While it is a nice idea, I, for one, am glad that Valentine’s Day is over.  For me, it is one of those holidays that ends up sort of like a backhanded compliment from your clueless old distant aunt (who also happens to think your favorite meal is borscht, headcheese and cabbage).  First, all day I am anxious about how bad I look in red (and even worse in pink!). Second, I worry that those little candy conversation hearts are rigged to subliminally goof up my self-esteem; and third, I obsess over what restaurant patrons think when I pick up a single slice of to-go pizza for dinner.  On top of all that, Valentine’s Day is represented by a baby with a weapon (pointed out to me by my son when he was 4), which, as a child advocate, I find off-putting. Anyway, at least we can all move on, with a good 364 more calendar days until the next one. Phew.

In other news, last week was dominated by budget hearings in both the House and Senate appropriations committees. The chambers were in adjournment all week for precisely this purpose (which explains the lack of new legislation in the list below), and state agency heads might as well have packed a sleeping bag as often as they appeared to present the proposed additions and subtractions (mostly the latter) of dollars. Now the Budget Elves (appropriations committee members) are busy stitching and polishing various line items, in hopes that they can cobble together some bills that reflect the priorities of the Legislature and help the agencies achieve their core missions. Remember, a balanced budget is the only bill that must be passed, according to our state constitution.

Today (as you receive this missive), the house and Senate are still in adjournment thanks to the parents of George Washington, who raised him to adulthood and told him he could be president some day (after he made a country). He was, and now we have President’s Day so that the state can have a holiday and the rest of us can wonder why we didn’t get any mail in our mailbox. The chambers come back in tomorrow, Tuesday February 18, for the 13th Legislative Day (LD). If you are wondering what the schedule looks like up to Crossover Day (LD28 the last day a bill can pass out of its originating chamber and still be viable for passage this session), you can click here to see. They have not yet established what the schedule will be for the last 12 remaining Legislative Days.

Also, the 18th is Raise the Age Day at the capitol, hosted by Voices and the Barton Child Law and Policy Center, among others.  We want to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to cover non-violent 17 year old kids (who currently are sent to adult court for any and all offenses). Check out the action alert below to learn more.

And with that, I will leave you so I can start to think about what sort of exotic vacation I will take after Sine Die. Maybe Macon…maybe Statesboro….maybe Social Circle…or St. Simon’s…or (most likely) Kroger……….

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

 


Know Where You Want to Go?

Juvenile Justice/Effective School Discipline

Child Welfare/Vulnerable Youth

Child Health and Safety

Early Care and Learning

Higher Education

Miscellaneous

2 Minute Advocacy Ask


 JUVENILE JUSTICE/EFFECTIVE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE

 

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

HB 440 (Ballinger-23rd) Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17 year-olds. STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY.

HB 883 (Gilliard-162nd) Creates the Georgia Gang Prevention and Intervention Task Force to develop and maintain a comprehensive state plan for strategic, coordinated, and collaborative efforts between educational institutions and community and social services organizations for programs and initiatives designed to prevent and intervene in criminal gang participation by youth. The body would essentially provide direction, technical assistance and, when funds are available, grants to advance the work. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

SB 288 (Anderson-43rd) Restricts access to criminal records where arrests did not result in a conviction, or where certain conditions have since been met (e.g., ten years have elapsed since the conviction, or drug court treatment program or mental health treatment program have been completed). STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 320 (Payne-54th) Creates a penalty for persons who are classified as sexually dangerous predators who fail to verify or update registration information on the Sexual Offender Registry as required by law. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

SB 326 (Karinshak-48th) Allows a defendant convicted of a nonviolent offense and sentence to petition the court to vacate the conviction and sentence if the offense was committed as a direct result of the defendant being the victim of a trafficking offense. At that time, the courts must also restrict access to the criminal history record information for the offense that was vacated. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.


CHILD WELFARE/VULNERABLE YOUTH

 

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

HB 823 (Gaines-117th) Creates a lifetime disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle by persons convicted of trafficking other persons for labor or sexual servitude while using a commercial motor vehicle. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Motor Vehicles Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 855 (Wiedower-119th) Allows children in foster care to be placed in special education classes or related services if it’s found that trauma impacts their education or classroom behavior. The Department of Education is to provide guidance on how evaluation will be initiated and determining eligibility. All children in foster care entering a new school system shall be immediately evaluated for eligibility for special education or related services. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 885 (Petrea-166th) Allows certain information within inmate files of the Department of Corrections (with the exception of medical records) shall not be classified as confidential state secrets when requested by the district attorney for purposes of responding to proposed actions of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles regarding inmates sentenced for a serious violent felony or a felony of a sexual nature against a person less than 18 years of age. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 911 (Setzler-35th) Defines the offenses of improper sexual contact by a foster parent in the first degree when he or she engages in sexually explicit conduct with his or her foster child; and in the second degree when a foster parent and engages in sexual contact, excluding sexually explicit conduct, with his or her foster child. STATUS: House Hopper.

HB 912 (Reeves-34th) Allows caregivers of children in foster care to arrange for short-term babysitting of those children by a person 18 or older. STATUS: House Hopper.

HB 913 (Reeves-34th) Among other tweaks to the adoption code, the lowers the age that a person is allowed to petition for adoption from 25 to 21 years old; restores previous law that was unintentionally omitted through the Adoption Code rewrite (in 2018) to allow the required search of the putative father registry to be performed as of the date the adoption petition is filed, and allow the results to be attached as an amendment to the petition; creates an exception to the required fingerprint criminal history reports for petitioners in proceedings to domesticate foreign adoptions and adult adoptions and provides that an affidavit from DFCS can satisfy the requirements of the subsection to prevent the petitioner from incurring the cost of an additional criminal records check; clarifies the court’s authority to determine it is in the best interests of the child to grant an adoption in the case of a child born in another country than the United States; and adds a new subsection to address recent scams wherein individuals are intentionally misrepresenting a pregnancy or intention to place child for adoption when the individual is either not pregnant or has no intention of placing child for adoption, and no money is being obtained by the individual as a result but the potential adoptive parents are expending money in reliance on the misrepresentations and are emotionally exploited. (Much thanks to Melissa Carter of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory Law School for her assistance with this summary!). STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 35 (Jackson-2nd) Prohibits sex offenders from residing near or loitering near their victims and the victims’ immediate family members. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 287 (Jones-22nd) Eliminates the statute of limitations for rape, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 325 (Karinshak-48th) Changes the statute of limitations for when a corporation may be prosecuted for trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude to ten years within commission of the crime or within ten years after the victim turns 18 if the crime was committed before the age of 18. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 335 (Brass-28th) Impacts foster youth and families is four ways. First, it allows free admission to state parks by foster children and their foster families, relative caregiver, or fictive kin. Second, the bill establishes that dependency cases that are time limited and cases of TPR take priority over all other civil and criminal hearings. Third, the bill allows DFCS to contract with child-placing agencies to assist in dependency/delinquency and voluntary custody cases. Finally, the bill allows DFCS to require varying levels of training for foster parents based on experience, the age and needs of the child, and level of care being provided by the foster parent. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 337 (Thompson-14th) Adds simulated (or photoshopped) images and videos to definitions of electronic, sexually explicit harassment. STATUS: Senate Science and Technology Committee.

SB 368 (Harbin-16th) Prohibits child-placing agencies from being required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the placement violates certain religious or moral convictions of the child-placing agency. The bill also prohibits discrimination of such child-placing agencies by entities of state and local government; and states that certain actions shall not form the basis of a civil action. STATUS: Senate Hopper.

 


CHILD HEALTH AND SAFETY

HB 113 (Carson-46th) Prohibits minors driving with a permit to use cell phones or other communication device while driving. Violation results in a misdemeanor and a fine of $150 (or $300 if the individual was using a cell phone at the time of an accident). The bill also allows individuals younger than 17 to apply for a GA license or permit if they have received a license or permit from another state based on their previous driving record and if they have completed a driver’s education requirements in Georgia. The bill restricts Class D license holders from operating Class C vehicles while using cell phones or during the first six months of obtaining their license. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY.

SB 144 (Anderson-24th) Allows a licensed tobacco dealer to apply for a special event tobacco permit for off-premise sales of cigars, cigarettes, or loose or smokeless tobacco for a special event or a temporary location offsite from the licensed location for a period of 1-10 days. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Last year, the bill made it to the House floor, but then the House postponed the bill and did not take it up again for a vote. This year, it was recommitted to House Ways and Means Committee. It will be heard in subcommittee this TUESDAY.

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

HB 719 (Silcox-52nd) Modernizes HIV-related laws to align with science and support best public health practices for preventing and treating HIV. The bill also permits syringe and needle exchange services without criminal penalties. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 731 (Stephens-164th) Increases state excise taxes on cigarettes by $1.50/pack; and on little cigars and loose and smokeless tobacco by 42%. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 760 (Cooper-43rd) Authorizes of peace officers to take a person to a physician or emergency receiving facility for emergency examination if the officer has probable cause for believing that the person presents a substantial risk of imminent harm to himself or herself or others or is so unable to care for his or her own physical health and safety as to create an imminently life-endangering crisis. STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

HB 789 (Newton-123rd) Creates a surprise bill rating system based upon the number of physician specialty groups (meaning an in-network medical group of anesthesiologists, pathologists, radiologists, or emergency medicine physicians) contracted with a hospital within a health insurer’s network and requires insurers to include hospital surprise bill ratings online and in print provider directories, and advertise such ratings elsewhere. The bill also states that if a hospital’s surprise bill rating is less than four, each insurer advertising such hospital as in-network must describe which qualified hospital-based specialty group types are not contracted with such hospital. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 801 (Scott-76th) Limits the number of patients assigned to a registered professional nurse in a hospital as follows: One patient per nurse in each setting: Postanesthesia care patients under the age of 18, patients in operating rooms (provided that one other person serves as a scrub assistant per patient), critical trauma patients in emergency units, patients in active labor and during birth (one for the mother and one for each baby born), and immediate postpartum (the two hours immediately after birth). Two patients per nurse in each setting: Critical care patients, postanesthesia care patients 18 or older, critical care emergency patients and antepartum patients requiring continuous fetal monitoring. Three patients per nurse in each setting: Step down or immediate care patients, basic or comprehensive emergency medical services patients, postpartum couplets (or 6 total patients), telemetry, and acute rehabilitation. Four patients per nurse in each setting: All pediatric units, psychiatric, medical and surgical, observational, specialty care, and any unit not otherwise listed. Hospitals may face penalties up to $25K/day or sanctions such as revocation of the hospital’s license during which violations continue. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 809 (Kausche-50th) Increases the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. The bill also updates language to define ‘electronic smoking product’, clarifies rules for in-person sales of tobacco products, and updates retailer signage requirements. The bill effectively bans online sale of tobacco products by banning sales of tobacco products or tobacco-related objects that are not person-to-person transactions (with the exception of vending machines. STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee.

HB 842 (Williams-145th) Prohibit providers and health insurers from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients due solely to the physical or mental disability of the potential recipient. STATUS: House Insurance Committee.

HB 843 (Douglas-78th) Requires schools to provide recess for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade except for days when there is physical education, structured activities or when other reasonable activities conflict. The bill specifies that local boards of education must establish written policies to ensure that recess is a safe experience, is scheduled so that it provides a break during academic learning and is not withheld for disciplinary or academic reasons. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 864 (Rich-97th) Establishes a 7% excise tax on all vapor products. Vapor products must be sold face-to-face. The bill also establishes new licensures for selling any vapor products, including devices used for consumption of combustible vapor products. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee. The bill will be heard in subcommittee this WEDNESDAY.

HB 882 (Houston-170th) Eliminates the sunset period for state and some local tax exemptions for the sale of food and food ingredients to qualified food banks and for the use of food and food ingredients donated to qualified nonprofit agencies., The bill also expands the exemption for the use of food and food ingredients donated to qualified nonprofit agencies to include disaster relief. STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 888 (Hawkins-27th) “Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act” – Develops mechanisms to resolve payment disputes between private plan insurers and out-of-network providers regarding the provision of healthcare services; requires the department to maintain an all-payer health claims data base; provides for in-network cost-sharing amounts in healthcare plan contracts; establishes an arbitration process; and requires the Commissioner of Insurance to contract with one or more resolution organizations. STATUS: House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care.

HB 909 (Cooper-43rd) Increases the age from 18 to 21 years old for the purchase of cigarettes, tobacco, tobacco related objects, vapor products, and marijuana flavored products. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 101 (Beach-21st) Requires volunteer coaches with youth athletic associations to undergo training to reduce the likelihood of injuries to youth athletes engaged in high risk athletics (e.g.  any organized sport in which there is a significant possibility for a youth athlete to sustain a serious physical injury, including, but not limited to, the sports of football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, ice or field hockey, cheerleading, and lacrosse. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 298 (Unterman-45th) Prohibits sale or distribution of cigarettes, tobacco, tobacco related objects, and vapor products (including those that do not contain nicotine) to individuals under the age of 21. The bill also prohibits the use of labeling or packaging made to be attractive to minors. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 303 (Watson-1st) Requires insurers to be more transparent about prices for non-emergency health care services. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

SB 313 (Burke-11th) Establishes stricter regulations and licensure for pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) such as audits by the Insurance Commissioner, fines for violations of drug pricing guidelines, and establishing annual licensure requirements for all PBMs. The bill prohibits ‘steering’ by PBMs (e.g. requiring the use of a specific affiliated pharmacy or advertising or promoting its affiliated pharmacy). The bill requires PBMs utilize the national average drug acquisition cost as the benchmark (defined by Medicaid’s average acquisition cost) for pharmacy’s reimbursement rates for drugs. PBMs cannot reimburse at lower rates at pharmacies that they are not affiliated with. The bill also defines appeals processes in instances where specialty pharmacies are reimbursed at a lower rate than other pharmacies. All payments collected by PBMs are to be paid directly to the pharmacies for products or to health plans to offset costs or co-pays for the insured. The bill prohibits withholding coverage or requiring prior authorization for lower cost, therapeutically equivalent drugs. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

SB 321 (Hufstetler-52nd) Increases the number of physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) a physician can authorize and supervise at any one time from 4 to 6, and allows APRNs to practice in places in addition to the supervising physician’s office. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 323 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Makes it a crime to administer conscious sedation in a dental facility or during the practice of dentistry in a medispa, without a license to practice dentistry from the board. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 345 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Establishes criteria for nonprofit organizations to prepare and provide food in accordance with Department of Public Health requirements. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 348 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Sets standards for the number of providers that a health insurer contracts with, coverage standards, and how members can find provider lists. Provider adequacy is to be assessed by the Insurance Commissioner based on a variety of measures. Plans will be judged as either ‘adequate’ or ‘unsatisfactory,’ which comes with recommendations for revising the plan to receive a satisfactory judgement by the Commissioner. A designation of ‘unsatisfactory’ does not appear to impede the insurer from offering the plan. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

SB 352 (Burke-11th) States that when an insurer’s provider directory includes a provider as a participating provider for a network plan at such time as a prospective covered person selects his or her health benefit plan, such insurer shall cover the provider charges at in-network rates for the duration of the contract year for such covered person, regardless of whether such provider remains in the insurer’s network plan, and shall ensure that the covered person shall not be responsible for more than the amount for which he or she would have been responsible had the services been delivered by an in-network provider. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

SB 359 (Hufstetler-52nd) “Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act” – Develops mechanisms to resolve payment disputes between private plan insurers and out-of-network providers regarding the provision of healthcare services; requires the department to maintain an all-payer health claims data base; provides for in-network cost-sharing amounts in healthcare plan contracts; establishes an arbitration process; and requires the Commissioner of Insurance to contract with one or more resolution organizations. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this TUESDAY.


 

 

HB 881 (Cooper-43rd) Authorizes the leaving of a newborn child (no more than 30 days old) with an ambulance service or in a newborn safety incubator and sets standards for newborn safety incubators. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 910 (Mathiak-73rd) Establishes licensure for midwives within the Secretary of State’s office and creates the Advisory Group for Licensed Midwives, which will advise the Secretary regarding rules and regulations pertaining to licensure, oversight and practice of midwives. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 306 (Seay-34th) Allows Georgia to enter into an interstate compact known as the “Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact” for speech-language pathologists and audiologists, allowing such professionals from other states to practice in Georgia, and vice-versa. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 307 (Unterman-45th) “The Living Hope Home Act”- Creates a mechanism in the Department of Human Services to oversee residential homes each of which could house up to six pregnant women aged 18 years or older at any one time during the woman’s pregnancy and up to 18 months after childbirth, with the condition that no other services besides housing could be provided. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

SB 327 (Karinshak-48th) Requires employers to provide reasonable break time to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her nursing child, and not to reduce her pay as a result of that time taken. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

SB 354 (Parent-42nd) Includes participation in a four-year degree program as a state approved activity for purposes of the Georgia Childcare and Parent Services program (CAPS). STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee. The agency (DECAL) plans to enact these provisions through regulation.


 

 

HB 444 (Reeves-34th) Changes the name of the “Move on When Ready Act” to the “Dual Enrollment Act” and limits the eligibility for dual enrollment for high schoolers in Georgia based on courses, credit hours, and grades in which students can participate. Under the bill, only courses such as English, math, science, social studies, a foreign language, or CTAE (career, technical, and agricultural education) are eligible for dual enrollment credit. The bill limits (with exceptions) funding to up to 30 credit hours per student and limits dual enrollment to entering or enrolled 11th or 12th grade students. Students are also limited to retaking two courses, in the case of withdrawal or failure, except in the case of extenuating circumstances. Participating high schools are also subject to increased oversight by the Georgia Student Finance Commission. Schools must enter into the participation agreement that outlines the school’s financial obligation to cover tuition, fees, and books for students and provide enrollment data to the Office of Planning and Budget. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE, but in a different form, so must now get agreement from the House to proceed.

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

HB 736 (Belton-112th) Establishes a loan forgiveness program for teachers who agree to teach in a turnaround school in a high demand subject area (primarily STEM). Teacher must agree to teach for at least five years and loan forgiveness only applies to cost of tuition and does not include loans attributable to books, fees, or cost of living. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 741 (Belton-112th) Requires in each turnaround school to retain or designate a master teacher to provide support and mentoring for teachers therein in order for the school to sustain its teacher development efforts and ensure teachers continue to improve in their practices. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 784 (Lumsden-12th) Excludes meetings of a local board of education to discuss, vote upon, review, or assess school safety plans from open meetings laws. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by House Government Affairs Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee.

HB 840 (Wiedower-119th) Requires biennial review of nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions rather than programs. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee.

HB 880 (Glanton-75th) Creates a pilot program to plan, implement, and improve sustainable community schools, including but not limited to schools with whole child model school plans (e.g. school plans which  have been appropriately developed to promote and implement effective coordination of wraparound services and supports for the school and provide for processes to actively engage community partners. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 892 (Moore-95th) Requires the Department of Education to update its model bullying policy to include a procedure for determining whether a bullying incident must be reported to law enforcement, for referring a victim of bullying for counseling, and for training teachers annually on bullying prevention. STATUS: House Education Committee.

HB 908 (Smith-41st) Each local school system shall post in a prominent location on its website the information relating to enrollment of students in school to which they are not originally assigned. The posting must including all relevant dates and deadlines. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 367 (Martin-9th) Reduces number of end of course (tests) which must be given in high school from 8 tests to 4 tests.  The bill also moves the writing assessment from grade 11 to 12; the testing window for elementary schools to within 25 school days of the last day of school in a term; and requires the GaDOE to set the high school testing window. STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

HB 230 (Holcomb-81st) Allows the creation of benefit corporations in Georgia. (FYI, For regular corporations have a primary legal obligation to make money for their shareholders, meaning that they could land in legal trouble for too much charitable giving.) Benefit corporations are able to have a wholistic mission that includes both making money for shareholders and giving back to the community (think Tom’s shoes or Bomba’s socks). This is a relatively new form of business, so HB 230 is allowing them to be created in Georgia. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE (2019). Recommended Do Pass by Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee.

HB 488 (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 720 (Sainz-180th) Clarifies that a term of probation shall follow the mandatory term of imprisonment for persons convicted of a sexual offense and establishes some criteria for risk assessment of those convicted. STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 724 (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 749 (McLaurin-51st) Creates protections to preserve naturally occurring affordable housing and naturally occurring workforce housing in certain designated areas. STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee.

HB 751 (Pullin-131st) Prohibits the enforcement of federal and other extreme risk protection orders in Georgia.  (“extreme risk protection order” means an executive order or written order or warrant issued by a federal or state court or signed by a judge or comparable officer, to prohibit a named individual from owning, possessing, or receiving a firearm). This bill preemptively states that no laws, judges, or law enforcement officials may pursue action to remove firearms from individuals without due process. STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.

HB 787 (Ballinger-23rd) Allows Georgia residents to carry a weapon in Georgia if licensed to carry in any other state. STATUS: House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

HB 890 (Watson-172nd) Allows driver license revocation notices to be sent via regular mail (as opposed to certified mail). STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee.

HB 914 (Clark-147th) Allows military spouses licensed in other states to practice certain professions and occupations to obtain a license by endorsement to practice in Georgia. STATUS: House Hopper.

SB 84 (Kirk-13th) Removes the fee for the issuance of a renewal and temporary renewal for a weapons carry license. STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee.

SB 286 (Anderson-43rd) Prohibits discrimination on the basis of such protective hairstyle in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance, or enrolls pupils who receive state student financial aid. It also prohibits discrimination in employment so long as the hairstyle does not impede performance of duties. STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

SB 316 (Thompson-14th) Allows military spouses licensed in other states to practice certain professions in Georgia. STATUS: Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.

SB 365 (Karinshak-48th) Establishes state regulations which are consistent with the federal Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act by requiring a state background check of criminal history and involuntary hospitalization of a potential firearms buyer or transferee. These records would be reviewed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 366 (Karinshak-48th) Imposes background check requirements for transferring firearms. Exceptions include antiques, transferring firearms between family members, in cases of preventing imminent death or bodily harm, and hunting/target shooting. Violations result in misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony and time served for repeat offenses. STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee.


 BE A VOICE FOR CHILDREN

2 Minute Advocacy Ask

Raise the Age Ask


The “Ask”:

Contact members of the Georgia House of Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor House Bill 440, the “Raise the Age” bill.


The Message:

Dear Representative _________, Please reach out to the Juvenile Justice Committee Chair (Rep. Ballinger) and ask to sign on to House Bill 440, which raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to encompass non-violent 17 year olds. 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. In fact, 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. 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 remain 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 your State Representative.


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 440 would raise the age (“RTA”) of youth served by juvenile court to include non-violent 17 year old’s.  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.    


2 Minute Shameless Self-Promotion Ask

            Voices’ and Georgia Statewide After School Network Events

The “Ask”: Mark your calendars to attend the following totally awesome events:

When:
Feb. 18 (Tuesday) – Talk Justice Tuesday featuring speakers on Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction (State Capitol)

Feb. 25 (Tuesday) – Afterschool Day (State Capitol)

March 17 (Tuesday)  – Children’s Day (State Capitol)

Why: Because children are a big deal!


Useful links: