House Passes FY 2020 Budget
This week the Georgia House of Representatives voted 155-13 to pass the $27.5 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2019. The proposed budget for FY 2020, an increase of $1.05 billion or 3.95% over the FY 2019 original budget. Of the new revenue, a major emphasis was placed on education, including a $2,775 pay raise for certified teachers and certified personnel, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists, media specialists and technology specialists.
The House budget recommendations of interest to the University System of Georgia (USG) and Georgia State University included $48 million in bonds for construction of a convocation center at Georgia State University. The House also agreed with the Governor’s recommendation and included $50 million in bonds for major repairs and renovation. The FY 2020 budget includes $88 million for the University System of Georgia and $3.5 million for the Technical College System of Georgia based on enrollment growth and increased square footage, as well as Teachers Retirement System obligations.
Based on the recommendations of the 2018 House School Security Study Committee, the House budget provides the five 4-H Centers with $150,000 in bonds for security improvements and $747,600 to contract with local law enforcement to provide security when students are present. Within the Student Finance Commission, the budget provides the HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships with $74.7 million to meet the projected need of 22,000 additional awards and increase the award amount by 3%.
The House version of the FY 2020 budget limits dual enrollment program participation to 11th and 12th graders, with the exception of students enrolled in technical colleges who may enter the program in the 10th grade. Students may utilize up to 30 credit hours of dual enrollment funding; additional hours will count towards the HOPE scholarship cap. Also, summer term hours will no longer be eligible for state dual enrollment funding.
GSU Athletic Teams Commended
HR 363, sponsored by Rep. David Dryer (D-Atlanta), commending the Georgia State University women’s tennis team on it championship season and outstanding performance in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament. Read and Adopted.
HR 364, sponsored by Rep. David Dryer (D-Atlanta), commending the Georgia State University men’s basketball team on it championship season and outstanding performance in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Read and Adopted.
HR 365, sponsored by Rep. David Dryer (D-Atlanta), commending the Georgia State University men’s soccer team on it championship season and outstanding performance in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament. Read and Adopted.
HB 444, sponsored by Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta), renames the “Move on When Ready Act” to the “Dual Enrollment Act.” It will permit an eligible high school student in 11th or 12th grade the ability to take a maximum of 30 hours of covered dual credit courses (delivered on-site or on-line) at a University System of Georgia Institution. It also permits a student to take noncovered dual credit courses (those after 30 hours at their own expense or using lottery funds). Assigned to the House Education Committee.
Patients First Act
SB 106, 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. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 32-20 and has been assigned to the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare.
Teachers Retirement System of Georgia
HB 109, 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. 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 8.5 percent for mandatory employee contributions; the current range is 5-6 percent. The bill institutes the “rule of 85” that allows retirement once a member’s age and years of service equals or exceeds 85. The bill passed the House Retirement Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Georgia Hemp Farming Act
HB 213, the “Georgia Hemp Farming Act” would authorize colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia to conduct research on hemp grown in Georgia, including the development of new hemp varieties, seed development, and consumer uses. The bill also outlines the process to receive a hemp growers license. The bill passed the House by a vote of 163-3 and has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.
Military Affairs & Veterans Legislation
HB 33, allows a grace period of up to six months for the renewal of a weapons carry license for any service member whose license expires while they are on active duty. Once home, the service member may carry within the limits of the permit until they renew their license as long as they have with them their military orders or a written verification signed by the commanding officer. The bill passed the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
HB 64, requires that the appropriate child welfare agency make efforts as soon as possible to notify the applicable military installation’s family advocacy program in the event of a child abuse or neglect allegation involving an active-duty military parent or guardian. The bill passed the House by a vote of 169-0 and now crosses over to the Senate.
HB 218, sponsored by Rep. Rick WIlliams (R-Milledgeville), would extend the time that students have to use the HOPE Scholarship from seven to ten years after high school. The bill passed the House Higher Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
This week, First Lady Marty Kemp announced a new initiative aimed at combating human trafficking in the state. Kemp announced the creation of the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education, or GRACE Commission. The commission will be chaired by the first lady along with GBI Director Vic Reynolds and Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones.
“The GRACE commission will be comprised of public officials, law enforcement, for-profit and non-profit organizations, faith-based institutions and subject matter experts to tackle human trafficking, serve justice for victims, hold bad actors accountable and end human trafficking,” Kemp said during the press conference.
SB 158, sponsored by Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough), the “Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act”, will provide additional safeguards and protections against human trafficking, authorize DFCS to provide care and supervision to children who are victims of human trafficking and expand prohibitions against trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 54-0 and now crosses over to the House.
School Safety & Security Legislation
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 passed the Senate by a vote of 47-8 and has been assigned to the House Education Committee.
HB 515, sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), would require certain state departments and agencies to provide recommended new school construction designs and measures advance school safety. Assigned to the House Education Committee.
HB 12, requires the posting of signs which contain the toll-free number to report incidents of child abuse in a visible, public area of a school. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
SB160, requires high schools to post information on the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, hold an informational meeting for parents, and obtain informed consent before participation interscholastic athletic activities. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Georgia Data Analytic Center
HB 197, creates the Georgia Data Analytic Center (GDAC Project), which is to be established and overseen by the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) by September 1, 2019. Any state agency or department that creates, receives, or maintains publicly supported program, fiscal, or health data must transmit or allow access to its data as is deemed necessary to the GDAC Project, as long as sharing the data does not violate state or federal law. The bill passed the House by a vote of 140-28 and now crosses over to the Senate.
HR 327, sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), proposes an amendment to the Constitution to allow the local authorization for a limited number of licensed destination gambling resorts. Assigned to the House Economic Development Committee.
House Rural Development Council
HR 214, 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. The House passed and adopted by a vote of 164-1.
Physical Therapy Licensure Compact Act
HB 39, the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact Act. This will allow eligible physical therapists to practice across state lines. The bill passed the House by a vote of 154-1 and now crosses over to the Senate.
SB 66, the “Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act”, would streamline the deployment of wireless broadband in the public rights of way. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 53-0 and has been assigned to the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.
Intern Spotlight: Meeyabonyui Aneneba
The Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP) is an amazing experience for junior political science major Meeyabonyui Aneneba. “I’m so grateful to be a part of GLIP. I have a greater appreciation for government and the people who work towards making our state great,” says Meeyabonyui.
Assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee, Ms. Aneneba ’s duties include summarizing bills, answering phones, taking committee meeting minutes, and running errands.
Receiving a better look at how our government operates, Ms. Aneneba feels she is better equipped on how to help our communities. Therefore, after graduating from GSU, Meeyabonyui will be pursuing a master’s degree in political science, and thereafter, she hopes to serve the public and help build our communities.
Meeyabonyui’s favorite quote is “don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you,” by Beyoncé. She is inspired by the book Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Intern Spotlight: Hannah Audifferen
After learning of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP) from her professor and Dr. Amy Steigerwalt, the director of GLIP, Hannah Audifferen decided this would be an amazing opportunity to gain real life experience of the legislative process. “I’m expecting that this experience will solidify my dreams of going into politics,” says Hannah.
Assigned to the House State Properties & Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, Hannah’s duties as an intern include administrative work such as making photocopies, filing, answering phones, writing letters to constituents, and attending committee meetings.
When she’s not serving as an intern, Ms. Audifferen spends her time in class and working full-time at RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc. After graduating from GSU, she plans to attend Law School. “This experience is prepping me for my possible future as a legislator and public servant because I am seeing what goes on first hand in real time,” says Hannah.
Hannah is inspired by the quote “all adventurous women do…,” from the TV show Girls. Her favorite book is Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi.
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 26: The House will convene at 10:00 am and the Senate at 1:00 pm on Monday, March 4.
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
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Visit Georgia State University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs:
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