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 third annual Research Universities Day at the Capitol.
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 and students from each institution were on hand to greet legislators and be recognized in the House and Senate galleries
Patients First Act
SB106, sponsored by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia), would allow the Governor to apply to the federal government for a Section 1332 waiver from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It would also allow the Department of Community Health to apply for a Section 1115 Medicaid waiver that may include an increase in the income threshold up to a maximum of 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Teachers Retirement System of Georgia
HB 109, sponsored by Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson), proposes changes to the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia. The changes would impact new teachers hired on or after July 1, 2019, not current TRS members or retirees. Among the changes, the bill limits earnable compensation for purposes of TRS to $200,000 per year, redefines “average final compensation” from an average of a member’s highest two years of compensation to the average of a members highest five years of compensation and sets a range of 6 to 10 percent for mandatory employee contributions; the current range is 5-6 percent. It would also institute a minimum retirement age of 60 and removes the ability to use unused sick leave for creditable service. The bill was heard before the House Retirement Committee, but no vote was taken.
Georgia Hemp Farming Act
HB 213, sponsored by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park), the “Georgia Hemp Farming Act” would authorize colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia to conduct research on the cultivation and uses of hemp grown in Georgia. The bill also outlines the process to receive a hemp growers license. Assigned to the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.
SB 48, would require that all pre-kindergarten students are screened for dyslexia and provide a framework to identify and address dyslexia in students between kindergarten and grade three. The bill passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Military Affairs & Veterans Legislation
HB 232, sponsored by Rep. Heath Clark (R-Warner Robins), would provide that dependent children of active duty military members be classified as in-state for tuition and fees purposes by the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. Assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
HB 25, would provide military service members civil relief concerning certain contractual obligations due to circumstances of active duty. The bill passed the House by a vote of 173-1 and has been assigned to the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.
HB 59, would allow children of active duty military personnel to register in a local school district based on the parent’s official military orders rather than requiring the family to establish residency. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
HB 184, sponsored by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville), the “Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act” to streamline deployment of broadband in public right of ways. This bill passed the House this week by a vote of 170-1 and now crosses over to the Senate.
HB 23, authorizes electric membership corporations (EMCs) and their affiliates to provide broadband services, in addition to authorizing financing and partnerships. The bill passed House by a vote of 169-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
SB 17, would authorize rural telephone cooperatives to furnish broadband services either directly or indirectly through an agreement or through a broadband affiliate. The bill passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Smartphone App for Youth in Crisis
This week, Governor Brian Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp and state officials announced a new mobile application to support the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL), a 24/7 hotline offering free and confidential access to services for mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The My GCAL app, for Apple and Android smartphones was designed to reach Georgia’s youth in times of need. GCAL is staffed by caring professionals, including licensed clinicians who are available 24/7 to address behavioral health crises, make referrals for treatment, and dispatch mobile crisis response teams.
School Safety Legislation
SB 25, sponsored by Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen), provides greater safety measures and protections to children, parents, and students when a school bus has come to a stop. It also provides clearer guidelines for motorists upon meeting or passing a school bus. The bill was signed today by Governor Brian Kemp, his first as Georgia’s 83rd Governor, effective immediately.
SB 15, the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act” would address offenses for minors in possession of a firearm, as well as school safety plans including performing threat assessments, drills and coaching on prevention, reporting and appropriate action to take when a threat or suspicious behavior arise. The bill was heard before the Senate Public Safety Committee, but no vote was taken.
Pari-Mutuel Betting on Horse Racing
SB 45, would create the Georgia Horse Racing Commission and allow for pari-mutuel horse racing in the state at a limited number of licensed equestrian centers. SR 84, sponsored by Sen. Beach, proposes an amendment to the Constitution so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. These bills were heard before the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee, but no vote was taken.
HB 218, sponsored by Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) would revise eligibility requirements to receive the HOPE scholarship as a Zell Miller Scholarship Scholar relative to students who graduated from an ineligible high school or a home study program. Assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
SB 21, would require each local board of education to prescribe mandatory instruction concerning cybersecurity every year in every grade from kindergarten through grade 12. The bill also provides for required elements of such cybersecurity education and calls for implementation by July 1, 2020. The bill was heard before the Senate Education Committee, but no vote was taken.
HB 42, would prevent professional licensing boards from refusing to issue a license or suspending or revoking a license of a person who is in default of an educational loan issued through the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation or through a federal agency. The bill passed the House Higher Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
HR 214, sponsored by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) reauthorizes the House Rural Development Council until December 1, 2020 and will continue to address economic development and related policy areas including, but not limited to, education, infrastructure, access to health care, and economic growth incentives. Assigned to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
January Revenues Decrease
Revenue collections for the month of January totaled $2.25 billion, for a decrease of $314.1 million, or -12.2 percent compared to the revenue collected in January 2018. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $14.07 billion for an increase of $202.8 million, or 1.5 percent compared to the same point last year.
Intern Spotlight: Eric Edmonson
Eric Edmonson, a junior political science major feels the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP) “is a unique opportunity that very few get to participate in.” Eric hopes GLIP will “make him stand out from his peers and give him a greater chance at achieving greatness in future career plans.”
Assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee a few of Eric’s job duties involve answering emails and phone calls, handling constituent issues, and gathering signatures for legislation.
In addition to working as a legislative intern, Mr. Edmonson is an assistant title searcher at the Fulton County Courthouse. He also served as a member of the GSU Pre-Law Club, the GSU Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, and the national Political Science Honor Society.
After graduation, Eric plans to attend law school and eventually become an attorney and business owner. He is inspired by the quote “success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it,” by Henry David Thoreau. His favorite book is “Memoirs of the Second World War,” by Winston Churchill.
Information on legislative activities including bills and resolutions as well as a webcast of daily sessions in both Chambers and committee meetings are available via the General Assembly website at ** www.legis.ga.gov (http://www.legis.ga.gov)
Day 17: The House and Senate will convene at 10:00 am on Tuesday, February 19.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS TEAM
Tom Lewis, Senior Advisor to the President
Julie Kerlin, Senior Director of Government & Community Affairs
Michael Parkerson, Director of Government & Community Affairs
Jason Thomas, Assistant Director for State Relations
Clelia Keen, Assistant Director for Community Affairs
Debbie Jones, Associate to the Director
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 3999
Atlanta, Georgia 30302
404-413-2030 (office) • 404-413-1410 (fax)
Visit Georgia State University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs:
** ga.gsu.edu (http://ga.gsu.edu)
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