It may come as a shock to many of you, but I, Polly Livingston McKinney, a 56 year-old mother of two, love superheroes. I love their superpowers, their trendy and unusual clothes (caveat: I’m not the biggest fan of the underwear-on-the-outside costumes), the fact that they usually pretend to be regular people a lot of the time, and that they are secret-y about their weird pasts and how they came to be superheroes. I also think it is fascinating that an inordinate number of them are orphans, often raised by fictive kin or kin or whomever finds them in an asteroid, circus parking lot, Russian swimming pool or whatever. I guess that the likes of Bruce Wayne/Batman and Dick Grayson/RobinT’Challa/Black PantherPeter Parker/Spider ManClark Kent/SupermanAngela Abar/Sister Night, (to name but a few) all could have technically ended up in foster care, but didn’t. The other thing I love about these beings are their personal challenges, despite being able to crush doorknobs like tomatoes, fly to outer space in attire that looks like a cross between a nightlight and a red toaster, talk to animals,  or change size, shape, visibility, or wardrobe with a single blink. Ironically, what makes them greatest to me is that even with the best invincibility accessorizing (hammers, bracelets, boomerangs, capes, crossbows, fancy headgear, etc. etc.), they are still flawed just like us.  They often succumb to conditions like confusion, earnestness, love, anger, weird rocks or chemicals, certain words, or even, being in a hurry.

Now, I don’t dress up or do cosplay (mostly because following 12 months of pandemic kitchen Zooming, spandex loses its allure), but I do spend quite a bit of time in the shower thinking about how superhero stories reflect the human condition. And when a bill just isn’t going my way, or I’m tired and still have 4 hearings and a State of the Judiciary (timestamp 41:00) to watch before I go to bed,  or one of my teenagers casually mentions over pizza how I ruined her life with a poorly chosen outfit when she was eight, I try to remember that it is hard for Black Widow sometimes too. There is great comfort in knowing that those fictional characters with their big hair, big capes, big belt buckles and big ideas about justice or fairness or being useful in a pinch are really not even as good a superhero as you or me. For one thing, their superpowers are not as good as kindness, hope, hard work, resilience and laughter. For another thing, well, these defenders, guardians and goofball scientists are not even real.  We, on the other hand, are real and can develop vaccines, find ways to get more kids insured, and do our best to help those future superheroes in foster care and elsewhere get what they need to succeed. Plus, the opportunities to accessorize are limitless! You can dress yourself up with stuff like laptops, cell phones, lobbying badges, talking points, rain boots, hand sanitizer, the occasional lab coat, and more! (FYI, I still recommend wearing your underwear on the inside). So when the legislative session, Kryptonite or your angsty teenager is getting you down, just check out our action alerts, blink-on your superpowers to advocate and save the day!  As Thor once said (or as someone wrote for him to say), “The fate of your planet rests not in the hands of gods. It rests in the hands of mortals.”

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

HB 94 (Rich-97th) Provides for penalties and definitions of the crimes of theft by possession of stolen mail and porch piracy. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee

HB 272 (Ballinger-23rd) Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee today (MONDAY)

HB 286 (Gaines-117th) Restricts the ability of county, municipal or consolidated government governing authorities to reduce funding for municipal police departments. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to the Senate Public Safety 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will be heard in committee today (MONDAY)

HB 371 (Gunter-8th) Permits for court appearance via video conference for prisoners and certain witnesses. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 534 (Bonner-72nd) Increases the charges and penalties for anyone who knowingly promotes or organizes an exhibition of illegal drag racing or of laying drags. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HR 204 (Gilliard-162nd) Changes the name of the Savannah Regional Youth Detention Center for the Department of Juvenile Justice to the Judge Willie J. Lovett, Jr., Juvenile Justice Center. (to watch a video honoring Judge Lovett, click here). STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate State Institutions and Properties Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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. Makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly promote or advertise an exhibition of drag racing, laying drag, or the operation of five or more vehicles on a public highway or street, or to bet or wager on these activities. The first, second, and third violations of drag racing would mean 4, 6, and 8 points on the driver’s license record, respectively. A high-performance motor operated by a person who has been convicted of a second or subsequent drag racing violation would be considered be contraband and subject to forfeiture. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice Committee

SB 42 (Mullis-53rd) Excludes discipline data from any school climate rating; each local school system must publish the school’s discipline data on its website. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee today (MONDAY)

SB 85 (Albers-56th) Increases penalties for hazing resulting in serious physical or mental injury or death and establishes an obligation to render assistance. The bill also requires schools to report hazing incidents. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee today (MONDAY)

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

SB 105 (Strickland-17th) Revise the conditions and procedures under which probation may be terminated early. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

SB 106 (Davenport-44th) Requires provision of or referral to wraparound services in the multi-tiered system of supports prior to expelling or assigning a student in preschool through 8th grade to out-of-school suspension for more than five consecutive or cumulative days during a school year. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education 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, including what to do during traffic stops, the consequences of continuous citations and habitual violations, and understanding officer discretion and legal precedents as they relate to officers’ actions (e.g., requesting ID, use of force, detainment, pursuits, and legal warnings). STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee

HR 120 (Corbett-174th) Creates the House Study Committee on Motor Vehicle Crimes. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

SR 150 (Harbison-15th) Creates the Senate Crime and Youth Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Rules 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 from two years to four years from when the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of the abuse and provides for retroactive claims for childhood sexual abuse under certain circumstances. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

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: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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, interstate adoptions, 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 194 (Sainz-180th) Provides that punishment for certain sexual felonies (e.g., trafficking, rape, child molestation, improper sexual contact, incest, sexual exploitation of children) shall be life imprisonment (or imprisonment followed by life on probation) and shall require the offender to wear an electronic monitor. Revises the name of the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board to the Sexual Offender Risk Review Board; provides for an increase in the time frame for defendant review by the board and additional procedures. Provides 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Public Safety 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 236 (Neal-74th) Provides for 60 days of periodic monitoring of the victim (if the victim so chooses) by local law enforcement after the granting of a temporary protective order. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee

HB 258 (Sainz-180th) Provides that consent of a victim under 16 years old shall not be a defense to a prosecution for sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery even when “the conduct is for the purpose of sexual arousal on the part of the alleged offender or alleged victim”. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 322 (Wiedower-119th) Revises the definition of “sexual exploitation” in various titles of Georgia Code to align with recent law passed which discontinues the use of the word “prostitution”.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 464 (Scoggins-14th) Allows a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian of a minor filed in the probate court to be transferred to the juvenile court. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 548 (Dempsey-13th) Allows the Administrative Office of the Courts reasonable access to records concerning reports of child abuse and for data-sharing agreements with the Division of Family and Children Services to ensure confidentiality. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 562 (Carpenter-4th) Adds DFCS case managers to the people for whom arrest warrants may be issued only by a judge of a superior court, a judge of a state court, or a judge of a probate court. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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 Health and Human Services Committee

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

SB 34 (Dixon-45th) Allows victims of human trafficking to petition for name change under seal. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

SB 75 (Jackson-41st) Allows a documented victim of (civil or criminal) 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: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee today (MONDAY)

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: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill will be on the House floor today (MONDAY)

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 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee

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: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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 (defined as a parent who has custody of a minor, or is the parent of person with legal authority to act on behalf of a minor, or is the parent of an adult without decision-making capacity), except in certain circumstances. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services Committee

HB 234 (Hawkins-27th) Lays out requirements and allowances for self-funded healthcare plans to opt into Georgia’s Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill was removed from the Senate floor and tabled

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

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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services 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 from other compact states to practice in Georgia and Georgia practitioners to practice in other compact states. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 509 (Gaines-117th) Require every insurer issuing, delivering, or issuing for delivery comprehensive individual major medical health insurance policies to make at least one reasonably priced comprehensive major medical health insurance policy available to residents in this state without limitation or exclusion based on preexisting conditions, if certain parts of Obamacare is/are repealed or judicially invalidated. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 567 (Cooper-43rd) Creates the Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations to the DPH when a new disorder is added to the federal Recommended Uniform Screening Panel and once added to the Panel, allows DPH to submit requests for appropriations to cover new disorders. Requires that DPH begin screening newborns for such new disorders not more than 18 months after the appropriation becomes effective. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 591 (Hogan-179th) Authorizes marriage and family therapists to perform certain acts which physicians, psychologists, and others are authorized to perform regarding emergency examinations of persons for involuntary evaluation and treatment for mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

HR 52 (Dempsey-13th) Creates the Joint Study Committee on Childhood Lead Exposure. STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. This now rests in House Rules Committee

HR 131 (Bennett-94th) Creates the House Study Committee on Health in Georgia. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HR 186 (Buckner-186th) Creates the Joint Medicaid Sustainability Study Committee. STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HR 236 (Lott-122nd) Creates the House Study Committee on the Safe Staffing of Nurses in Georgia. STATUS: House Human Relations and Aging 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. PASSED HOUSE. The bill was amended by the House, so it must return to the Senate for agreement to the House changes

SB 5 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Prohibits any person from administering conscious sedation in a dental facility or during the practice of dentistry in a medispa without a license to practice dentistry (or other appropriate medical license). Requires dental assistants and licensed dental hygienists to receive board approved training to perform certain practices such as conscious sedation. Requires that the board establish consistent standards related to sedation. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. The bill was amended by the House, so it must return to the Senate for agreement to the House changes

SB 46 (Burke-11th) Allows EMTs and certified cardiac technicians to administer vaccines in public health emergencies upon the order of a duly licensed physician. Improves and expands protocols for the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS), which is registry designed to collect and maintain accurate, complete and current vaccination records. Allows the department to use individually identifiable vaccination information provided by a third party authorized by law to collect and receive such information. Requires that all physicians use the registry to track when Georgians receive vaccines. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. The bill was recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

SB 80 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Provides additional standards for utilization review processes as they relate to healthcare insurance. Requires entities conducting prior authorizations, including those entering into contracts with the Department of Community Health or care management organizations, 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). The bill prohibits such entities from requiring a prior authorization for emergency 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. Noncompliance with this law by a utilization review entity shall result in the automatic authorization of healthcare services under review by such utilization review entity if such noncompliance is related to such services. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommitted to the House Insurance Committee. The bill will be heard in committee today (MONDAY)

SB 82 (Au-48th) Clarifies that the prudent layperson standard is not affected by the final diagnosis given with regards to emergency medical services. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Insurance Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

SB 256 (Burke-11th) Allows the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health to select a district health director for each health district and requires a district health director to serve as the chief executive officer for that county board of health. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

SR 151 (Harbison-15th) Creates the Senate Sickle Cell Anemia Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee

SR 153 (Harrell-40th) Creates the Joint PeachCare Public Option Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee

SR 283 (Jones II-22nd) Creates the Senate Improving Access to Healthy Foods and Ending Food Deserts Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Hopper

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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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 (such as teachers) for qualifying life events after six continuous months of employment with the employing entity. The maximum amount of paid parental leave during the rolling 12-month period is 120 hours, and said period should be measured backward from the date an eligible employee first uses parental leave. Such leave may be used as needed and taken in increments less than 8 hours. The leave does not carryover after the 12-month period. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Health and Human Services 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Finance 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. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

HB 152 (Wiedower-119th) Adjusts criteria for oversight of private postsecondary educational institutions. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate 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: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 291 (Dempsey-13th) Expands the definition of “approved school” regarding tuition equalization grants at private colleges and universities. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate 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: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee

HB 517 (Carson-46th) Increases the allowable education tax credit issues for donations to school scholarship organizations (SSO); requires inclusion of interest earned on deposits and investments of scholarship funds or tuition grants in SSO calculations of obligated funds; requires SSOs to submit 990 forms; and to be solely responsible for verifying the eligibility of students for participation in the program. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Finance Committee

HB 606 (Nix-69th) Adds the Georgia Independent School Association to the list of agencies qualified to accredit schools regarding HOPE scholarships and grants. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

HB 617 (Martin-49th) Provides that student athletes participating in intercollegiate athletic programs at postsecondary educational institutions may receive compensation (outside of scholarships) for the use of the student athlete’s name, image, or likeness, and allows for professional representation of such student athletes participating in intercollegiate athletics. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

HB 681 (Yearta-152nd) Requires a course of study in financial literacy for students to be completed during high school. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Education and Youth Committee

HR 162 (Metze-55th) Creates the House Study Committee on the History of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HR 280 (Dukes-154th) Creates the House Study Committee on HOPE for the Future (to study the HOPE Scholarships and grants programs). STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HR 370 (Roberts-52nd) Creates the House Study Committee on the Impact of Active Shooter Drills in Schools. STATUS: House Education Committee

SB 47 (Gooch-51st) Expands the Special Need Scholarship to include students with a 504 plan or a specific, qualifying diagnosis relating to one or more conditions to be identified by the State Board (including at least 2 diagnoses identified in the bill), as well as students who received preschool special education services under IDEA in the previous year, who are in active military families, or who have been adopted or placed into permanent guardianship from foster care within the previous year. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this morning (MONDAY)

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this morning (MONDAY)

SB 59 (Albers-56th) Provides that local charter schools 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 equivalent to 20% of the charter school’s facility costs for facilities (Thanks to Sally Fitzgerald for this summary!). STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this morning (MONDAY)

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 Foundation. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

SB 88 (Goodman-8th) Represents multiple pieces of the Governor’s Teacher Pipeline Initiative: Georgia’s Teacher of the Year is invited to be an advisor to the State Board of Education; Veterans who are honorably discharged, have a bachelor’s degree, and attain a passing score on the GA Assessments for Certification of Educators (GACE) may get an alternative teacher certification; directs districts to provide more support to teachers with three years or less of experience or those with a low performance rating; sets new course requirements in differentiated instruction and literacy instruction for teacher preparation programs; and orders the establishment of programs designed to promote increased student enrollment in and completion of teacher education programs offered at historically black colleges and universities in Georgia. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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 4 percent of the equivalent full-time students enrolled. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

SB 107 (Strickland-17th) Waives tuition and all fees, including mandatory rooming and board fees, for qualifying foster and adopted students by the Technical College System of Georgia. Urges and recommends that the Board of Regents adopt substantially similar tuition waiver programs within the University System of Georgia. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Higher Education 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: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee

SB 187 (Tippins-37th) Establishes a procedure for students with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act to apply for a waiver from certain HOPE scholarship and grant eligibility requirements. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Higher Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

SB 204  (Tippins-37th) Permits the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to award high school diplomas, creates a pilot program to allow students who are 16 years of age or older, who have completed certain secondary school coursework requirements, and who have withdrawn from secondary school, to enroll in the Dual Achieve Program at a technical college and achieve a high school diploma in conjunction with successful completion of the program. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

SB 220 (Payne-54th) Creates the Georgia Commission on Civics Education, which will promote and enhance the education of students on the importance of civic involvement in a constitutional republic, the study of state and local government among the state’s citizenry, the  importance of civic engagement and public service, and communication and collaboration  among organizations in the state that conduct civics education. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. The bill now rests in House Rules Committee

SB 226 (Anavitarte-31st) Requires local boards of education to adopt a complaint resolution policy and process to address complaints submitted by parents/guardians alleging that material is harmful to minors has been provided to their student. Requires GaDOE to establish a model complaint resolution process policy. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The bill will be heard in committee today (MONDAY)

SB 246 (Brass-28th) Called The Learning Pod Protection Act, ensures that parents who choose to voluntarily associate to advance the primary education of their children shall not be subject to additional restrictions or regulations, be required to register, or be discriminated against. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in committee this morning (MONDAY)

SR 154 (Orrock-36th) Creates the Joint Study Committee for Strengthening Georgia’s Future Workforce. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

SR 192 (Payne-54th) Creates the Senate Age of Mandatory Education Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee

SR 203 (Rahman-5th) Creates the Senate Outdoor Learning Study Committee. STATUS: Senate Rules Committee

HB 112 (Kelley-16th) Extends certain immunities from liability claims regarding COVID-19 by one year to July 14, 2022. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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 Georgia if licensed to carry in any other state. Allows weapons carry licenses to be applied for or renewed in any county, regardless of county of domicile, until December 31, 2022. Allows probate courts to set up online applications and accept applications by first-class mail. Applications and renewals must be accepted on a first come, first served basis, for a minimum of seven hours daily during normal business hours, and a person who finds this is violated has cause for legal action. Prohibits the creation of a database of those who have applied for a weapons carry license, and creates a cause of legal action for such a violation. Allows firearms in the custody of a law enforcement agency to be sold to an individual without a weapons carry license, but mandates that the transfer of the firearm must be to a licensed carrier. Requires that law enforcement agencies in possession of five or more unclaimed firearms must hold a sale of these every 12 months, and an individual may bring legal action against such an agency if this is violated. Prohibits the government from, during a state of emergency, prohibiting the sale or transfer of firearms, suspending or revoking weapons carry licenses except as authorized by the law, denying state weapons carry license applications, and limiting operation hours of businesses selling firearms and shooting ranges. Allows civil action to be brought for violation of this code. Waives sovereign immunity as a defense from a claim in the courts regarding certain of these provisions. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HB 289 (Belton-112th) Makes any person under 18 years of age who has in his or her immediate possession a valid driver’s license equivalent to a Class C license issued to him or her in another state or country 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 driver’s license issued by another state or country. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Public Safety Committee

HB 442 (Collins-62nd) Includes the management of social media in parenting plans. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 620 (Leverett-33rd) Clarifies and revises procedures and requirements for the payment of certain settlements involving claims of minors and when the natural guardian or next friend of a minor may receive the personal property of a minor for certain purposes. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill now rests in Senate Rules Committee

HR 185 (Ralston-7th) Reauthorizes the House Rural Development Council. STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. The bill does not need approval from the Senate so is completely passed

SB 142 (Mullis-53rd) Adds sports wagering as an allowable lottery game, regulated and overseen by the Georgia Lottery Corporation; its effectiveness is contingent on a constitutional amendment passing in the 2022 election. Proceeds from the games shall be used for the same purposes authorized by the Constitution (Article I, Section II, Paragraph VIII), including voluntary Pre-K and tuition via the HOPE Scholarship. Orders the Lottery Corporation to work with national and local organizations to provide services for individuals with problem gambling or a gambling disorder and to establish prevention initiatives to provide treatment for individuals with a gambling problem and to produce an annual report outlining such activities. STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Assigned to House Economic Development and Tourism Committee

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

SR 131 (Mullis-53rd) Constitutional Amendment- Authorizing pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. The enabling legislation is SB 212. STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

Raise the Age

Insurer Transparency

Emergency Medical Services

 

Raise the Age

The “Ask”:

Ask the Senate Judiciary Committee members to vote YES to HB 272.

The Details: 

HB 272 raises the age (“RTA”) of youth served by juvenile court to include most 17-year-olds

The Message:

Dear Senator ________,

Please support HB 272, which raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 up to 18. Almost every other state – 47 of them – have successfully included 17-year-olds in their juvenile population, and states that recently raised the age have not seen costs increase as they anticipated. There is much support from parents, youth, law enforcement officers across the state, and groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Sheriffs Association for this bill. Georgia can do this too – and the implementation committee established by the bill will ensure the voices of all relevant stakeholders will be heard as they determine how Georgia will implement this common-sense law. Thank you for your service and for prioritizing Georgia’s children.

The Why:

  • Behavioral modification for 17-year-olds is more effective when implemented in developmentally appropriate ways and settings.

  • HB 272 does NOT change how alleged young offenders of violent crimes like murder, rape, armed robbery, and others  are processed. Youth (as young as 13) charged with these offenses will continue to be tried in superior court as they are now.

  • HB 272 provides for an Implementation Committee and Implementation Timeline

  • Click here to read 8 important reasons Georgia should #RaiseTheAge

Who to Contact:
Senate Judiciary Committee Members

Insurer Transparency

The “Ask”:

Ask the House Insurance Committee to vote YES on SB 80.

The Bill:
SB 80 requires entities conducting prior authorizations, including for the State Health Benefits Plan and for Medicaid and Peachcare for Kids, to make the requirements, restrictions, and denial data public and to keep all of that updated

The Message:
Dear Representative _________,

Please vote yes on SB 80. This bill would reduce the administrative burden on healthcare providers and increase access to services for children by requiring entities conducting prior authorizations (including for the State Health Benefits Plan and for Medicaid and Peachcare for Kids) to make the requirements, restrictions, and denial data public and to keep all of that updated. These determinations lack transparency currently, and that can and does keep children from getting the care they need. Thank you for your service and for all you do for Georgia’s children.

The Why:

  • The administrative burden of current prior authorization processes among Georgia insurers perpetuates child-serving health care provider shortages in the state.

  • Prior authorization (as currently administered by insurers in Georgia) acts as a significant barrier to critical health care services for children.

  • This bill could have a major impact on Georgia’s children given its inclusion of CMOs. Nearly half of the state’s kids (1.2M) have their Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids health care benefits administered by a CMO, which have prior authorization practices like any other insurer.

Who to Contact:
House Insurance Committee Members

 

Emergency Medical Services

The “Ask”:

Ask House Rules Committee members to put SB 82 on the calendar for a vote on the Senate House floor.

The Bill:
SB 82 clarifies that the prudent layperson standard is not affected by the final diagnosis given with regards to emergency medical services

The Message:
Dear Representative ________,

Please bring SB 82 to the House floor for a vote. Worried parents or caregivers who bring a child to the hospital emergency department in times of crisis are behaving as they should by seeking professional assistance for issues they understand to be affecting the health of the child. They should not be penalized with an insurance claim denial for acting in the best interest of the child. Thank you for your service and for all you do for Georgia’s Children.

The Why:

  • Worried parents or caregivers who bring a child to the hospital emergency department in times of crisis are behaving as they should by seeking professional assistance for issues they understand to be affecting the health of the child. They should not be penalized with an insurance claim denial for acting in the best interest of the child.

Who to Contact:
House Rules Committee Members