FY 2020 Budget Passes Senate Committee
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted this week to pass a $27.5 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2019. The proposed budget for FY 2020, provides 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 fully restoring the Governor’s recommendation of a $3,000 pay raise for certified teachers and certified employees. Under the Senate proposal, the raises would become effective September 1, 2019.
The Senate 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 Senate also agreed with the House and the Governor to include $50 million in bonds for major repairs and renovation across the University System and 2% merit pay raises for USG employees.
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 FY 2020 budget is expected to be taken up on the Senate floor early next week.
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 Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 218, would extend the time that students have to use the HOPE Scholarship from seven to ten years after high school. If the student serves in the military during that 10-year period, their active duty service will not count towards the 10 years. The bill was heard before the Senate Higher Education Committee, but no vote was taken.
SB 161, would allow for weighted scores for AP, Dual Enrollment, and International Baccalaureate courses adjusting the GPA for HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility. The bill passed the House Higher Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Military Affairs & Veterans Legislation
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 Senate Education and Youth Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 25, would provide military service members civil relief concerning certain contractual obligations due to circumstances of active duty. The bill passed the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
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 Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act
HB 481, would prohibit an abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been determined by a doctor, which is typically detected at about 6 weeks. Current law allows abortions up to 20 weeks. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34-18 and now goes back to the House to agree or disagree with the changes.
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 Senate by a vote of 50-0 and is now headed to Governor Brian Kemp for consideration.
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 Senate Health and Human Services Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
SB 158, 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 House Juvenile Justice Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
K-12, School Safety & Security Legislation
SB 67, would allow school systems with buildings that are at least 20 years old and have been mostly destroyed by natural disaster or fire to receive regular funding to repair or replace damaged buildings. The bill passed the House by a vote of 162-0 and is now headed to Governor Brian Kemp for consideration.
HB 83, would require elementary schools to schedule recess for children in grades K-5. The bill passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 530, would require a school to contact the Division of Family and Children Services to conduct an assessment if a child is withdrawn from a public school without a declaration of intent and that child stops attending school for a period of 45 days. The bill passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
SB 60, 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 House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
HR 259, by Rep. William Bodie (D-East Point), establishes the Johnny Tolbert, III House Study Committee on Heat-Related Injuries, Cardiac Injuries, and Other Sports-Related Injuries. This committee will be composed of five members of the House, appointed by the Speaker, and will be abolished on December 1, 2019. The resolution passed the House by a vote of 165-5 and has been adopted.
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. It would also require the Georgia Department of Education to implement guidance and training in all schools regarding the teaching of students with dyslexia and requires that all schools submit data to the department regarding students with dyslexia. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
HR 52, encourages all schools, local educational agencies, and the state educational agency to recognize that dyslexia has a profound educational impact that must be addressed. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules 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 House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules 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 House by a vote of 169-1 and now goes back to the Senate to agree or disagree with the changes.
SB 2, would permit electric membership corporations (EMCs) and their affiliates to deliver broadband services throughout Georgia. The bill passed the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Intern Spotlight: McKenzie Tooke
McKenzie Tooke inquired about opportunities for experiences with careers in policies and was directed to meet with Dr. Amy Steigerwalt, director of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP). “I knew that I had a passion for juvenile justice policies and legislation involving the education of our nation’s youth, but I was uncertain about how I would turn that passion into a career,” says McKenzie. However, when Dr. Steigerwalt explained what the experience would entail, McKenzie knew GLIP was a once in a lifetime opportunity that she couldn’t ignore.
Assigned to the House Transportation Committee, Ms. Tooke’s duties as an intern include handling constituent concerns, maintaining calendars, preparing for committee meetings, responding to office emails and answering phones.
McKenzie’s GSU campus life consists of serving as a senator in the Student Government Association where she serves on the Student Services and Standing Safety Committees. She’s a member of the programming board of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and was a former executive board member of the Black Student Alliance, serving as the organization’s Signature Events Chair. Off campus, Ms. Tooke is a member of the Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and works at Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, serving as a seating host.
After graduating from GSU, McKenzie plans to attend graduate school, gain some teaching experience and work in child advocacy. McKenzie is inspired by the quote “Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Her favorite book is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
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 36: The House and Senate will convene at 10:00 am on Monday, March 25.
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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