GSU Day at the Capitol
Georgia State University hosted its annual GSU Day at the Capitol this week. Students, faculty and administrators were on hand to speak to lawmakers and showcase the great things happening at Georgia State University. This year’s event highlighted Georgia State’s successful consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College, a record breaking year in research funding, athletic achievements and the national recognition for its innovative commitment to student success.
Georgia State University President Mark Becker, First Lady Laura Voisinet, Student Government Association President Sebastian Parra, Perimeter College students Sri Rajasekarn and Blake Rios were invited to the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate as they presented Georgia State University with invite resolutions declaring February 3, 2016 Georgia State University Day at the Capitol.
Revisions to HOPE
HB 801, passed the House this week by a vote of 167-0. The bill revises the academic eligibility requirements to receive the HOPE scholarship by including computer science in the advanced science category. Also, beginning in academic year 2017-2018, the cumulative GPA for calculating HOPE would include weighted grades for specific science, technology, engineering and math college courses. The grade assigned by an instructor would be increased by an additional .5, if grade is a B, C or D. The bill now crosses over to the Senate for consideration.
HB 798, would allow home school students to qualify for the HOPE Scholarship by completing a home study program and scoring in the seventy-fifth percentile or higher nationally on the SAT or ACT. It would also allow home school students to qualify for the Zell Miller Scholarship by completing a home study program and scoring in the ninety-third percentile or higher on the SAT or ACT. The bill passed the House Higher Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
SB 312, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton), establishes a minimum $2,000 HOPE scholarship award each semester or $134.00 per credit hour at eligible institutions. The HOPE minimum would apply to all of Georgia’s technical colleges and 14 in the state’s university system including Perimeter College at Georgia State University. Assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee.
Sexual Misconduct Hearing
The Senate Higher Education Committee and Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a joint hearing regarding sexual assaults on college campuses this week. Chancellor Hank Huckaby along with Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Samuel Burch spoke to the committee on the University System’s newly implemented system-wide campus safety initiative. Initiatives in place include required training to help identify and prevent sexual violence, harassment, and other misconduct with a special focus on entering freshman students. Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee commended the University System for dealing with the safety concerns, but voiced concerns that the state needs to have some kind of oversight on issues such as sexual assaults on campus.
SB 322, sponsored by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), would require any person with arrest powers at university or college campuses to report allegations of rape to a local law enforcement agency with concurrent jurisdiction, to hand over information and evidence and cooperate with the agency. Assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee.
Carry Forward Legislation Heard
The House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee met this week for Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), to present HB 745. This bill allows the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia to write off small amounts due to the state and carry forward certain fees and revenue through July 1, 2021. This mechanism allows the USG to better manage their operational budget to meet the critical needs on campus. Currently, authorization is set to sunset on June 30, 2016. A vote by the committee is expected soon.
HR 1230, sponsored by Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) commending the Georgia State University football team on their record-breaking season. House Read and Adopted.
HB 864, sponsored by Rep. David Casas (R-Lilburn), expands the definition of eligible postsecondary institution for the Move On When Ready program to include any postsecondary institution in the state that holds institutional accreditation by an accrediting agency that is recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education. Assigned to the House Education Committee.
SB 314, sponsored by Renee Unterman (R-Buford), revises the definition of advanced nursing practice to include clinical nursing specialist. It also requires for applicants to be eligible for licensure or renewal as an advanced practice registered nurse to complete fingerprinting and criminal background check performed by the Georgia Crime Information Center of the FBI. Assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
SB 319, sponsored by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), would change the definition of professional counseling in relating to professional counselors, social workers and others by adding “diagnose” to their scope of practice. Assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
SB 303, sponsored by Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta), would require that a gun lock be furnished to the buyer in a retail firearm sale. A violation would be a misdemeanor. Assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
SB 301, sponsored by Sen. Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta), would revise the days and times in which consumer fireworks may be lawfully used or exploded. Any day between 10:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M; On July 3rd, July 4th, and December 31st between 10:01 P.M. and 11:59 P.M; On January 1st and July 4th between 12:00 midnight and 12:15 A.M. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Intern Spotlight: Joshua Roye
“What I see every day at the Capitol makes me feel really good about my state,” says Joshua Roye, a junior international economics and modern language major. Legislators come to work early, stay late, and they examine every bill with great scrutiny –all to serve the people of Georgia.
Eager to witness the legislative decision making process first hand, Joshua was thrilled to be assigned to the Ways and Means Committee where his many duties range from running errands, summarizing bills, and research.
Once a member of the GSU Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club, Joshua now spends his spare time teaching kids the same sport. Although undecided about his future plans, Mr. Roye feels the experience he’s receiving through the Georgia Legislative Internship Program will be invaluable to any career path he chooses.
Information on legislative activities including bills and resolutions as well as webcast of daily sessions in both Chambers and committee meeting are available via the General Assembly website at ** www.legis.ga.gov (http://www.legis.ga.gov)
Day 17: The Senate will convene at 10:00 am the House at 11:00 am on Monday, February 8.
Legislators are scheduled to work Monday through Thursday of next week.
Government Affairs Team
Tom Lewis, Senior Advisor to the President
Julie Kerlin, Director of Government & Community Affairs
Jason Thomas, Assistant Director of Government & Community Affairs
Debbie Jones, Associate to the Director