Research Universities Day at the Capitol
Georgia State University joined with The University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology and Augusta University to celebrate the first Research Universities Day at the Capitol. Students from each institution were on hand to greet legislators, be recognized in the House and Senate galleries and participate in a student convocation program with alumni from each University working in different areas of state government.
Georgia State University President Mark Becker, University of Georgia President Jere Morehead, Georgia Institute of Technology President Bud Peterson and Augusta University President Brooks Keel were invited to the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate and were presented resolutions declaring February 1, 2017 as Research Day at the Capitol. To read the resolution in it’s entirety please click the following link. Senate Resolution 122 (http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20172018/SR/122) by Sen. Fran Millar, Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee.
Hearing on Campus Felony Crimes
The House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee held a hearing this week regarding felony crimes at postsecondary institutions. HB 51, instructs all Georgia postsecondary institutions to report any information believed pertinent to a felony crime committed by an enrolled student, in or on properties overseen by the institution, to law enforcement officials. The law enforcement agency should determine whether to investigate the alleged criminal offense and report any findings to the appropriate prosecutor’s office. No investigation of the alleged offense should be undertaken by the postsecondary institution unless the investigation is conducted by a campus law enforcement agent that is POST certified.
Each postsecondary institution is expected to meet its duty of care to protect the campus community as required by law. The postsecondary institution may pursue interim measures or formal disciplinary actions against any student for any violation of its code of conduct based on general disciplinary processes for students. However, before any disciplinary actions are taken, the accused student must be provided the opportunity of a hearing and afforded due process protections. Furthermore, no disciplinary investigation shall obstruct or prejudice an ongoing criminal investigation. The bill passed the House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Appropriations Committee.
Casino Gambling Legislation Introduced
HB 158, sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) and SB 79, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), would legalize casino gambling in Georgia.
This legislation creates the Georgia Gaming Commission (GGC), to be made up of five members appointed by the Governor,
Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House. The commission will have the ability to award two destination resort licenses to qualified applicants and will be responsible for governing over the operation of such resorts.
One resort license must be utilized for operation in a county with a population over 900,000 with an investment of at least $2 billion, and it shall include a hotel with a minimum of 1,000 rooms. The other license must be for a county with a population of at least 250,000 but not more than 900,000, and an investment of at least $450 million.
The legislation includes a 20-percent tax on all resort proceeds, which would be placed in Destination Resort Trust Fund (DRTF).
On June 30th of each year, all funds in the DRTF greater than $5M will be transferred to the Georgia Lottery Corporation. The Lottery Corporation would in turn divide the funds with 70% to HOPE scholarships and 30% to needs based scholarships. Assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee and the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
Sanctuary Policy Moves Forward
HB 37, would prohibit any private postsecondary institution eligible for tuition equalization grants from implementing a sanctuary policy. Sanctuary policies include policies that would prohibit or restrict employees of postsecondary institutions from working with federal and state officials or law enforcement officers on reporting immigration status information. Any private postsecondary institution that violates this code section would be subject to the withholding of state funding or state administered federal funding. Withholding of state funds includes funding for scholarships, loans and grants for students of such private postsecondary institutions. The bill passed the House Higher Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Governors Super Bowl Bet
Governor Nathan Deal and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker have placed a wager on Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. Governor Baker offered Koffee Kup’s lucky cupcakes and Legal Sea Foods clam chowder for his wager. Governor Deal countered with Brunswick Stew from Fresh Air BBQ and chocolate-covered blueberries from Byne Blueberry.
Bill to Cap Tuition Introduced
HB 229 and HR 159, sponsored by Rep. Matt Dollar (R-Marietta), would limit increases in tuition and fees within the University System of Georgia to the consumer price index rate of inflation. The constitutional amendment, HR 159, authorizes the General Assembly to limit tuition and fee increases via the enabling legislation of HB 229. If approved, voters will be asked in November: Shall the General Assembly be authorized to prevent increases in tuition or fees at institutions of the University System of Georgia from exceeding the rate of inflation.
The Georgia Student Finance Commission would determine the inflation rate to be used in setting the following academic year’s tuition in April. The enabling legislation also specifies that for any given year, the limit on tuition and fee increases could be waived by a majority vote of the Senate Higher Education Committee and the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill has been assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
HR 101, sponsored by Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson), would create the House Study Committee on College Course Credit. This committee would determine the feasibility of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia, in consultation with the governing board of each public institution of higher education, of establishing a consistent policy for granting undergraduate course credit to entering students who have taken one or more Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge Advanced (A/AS), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams that result in college credit. Assigned to the House Special Rules Committee.
HB 179, sponsored by Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek), revises eligibility requirements for entering freshman students who are home study students or students who graduated from ineligible high schools to receive the Zell Miller and HOPE Scholarships. To receive the Zell Miller Scholarship, the student must have at least a 3.7 grade point average and score in the eightieth percentile on the ACT or SAT. To receive the HOPE Scholarship, the student must have at least a 3.0 grade point average and score in the eightieth percentile on the ACT or SAT. Assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
SB 82, sponsored by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), creates a need based HOPE scholarship and grant for eligible students whose family’s annual gross income is less than $75,000 for the prior 24 month period, or is solely responsible for his or her own care, custody, and earnings and has not been claimed by a parent as a dependent on the federal or state income tax returns for a 24 month period. Assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee.
HB 175, sponsored by Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn), would reduce the prohibited distances from school buildings and other sites in which eating establishments may sell beer and wine for consumption on the premises. Assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
HB 154, authorizes licensed dental hygienists to perform application of sealants, oral prophylaxis, fluoride treatment, oral hygiene education, processing of radiographs, and any protocols regarding urgent dental issues that arise under the general supervision of the authorizing licensed dentist. The bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
SB 96, sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson (R – Savannah), would grant registered professional nurses, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants of patients in nursing homes and hospice care the ability to pronounce death. Assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Calendar Set Thru Sine Die
The House and Senate adopted an adjournment resolution this week that will take them all the way to Sine Die. Day 28 also referred to as Crossover Day is set for March 3. Crossover Day is the last day a bill can cross over from one chamber of the General Assembly to the other in bill form. Sine Die is scheduled for March 30.
Intern Spotlight: Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams is senior economics major at Georgia State University. She decided to join the Georgia Legislative Internship Program to gain professional experience, network and learn how the legislative process works.
GLIP is a great program, says Ashley. She is surprised to see how well everything runs in the capitol, even on the chaotic days. “I hope to gain better knowledge of how the senate operates and to network with potential employers,” says Ms. Williams.
Ms. Williams is assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, as well as the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. Her duties include scheduling page assignments, preparing for committee meetings, and handling constituent concerns.
Ashley is a member of Phi Mu Sorority’s Alumnae Events at Georgia State. After graduation, she plans to work in economic development in the Atlanta area.
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
Day 13: The House and Senate will convene at 10:00 am on Tuesday, February 7.
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
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