Before you dive into this week’s update, I want to give a huge shout out and extra special thank you to Camille Pendley Hau, Suzanne Wooley and Deanna Small, all of whom have made this year’s update-making possible. I’d like to also thank our fearless leader, Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff, who makes our update making and everything else at Voices sing.  Thanks too to the rest of the Voices and Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network team, whose research, excellent thinking and relentless work on behalf of all the children in the state is a testament to the great things that can happen when a bunch of kind, smart, caring individuals align their vectors to make change. And thanks also to you guys for reading our updates, factsheets, reports, primers, social media posts, touchpoints and for acting on action alerts and doing other goodness for kids.  You inspire us.

-Polly


At about 12:40 AM on April 1, the 2021 Legislative Session ended as the Georgia General Assembly adjourned Sine Die. This means that lawmakers and a number of us lobbying-types finally get to pay attention to the flooding in our basement, re-up our healthy eating habits, and quit worrying so much about whether or not our masks match our wardrobes. What’s more, I can finally start to scrape off the 2-inch-thick layer of Purell that has accumulated on my hands, shirt cuffs and steering wheel since session started on January 11.

While I won’t miss wondering how many germs can be contained in a gold-covered building (it is like trying to count jelly beans in a stadium-sized jar), I will miss the daily dose of Robert’s Rules of Order – actually the House or Senate’s Rules of Order –  and the strange comfort they give a person in times of stress.  These rules allow discussion of all kinds of topics, complimentary or adversarial, simple or complex, exciting or excruciatingly boring. They provide structure in spite of the second law of thermodynamics – namely that “as one goes forward in time, the net entropy (degree of disorder) of any isolated or closed system will always increase.” I know this law to be true because of my desk, my son’s bedroom, my sock drawer, and most of all, the ramblings of this legislative update.

But somehow, these Rules used in chambers or in committee can organize abject chaos. Don’t get me wrong- things still happen legislation-wise that really upset or annoy me, but Robert’s Rules tend to prevent fisticuffs and the throwing of fruit, rocks, or profanities from the House or Senate floor.  In fact, I wish I could use Robert’s Rules more at home. I imagine it would go something like this:

Me:  For what purpose does the Child from the Second rise?
Child #2: Parliamentary inquiry.
Me: State your inquiry.
Child #2: Is it not true that my friend from the First ate all the Doritos belonging to the House, scratched a vintage Metallica record, hogged the bathroom and failed to appropriately address such issues?
Me: The Child from the Second has great passion for what he speaks. For what purpose does the Child from the First rise?
Child #1: Thank you Madam Chair. Is it not true that the preparation for an appearance at a graduation party to which certain members were invited legitimizes such actions to be taken without consequence?
Me: I am sure the child from the first believes that to be true. For what purpose does the dog from the 42nd rise?
Dog from the 42nd: Woof.
Me: State your Motion.
Dog from the 42nd: Woof Woof.
Me: The Dog from the 42nd has moved that the House take up a leash and walk him. Is there objection?  The chair hears none and it is so ordered.

Anyway, please see below for the latest greatest on the final House and Senate agreements to the FY2022 budget. It now awaits the Governor’s signature. (Remember, the Governor still has the power to line-item veto things in the budget if he so desires.) FYI, we have also updates a few nuanced descriptions in the federal American Rescue Plan chart per the final budget and posted that below.

Past all that the “money stuff”, we have updated summaries of all the bills we followed, many of which will still be hanging around next year since there is still one more year left for them to be viable if they did not outright pass or fail this year.  And as usual, at the end, we have some action alerts to act on. Remember, it is important to keep advocating on bills until they are signed and it is also super important to thank our elected officials for all the good things they did or tried to do for kids this year.

And with that…
Majority Viewers: I move that this Legislative Update adjourn Sine Die.
Me: On the motion of the Majority (of) Viewers that this Update adjourn sine die, all those in favor will say “Aye.”
You Guys:  Aye!
Me: All those opposed will say “No.”
You Guys: [CRICKETS.]
Me: The Aye’s clearly have it. This Update adjourns Sine Die!

Stay well until next time – and then some!

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

FISCAL YEAR 2022 BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS FROM
HB 81 AS AGREED TO BY HOUSE AND SENATE
(The bill awaits signature by the Governor.)

Judicial Council

  • $175,000 Added for grants for legal services for domestic violence
  • $250,000 Added for grants for legal services for Kinship Care Families
  • $243,945 Added for the operation of the Juvenile Data Exchange Program
  • $236,113 Added for the operation of the Weighted Caseload project
  • $21,600 Added for one-time matching funds for the Child Support Collaborative Grant

Juvenile Courts

  • $122,600 Eliminated for a Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Statewide Coordinator position. These were funds the governor had requested in his recommendation.

Dept. of Agriculture

  • $100,000 Added for the Southwest Georgia Project (SWGP) for a community food hub to bolster Southwest Georgia’s farmers, economy, and public health, and leverage other funds

Dept. of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

  • $7 Million Added to annualize funds for a behavioral health crisis center for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • $12.34 Million Added for a 5% rate increase for intellectual and developmental disability providers (with approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • $4.7 Million Restored for non-waiver services in family support (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • Budget Direction: Reflect the department’s intent to provide a time-limited rate increase for providers serving the intellectual and developmental disability population, including adult day centers and residential services (Pending final approval by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • Budget Direction:  Reflect the intent to continue to serve the estimated 188 individuals who are currently receiving community living supports services who may be impacted by the COMP waiver renewal with alternate service(s). By December 1, 2021, provide a report to the chairs of the House Appropriations Human Resources Subcommittee and the Senate Appropriations Human Development and Public Health Subcommittee on how this population will continue to receive services based on their assessed need following the extended transition period. (Pending final approval by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • $1.5 Million Added for respite services with priority to rural communities (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • $100,000 Added for Rockdale Cares for respite services (Adult Developmental Disabilities Services)
  • $114,039 Added to support the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline pursuant to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 (Adult Mental Health Services)
  • $177,748 Added for suicide prevention related to the COVID-19 pandemic ($70,000) and one suicide epidemiologist ($107,748) (Adult Mental Health Services)
  • $6.49 Million Added for core services to promote equity among providers (Adult Mental Health Services)
  • $0 Added for advancements in mental health telehealth capabilities (The Senate requested $1 Million, but the Conference Committee eliminated that request, stating “Partner with existing county resources to deliver mental health telehealth”) (Adult Mental Health Services)
  • $1.48 Million Subtracted for crisis respite home due to non-implementation
  • $2 Million Added to accelerate the expansion of the Georgia Apex Program­­
  • $102,502 Added for mental health and suicide prevention training in schools ($12,900) and a youth suicide prevention specialist ($89,602)
  • Budget Direction: Utilize existing funds to expand the housing supports pilot program for the Georgia Housing Voucher Program (Adult Mental Health Services)
  • $67,157 Added to replace one-time other funds with state funds for the Inclusive Post-Secondary Education program (Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities)

Dept. of Community Affairs

  • $40 Million Added to establish a Rural Innovation Fund to assist rural communities developing targeted solutions for economic, medical, technological, or infrastructure challenges within their regions (OneGeorgia Authority)
  • $10 Million Added 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 (OneGeorgia Authority)
  • $100,000 Added to increase funds for food banks
  • $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

Dept. of Community Health

  • $2.63 Million Added to begin the implementation of the Patients First Act (2019 Session)
  • $50,000 new monies Added and $750,000 Replaced with existing funds for planning and implementation of an All-Payer Claims Database
  • $834,684 Added for three senior leadership positions to support the department’s increasing workload, including contract oversight
  • $724,641 Added for a business support analyst, a financial analyst, and three compliance specialists to begin October 1, 2021 to support quality incentive payment reimbursements
  • $500,000 Added for two federally qualified health center start-up grants in Jeff-Davis County and Marion County
  • $6 Million Subtracted to reduce one-time funds for Rural Hospital Stabilization Grants from $15 million to $9 million and review the grant process and report potential new formal grant processes to the Chairs of the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee and the Senate Appropriations Community Health Subcommittee, the Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and the House Budget and Research Office and the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office
  • $300,000 Added to provide an additional three-year grant to rural hospitals for Electronic Intensive Care Units (EICU) to improve patient outcomes and reduce the need for long-distance travel away from local communities to obtain this level of care
  • $100,000 Eliminated for start-up funding for a charity clinic
  • $125,000 Added for the South Central Primary Care Center dental program
  • 3% increase appropriated for dental reimbursement rates for 15 select Medicaid dental codes
  • $72.1 Million Subtracted for growth in Aged Blind and Disabled Medicaid based on projected need
  • $65.46 Million Added to begin the implementation of the Patients First Act (2019 Session) (Medicaid- Low-Income Medicaid)
  • $116.4 Million Added for growth in Low Income Medicaid based on projected need
  • $7.1 Million Added to increase 18 select primary care and OB/GYN codes to 2020 Medicare levels (Medicaid- Low-Income Medicaid)
  • $4.01 Million Added for growth in PeachCare based on projected need
  • $2.58 Million Added for 188 new residency slots in primary care medicine
  • $300,000 Added for the initial planning work for the establishment of two graduate medical education programs
  • $5.33 Million Added for the second year of the seven-year plan for Mercer School of Medicine’s medical school campus in Columbus

Dept. of Corrections

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

Dept. of Early Care and Learning

  • $3.5 Million Added for the Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program to provide assistance to low-income families for the cost of childcare (an estimated 625 slots)
  • $1.45 Million Added to increase formula funds for training and experience for Pre-K teachers
  • $1.75 Million Added to increase funds for Pre-K classroom operations by 2.5%
  • $81,149 Added for one Pre-K Specialist position that was eliminated in FY 2021

Dept. of Education

  • $589,272 Added to offset the austerity reduction for the Area Teacher Program, Extended Day/Year, Young Farmers, and Youth Camps (Agricultural Education)
  • $340,000 Added for four young farmer positions in Fulton County, Pickens County, Ware County, and Worth County
  • $68,000 Added for eight new Agricultural Education Programs
  • $250,000 Added for a Law Enforcement Teaching Students program (which will leverage matching funds)
  • $1 Million Added to increase funds for charter school facility grants pursuant to HB 430 (2017 session)
  • $85,686 Added to offset the austerity reduction to Communities in Schools local affiliates
  • $323,000 Transferred from Technology/Career Education program to the Curriculum Development program for the Rural Teacher Training Initiative. Any training provided for the initiative will be outside of the regular school day in order to not remove teachers from the classroom.
  • $344,000 Added for computer science grants per SB 108 (2019 Session)
  • $1.63 Million Added to fund SB 48 (2019 Session) screening mandate and a state educational agency dyslexia specialist
  • $240,000 Added for rural coding equipment in partnership with Georgia Cyber Center
  • $3.67 Million Added to offset the austerity reduction for Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) grants
  • $3.39 Million Subtracted for enrollment and training and experience decline in GNETS
  • $75,000 Added to provide funds for a pilot program to provide access to STEM and AP STEM virtual courses to students in rural Georgia without district courses
  • $950,000 Added to offset the austerity reduction to feminine hygiene grants with the House’s Budget Direction: Increase funds for feminine hygiene grants and prioritize grants to school systems that have low property tax wealth and high percentage of economically disadvantaged students
  • $268,221 Subtracted for formula funds for Residential Treatment Facilities based on attendance; and participate in developing a new funding formula based on attendance and funding needs
  • $125,000 Added for a Residential Treatment Facilities’ budget analyst/grant manager
  • $249,472 Reduced formula funds for Sparsity Grants based on enrollment decline
  • $5 Million Added for school nutrition staff
  • $4.94 Million Reduced formula funds based on enrollment decline (Preschool Disabilities Services)
  • $2.52 Million Added to offset the austerity reduction for grants in Preschool Disabilities Services
  • $179,152 Added for pupil transportation grants based on formula growth
  • $71.92 Million to increase formula funds for QBE Equalization grants
  • $111.86 Million Reduced in formula funds for the QBE Local Five Mill Share
  • $52.4 Million Reduced for QBE formula earnings for the 2021-2022 school year due to declining enrollment
  • $22,323 Added in formula funds for the charter system QBE grant
  • $35.68 Million Added in the State Commission Charter School supplement
  • $0 Added for grants for system-collaborative state charter schools (The Senate wanted to add $37 Million for this but it was rejected by the Conference Committee)
  • Budget Direction: Maintain current funding and hold harmless for formula reduction for school nurse funding ($1,067,491)
  • $863,849 Reduced formula funds for differentiated pay for newly certified math and science teachers (Quality Basic Education Program)
  • $567.55 Million Added to offset the austerity reduction in QBE for K-12 education
  • $162,941 Reduced formula funds for Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) based on enrollment decline
  • $889,508 Added to offset the austerity reduction for grants to RESAs
  • $211,362 Added for training and experience for teachers in State Schools
  • $300,000 Added to offset the austerity reduction in State Schools
  • $840,924 Added to offset the austerity reduction for Extended Day/Year, Vocational Supervisors, Industry Certification, and Youth Apprenticeship programs (Technology/Career Education)
  • $2.3 Million Added to administer Georgia Milestones in accordance with federal requirements
  • $125,000 Added for a pilot program for Computer Science Principles AP exams with a focus on schools and systems with no AP coursework
  • $93,117 Added to offset the austerity reduction for Tuition for Multiple Disability Students

Dept. of Human Services

  • $4.52 Million Added for caseload growth in adoptions
  • $4.73 Million to support community partnerships to stem learning loss due to COVID-19 for K-12 students (Afterschool Care Program)
  • Budget Direction: Recognize $1,135,678 in marriage and divorce fee collections for the Children’s Trust Fund for child abuse and neglect prevention
  • $7.25 Million Added to begin the implementation of the Patients First Act (2019 Session)
  • $943,603 Added to begin the implementation of the Patients First Act (2019 Session)
  • $14.37 Million Subtracted to reflect savings from a reduction in Out-of-Home Care utilization due to a decline in average monthly out-of-home placements
  • $6.7 Million Added to establish a therapeutic foster care program and leverage federal funds
  • $6.58 Million Added to reflect the loss of Title IV-E funds associated with the October 1, 2021 implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act and the statewide transition to increased family-based placement settings
  • $351,005 Added to the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Commission
  • $200,000 Added for contracts for vocational training services with Broken Shackle Ranch
  • $65,000 Added for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) for development and start-up for underserved Echols, Henry, and Lowndes Counties
  • $951,700 Restored to funds for contracts for educational services with the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children which were reduced last year

Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget

  • $1 Million Added to establish the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination.

Georgia Professional Standards Commission

  • $140,720 Added for personal services to meet program needs in the Ethics Division and Educator Preparation Division
  • $197,002 Added for Troops to Teachers

Governor’s Office of Student Achievement
Budget Direction: Reflect funds for Governor’s School Leadership Academy ($1,700,000); Governor’s Honors Program ($1,600,000); Growing Readers ($1,500,000); GA Awards ($1,803,000); research and academic audits ($900,175); and personal services and operating expenses ($1,274,262)

  • $100,000 Added for the Growing Readers program
  • $150,000 Added to the Governor’s School Leadership Academy

Georgia Bureau of Investigations

  • $270,320 Added for three positions to support the Legal Division and the GBI Gang Task Force
  • Budget Direction: Maintain responsibility for managing and administering accountability court grants
  • $30 Million Transferred for accountability court grants to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council: Council of Accountability Court Judges program
  • $700,000 Added for grants to local domestic violence shelters and sexual assault centers
  • $1.1 Million Added for a 9% increase to domestic violence shelters
  • $150,000 Added for two domestic violence shelters partially funded in FY 2020
  • $150,000 Added for sexual assault centers
  • $1.6 Million Added for the recruitment and retention of medical examiners
  • Budget Direction: The Council shall engage stakeholders to evaluate the current funding formula for domestic violence shelters and sexual assault centers and study the merits of an updated formula that takes into account many of the factors involved, including but not limited to: number of services provided, number of bed nights provided, area poverty level, service area, and area population, and the Council shall submit a report of their findings to the Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees by December 31, 2021

Dept. of Juvenile Justice

  • $94,531 Added for teacher training and experience in YDCs
  • $132,579 Added for teacher training and experience in RYDCs
  • $0 Reduced for Secure Commitment Residential Youth Development Centers contracts to reflect unused prior year funds and projected expenditures (The Senate originally wanted to reduce this line by $409,232, but the Conference Committee rejected this reduction)
  • $0 Reduced for Secure Commitment Youth Development Centers contracts to reflect unused prior year funds and projected expenditures (The Senate originally wanted to reduce this line by $451,488, but the Conference Committee rejected this reduction)
  • Budget Direction: Utilize existing funds to implement a 10% increase for juvenile correctional officers in secure facilities
  • Budget Direction: Develop an electronic monitoring supervision program using innovative 21st century technology on offenders being supervised by the Department of Juvenile Justice

Dept. of Labor

  • $198,916 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

Dept. of Natural Resources

  • $2.8 Million Added for state parks and an outdoor recreational facility

Public Defender Council

  • $470,500 Added for five juvenile assistant public defenders

Dept. of Public Health

  • $365,000 Added for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia
  • $200,000 Added for feminine hygiene products
  • $857,986 Added for a chief medical officer, a deputy commissioner of public health, a chief data officer to support the agency with COVID-19 pandemic response as well as provide ongoing public health leadership
  • $1.5 Million Replaced by federal funds for the ongoing maintenance and operations of the new vaccine management system
  • $1 Million Added for newborn screening of Krabbe disease
  • $506,000 Added to support Grady Memorial Hospital’s efforts to continue the coordination of emergency room use in the 13-county metro Atlanta area

Dept. of Public Safety

  • $191,525 Added for the School Resource Officer training program

University System of GA

  • $500,000 Added for an eminent scholar for Sickle Cell research
  • $50,000 Added to recruit Academy of Eminent Scholars into research fields with a focus on rural Georgia and historically black colleges and universities
  • $5.2 Million Added to provide matching funds for endowment gift for Medical College of Georgia 3+ program
  • $47,146 Added for the Public Libraries formula based on an increase in the state population
  • $945,000 Added for a rural coding program in partnership with the Department of Education
  • $547,161 Added to increase funds for Public Libraries’ materials grants by five cents from $0.35 to $0.40 per capita
  • $7.78 Million Added for year two of a three-year phase-in for increased medical education funding
  • $0 Reduced to reflect realignment of Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission to focus on K-12 educational programming during COVID-19 pandemic (The Senate recommended a reduction of $477,639, but the Conference Committee did not agree.)

Dept. of Revenue

  • $25,000,000 Added for Forestland Protection Act grant reimbursements to provide reimbursement for forestland conservation use property and qualified timberland property to counties, municipalities, and school districts
  • $878,808 Added for six tax examiners, three auditors, three criminal investigators, and three call center contractors to regulate the distribution and sale of vaping products (SB 375, 2020 Session)
  • $161,912 Added for one attorney and one legal secretary to regulate the distribution and sale of vaping products (HB 375, 2020 Session)

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

Student Finance System of Georgia

  • $7.04 Million Subtracted for updated Dual Enrollment projections
  • $192,500 Added for the Engineer Scholarship
  • $5.43 Million Added to meet the projected need for HOPE Grants and address any additional needs in the Amended FY 2022 budget
  • $444,864 Added to meet the projected need for the HOPE Scholarships (Private Schools)
  • $166,809 Added to meet the projected need for HOPE Zell Miller Scholarship students attending private postsecondary institutions
  • $2.33 Million Added to meet the projected need for the HOPE Scholarships (Public Schools)
  • $5.56 Million Added to meet the projected need for HOPE Zell Miller Scholarship students attending public postsecondary institutions

Technical College System of Georgia

  • $0 Added for the Technical College System of Georgia High School Diploma program pursuant to SB 204 (2021 Session), with the caveat that funds will be added in the Amended FY 2022 budget pursuant to final passage of SB 204 (2021 Session)

Dept. of Transportation

  • Budget Direction: Utilize existing funds ($10,000,000) for broadband and rural development initiatives to enhance broadband access in underserved areas and promote safety and innovation on rural roadways

FORENSIC PATHOLOGY EDUCATION

Critical to investigating deaths, including those of children, forensic pathologists are in high demand nationwide, including in Georgia.Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Graduate Medical Education

  • Coordinate with medical education programs to develop graduate medical programs to address the shortage of medical examiners and forensic pathologist
  • $500,000 Added to increase funds for two medical examiner/forensic pathologists at Mercer School of Medicine
  • $100,000 Added to increase funds to expand physician loan forgiveness program to include forensic pathology fellowship program at Georgia Bureau of Investigation in partnership with medical colleges)
 Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • $241,529 Added to increase funds to expand a forensic pathology fellowship program with medical colleges

FEDERAL AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT FUNDS AS DESIGNATED BY THE FY22 BUDGET
(as agreed to by House and Senate)

State AgencyAgency DivisionState-Designated Use of ARP FundsFederal ARP Funds
DBHDDAdult Addictive Diseases ServicesPrevention & Treatment of Substance Abuse Grant$45,985,000
DBHDDAdult Mental Health Services / Child and Adolescent Mental Health ServicesCommunity Mental Health Services Block Grants for both child and adolescent and adult mental health needs$45,491,000
DCASpecial Housing InitiativesEmergency Food and Shelter Program$12,351,000
DCHMedicaid: Aged, Blind, DisabledIncrease funds and utilize federal funds to reflect the 10% increase in FMAP for home and community-based providersn/a
DCHMedicaid: Aged, Blind, DisabledIncrease funds to provide supplemental quality incentive payments to eligible skilled nursing facilities limited to appropriated amountn/a
DECALChild Care ServicesChild Care and Development Block Grant$606,960,000
DECALChild Care ServicesHead Start Coordination with funds going directly to childcare providers for Head Start coordination$26,728,000
DECALChild Care ServicesChild Care Stabilization Grants$970,772,000
DECALChild Care ServicesIncrease in the matching portion of the CCDF Mandatory & Matching Funds$17,504,000
Dept. of Economic DevelopmentGeorgia Council for the Arts – Special ProjectNational Endowment for the Arts Grants$914,000
Dept. of Economic DevelopmentTourismNational Endowment for the Humanities Grants$1,142,000
GaDOEFederal ProgramsSpecial Education Grants for States to fund grants to states, preschool, and infants & toddlers$89,976,000
GaDOEFederal ProgramsEmergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools$65,585,000
GaDOEQBE ProgramElementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund$4,249,371,000
Office of the GovernorGovernor’s OfficeFor the following purposes:

(A) to respond to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts (e.g., assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, impacted industries);

(B) premium pay for essential workers

(C) for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in state revenue due to the COVID–19 public health emergency

(D) to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure

$4,654,502,000
Office of the GovernorGovernor’s OfficeCoronavirus Capital Projects Fund for Georgia to carry out projects to support work, education and health monitoring during COVID-19$261,682,000
Office of the GovernorGovernor’s OfficeUse ARP funds for allowable capital investmentsn/a
Office of the GovernorEmergency Management and Homeland Security AgencyEmergency Management Performance Grants$2,679,000
DHS/DFCSChild Abuse and Neglect PreventionCommunity-Based Child Abuse Prevention Grants$8,397,000
DHS/DFCSChild Welfare ServicesChild Abuse and Neglect State Grants$3,336,000
DHSDepartmental AdministrationCapital Assistance Programs for Elderly and Disabled Persons$642,000
DHSElder Abuse Investigations and PreventionLong Term Care Ombudsman Services$274,000
DHSElder Community Living ServicesAging Supportive & Senior Centers$12,345,000
DHSElder Community Living ServicesSpecial Programs for Aging-Nutrition Services$20,365,000
DHSElder Community Living ServicesSpecial Programs for Aging-Disease Prevention and Health Promotion$1,206,000
DHSElder Community Living ServicesNational Family Caregiver Support$3,812,000
DHSEnergy AssistanceLow Income Energy Assistance$117,918,000
DHSFederal Eligibility Benefit ServicesPandemic Emergency Assistance$22,004,000
DPHInfant and Child Health PromotionSupplemental Nutrition-Women, Infants & Children$13,267,000
USGPublic LibrariesInstitute for Museum and Library Services Grants$4,333,000
USGTeachingHigher Education Emergency Relief Fund for the University System$949,097,000
USGTechnical EducationHigher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the Technical College System$260,261,000
DOTIntermodalFederal Transit Grants for Rural Areas$1,558,000
DOTPayments to Atlanta-region Transit Link (ATL) AuthorityFederal Urbanized Transit Grants for regional priorities

$307,339,260

HB 94  (Rich-97th) Makes it a felony (“theft by possession of stolen mail”) to possesses stolen mail addressed to three or more different mailboxes or addresses and possesses a minimum of ten separate pieces of stolen mail.  The bill also states that “each set of ten separate pieces of stolen mail addressed to three or more different mailboxes or addresses constitutes a separate and distinct crime and may be punished accordingly.” The bill establishes the felony-level crime of porch piracy for the taking of three or more envelopes, bags, packages, or other related articles (without permission) from the porch, steps, or immediate vicinity of any entrance or exit of a dwelling of three or more different mailboxes or addresses.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

HB 247 (Carson-46th) Eliminated judicial discretion regarding fines for Georgia’s distracted driving law and removes the ability of a person to be found not guilty if proof of purchase of a no-hands cell phone holder is shown. The bill also permits handling of phones while in a motor vehicle which is at a full and complete stop in compliance with the direction of a traffic-control device or signal. The bill was amended by the Senate committee to include provisions tightening provisions in the “Fair Business Practices Act of 1975” involving online payment applications.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill did not receive a vote by the full Senate. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

HB 272 (Ballinger-23rd) Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

HB 286 (Gaines-117th) Restricts the ability of county, municipal or consolidated government governing authorities to reduce funding for municipal police departments with certain caveats, such as that a local government may make a budget cut so long as it is adopted at an advertised public meeting.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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”. The bill also expands judicial discretion for shoplifting conviction sentences when the prosecution and defendant are in agreement.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

HB 371 (Gunter-8th) Permits for certain court appearances (e.g., nonevidentiary hearings) via video conference for prisoners and certain witnesses.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but was tabled on the Senate floor. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

HB 479 (Reeves-34th) Repeals Georgia’s “Citizen’s Arrest” law. Note that the bill would still allow owners of a retail establishment or restaurant, security officers, private investigators and inspectors at truck scales to detain someone they believe has committed a crime.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

HB 750 (Gilliard-162nd) Creates the Chatham County Legislative Gang Prevention and Intervention Commission.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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

SB 42 (Mullis-53rd) 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. Requires each local school system to publish the school’s discipline data in a format that is easy to understand.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

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

SB 92 (Robertson-29th) Allows Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physicians Assistants to prescribe disability parking permits. The bill also allows advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and physician assistants (PA) with designated training to be authorized to prescribe single prescriptions of schedule II controlled substances in emergency situations and with oversight of their supervising physician.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill was amended by the House, but did not get agreement to the changes by the Senate and therefore did not pass

SB 105 (Strickland-17th) Revise the conditions and procedures under which probation may be terminated early.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

SB 106 (Davenport-44th) Allows provision of or requires the referral to specified wraparound services in the multi-tiered system of supports, and requires that no student in preschool through 8th grade (current law applies only up to 3rd grade) shall be expelled or assigned out-of-school suspensions for more than five consecutive days or cumulative days during a school year without first receiving such wraparound services.   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). The bill also requires local government to obtain a permit from the state Department of Transportation prior to putting traffic cameras in school zones.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE, but the Senate voted against the changes the House made to the bill. Therefore, the bill failed.

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 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 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Juvenile Justice Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Juvenile Justice Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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 335 (Kennard-102nd) Prohibits court from imposing a period of probation that exceeds 24 months.   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

HB 485 (Moore-95th) Repeals the imposition of the death penalty in Georgia.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 502 (Smith-18th) Adjusts the requirements for early termination of one’s probation, specifying that certain conditions must be met; namely, that the individual has paid all restitution owed, not had his or her probation revoked in the immediately preceding 24 months, and not been arrested for anything other than a nonserious traffic offense. States that this law should be applied retroactively.   STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 505 (Nguyen-89th) Amends current law relating to an individual having no duty to retreat prior to use of force in self-defense, adding that a full investigation shall be conducted into a death resulting from use of force in defense of one’s habitation, and that an arrest should be conducted if probable cause exists to arrest the person claiming self-defense. Requires that GBI publish an annual report on the number of cases involving all use of force claims where a law enforcement agency declined to file charges, the number of cases where GBI conducted further investigation, and the number of cases referred to the Attorney General for prosecution. Replaces current law relating to use of force in defense of property other than one’s habitation, stating that one may use nondeadly force, and that one may only threaten or use deadly force when one reasonably believes such force will prevent imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury or prevent a forcible felony. One may not threaten or use deadly force when, among other circumstances, one can safely remove themselves from the situation without such use. Repeals and reserves OCGA 16-3-21 on use of force in self-defense and 16-3-22, relating to immunity from criminal liability of persons rendering assistance to law enforcement officers.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 526 (Neal-74th) Amends current law to specify that: use of force is lawful when it is reasonably necessary to make an arrest in accordance with this law; use of deadly force is lawful when it is to prevent the commission of a forcible felony (and not a property crime) or to prevent death or “great bodily injury” to others. States that the individual being arrested has the right to resist an unauthorized arrest.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 565 (Kennard-102nd) Prevents courts from imposing a period of probation that exceeds 24 months and restricts access to criminal history records until the alleged offender is indicted. The bill also provides other criteria regarding the making of criminal history records accessible.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 677 (Gunter-8th) Requires a MOU between local board of education and law enforcement officers and gives the officers the same powers they have regularly have on school property (e.g. the power to arrest, etc.) when assigned or employed by local BOEs to be on school vehicles, at designated  school bus stops, at school related functions or activities, or when providing protective  public safety services while accompanying students or school personnel in transit to or  from school related functions or activities.   STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security

HB 735 (Paris-142nd) Requires provision or coordination of 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: House Education Committee

HB 809 (Davis-87th) Allows counties to adopt ordinances governing possession of one ounce or less of marijuana in unincorporated areas of the county.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HR 281 (Clark-98th) Constitutional Amendment – Permits persons 21 years of age or older to purchase marijuana for personal use and dedicates fees and taxes from the production, sale, or personal use of marijuana to substance abuse recovery and prevention, mental illness treatment, and for use bylaw enforcement agencies in combating and responding to cases of illegal drug use and addictions. The bill also vacates previous marijuana convictions.   STATUS: House Rules Committee

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

SB 248 (Anderson-43rd) Imposes a maximum of 60 months for probation starting July 1, 2021. Allows those sentenced to probation prior to this date to petition the court for a probation period consistent with this law. Eliminates probation for life for persons convicted of certain serious violent felonies.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 254 (Anderson-43rd) Repeals stand your ground self-defense laws and requires investigation and reporting of cases involving defense of habitation. Requires a full investigation shall be conducted into a death resulting from use of force in defense of one’s habitation, and that an arrest should be conducted if probable cause exists to arrest the person claiming self-defense. Requires that GBI publish an annual report on the number of cases involving all use of force claims where a law enforcement agency declined to file charges, the number of cases where GBI conducted further investigation, and the number of cases referred to the Attorney General for prosecution. Replaces current law relating to use of force in defense of property other than one’s habitation, stating that one may use nondeadly force, and that one may only threaten or use deadly force when one reasonably believes such force will prevent imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury or prevent a forcible felony. One may not threaten or use deadly force when, among other circumstances, one can safely remove themselves from the situation without such use.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 257 (Anderson-43rd) Expands GCIC criminal history record restrictions for individuals who have been pardoned and have no pending charged offenses. Allows an individual who has been cited for a criminal offense but was not arrested and the charged offense was subsequently dismissed or reduced to a violation of a local ordinance to petition the court to have their record sealed.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 263 (Rahman-5th) Allows the retail sale of marijuana.   STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

SR 165 (Rahman-5th) Constitutional Amendment – Legalizes and regulates marijuana and allows persons 21 years of age or older to purchase marijuana for personal use. The amendment would also direct fees and tax proceeds from the sale of marijuana to be dedicated equally between education and transportation infrastructure purposes. The amendment would also create a procedure to vacate previous misdemeanor marijuana convictions.   STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities 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

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

SR 150 (Harbison-15th) Creates the Senate Crime and Youth Study Committee.   STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the 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, but did not receive a vote in that committee and so remains there for possible consideration next year

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: THIS BILL HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR

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. The bill also includes a provision regarding youth in DFCS custody, stating that within six months prior to the child turning 18 years of age, the Division may file a petition for the appointment of a guardian for the minor when that minor becomes an adult.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

HB 194 (Sainz-180th) When a person is convicted of a second sexual offense, this bill requires the judge to choose between a life prison sentence and a mandatory prison sentence with life on probation with ankle monitoring paid for by the probationer. Regarding prosecution for sexual exploitation of children, the code also clarifies that each depiction or image of visual medium constitutes a separate offense, but does not apply to multiple copies of the same film, videotape, photograph, or other similar visual reproduction or depiction by computer that are identical to each other. The bill 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. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but was tabled on the Senate floor. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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. The bill allows failure of an occupant of a passenger vehicle to wear a seat belt in any seat of a motor vehicle which has a seat safety belt or belts to be considered in any civil action as evidence admissible on the issues of failure to mitigate damages, assumption of risk, apportionment of fault, negligence, comparative negligence, contributory negligence and may be evidence used to diminish any recovery for damages. The bill also states that the failure of an occupant of a passenger vehicle to wear a seat safety belt in any seat of a motor vehicle which has a seat safety belt or belts shall not be the basis for cancellation of insurance coverage.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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

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

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.” The Senate amended the bill with provision stating that if at the time of the offense the alleged victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age and the accused is 18 years of age or younger and no more than 48 months older than the alleged victim, the statute is not applicable.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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”. Revises the Georgia Child Advocate for the Protection of Children Act by adding to the duties of a child advocate supporting quality legal representation, including by establishing statewide performance measures and minimum training requirements for attorneys representing parties in relevant proceedings and ensuring the availability of high-quality training for such attorneys. Requires that the Office of the Child Advocate submit an annual report to the Governor, General Assembly, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on the quality of legal representation.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill did not receive a vote on the Senate floor but language from this bill was incorporated into SB 28, which passed. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

HB 511 (Reeves-34th) Provides for the establishment or revision of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund, Solid Waste Trust Fund, Hazardous Waste Trust Fund, State Children’s Trust Fund, Wildlife Endowment Trust Fund, Trauma Care Network Trust Fund, Transportation Trust Fund, Georgia Agricultural Trust, Fund, Fireworks Trust Fund, and Georgia Transit Trust Fund as funds within the state treasury. Specific to the State Children’s Trust Fund: Makes DFCS the trustee of the fund; orders that the funds must be spent by DFCS or DHS on specified prevention and community-based services, specified duties related to mentoring, to “cooperate with and secure cooperation of every department, agency, or instrumentality in the state government”, to serve a statewide clearinghouse of child-related research, for communication and coordination of “all components of the children’s service systems of this state”, to provide assistance in establishing statewide goals and standards in the system, and to review and develop an integrated state plan for services provided to children and youth in this state through state programs, among other specified expenditures.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

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. The bill was amended to provide more judicial discretion when a prosecutor asks for a change in venue for a jury trial.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

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

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

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. The bill also increases the penalty for injury or sodomy to a person under 16 years old committed at the time of the offense.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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 and school-related activities.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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 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 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 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 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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

HB 489 (Moore-95th) Provides for a protective order for victims against persons who have committed acts of sexual assault.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 564 (Smith-41st) Prohibits clinging wheelchairs to other wheelchairs or vehicles, as well as clinging personal assistive mobility devices, mopeds to vehicles or other wheeled devices and prohibits passengers riding in such clinged devices.   STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee

HB 633 (Bazemore-63rd) Establishes the “Georgia Human Trafficking and Sex Crimes Directory Act”, which states that advocates shall not disclose any confidential trafficking victim communications or personally identifying information without the prior informed, written, and time-limited consent of the victim except in certain circumstances (e.g., when withholding such information is likely to result in imminent serious bodily harm or death).   STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 689 (Gaines-117th) Allows persons who are victims of an offense of trafficking to petition the clerk of court to seal certain criminal history record information and to allow restricted criminal history record information to be available to criminal justice agencies.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 694 (Smyre-135th) Requires the licensing, permitting, and approving authorities of personal care homes, child-caring institutions, and foster care homes, respectively, to notify local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, licensing departments, and planning and zoning departments of any such license, permittance, or approval.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 706 (Camp-131st) Allows the Division of Family and Children Services to file a petition for the appointment of a guardian for the minor when that minor reaches 18 years of age.   STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 713 (Dempsey-13th) Redirects state funds for short-term housing or shelters to address homelessness instead toward safe parking areas, structured camping facilities, and individual unit shelters. Redirects Continuum of Care funds for permanent supportive housing toward a survey of individuals who are homeless and the number of days they have been unsheltered or unhoused, spent in a correctional facility, or been hospitalized. States that this data should be used to allocate funds to the non-profits serving those individuals who have spent the most time in these three scenarios. Prohibits the use of state property for long-term homeless shelters, except in the aforementioned structured camping facilities.   STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 741 (Schofield-60th) Increases access to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits and increase the lifetime maximum for such benefits. The bill also provides that assets are disregarded in determining eligibility, repeals the drug felony ban for eligibility, as well as the family cap on benefits.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 849 (Smith-41st) Adds human resources personnel and supervisory personnel in a workplace that employs minors as mandatory reporters for child abuse and requires mandatory reporter training for such personnel.   STATUS: House Hopper

HR 522 (Cannon-58th) A RESOLUTION expressing the sense of the Georgia General Assembly that child safety is the first priority of custody and visitation adjudications and that state courts should improve adjudications of custody where family violence is alleged.   STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

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 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 Judiciary Committee

SB 196 (Jackson-2nd) Among other things, the bill defines “Person in a position of trust” as any person holding a position whereby a parent, guardian, or other person having immediate charge or custody of a minor has entrusted such person with the duty or responsibility for the health, education, or supervision of such minor, and establishes the crime of improper sexual contact is committed when a person in a position of trust engages in sexually explicit conduct with a minor in their care.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 243 (Jordan-6th) Revises the offense of improper sexual contact by employee, agent, or foster parent by adding sole proprietors to the definition of “employee”; prohibits improper sexual contact within programs and facilities used by individuals as a condition of their probation or parole.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 244 (Jordan-6th) Prohibits persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of family violence from receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm and to prohibit persons subject to family violence protective orders from receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 316 (Anavitarte-31st) Makes it a high and aggravated misdemeanor for any person 18 years or older to commit the offense of stalking against a minor, and makes the offense punishable by not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not less than one year, or both. Requires local school boards to notify students and parents that some acts of bullying or cyberbullying may constitute stalking.   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

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

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. The bill was amended to include language from HB 212 which states 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 person with legal authority to act on behalf of a minor, or is the parent of an adult without decision-making capacity).   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) data 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, but did not receive a vote in that committee. Language from this bill, however, was amended to HB 128, which passed

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

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

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 and provides clarity regarding insurance billing of such services.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

HB 369 (Powell-32nd) Allows advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and physician assistants (PA) with 2 years of experience to be authorized to prescribe single prescriptions of Hydrocodone for people over 18 in emergency situations and with oversight of their supervising physician.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, but was tabled on the Senate floor. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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

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

HB 567 (Cooper-43rd) Requires that the healthcare providers and others providing medical records to the Maternal Mortality Review Committee must do so within 30 days of the record request. 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. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

HB 591 (Hogan-179th) Authorizes marriage and family therapists to perform emergency examinations of persons for involuntary evaluation and treatment for mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse. The bill also requires annual reports with disaggregated, de-identified data regarding such examinations.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

HR 52 (Dempsey-13th) Creates the House Study Committee on Childhood Lead Exposure.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE

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, and agreed to by the Senate. The bill now awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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. PASSED HOUSE. The bill was amended by the House, and agreed to by the Senate. The bill now awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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. Requires that all physicians use the registry to track when Georgians receive vaccines. The bill also requires drug testing for firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and cardiac technicians, clarifies policy for the Low THC Oil Patient Registry, and prevents disqualification of EMT, paramedics, or cardiac technician licensure for qualified individuals who committed felonies 5-10 years prior.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

SB 80 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Called the “Ensuring Transparency in Prior Authorization Act”. Utilization review entities (an insurer or other entity that performs prior authorization, including those entering into contracts with the Department of Community Health or care management organizations) shall conduct utilization reviews in accordance with rules and regulations under the Department of the Insurance Commissioner. Requires insurers to make prior authorization requirements readily accessible on their website and requires clinical criteria on which an adverse determination is based be provided to healthcare providers at the time of the notification. Requires insurers to make aggregate statistics available on their website, including but not limited to: approved or denied on initial request; reason for denial; whether appealed; whether approved or denied on appeal; and time between submission and response. Qualified healthcare professionals shall administer the utilization review program and oversee utilization review decisions, and appeals shall be reviewed by an appropriate healthcare provider who meets certain criteria (e.g., licensed, active, knowledgeable in the area of the service). Prior authorization shall not be required for emergency prehospital ambulance transportation, unanticipated emergency healthcare services, urgent healthcare services, or covered healthcare services which are incidental to the primary covered healthcare service and determined by the covered person’s physician or dentist to be medically necessary. Violation of 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 HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

SB 82 (Au-48th) Clarifies that the prudent layperson standard is not affected by the diagnoses (initial, interim, final, or otherwise) given with regards to emergency medical services. Adds Emergency Medical Technician to the definition of healthcare provider.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Insurance Committee. The bill however, was withdrawn and recommitted to the House Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System

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. FAILED HOUSE

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

SR 281 (Miller-49th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Violence Against Health Care Workers.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE

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

HB 99 (Stephens-164th) Requires that retail establishments allow access to typically employee-only restroom facilities if an individual presents a written statement from a healthcare provider specifying a certain condition (e.g., Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome), provided that the action would not give an individual access to pharmaceuticals or HIPAA-protected information. Makes violation of this law a misdemeanor.   STATUS: House Judiciary 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 164 (Douglas-78th) Requires 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Special Committee on Access to the Quality Health Care. This bill has been recommitted to the House Special Committee on Access to the Quality Health Care where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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

HB 401 (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 Regulated Industries Committee

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 Health and Human Services Committee

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 Regulated Industries Committee

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 Special Committee on Access to the Quality Health Care

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 Special Committee on Access to the Quality Health Care

HB 474 (Cooper-43rd) Provides for concurrent prescribing of an opioid antagonist with opioids if the amount of opioid being prescribed is greater than or equal to 50 morphine milligram equivalents (MME).   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 523 (Lim-99th) Requires health care providers to provide (in timely fashion) good faith estimates of costs and fees available to consumers upon request.   STATUS: House Special Committee on Access to the Quality Health Care

HB 569 (Wilson-80th) Prohibits the practice of conversion therapy by professional counselors, physicians, or psychologists.   STATUS: House Regulated Industries Committee

HB 570 (Neal-74th) Establishes training requirements for “mental health operatives”” through the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.   STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 571 (Neal-74th) Defines and provides training requirements for mental health operatives.   STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

HB 590 (Hogan-179th) Creates a three-year assisted outpatient treatment grant program (subject to appropriations) to address challenges with outpatient civil commitment for individuals with mental illness. This program is intended to assist the subset of individuals with mental illness who struggle to maintain voluntary engagement with the treatment they require to live safely in the community. It will serve as a first step toward full integration of assisted outpatient treatment into the routine activities of community service boards and probate courts across the state. Outlines processes for DBHDD to issue and community service boards to apply for a funding opportunity to implement the program. Establishes an assisted outpatient treatment advisory council.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 627 (LaHood-175th) Requires athletic training students to be under the direct supervision of a physician or licensed athletic trainer and revises and updates certification requirements for athletic trainers.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 630 (Beverly-143rd) Fully expands Medicaid to serve eligible adults.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 648 (Schofield-60th) Creates the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 670 (Beverly-143rd) Increases tax rates on tobacco and vaping products.   STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HR 452 (Cooper-43rd) Resolution urging the Georgia Department of Public Health to take action to increase child and adolescent immunization rates.   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 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 83 (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 Appropriations Committee

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 Health and Human Services Committee

SB 208 (Harrell-40th) Requires DBHDD to provide fully funded services over a five-year period to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities who are on the New Options Waiver (NOW) or Comprehensive Supports Waiver (COMP) waiting list, and prohibits DBHDD from capping or limiting community living support services under the COMP waiver.   STATUS: Senate Appropriations Committee

SB 288 (Jordan-6th) Requires that every child care learning center and every school shall test drinking water outlets for lead contamination no later than June 30, 2023, and remediate any lead contamination identified.   STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 315 (Brass-28th) Provides for the licensure of individuals in the practice of applied behavior analysis and creates the Georgia Behavior Analyst Licensing Board.   STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

SB 317 (Hufstetler-52nd) Authorizes physicians to delegate to advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants the authority to dispense prepackaged medications other than controlled substances as an agent or employee of a clinic.   STATUS: Senate Hopper

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

HR 428 (Gaines-117th) Creates the House Study Committee on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

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

HB 11 (Scott-76th) Limits the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered professional nurse in specific 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 postanesthesia 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 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. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

SB 116 (Robertson-29th) The “Maternity Supportive Housing Act” 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 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Health and Human Services Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Health and Human Services Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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

HB 650 (Cannon-58th) “Working for Two Act” – Requires certain accommodations in the workplace for pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions.   STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee

HB 698 (Frye-118th) Requires all employers of one or more employees (excluding executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government and local boards of education) to provide 120 hours of paid parental leave if the employee has met certain requirements pertaining to length and scope of employment.   STATUS: House Industry and Labor Committee

HB 722 (Cannon-58th) “Georgia Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act” – Requires perinatal facilities in this state to implement evidence based implicit bias programs for its health care professionals and lays out required subject areas for the programs. The bill also requires DPH to compile and track data on severe maternal morbidity and pregnancy related deaths.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 727 (Cannon-58th) Require the Department of Community Health to submit a state plan amendment to the federal government for Medicaid coverage of antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum doula services, and provides that doulas are considered providers of medical assistance.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 806 (Paris-142nd) Georgia Community Midwife Act. Establishes a State Board of Community Midwifery which shall license community midwives who meet certain requirements (e.g., criminal background check, certification) or those who do not meet such requirements but have been practicing for at least 10 years and has helped with at least 50 documented births.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 825 (Cooper-43rd) Provides for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk.   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 170 (Jackson-2nd) Requires health benefit policies to provide coverage for expenses incurred in home childbirth.   STATUS: Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

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 Appropriations Committee

SB 216 (Halpern-39th) Establishes an early child care scholarship program for any dependent child of any qualified applicant. The scholarship shall be in the amount of monthly payments that exceed 7 percent of the family income and paid directly to the provider.   STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 270 (Davenport-44th) Creates a pilot program to fund rural birthing centers associated with hospitals with emergency departments.   STATUS: Senate 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. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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. The bill also adds reporting requirement of nonlapsed funds to the governor and chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill was amended by the Senate, but changes were not agreed to by the House and the bill therefore failed to pass. Language from this bill was added to SB 81, which did pass

HB 152 (Wiedower-119th) Adjusts criteria for oversight of private postsecondary educational institutions.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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. The bill requires the state board of education to prepare a course of study in human trafficking awareness for grades six through 12, which may be included as part of the health and physical education course.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

HB 291 (Dempsey-13th) Expands the definition of “approved school” regarding tuition equalization grants at private colleges and universities.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Higher Education Committee, but was tabled on the Senate floor. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar. SB 159, however, is a similar bill which did pass

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; broadens requirements of the audit following each fiscal year; requires SSOs to submit 990 forms; and to be solely responsible for verifying the eligibility of students for participation in the program. Makes business enterprises, defined as any insurance company required to pay the tax provided for in Code Section 33-8-4, eligible to receive a tax credit against the tax imposed by this Code section not exceeding $1 million.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE but was changed by the Senate and did not receive final agreement from the House to those changes and therefore did not pass

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

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

HB 681 (Yearta-152nd) 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 HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The bill was tabled on the Senate floor. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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 one of the 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. The bill permits the State Board of Education to add to eligible conditions. The bill also eliminates the eligibility requirement that certain categories of students must attend a Georgia public school for at least one year.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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. Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

SB 59 (Albers-56th) Provides that local charter schools get an additional 3% of the base amount per FTE in QBE funding with a $4.5 million cap per school. Allows a local charter school and a local board of education to agree on specific ways for some or all of the charter school’s proportionate amount of federal funds to be provided by the local school system through in-kind services. Prohibits the waiver of the early intervention program requirements in local school system flexibility contracts.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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. PASSES HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

SB 81 (Mullis-53rd) 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. The bill also adds reporting requirement of nonlapsed funds to the governor and chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee. 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. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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 and classifies students from a homeless situation as in-state for tuition purposes. The bill also requires that all tuition and fees necessary to cover the full cost for such an individual to obtain a GED.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

SB 153 (Dolezal-27th) Moves the Graduation Opportunities and Advanced Learning (GOAL) Academies (charter schools designed to provide high school credit recovery opportunities) from the State Charter Commission to the Department of Education and alters the long-term funding mechanism.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

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

SB 220 (Payne-54th) Requires a course of study in financial literacy for students to be completed during high school. The bill was amended with language from HB 589 which creates the Georgia Commission on Civics Education, to 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. PASSED HOUSE. The chambers could not agree on the changes to the bill, so it therefore did not pass

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 (e.g., books, websites, etc.) is harmful to minors has been provided to their student. Requires GaDOE to establish a model complaint resolution process policy no later than September 21, 2021.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

SB 246 (Brass-28th) Called The Learning Pod Protection Act. States that, while learning pods are subject to laws related to civil rights, insurance, conflicting interest transactions, the protection of the physical health and safety of its students, and the prevention of unlawful conduct, each learning pod shall be exempt from statutes, rules, regulations, guidelines, or other regulatory provisions imposed by the state, local governments, or local school systems. Among other requirements, the bill prohibits a school district to discriminate against any student or parent based on their participation in a learning pod, and prohibits state or local government (including school districts) to require that any learning pod be required to register or otherwise report its existence or anything related to the operation of a learning pod.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. PASSED HOUSE. The bill awaits transmission to the governor for his consideration

SR 154 (Orrock-36th) Creates the Joint Study Committee for Strengthening Georgia’s Future Workforce.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Higher Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Higher Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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

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

SR 300 (Harrell-40th) Creates the Senate University Fees Study Committee.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Higher Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Higher Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Higher Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Higher Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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 60 (Cantrell-22nd) Creates a voucher program for public school students to attend private schools with a cap on the amount of students from individual districts. Eligible students would be those whose local public schools did not offer face-to-face instruction in the prior school year, live in low-income households (under 200% FPL), children in military families, have been adopted from foster care, or have certain special education needs (an IEP, a formal diagnosis, or a 504 plan relating to a condition to be identified by the State Board). An audit every 5 years is required and the program would be overseen by the Student Finance Commission.   STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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

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

HB 87 (Evans-57th) Makes students at the Technical College System of Georgia who are taking remedial and developmental courses for a degree eligible to receive HOPE grants.   STATUS: House 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Higher Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Higher Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

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 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 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 Judiciary Committee

HB 516 (Mathiak-73rd) Prohibits the sale or distribution of harmful materials to minors in school libraries.   STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

HB 518 (Mitchell-106th) Makes limitations on waiver and variance requests by local school systems and charter schools by prohibiting the State Board of Education from approving any variances from federal, state, or local regulations on health and physical education requirements, expenditure controls, class size, salary schedule, categorical allotment, certification, duty-free lunch, and suspension, termination, and other actions against school personnel.   STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 519 (Mitchell-106th) Prevents local school systems from turning the operation of a nonperforming school over to a for-profit entity.   STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 545 (Carson-46th) Authorizes home study students in grades six through 12 to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the student’s resident public school system and requires home study students to complete one qualifying online course facilitated by the resident school system for each semester of the regular school year during any part of which the home study student participates in an extracurricular or interscholastic activity.   STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

HB 547 (Henderson-113th) Allows for prescribed, Christian student-led prayer during the time period dedicated each day for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.   STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 551 (Wilkerson-38th) Provides that an end-of-course assessment can count for no more than 5 percent of student’s final grade in a core subject course.   STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 589 (Gambill-15th) Creates the Georgia Commission on Civics Education, to 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Education Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Education Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

HB 626 (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.   STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 644 (Dreyer-59th) Creates a special institutional fee waiver for students who work 20 or more hours per week as graduate assistants at units of the University System of Georgia.   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 646 (Glanton-75th) Establishes a P-TECH Dual Enrollment Program is promote and increase access to postsecondary academic and technical education and training opportunities for Georgia high school students while increasing high school and technical college  graduation rates, preparing a skilled and diverse workforce, and promoting a pathway for  students, particularly underserved students, into information technology and other  science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers while earning a high  school diploma and an associate degree from a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 665 (Beverly-143rd) Provides that verification of lawful presence in the United States shall not be required for determinations of eligibility for admission, for in-state tuition rates, and for scholarships, loans, and grants for higher education institutions.   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 669 (Beverly-143rd) Discontinues loans made under the Student Access Loan program establish by the Georgia Student Finance Authority and creates the Student Access Grant program.   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 710 (Kennard-102nd) Provides for Halal dietary selections as part of school breakfast and lunch programs when a written request has been made by a student’s parent or guardian and for excused absences for certain Islamic holidays based upon sincerely held religious beliefs.   STATUS: House Education Committee

HB 729 (Cheokas-138th) Establish the Complete College Georgia Grant Program within the Georgia Student Finance Authority to help eligible students achieve their first postsecondary degree or certificate.   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 751 (Jasperse-11th) Establishes a Pay As You Earn Education Program (PAYE) and requires all public eligible postsecondary institutions to participate. Private eligible postsecondary institutions may participate. A student who is accepted to the Pay As You Earn Education Program is required to pay $1,000/year toward the student’s cost of attendance, with the participating eligible postsecondary institution providing the remaining funds in the form of a payment plan based upon the future earnings of the student for a period of 15 years after the student’s graduation.   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 820 (Mitchell-106th) Changes the HOPE GED voucher amount from $500 to the full-time tuition cost of the relevant institution, expands eligibility to include those who receive a passing score on the HiSet exam administered by TCSG, and increases the window of eligibility from 24 months to 48 months after passing the GED or HiSet exam (and allows for exceptions).   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HR 496 (Carpenter-4th) Constitutional Amendment allowing local school superintendents to be elected by voters as an alternative to being appointed by local boards of education, if approved by local referendum.   STATUS: House Education Committee

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

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

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

SB 17 (Jones-10th) Creates a certification program for whole child model schools.   STATUS: Senate Education and Youth 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 231 (Anavitarte-31st) Creates a pilot program to allow for certain adults to enroll in charter schools that provide instruction only for individuals between ages 21 and 35 residing in this state who have not attained a high school diploma.   STATUS: Senate Education and Youth Committee

SB 239 (Harrell-40th) Requires that tuition and mandatory student fees for students enrolled in a unit of the University System of Georgia or the Technical College System of Georgia to be calculated and assessed on a per credit hour basis, subject to certain conditions, and provides for caps on assessed tuition and mandatory student fees based on the number of credit hours students are enrolled.   STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Higher Education Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

SB 240 (Harrell-40th) Requires for high school graduation that students in grades eleven and twelve to complete an instructional program covering the critical role elections play in the democratic way of life for people in Georgia and the United States. The program will cover processes in general and include demonstrations of Georgia’s current voting processes, and may include support registering to vote. The Secretary of State in collaboration with GaDOE, local boards of education, and local election officials shall pilot a program in the 2021-2022 school year in two school systems selected by the SOS, one in an urban area and one in a rural area.   STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth
Committee. The bill was tabled on the Senate floor. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

SB 266 (Harbin-16th) 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, where “gender” is defined as a person’s biological sex and is based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth. Allows a student or student’s parent private right of action through injunctive or declaratory relief to enforce this provision.   STATUS: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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 Education and Youth Committee

SR 136 (Anavitarte-31st) A resolution encouraging the Technical College System of Georgia, the Department of Education, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Juvenile Justice to collaborate and develop programs to expand technical education, technical training, and workforce development training programs in order to address the growing economic and social needs created by individuals age 16 and older who have withdrawn from high school without completing course requirements for a high school diploma.   STATUS: 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

SR 305 (Beach-21st) Creates the Senate University Admissions Study Committee.   STATUS: Senate Rules Committee

SR 329 (Halpern-39th) Creates the Senate Study Committee on Excellence, Innovation, and Technology at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.   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. the bill was amended by the senate with provisions limiting the governor’s powers during a state of emergency.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. PASSED SENATE. The bill was amended by the Senate, but changes were not agreed to by the House and the bill therefore failed to pass

HB 289 (Belton-112th) Increases the punishment for simple battery if committed during an act of unlawful assembly to “a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature”. Makes the assembly of two or more persons who harass or intimidate another person within any public accommodation a misdemeanor. Makes it a felony offense for a person to participate in the assembly of seven or more persons and commit violence against a person or property, or to obstruct any highway or street; mandates punishment of such offenses to be imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, or both. Allows for a cause of action for injuries and damages against the governing authority of any county or municipal corporation that is grossly negligent by allowing the commission of violence during an assembly of two or more persons. Any person who violates this Code section is not allowed to be employed by the State or any municipal corporation. Mandates that no governing authority of a county or municipal corporation that reduces the budget for a law enforcement agency by 30 percent or more within one budget year shall be subject to the withholding of any state funding or state-administered federal funding. 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. Orders that counties provide payrolls deductions to law enforcement officers for the purposes of purchasing insurance for legal representation. Makes it a felony offense punishable by 1 to 15 years imprisonment and/or a $1,000-$10,000 fine to defile a public monument, cemetery, or structure. Waives the defense of sovereign immunity for anyone seeking relief, monetary damages, etc. related to an act of unlawful assembly.   STATUS: PASSED HOUSE. Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Public Safety Committee, but was tabled on the Senate floor. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

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 needs-based scholarships, rural broadband and rural health care. 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. Recommended Do Pass by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The bill was on the House floor but was recommitted to the House Rules Committee

SR 135 (Mullis-53rd) Constitutional Amendment allowing sports betting in Georgia. Enabling legislation is SB 142.   STATUS: PASSED SENATE. Recommended Do Pass by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee. The bill was on the House floor but was recommitted to the House Rules Committee

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 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

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 230 (Schofield-60th) Prohibits discrimination based on hairstyles associated with race, color, or national origin in housing, education, employment.   STATUS: House Judiciary 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 408 (Cooper-43rd) Revises dispossessory procedures to require a written notice be provided to the tenant stating the amount past due or other basis for demand for possession of the property, and requires that the tenant be provided an opportunity to cure, or resolve the issue causing the initiation of the dispossessory (e.g., non-payment), within seven days of receipt of the notice.   STATUS: House Judiciary 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 Natural Resources and Environment Committee

HB 510 (Gaines-117th) 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 538 (Stephens-164th) “Harry Geisinger Rural Georgia Jobs and Growth Act” – Allows pari-mutuel horse racing with proceeds used to fund education, health care needs, and rural development, as well as areas which support the breeding, care and racing of horses. The bill also creates The Georgia Horse Racing Commission and engages Georgia in The Interstate Compact on Licensure of Participants in Live Racing with Pari-mutuel Wagering.   STATUS: House Economic Development and Tourism Committee

HB 541 (Bruce-61st) Creates the Georgia Equity and Fairness Commission, which would examine the extent to which the State of Georgia supported the institution of slavery and its ongoing ramifications. The Commission would also recommend appropriate remedies in consideration of the commission’s findings.   STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee

HB 608 (Wiedower-119th) Grants certain powers, duties, and responsibilities of the OneGeorgia Authority and the Department of Community Affairs relative to funding and contractual awards for the deployment of broadband services to unserved areas and unserved locations within such areas.   STATUS: House Governmental Affairs Committee

HB 652 (Ballinger-23rd) Requires juvenile court judges be elected by electors of the judicial circuit in which the judge is to serve.   STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee

HB 663 (Beverly-143rd) Requires net proceeds of Georgia Lottery Corporation to equal at least 35 percent of the lottery proceeds each fiscal year.   STATUS: House Higher Education Committee

HB 671 (Beverly-143rd) Increases the value of the state tax credit based on the federal tax credit for child and dependent care expenses to 100 percent of such federal tax credit.   STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 672 (Beverly-143rd) Provide for a state refundable earned income tax credit.   STATUS: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 695 (Hugley-136th) Requires the Department of Community Health to notify the applicable local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, licensing departments, and planning and zoning departments upon issuance of a license to operate a drug abuse treatment and education program that is a residential care center.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 717 (Cooper-43rd) Adds transport of a patient to a physician or facility to the list of actions for which certain individuals employed by a hospital are immune from civil or criminal liability. Allows peace officers to take a person to a physician within the county or adjoining county for emergency examination if the individual presents a substantial risk of imminent harm or is unable to care for his or her own physical health and safety as to create a life-endangering crisis, and if the personal has refused voluntary examination.   STATUS: House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 723 (Davis-87th) Requires any person providing broadband internet access service to publicly disclose, via a publicly available, easily accessible website, accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of its broadband internet access service.  The bill also prohibits the blocking of lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, the impairment or degradation of lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, application, or service, or use of a nonharmful device or engaging in paid prioritization.   STATUS: House Energy Utilities and Telecommunications Committee

HB 818 (Lim-99th) In jurisdictions where the relevant court has established a residential eviction diversion program, requires that landlords provide (directly or indirectly) a written notice of eviction and a 7-day period in which the tenant has the right to choose to participate in an eviction diversion program.   STATUS: House Judiciary Committee

HB 819 (Lim-99th) Requires the Department of Community Affairs to establish a foreclosure resolution program and outlines the program procedures.   STATUS: House Judiciary Committee

HB 846 (Smith-41st) Allows local authorities to regulate the operation of bicycles upon sidewalks by persons under the age of 16 or with disabilities.   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 Regulated Industries 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: Recommended Do Pass by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee. This bill has been recommitted to the House Higher Economic Development and Tourism Committee where it will stay pending the start of the 2022 Legislative Session.

HR 184 (Stephens-164th) Constitutional Amendment- Authorizing pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. Enabling legislation is HB 538.   STATUS: Recommended Do Not Pass by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee

HR 316 (Davis-87th) Constitutional Amendment – Waives the state’s defense of sovereign immunity regarding actions of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and provides that such board shall be subject to an oversight panel.   STATUS: House Higher Education 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: Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Government Oversight Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.

SB 206 (Merritt-9th) Prohibits refusal of a rental or lease agreement solely based upon a potential tenant’s previous eviction during the COVID-19 public health emergency.   STATUS: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 212 (Mullis-53rd) “Harry Geisinger Rural Georgia Jobs and Growth Act” – Allows Pari-mutuel horse racing with proceeds used to fund education, health care needs, and rural development, as well as areas which support the breeding, care and racing of horses. The bill also creates The Georgia Horse Racing Commission and engages Georgia in The Interstate Compact on Licensure of Participants in Live Racing with Pari-mutuel Wagering.   STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

SB 229 (Harrell-40th) Repeals the authorization for the carrying and possession of handguns in certain manners by weapons carry license holders in certain buildings or on real property owned by or leased to public institutions of postsecondary education.   STATUS: Senate Public Safety Committee

SB 272 (James-35th) Creates the Racial Equity and Reconciliation Commission of Georgia within the GA Department of Community Affairs in order to Undertake a study of the conditions, needs, issues, and problems related to fostering  racial equity and racial reconciliation in this state and to initiate research, execute initiatives, and recommend policies and proposed  legislation for furthering racial equity and promote reconciliation throughout the state of  Georgia.   STATUS: Senate Government Oversight 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. The enabling legislation for this amendment is SB 30.   STATUS: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities 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

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

SR 282 (Jones II-22nd) Creates the Senate Universal Basic Income Program 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

Action Alerts and Thank Yous

Action Alert: Streamlining Medicaid Enrollment

The “Ask”:

Call the Governor’s Office and ask that the Governor sign HB 163 into law.

The Details: 

HB 163 requires the state to request a state plan amendment from the federal government to allow the state to implement Express Lane Eligibility, which enables Georgia to use data from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid.

The Message:

Dear Governor Kemp, Please sign HB 163 into law. 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 Medicaid-eligible 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 Why:

  • 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 for, 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 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

Who to Contact:
Governor’s Office


THANK OUR CHAMPIONS

Contact these legislators to thank them for their efforts to help Georgia’s children via the following bills: 

SIGNED INTO LAW

  • Rep. Bert Reeves, HB 114 – Changes adoption tax credit from $2,000 to $6,000 per qualified foster child per taxable year

PASSED AND AWAITING SIGNATURE BY THE GOVERNOR
The Governor has the option of signing these bills into law from now until May 10, or he can veto the bill, or do neither, in which case the bill will automatically become law.

  • Rep. Dave Belton, HB 32 — Establishes a refundable income tax credit for teachers who agree to teach in certain rural schools or certain low-performing schools
  • Rep. Sharon Cooper, HB 163 — Enables Georgia to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) data to identify and enroll eligible children in Medicaid
  • Rep. Sharon Cooper, HB 307 — Authorizes use of telemedicine and clarifies insurance billing for telemedicine
  • Rep. Katie Dempsey, HR 52 — Creates the House Study Committee on Childhood Lead Exposure (Established; does not need Governor’s signature)
  • Rep. Katie Dempsey, HB 548 — Allows the Administrative Office of the Courts and DFCS to share records concerning reports of child abuse
  • Rep. Houston Gaines, HB 146 — Provides paid parental leave for eligible state employees for qualifying life events
  • Rep. Bert Reeves, HB 154 — Lowers age at which an individual may adopt a child from age 25 to 21
  • Rep. Bert Reeves, HB 479 — Repeals Georgia “Citizen’s Arrest” law
  • Rep. Rick Williams, HB 128 — Prohibits providers from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients due solely to the physical or mental disability of the potential recipient
  • Sen. Dean Burke, SB 46 — Allows EMTs and certified cardiac technicians to administer vaccines in public health emergencies upon the order of a duly licensed physician
  • Sen. Bo Hatchett, SB 28 — Expands the resources available to juvenile courts in order to make decisions in a child’s best interest
  • Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, SB 80 — Makes prior authorization procedures by insurers more transparent and inclusive of the physician involved
  • Sen. Brian Strickland, SB 107 — Waives tuition and all fees, including mandatory rooming and board fees, for qualifying foster and adopted students by the Technical College System of Georgia and classifies students from a homeless situation as in-state for tuition purposes (See HB 7 below, sponsored by Rep. Sandra Scott, which is substantially similar)
  • Sen. Lindsey Tippins, SB 204 — Creates a pilot program in TCSG to allow students who are 16 years of age or older, from secondary school, to achieve a high school diploma

DID NOT PASS THIS YEAR

  • Rep. Mandi Ballinger, HB 272 — Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds (Recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Upon Sine Die, this bill returned to the Senate General Calendar.)
  • Rep. Kasey Carpenter, HB 120 — 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 (House Higher Education Committee)
  • Rep. Sandra Scott, HB 7 — Provides for in-state tuition at units of the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia for youth from foster care or homeless situations (House Higher Education Committee) (See SB 107 above, sponsored by Sen. Brian Strickland, which is substantially similar)
  • Sen. Michelle Au, SB 82 — Clarifies that the prudent layperson standard is not affected by the diagnoses given with regards to emergency medical services (House Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System)
  • Sen. Gail Davenport, SB 106 — Allows provision of or requires the referral to specified wraparound services in the multi-tiered system of supports, and requires that no student in preschool through 8th grade (current law applies only up to 3rd grade) shall be expelled or assigned out-of-school suspensions for more than five consecutive days or cumulative days during a school year without first receiving wraparound services (House Education Committee)