assistance. The bill also requires schools to report hazing incidents. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 92 (Robertson-29th) Prohibits the sale to and by minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan (a substance used to relieve coughing. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 101 (Parent-42nd) Allows a person to petition the court for relief regarding their involuntary hospitalization following the hospitalization. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 105 (Strickland-17th) Revise the conditions and procedures under which probation may be terminated early. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 115 (Robertson-29th) Requires the Department of Driver Services and the Department of Public Safety to offer an instructional course or presentation educating drivers and the public on the best practices to implement when interacting with law enforcement officers. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee

SB 127 (Butler-55th) Adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the training topics for basic and in-service law enforcement officer training. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee

SB 128 (Merritt-9th) Creates the Georgia Law Enforcement Citizen Review Council. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee

SB 132 (Butler-55th) Prohibits law enforcement officers from use of force maneuvers that restrict blood or oxygen flow to the brain. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee

SB 133 (Davenport-44th) Prohibits use of no-knock search warrants. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 134 (Rahman-5th) Prohibits law enforcement officers from using race or ethnicity in determining whether to stop a motor vehicle and requires annual training of law enforcement officers on such policies. The bill also requires officers to document the race, ethnicity, and gender of drivers and passengers under certain circumstances. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee

SB 136 (Butler-55th) Repeals “citizen’s arrest” law. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 151 (Albers-56th) Increases vendor reporting requirements and penalties for theft regarding the sale and purchase of store valued cards (e.g. gift cards). The bill creates the definition of “organized retail theft”. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 171 (Robertson-29th) Increases the punishment for simple battery if committed during an act of unlawful assembly to “a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature”. Expands definition of unlawful assembly and makes certain offenses a felony (e.g., defilement of public property, obstruction of a highway, gathering with 7 or more people and committing violence against someone’s person or property). Requires local governments to establish permitting processes for public gatherings. Holds local governments civilly liable for any damages if they interfere with law enforcement response during a “riot” or unlawful assembly. Mandates that the state and local government provide a deduction to law enforcement officers for the purpose of purchasing insurance that provides legal representation. Waives the defense of sovereign immunity for anyone seeking relief, monetary damages, etc. related to an act of unlawful assembly. STATUS: Senate Hopper

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 Health and Human Services Committee

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 Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 109 (Clark-147th) Extends the statute of limitations to bring a civil suit for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse and provides for retroactive claims for childhood sexual abuse under certain circumstances. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee. This bill will be heard in the Gunter Subcommittee this TUESDAY

HB 114 (Reeves-34th) Changes the adoption tax credit from $2,000.00 to $6,000.00 per qualified foster child per taxable year (commencing with the year in which the adoption becomes final) for five taxable years and $2,000.00 per taxable year thereafter until the child turns 18. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 125 (Williams-145th) Directs the GBI to create and maintain a missing persons DNA database so law enforcement officers have the ability to identify or to link unidentified human remains or missing person cases. The bill also requires every law enforcement agency to notify the GBI of any missing person case and requires the GBI director to establish rules and regulations to ask the missing person’s family member(s) to submit personal articles belonging to the missing person or to submit the DNA of one or more family members for use in determining a DNA profile of the missing person. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 126 (Williams-145th) Establishes a timeframe and criteria for collecting DNA specimens for the missing persons DNA database outlined in HB 125. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 131 (Mainor-56th) Clarifies that stalking and aggravated stalking can be committed both directly and indirectly, provides that each violation of stalking and aggravated stalking constitutes a separate offense and shall not merge with any other offense; and requires more detail and oversight of police reporting of incidents of family violence. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 154 (Reeves-34th) Lowers the age at which an individual may petition the court to adopt a child from age 25 to 21 (making it easier for close relatives to adopt children out of foster care). The bill also streamlines procedures to improve efficiency with changes to venue, authorization for virtual appearances in uncontested hearings, clarification of service and notice requirements, and imposition of timelines on court-appointed investigators and increases protections for prospective adoptive parents and biological parents by prohibiting conduct that intentionally misrepresents or exploits parties to an adoption. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

HB 177 (Bonner-72nd) Creates a civil cause of action to recover damages (and attorney’s fees as a way to help finance the cases) for victims of human trafficking against their traffickers and those who profited from their trafficking. It also gives the Attorney General the ability to pursue a cause of action on behalf of the state. If a victim was trafficked as a minor, that person is permitted 10 years from their 18th birthday to bring a case. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee

HB 178 (Bonner-72nd) Allows victims of human trafficking to petition for name change under seal. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee

HB 192 (Sainz-180th) Changes the name of the of the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board to the Sexual Offender Risk Review Board and revises electronic monitoring conditions. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 194 (Sainz-180th) States that a minimum of a one-year term of probation shall follow imprisonment for persons convicted of a sexual offense; that for certain felonies probation shall be for life; that probation for sexual offenses requires such persons to wear a location tracking device; that a person who is on probation for life can submit a petition to terminate probation after ten years of meeting certain requirements and that the court shall take whatever action is in the best interest of “justice and the welfare of society”. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 200 (Powell-32nd) Requires the issuance of a Class C driver’s license to operators of three-wheeled motor vehicles with seatbelts and a frame to partially or fully enclose the operator and exempts operators of such vehicles from headgear and eye-protective device requirements. STATUS: This bill will be on the House floor for a vote by the full body this Tuesday

HB 202 (Hitchens-161st) Increases the penalty for violation of traffic laws or ordinances under “Joshua’s Law” from 1.5% of the original fine to 5% and removes the sunset provision. STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee

HB 216 (Efstration-104th) Equitable Caregiver Act by improving the form so that it reflects the substantive findings and standards and makes the status less permanent by allowing a court to remove custody from the equitable caregiver upon a showing that the predicate harm no longer exists. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 231 (Gaines-117th) Expands the applicability of protective orders involving victims of stalking by revising the definition of family violence to include certain acts between persons through whom a past or present pregnancy has developed or persons in a past or present dating relationship. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 236 (Neal-74th) Provides for 60 days of additional monitoring of the victim (if the victim so chooses) by local law enforcement after the granting of a temporary protective order. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 258 (Sainz-180th) Provides that consent of the victim shall not be a defense to a prosecution for sodomy, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, sexual battery, and aggravated sexual battery when a victim is under the age of 16. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 322 (Wiedower-119th) Revises the definition of “sexual exploitation” within the Juvenile Code to conform with last year’s bill to decriminalize prostitution as it relates to minors. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 323 (Wiedower-119th) Adds the following to the list of forms of parental abandonment of a child, which means DFCS would not make reunification efforts for the parent and child: prenatal abuse (“other than which has been medically prescribed to the birthing parent”) and a history of chronic substance abuse and “reasonable grounds” that the substance abuse will continue. Defines chronic abuse. States that the court should presume that DFCS should not make reunification efforts if the court finds that the parent has committed certain acts, such as abandonment, murder, felony assault, child molestation, and others. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 324 (Wiedower-119th) Allows interested parties (includes physicians, counselors, psychologists, teachers, court appointed special advocates, a child’s attorney, and caregivers, including, but not limited to, relatives of a child and foster parents of a child) to intervene and participate in dependency proceedings under certain circumstances by filing a motion for order to show cause. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 347 (Gullett-19th) Increases the requirements for removal from the state’s sexual offender registry. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 368 (Ballinger-23rd) Gives the Georgia Bureau of Investigation jurisdiction to identify and investigate the death of any person under the age of 18 years or when such persons are victims of homicide. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 403 (Wiedower-119th) “Georgia Child Advocate for the Protection of Children Act” – Revises the duties of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children and the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children in regard to legal representation in dependency proceedings by requiring certain training and reporting. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HR 146 (Park-101st) Creates the House Study Committee on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to Improve the Health of Women and Children. STATUS: House Hopper

SB 20 (Payne-54th) Adds one current or former foster parent (appointed by the Governor), one former foster child who turned 18 or graduated from high school while still in the Georgia foster care system (appointed by the Lieutenant Governor), and one individual who has served for at least three years as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) (appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives) to the Child Advocate Advisory Committee in the Office of the Child Advocate. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to the House Juvenile Justice Committee

SB 33 (Dixon-45th) Provides a cause of action against perpetrators for victims of human trafficking and a cause of action against certain perpetrators of human trafficking by the Attorney General on behalf of the state. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Awaits committee assignment in the House

SB 34 (Dixon-45th) Allows victims of human trafficking to petition for name change under seal. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Awaits committee assignment in the House

SB 54 (Harbison-15th) Allows judicial discretion in determining the right of a surviving parent to custody of a child when the surviving parent is criminally charged with the murder or voluntary manslaughter of the other parent. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 55 (Butler-55th) Creates the Family Medical Leave Fund program to compensate in part for the wage loss sustained by any individual who is unable to work due to such individual’s own sickness or injury, the sickness or injury of a family member, or the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a new child. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

SB 75 (Jackson-41st) Allows a documented victim of stalking to terminate his or her residential rental or lease agreement for real estate effective 30 days after providing the landlord with a written notice. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 117 (Miller-49th) Revise the offenses of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the first and second degrees by adding a definition for a “person of trust” and stating that a person commits the offense of improper sexual contact by person in a position of trust in the first degree when he or she is a person in a position of trust and engages in sexually explicit conduct with such minor. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 146 (Parent-42nd) Makes making a firearm accessible to a child a criminal offense.. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee

SB 155 (Gooch-51st) Allows failure to wear a safety belt or safety restraints for children as admissible evidence in civil actions and allows it to be used as a basis for cancellation of insurance coverage. STATUS: Senate Hopper

SB 159 (Gooch-51st) Authorizes local boards of education to use vehicles other than school buses for the transport of students to and from school related activities. STATUS: Senate Hopper

SR 42 (Butler-55th) Constitutional Amendment – authorizes the Family Medical Leave Fund program (SB 55 is the enabling legislation for this CA). STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

HB 115 (Wilensky-79th) Prohibits health insurers and insurers of life or long-term care insurance from using information derived from genetic testing for any nontherapeutic purpose in the absence of a diagnosis of a condition related to such information. STATUS: House Insurance Committee

HB 128 (Williams-145th) Prohibits providers from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients due solely to the physical or mental disability of the potential recipient. STATUS: This bill will be on the House floor for a vote by the full body this Tuesday

HB 163 (Cooper-43rd) Requires the state to request a state plan amendment from the federal government to allow the state to implement Express Lane Eligibility (ELE), which enables Georgia to use data from other federal or state programs (e.g., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)) to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid. STATUS: This bill will be on the House floor for a vote by the full body this Tuesday

HB 164 (Douglas-78th) require all health insurers to pass along no less than 80 percent of all prescription drug rebates to enrollees that such insurer receives from third parties with regard to such enrollee’s prescription drugs. STATUS: House Special Committee on Access to the Quality Health Care

HB 209 (McLeod-105th) Expands Medicaid coverage for eligible persons up to 150% FPL and to those eligible to buy coverage on the individual/small group marketplace. Provides subsidies to eligible persons who make 151-500% FPL to obtain coverage through Medicaid or via the individual/small group marketplace. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 212 (Carpenter-4th) Changes law so that when a minor child is a candidate for non-resuscitation, an order not to resuscitate may be issued only with the oral or written consent of the minor’s parent, except in certain circumstances. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

HB 213 (Robichaux-48th) Provides full practice authority for advanced practice registered nurses. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 214 (Robichaux-48th) Establishes the Medicaid Buy-In Program, which allows individuals to buy-in to Medicaid coverage. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 215 (Robichaux-48th) Requires the Department of Community Health to take measures to receive federal approval to make telehealth service flexibilities that were granted during the pandemic permanent. Requires DCH to implement a system of certification, recertification, and training of providers via telehealth options in lieu of in-person observation models. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 217 (Robichaux-48th) Requires DCH to provide an annual report on quality measures for each health care plan or program administered by or through the department and make the report publicly available and include, at a minimum, quality measures and payment levels across key medical billing codes for each health care plan or program. The bill also requires that plans include comprehensive dental and vision coverage for adults at no additional premium, and that the reimbursement rates for primary care services provided to recipients of medical assistance shall be equal to the applicable Medicare rates. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 234 (Hawkins-27th) Lays out requirements and allowances for self-funded healthcare plans to opt in to Georgia’s Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care. The bill now rests in House Rules Commitee

HB 239 (Hutchinson-107th) Requires the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to conduct or coordinate all audits of behavioral health providers. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 268 (Werkheiser-157th) Allows Georgia to enter the interstate compact known as the “Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact”, which creates a process for occupational therapists to work in other states that are also compact members. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

HB 307 (Cooper-43rd) Authorizes health care providers to provide telemedicine services from home and patients to receive telemedicine services from their home, workplace, or school. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

HB 320 (Neal-74th) Requires each health care insurer offering a health benefit plan in this state to also offer a group health benefit plan to the Department of Administrative Services and all local governments for the provision of health care services to inmates and other persons in police custody. STATUS: House Insurance Committee

HB 321 (Neal-74th) Requires each health care insurer offering a health benefit plan in this state to also make available to hospitals for purchase a group health benefit plan for the provision of health care services to all eligible persons requesting such coverage at the hospital. The insured person or policyholder will be the hospital and all premiums for the plan shall would paid by the hospital. STATUS: House Insurance Committee

HB 339 (Drenner-85th) Creates the Environmental Justice Commission and provides that as a prerequisite for obtaining certain permits in neighborhoods consisting of persons of color or from low-income families, applicants shall take certain actions to mitigate health hazards and that governmental agencies shall consider the disproportionate effect of environmental hazards on people of color or people from low-income families in implementing certain environmental policies. The bill also provides that no person in Georgia shall be excluded from any state funded program or activity because of race, color, or national origin. STATUS: House Natural Resources and Environment Committee

HB 346 (LaRiccia-169th) “Jarom’s Act”- Allows emergency medical services personnel, to administer hydrocortisone sodium succinate to patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 369 (Powell-32nd) Allows advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and physician assistants (PA) to be authorized to issue prescription drug orders for Schedule II controlled substances in emergency situations. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee

HB 394 (Stephens-164th) Increases the tax on tobacco and vaping products. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 395 (Belton-112th) Allows Georgia to enter into the interstate compact known as the “Professional Counselors Licensure Compact”, which would allow Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists form other compact states to practice in Georgia and Georgia practitioners to practice in other compact states. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

HB 402 (Ehrhart-36th) Makes it a felony for a healthcare professional to cause or engage in any practices performed for the purpose of attempting to affirm a minor’s perception of such minor’s sex, if that perception is inconsistent with such minor’s sex, including surgery and medications. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 412 (Dempsey-13th) Provides for the licensure of individuals in the practice of applied behavior analysis and creates the Georgia Behavior Analyst Licensing Board. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 413 (Camp-131st) Prohibits state or local governments from requiring individuals to submit to vaccinations as a condition to certain actions if the vaccine does not meet certain conditions. The bill also states that “no person who objects in writing thereto on grounds that the receipt of vaccines used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 conflicts with his or her philosophical beliefs shall be required to receive any such vaccine”. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 430 (Powell-32nd) Changes the licensure requirements for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to include a fingerprint criminal background check. Allows home health services to be provided to individuals under a written plan of care by an APRN or physician assistant, or, as was already law, a physician. Authorizes the collection of nurse workforce data. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 447 (Knight-130th) Requires that all contracts for health care coverage or services under the state health benefit plan contain provisions relating to disclosure of cost related data. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 448 (Knight-130th) Requires that all contracts for health care coverage or services under Medicaid and the PeachCare for Kids Program contain provisions relating to disclosure of cost related data. STATUS: House Hopper

HR 52 (Dempsey-13th) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Childhood Lead Exposure. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

HR 131 (Bennett-94th) Creates the House Study Committee on Health in Georgia. STATUS: House Health and Human Services 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Insurance 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Health and Human Services Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

SB 46 (Burke-11th) Allows EMTs and certified cardiac technicians to administer vaccines in public health emergencies. Allows for the creation of the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services, a vaccination registry to be created by DPH in which all people are automatically enrolled, using individually identifiable information provided by a local health department, hospital, physician, or other provider of medical services. Requires that informed consent be obtained in order for an individual to receive a live vaccine. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

SB 50 (Rhett-33rd) Creates a premium assistance program for eligible individuals with incomes up to 138% FPL, requiring that the individual pay a “personal responsibility premium” of no more than 5% of their annual income. Creates a “compliance pool” wherein the DCH withholds 0.25% of payments to health plan providers and distributes the pool funds according to plan providers’ success collecting personal responsibility premiums. Requires that DCH develop a pilot model to test medical/health savings accounts. Creates a Legislative Oversight Committee for Health Care Premium Assistance to oversee the program. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee

SB 80 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Requires entities conducting prior authorizations to make public (and keep updated) the requirements and restrictions for prior authorizations for healthcare services and to make data regarding prior authorization denials and approvals public. This includes categories for physician specialty, medication or diagnostic procedures, indication offered, reason for denial, whether appealed and outcome of appeal, and length of time between submission and response. The bill also requires that the entity issuing a denial of a prior authorization first contact the physician, and that the physician have an opportunity to discuss medical necessity of the service under review, and that the determination be made within a two-day period (or 24 hours in the case of urgent services). States that such entities cannot require a prior authorization for emergency services and outlines requirements to cover these services. The physician making the determination must be currently licensed and of the same specialty that the service would require, and not have any financial interest in the outcome of the appeal. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

SB 82 (Harrell-40th) Creates a Medicaid public option program (“PeachCare Public Option Program”) to provide premium-based healthcare coverage to individuals not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or the PeachCare for Kids Program. STATUS: Senate Appropriations Committee

SB 91 (James-35th) Requires local boards of education to provide feminine hygiene products to students at no charge to the students. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 172 (Butler-55th) Expands Medicaid. STATUS: Senate Hopper

SB 181 (Jordan-6th) Requires insurers to limit the total cost sharing amount that a covered person is required to pay for a covered prescription insulin drug to an amount not to exceed $50.00 per 30 day supply of insulin. STATUS: Senate 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 postanasthesia 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: House Health and Human Services Committee

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: House Insurance Committee

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 Education Committee

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. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

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 Health and Human Services Committee

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

HB 146 (Gaines-117th) Provides for paid parental leave for eligible state employees and eligible local board of education employees for qualifying life events after six continuous months of employment with the employing entity. The maximum amount of paid parental leave during any rolling 365-day period is 120 hours, regardless of the number of qualifying life events that occur within such period. Such leave may be used as needed. STATUS: This bill will be on the House floor for a vote by the full body this Tuesday

HB 170 (Park-101st) Establishes a graduated tax credit based on taxpayer income for qualified child and dependent care expenses. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 257 (Setzler-35th) Allows registration of maternity supportive housing residences to provide housing for six pregnant women aged 18 years or older and their children (per residence) at any one time during the woman’s pregnancy and up to 18 months after childbirth. No services other than housing shall be provided. No county, municipality, or consolidated government shall, by rule or ordinance, constrain the establishment or operation of maternity supportive housing residences or place occupancy requirements on such residences that would not apply to a single family living in the residence. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 377 (Schofield-60th) Requires that every woman arrested who is not released on bond within 72 hours of arrest shall submit to pregnancy testing protocols of the facility. The bill also allows judicial discretion regarding deferral for pregnancy and establishes procedures for such women upon early termination of pregnancy while under the supervision of the court. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 381 (Shannon-84th) 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 382 (Shannon-84th) Repeals the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program, stating that the program “purports to improve the health of pregnant women, but directs public health funds to only a small range of organizations”. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

SB 111 (Jackson-2nd) The Georgia Community Midwife Act allows for the licensure and regulation of community midwives. Creates a State Board of Community Midwifery whose members are appointed by the Governor. Requires that community midwives obtain informed consent from those who seek their services. Amends the “Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act,” so as to provide for an exception relating to the practice of midwifery. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee

SB 116 (Robertson-29th) Allows registration of maternity supportive housing residences to provide housing for six pregnant women aged 18 years or older and their children (per residence) at any one time during the woman’s pregnancy and up to 18 months after childbirth. No services other than housing shall be provided. No county, municipality, or consolidated government shall, by rule or ordinance, constrain the establishment or operation of maternity supportive housing residences or place occupancy requirements on such residences that would not apply to a single family living in the residence. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this WEDNESDAY

SB 170 (Jackson-2nd) Requires health benefit policies to provide coverage for expenses incurred in home childbirth. STATUS: Senate Hopper

SB 173 (Davenport-44th) 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: Senate Hopper

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: House Higher Education Committee

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 Education Committee

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: House Higher Education Committee

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

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

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: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits Committee assignment by the Senate

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 Higher Education Committee

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

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 Higher Education Committee

HB 100 (Gilliard-162nd) Creates a tax exemption on motor fuel and compressed natural gas for public mass transit vehicles owned by public transportation systems, certain vehicles owned by public campus transportation systems, and school buses operated by public school systems. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 118 (Burnough-77th) Changes the name of the QBE sparsity grant to “FAIR Georgia Grant”. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 120 (Carpenter-4th) Allows students who are considered DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to qualify for in-state tuition for the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 152 (Wiedower-119th) Adjusts criteria for oversight of private postsecondary educational institutions. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 155 (Thomas-39th) Raises the age of mandatory education for children from 16 to 17. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 195 (Clark-108th) Requires the public education course of study in sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention instruction is medically accurate. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 198 (Singleton-71st) Provides that deductions previously taken by a taxpayer for contributions to the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan shall not be recaptured if a withdrawal from the savings trust account is made by an account owner in connection with the beneficiary successfully enlisting for active duty in any branch of the armed forces. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 201 (Evans-57th) Creates a certification program for whole child model schools. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 256 (Burnough-77th) Establishes the HOPE tuition-free grant for students enrolled in a program of study leading to a certificate or diploma in a field designated by the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to be in high demand in Georgia. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 259 (Burnough-77th) Creates a need-based component of the HOPE scholarship and grant such that a HOPE “need recipient” could receive up to the amount of the cost of tuition at the public or private institution. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 262 (Kennard-102nd) Requires mandatory pre-kindergarten and kindergarten for all children prior to entering into first grade and lowers the age of compulsory school attendance from six years old to four years old. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 276 (Singleton-71st) Makes it unlawful for public or private schools whose students compete against a public school to operate athletic programs that permit a person whose gender is male to participate in an athletic program that is designated for females. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 283 (Wilkerson-38th) Removes the SAT and ACT score requirements for “Zell Miller Scholarship Scholar” for students who graduate from eligible high schools. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 287 (Rich-97th) Requires information about tobacco and vapor products to be included in the course on alcohol and drugs required each year for all students in grades kindergarten through 12. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

HB 291 (Dempsey-13th) Expands the definition of “approved school” regarding tuition equalization grants at private colleges and universities. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 319 (Martin-49th) Forbids high schools which receive QBE funding from participating in or sponsoring interscholastic sports events conducted by any athletic association that prohibits student athletes from participation in a sport at a school to which he or she transferred under certain conditions. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 329 (Lewis-Ward-109th) Suspends school and school system ratings and report cards for the 2020-2021 school year. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 372 (Jasperse-11th) Defines gender as a person’s biological sex, based on a person’s reproductive organs at birth. Requires that athletic associations allow only males (using this definition of gender) to participate in events for males and only females in events for females. Allows for a private cause of action for individuals who experience direct or indirect harm as a result of these provisions, but physicians involved are generally not liable in such situations. STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 390 (Shannon-84th) Requires the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to determine the amount of funds needed to provide for adult technical education programs for agriculture and to include agribusiness and food and agricultural sciences in the industry services training program. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 455 (Barr-103rd) Authorizes local boards of education to use vehicles other than school buses for the transport of students to and from school related activities. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 457 (Jackson-64th) Requires child support and alimony to provide for financial support for a child beyond the age of majority for postsecondary education. STATUS: House Hopper

SB 3 (Jackson-2nd) Raises the age of mandatory education from 16 to 17. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this WEDNESDAY

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 Education and Youth Committee

SB 17 (Jones-10th) Creates a certification program for whole child model schools. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 47 (Gooch-51st) Expands the Special Need Scholarship to include students with a 504 plan and a specific, qualifying diagnosis, as well as students who received preschool special education services under IDEA, and students who have been adopted or placed into permanent guardianship from foster care. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. This bill will be heard in Committee this WEDNESDAY

SB 51 Thompson-51st Authorizes home study students in grades 6-12 to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the student’s resident public school system; to provide that home study students shall complete one qualifying course during any semester the student participates in an extracurricular or interscholastic activity in the student’s resident public school system. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this WEDNESDAY

SB 59 (Albers-56th) Provides that local charter schools to get an additional 3% of the base amount per FTE in QBE funding with a $3.5 million cap per school and requires the local school system to provide space for a local charter school or provide a stipend for facilities (Thanks to Sally Fitzgerald for this summary!). STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this WEDNESDAY

SB 66 (Anavitarte-31st) Authorize a nonprofit corporation incorporated by the Georgia Foundation for Public Education to receive private donations to be used for grants to public schools and dissolves the Public Education Innovation Fund Foundations. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 81 (Mullis-53rd) Changes the name of the Office of College and Career Transitions to the Office of College and Career Academies and requires the Technical College System of Georgia to collaborate with the Workforce Development Board and the Department of Economic Development to support the efforts of College and Career Academies and local economic development partners to assist in the recruitment of new industries and to expand existing industries by demonstrating the preparation of technically skilled high school graduates to be ready to work within existing industries or industries being recruited to the state. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 88 (Goodman-8th) Invites the Georgia Teacher of the Year to serve as an advisor ex officio to the State Board of Education. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

SB 97 (Jackson-2nd) Allows each institution of Georgia’s university system to award out-of-state tuition differential waivers and assess in-state tuition to persons who are unable to be classified as in-state for tuition purposes. Albany State University, Fort Valley State University, and Savannah State University are permitted to award out-of-state tuition differential waivers to up to 10 percent of the equivalent full-time students enrolled. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 106 (Davenport-44th) Requires provision of wraparound services in the multi-tiered system of supports prior to expelling or assigning a student in preschool through third grade to out-of-school suspension for more than five consecutive or cumulative days during a school year. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 107 (Strickland-17th) Waives tuition and all fees, including mandatory rooming and board fees, for qualifying foster and adopted students by units of the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. STATUS: Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 110 (Harrell-40th) Prohibits the assignment of graded homework for students in grades kindergarten through two. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 122 (Harrell-40th) Requires scheduled 30 minutes of recess each school day for students in kindergarten through grade eight. The bill also states that recess periods shall be considered instructional time to avoid lengthening the school day and that recess periods shall not be withheld from students for disciplinary purposes. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 123 (Harrell-40th) Requires the State Board of Education to establish facility requirements for temporary classrooms and to provide for plans for converting temporary classroom space to permanent classroom space within five years. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 153 (Dolezal-27th) The Graduation Opportunities and Advanced Learning (GOAL) Act outlines processes for funding and designating GOAL Academies, which are charter schools designed to increase graduation opportunities for traditional high school students, decrease dropout rates in local districts, and provide high school credit recovery opportunities. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SR 105 (Jordan-6th) Constitutional Amendment – revising the Georgia Constitution by replacing the word “adequate” with “quality” as follows: The provision of an adequate [a quality] public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia. STATUS: Senate Hopper

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

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 Ways and Means Committee

HB 110 (Clark-147th) Allows anyone who is eligible for a weapons carry license to lawfully carry a weapon without such a license. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 112 (Kelley-16th) Extends certain immunities from liability claims regarding COVID-19 by one year to July 14, 2022. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Awaits Committee assignment by the Senate

HB 116 (McClain-100th) Increases the state minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $15.00 per hour. (Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.). STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee

HB 142 (Carpenter-4th) Allows qualified education tax credits to be used by certain insurance companies against certain tax liability. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 180 (Lim-99th) Requires the state to maintain databases of sources of funding available to members of the public. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee. This bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY

HB 197 (Lewis-Ward-109th) Lowers the employee threshold applying to the flexible use of existing sick leave from businesses employing 25 or more to 18 or more and extends the sunset of this Act (Family Care Act) from 2023 to 2025. STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee

HB 204 (Scott-76th) Creates a comprehensive civil rights law that protects individuals from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment on the basis of race, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. Amends existing laws to include certain missing protections (e.g., fair housing law amended to include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, and age). STATUS: House Judiciary Committee

HB 218 (Ballinger-23rd) Expands weapons carry license reciprocity so that persons who are not residents of this state are authorized to carry a weapon in this Georgia if licensed to carry in any other state. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 230 (Schofield-60th) Prohibits discrimination based on hairstyles associated with race, color, or national origin in housing, education, employment. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee

HB 289 (Belton-112th) Makes any person 17 years of age or older who meets the qualifications for issuance of a Class C license and has proof of military enlistment eligible to receive a Class C license; and removes the requirement for the alcohol and drug course for any person under 18 years of age who becomes a resident of Georgia and who has a valid license issued by another state or country. STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee

HB 297 (Marin-96th) Requires reasonable access to public services for non-English speakers, including translation, oral language services, and the like. STATUS: House Government Affairs Committee

HB 399 (Clark-147th) Provides that deductions previously taken by a taxpayer for contributions to the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan shall not be recaptured if a withdrawal from the savings trust account is made by an account owner upon or after the beneficiary’s successful completion of two years of active duty service in any branch of the armed forces of the United States. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 432 (Drenner-85th) Creates the Environmental Justice Commission and provides that as a prerequisite for obtaining certain permits in neighborhoods consisting of persons of color or from low-income families, applicants shall take certain actions to mitigate health hazards and that governmental agencies shall consider the disproportionate effect of environmental hazards on people of color or people from low-income families in implementing certain environmental policies. The bill also provides that no person in Georgia shall be excluded from any state funded program or activity because of race, color, or national origin. STATUS: House Hopper

HB 442 (Collins-62nd) Includes the management of social media in parenting plans. STATUS: House Hopper

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: House Higher Education Committee

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

HR 30 (Stephens-164th) Constitutional Amendment – Permits the operation and regulation of limited casino gaming in this state at licensed destination resort facilities with proceeds supporting the HOPE Scholarship and others. STATUS: House Economic Development and Tourism Committee

HR 128 (Holly-111th) Allows persons who are 17 years of age and older to register to vote and vote in elections. STATUS: House Special Committee on Election Integrity

HR 129 (Neal-74th) Constitutional Amendment – Authorizes the General Assembly to provide for the net proceeds of one or more lottery games to support economic development purposes and programs to provide for direct loans to small businesses located in Georgia. STATUS: House Economic Development and Tourism 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 Government Oversight Committee

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 Judiciary Committee

SB 24 (Butler-55th) Raises the state minimum wage to $15 per hour from $5.15 per hour. (Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.) Orders the Georgia Department of Labor to calculate the cost of living annually (starting in 2022) and to reevaluate the minimum wage accordingly on an annual basis (starting in 2023). STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

SB 25 (Butler-55th) Increases the value of the state tax credit for child and dependent care expenses (based on the federal tax credit) to 100 percent of the federal tax credit. STATUS: Senate Finance Committee

SB 30 (Beach-21st) Allows pari-mutuel horse racing in this state at a limited number of licensed equestrian centers; to create the Georgia Horse Racing Commission. Some proceeds would be used to fund education, health care needs, and rural development in this state, as well as the treatment of problem pari-mutuel wagering issues. STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

SB 58 (Parent-42nd) Establishes a state-level, refundable earned income tax credit for individuals earning below a certain income threshold. STATUS: Senate Finance Committee

SB 61 (Anderson-43rd) Prohibits discrimination based on hairstyles associated with race, color, or national origin in housing, education, employment. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

SB 65 (Gooch-51st) Changes certain provisions relating to the Universal Access Fund so as to modernize such Act and to provide for a certain portion of such fund to be used for the deployment of broadband services in unserved areas and provides powers and duties of the Public Service Commission so as to fund contributions and distributions. STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

SB 108 (Davenport-44th) Creates the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. STATUS: Senate Government Oversight Committee

SB 142 (Mullis-53rd) Adds sports wagering as an allowable lottery game, regulated and overseen by the Georgia Lottery Corporation. Proceeds from the games shall be used for educational purposes, including costs associated with Pre-K, K-12, the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. Orders the DBHDD to provide treatment for individuals with a gambling problem and to produce an annual report outlining such activities. STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

SR 53 (Beach-21st) Amends the state Constitution to allow for pari-mutuel betting on horseracing and provides that revenue from taxation or regulation be directed toward education, rural healthcare, and health insurance coverage. STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

SR 107 (Jordan-6th) Creates the Senate Comprehensive Approach to Family Leave Policies within State Government Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Hopper

2 Minute Advocacy Asks

Streamline Medicaid Enrollment


The “Ask”:

Call members of the House of Representatives and ask that they vote YES to House Bill 163 (the Express Lane Eligibility bill) when it comes to the floor for a vote this coming TUESDAY, February 16th.

The Details: 

Approximately 197,000 children in Georgia lacked health insurance coverage in 2019 – the fourth-highest uninsured child population in the country. The majority of these children are eligible, but not enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, known in Georgia as PeachCare for Kids®).

Express Lane Eligibility (ELE) would allow Georgia to use data from other federal or state programs (e.g., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)) to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid/CHIP. Implementing ELE with SNAP would:

  • Facilitate insuring an estimated 60,000-70,000 currently uninsured children!
  • Prevent gaps in children’s Medicaid coverage by facilitating automatic renewals
  • Enable administrative efficiencies for the state

The Message:

Dear Representative,

Please vote YES on House Bill 163 when it comes to the floor for a vote this coming Tuesday, February 16th. I am fully supportive of efforts to efficiently and effectively reduce the number of uninsured children in our state. HB 163 is an excellent way to do that, by streamlining enrollment, and could result in coverage for 60,000-70,000 children who currently are receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits but who have no health insurance. Thank you for being a voice for Georgia’s children.

The How:

Contact members of the House of Representatives here.
Don’t know who your Representative is? Click here to find out!

Raise the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

The Ask

Call members of the House Juvenile Justice Committee before Tuesday and ask them to support raising the age of Juvenile Court jurisdiction from encompassing children up to 17-years-old to children up to 18-years-old as well when the issue comes before them.

The Message

Dear Representative _________, Please support Section 1 of House Bill 272, which raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to encompass non-violent 17-year-old’s, when the issue comes before you in the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The juvenile justice system does a better job than the adult system of holding young people accountable when they commit minor offenses by requiring youth to attend school, make restitution to victims and attend community-based rehabilitative programs that focus on the causes of the problem behavior. By raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to cover non-violent 17 year old’s, Georgia can improve public safety, save taxpayer dollars and strengthen Georgia’s economy. Please note that this bill does NOT affect serious offenders of all ages, who will continue to be tried in adult court. Thank you for your service and for all you do for Georgia’s children.

The How

Click here for contact information for members of the House Juvenile Justice Committee

The Details

Georgia is one of only three states (along with Texas and Wisconsin) that processes all 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, sending them to adult court rather than through the juvenile justice system. HB 272 would raise the age (“RTA”) of youth served by juvenile court to include non-violent 17-year-olds. Click here for our groovy factsheet on RTA!

Studies about brain development support the idea of keeping young offenders in juvenile court until at least age 17.

  • Numerous health experts confirm that the brain’s frontal lobe — referred to as the “executive” part of the brain — is not fully developed until the mid-20s. This part of the brain regulates decision-making, planning, judgment, and impulse control.

Current law shuts out parents of 17-year-olds. These children — and their parents — deserve the right of parental support as they navigate the court system.

  • When a youth is arrested, police call parents, who generally become heavily involved as the child travels through the court system. The sound assumption is that parents will play a key role in supporting positive behavior change.
  • When a 17-year-old is arrested, police in Georgia need not call the parents because 17-year-olds are legally adults in this circumstance. Children who are susceptible to coercion may also agree to a plea bargain without any parental input. In many cases parents do not find out about their child’s arrest until it becomes a barrier in college applications.
  • Families are involved throughout the juvenile court process.

The juvenile justice system does a better job than the adult system of holding young people accountable when they commit minor offenses, and serious offenders of all ages will remain in adult court.

  • In juvenile court, more so than in adult court, a 17-year-old is much more likely to be mandated to attend school, make restitution to victims and attend community-based rehabilitative programs that focus on the causes of the problem behavior.
  • These rehabilitation efforts improve public safety, save taxpayer dollars and strengthen Georgia’s economy.
  • Raising the age of jurisdiction will not reduce or minimize appropriate punishment to deserving young offenders.
  • Youth charged with similar crimes and with similar criminal histories who are treated as adults are more likely to commit the same or a more serious offense in the future than those who remain in the juvenile system.
Parental Leave for State Employees

The Ask

Call members of the House of Representatives and ask that they vote YES to House Bill 146 (Paid Parental Leave for State Employees bill) when it comes to the floor for a vote this coming TUESDAY, February 16th

The Message
Dear Representative, Please vote YES on House Bill 146 when it comes to the floor for a vote this coming Tuesday, February 16th. HB 146 is an excellent way to support our state employees and teachers care for newborn children, adoptive children and children they are fostering in their homes. We know that in such situations, childhood trauma can be greatly reduced when a caregiver has the capacity to fully focus on helping a child with entry into a new home and family. In addition, we believe that supporting state employees and teachers and their families is an important way to help keep their families strong and to thank them for their dedication and commitment to public service. Thank you for being a voice for Georgia’s children.

The How
Contact members of the House of Representatives here.

Don’t know who your Representative is? Click here to find out!

The Details

Research has shown long-lasting effects of early environmental influences on brain development, and are significant in the formation of learning skills, self-esteem, and emotional security. Providing stability and continuity as children and families enter new living situations is key in reducing stress, anxiety and trauma for children in the home. Likewise, it is important that caregivers have the financial, emotional and temporal “bandwidth” to navigate both expected and unexpected challenges which come with changes in a family structure.

For more on the benefits of paid family leave, check out these websites:

Encyclopedia on Early Child Development

Families Valued

Considering Adoption

Lead Poisoning 

The Ask

Call or email members of the House Health and Human Services Committee and ask them to vote YES on HR 52, which creates a Joint Study Committee on Childhood Lead Exposure.

The Message

Dear Representative _________, Please support House Resolution 52, which creates a Joint Study Committee on Childhood Lead Exposure, when it comes before the House Health and Human Services Committee this Tuesday. In 2019, more than 2,000 children in Georgia were found to have lead poisoning. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can cause coma, convulsions, seizures, and death. Even low levels of lead exposure can result in speech, language, and behavioral problems, learning disabilities, damage to the nervous system, and lower IQ. But exposure to lead is preventable when we take the right steps to protect ourselves and our children. This study committee will help us all understand what the best steps are to combat this problem. Thank you for your service and for all you do for Georgia’s children.

The How
Click here for contact information for the members of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

The Details

  • In 2019, more than 2,331 children in Georgia were found to have lead poisoning.
  • Children under age 6 are at the greatest risk of lead poisoning. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning because their bodies absorb lead more easily than adults.
  • High levels of lead in the blood can cause coma, convulsions, seizures, and death.
  • Even low levels of lead exposure can result in speech, language, and behavioral problems, learning disabilities, damage to the nervous system, and lower IQ.
  • Exposure to lead is preventable when we take the right steps to protect ourselves and our children. Visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website here to learn how to protect your family.
  • Childhood lead poisoning is defined by the presence of 5 or more micrograms per deciliter or more of lead within the body.