- Child Welfare/Vulnerable Youth
- Juvenile Justice/Effective School Discipline
- Child Health and Safety
- Early Care & Learning
Forty days has the session
For bills and bucks to make impression
Upon our state so green and fair.
I hope to keep from tearing hair.
All that to say, here we go, folks! Our 236 elected friends in the General Assembly, plus the Governor, plus the Lieutenant Governor (who, btw, is also President of the Senate), plus staff, lobbyists, advocates, and other citizens are all getting on this wild steer in the Rodeo of Life to see if we can stay on long enough to make good policy decisions for kids. So far, we have hung on for the Governor’s State of the State, the release of his budget recommendations, and a committee hearing and vote on last year’s ill-fated (now updated) adoption bill. And this is just the beginning!
Next week, right after the barrel racing, there will be joint hearings on the budgets (T, W) and two more fun-filled legislative days (Th, F), punctuated, no doubt, by grub from local chuck wagons, a lasso contest or two, and maybe even some bill wrangling. In the middle of all that, Voices will release our child-focused Behavioral Health Workforce Analysis, and, with any luck, the cowpokes up in Washington D.C. will avoid a stampede by reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). That would be great so that the state does not have to make yucky choices about kids’ healthcare.
Anyway, watch yer topknot, and see you next week.
CJCJ = Council of Juvenile Court Judges (attached to Juvenile Courts)
DBHDD = Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
DCS = Department of Community Supervision
DECAL = Department of Early Care and Learning
DHS = Department of Human Services (which houses DFCS = Department of Family and Children Services, as well as DCSS = Division of Child Support Services )
DJJ = Department of Juvenile Justice
DOE = Department of Education
DOL = Department of Labor
DOR = Department of Revenue
DPH = Department of Public Health
GBI = Georgia Bureau of Investigation
GDC = Georgia Department of Corrections
GDEcD = Department of Economic Development
GOSA = Governor’s Office of Student Achievement
GPDC = Georgia Public Defenders Council
GSFC = Georgia Student Finance Commission
PAC = Prosecuting Attorneys Council
TCSG = Technical College System of Georgia
USG = University System of Georgia
HB 654 (Beskin-54th) Adjusts provisions involving calculations of child support payments, so that in certain circumstances the court may allow for the use of separate worksheets to show the final child support amount to be paid for all such children and the adjusted amount of support to be paid as each child becomes ineligible to receive support STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.
HB 668 (Price-48th) Allows a petition for guardianship to be filed for a proposed ward who is 17 years old if the petitioner has a good faith reason to believe that the child will still need a guardian upon turning 18 years old STATUS: House Judiciary Committee.
HB 159 (Reeves-34th) Substantially revises general provisions applicable to adoptions, including provisions regarding the following: allowing a nonresident to allow an adoption of his or her child, adoption of foreign-born children, waiver to revoke a surrender of parental rights, the age for individuals to access the Adoption Reunion Registry, and the annulment of an adoption under certain circumstances. The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill to include language from a past version of HB 359, which was vetoed by the governor following the 2017 session STATUS: PASSED HOUSE (2017). Amended and recommended Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 657 (Petrea-166th) Creates a felony charge and mandatory minimum of 1-5 years for anyone who knowingly and intentionally provides a firearm to someone who is on probation as a felony first offender or to any person who has been convicted of a felony in any state STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
HB 663 (Bennett- 94th) and SB 316 (Jackson-2nd) Creates added categories and penalties for the commission of hate crimes. These crimes target a victim or his or her property because of the defendant’s belief regarding the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental disability, or physical disability STATUS HB 663: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. STATUS SB 316: Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 670 (Powell-32nd) Adds one legislative representative to the Georgia State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision and clarifies that the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate each makes one such appointment STATUS: House Juvenile Justice Committee.
SB 326 (James-35th) Provides that prior to posting bail for a juvenile or receiving a child from the custody of DJJ, a person, adult blood relative, or stepparent shall file a sworn and notarized affidavit with the court stating that he or she has legal custody of the alleged delinquent child or that he or she is an adult blood relative or stepparent. The bill also requires a criminal history records check of those arrested to determine if the person is classified as a wanted or missing person or is reasonably believed to be subjected to labor or sexual servitude. The bill also requires personnel rendering patient care in a hospital or related institution to receive written material on industry best practices in recognizing signs typically displayed by persons who have been or are being subjected to labor or sexual servitude, and requires the GBI to collect information which would assist in the identification of any person believed to be subjected to labor or sexual servitude STATUS: Senate Hopper.
HB 653 (Spencer-180th) Provides that certain professional licensing boards are authorized but not required to suspend the license of a person upon notice of nonpayment or default on a federal educational loan or service conditional scholarship. This pertains particularly to those licenses issued by the authority of Georgia Composite Medical Board STATUS: House Hopper.
HB 669 (Trammel-132nd) Authorizes the state to allocate appropriations to expand Medicaid and get federal funds for payments to medical providers on behalf of Medicaid recipients STATUS: House Appropriations Committee.
HB 673 (Carson-46th) Prohibits driving while: conducting wireless communication without using a hands-free accessory, using more than a single touch or swipe of a finger on a wireless device to initiate or terminate communication; reaching for a wireless telecommunications device in such a manner that requires the driver to maneuver in such a way that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position properly restrained by a safety belt, watching motion upon the screen of a wireless telecommunications device other than those related to the functioning or navigation of the vehicle. Violation will be considered a misdemeanor and shall be punishable with a fine of at least $150.00. Upon a second offense the driver shall be required to complete a defensive driving course STATUS: House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
HB 678 (Smith-134th) Requires healthcare providers to tell patients which health insurance plans they accept before non-emergency treatment. If they do not have an agreement with a patient’s health insurance provider, they must disclose the estimated amount the health care provider, group practice, diagnostic and treatment center, or health center will bill the patient or prospective patient for health care services when the patient asks. Information about who ancillary providers will be in the process of treatment must also be provided when asked. Likewise, insurance providers must make accessible information which could help clients assess out-of-network costs STATUS: House Hopper.
SB 318 (Rhett-33rd) Allows for the execution of a physician’s certificate for emergency examination of a person for involuntary evaluation and treatment for mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse based on consultation with an emergency medical technician or paramedic who has personally observed the person STATUS: Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
SB 325 (Kirkpatrick-32nd) Allows Georgia to join an Interstate Medical Licensure Compact which allows physicians to become licensed in multiple states. According to the bill, the Compact creates another pathway for licensure and does not otherwise change a state’s existing Medical Practice Act. It also affirms that the practice of medicine occurs where the patient is located at the time of the physician-patient encounter, and therefore, requires the physician to be under the jurisdiction of the state medical board where the patient is located STATUS: Senate Hopper.
HB 667 (Bentley-139th) Prevents local boards of education from participating in an athletic association which does not provide for instant replays to review rulings on the field for high school football playoff and championship games STATUS: House Education Committee.
HB 672 (Thomas-39th) Allows the use of speed detection devices by school security personnel, defined as a certified law enforcement officer employed by a local board of education, a county or a municipal law enforcement agency for patrol of a school STATUS: House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
SB 320 (Henson-41st) Requires public elementary and secondary schools to allow parents and guardians to register to vote when enrolling their children for school STATUS: Senate Ethics Committee.
HB 671 (Dunahoo-30th) Creates a specialty license plate honoring the Georgia Beekeepers Association STATUS: House Motor Vehicles Committee.
SR 587 (McKoon-29th) Amends the Constitution so as to make English the official language of the State of Georgia, and requires official state actions be in English, prohibits any requirement that any language other than English be used in any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications, prohibits discrimination, penalties, or other limits on participation against persons who speak only English STATUS: Senate Hopper.