Dual Enrollment Hearing
The Senate Higher Education Committee this week held a hearing on SB 400, sponsored by Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta). The bill would require the Georgia Student Finance Commission to establish program objectives and participation targets for the state’s Move On When Ready program. The legislation also requires the Georgia Student Finance Commission to submit an annual report to the Governor and each chamber of the Georgia General Assembly with data on the program including participation rates of minority students, college enrollment rates for program participants, correlation of dual enrollment course completion and college graduation times. No vote was taken.
HB 444, “The Dual Enrollment Act” passed by the Senate earlier this session, still awaits an agreement from the House.
Free Speech Legislation
SB 318, would prevent the creation of “free speech zones” at public institutions of higher education. It would also prohibit public institutions of higher education from denying benefits to or otherwise discriminating against a student organization on the basis of the student organization’s religious, political, or ideological positions. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 995, sponsored by Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville), is the House version of SB 318. This would prevent the creation of “free speech zones” at public institutions of higher education. It would also prohibit public institutions of higher education from denying benefits to or otherwise discriminating against a student organization on the basis of the student organization’s religious, political, or ideological positions. Assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
Teachers Retirement System
SB 294, sponsored by Sen. Ellis Black (R-Valdosta), would allow the Teachers Retirement System to make alternative investments with up to 5% of the value of the fund. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34-19 and has been assigned to the House Retirement Committee.
Military Affairs & Veterans Legislation
HB 819, sponsored by Rep. Bill Hitchens (R-Rincon), allows for the issuance of veterans’ licenses to Georgia residents who are veterans of the armed forces for countries that are allies of the United States. The bill passed the House by a vote of 162-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.
SB 316, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), would allow for military spouses currently licensed in another state to obtain an expedited license by endorsement to practice in this state. The standard for issuing such a license would be for the training, experience, and testing to be substantially similar to that of the Georgia licensing board requirements. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 55-0 and now crosses over to the House.
SB 47, sponsored by Sen. Ellis Black (R-Valdosta), allows members of the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to obtain up to 60 months of creditable service for active military service in the armed forces of the United States on or after January 1, 1990. Qualifying members are required to show proof of service and pay an amount equal to the full actuarial cost of creditable service, which the member can pay over 10- months’ time. The bill passed the House Retirement Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Campus Police Arrests
SB 393, sponsored by Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough), would allow University System of Georgia campus policemen to make arrests for felony offenses committed upon any public or private property under the jurisdiction of the board. This bill also expands the jurisdiction of the GBI to cover street gang terrorism and prevention. The bill failed the Senate Public Safety Committee. The bill was re-visited, removing the section regarding USG police and passed out of committee.
Mobile Sports Wagering
SB 403, sponsored by Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson), would authorize the Georgia Lottery Corporation to operate and manage a mobile sports wagering program. The bill also creates the Georgia Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Commission responsible for overseeing and licensing entities that operate mobile sports betting lottery games. Under this bill, net proceeds from lottery games are directed to school improvement and educational enhancements that support school technology grants and pre-k funding. Assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
Reduce High-Stakes K-12 Testing
SB 367, sponsored by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), reduces the number of state-mandated exams in K-12 schools and provides testing flexibility for local districts, allowing scheduling of the high school writing exam when a district sees fit and local control in determining whether exam scores are factored into final grades. The legislation also establishes a testing window for elementary and middle schools, limiting such exams to the final 25 days of school. The bill passed the Senate Education & Youth Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Tobacco and Vaping Legislation
SB 375, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), would raise the minimum age-related to purchasing and possession of tobacco products to 21 years of age and increase penalties. The bill was heard before the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee, but no vote was taken.
HB 987, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), provides several new provisions for the protection of elderly persons in Georgia for personal care homes with 25 beds or more and assisted living facilities. Assisted living facilities must maintain at least two direct care staff at all times and a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) between eight and 40 hours per week depending on number of residents in facility. The bill passed the House by a vote of 160-1 and now crosses over to the Senate.
House Study Committee on Cybersecurity
HR 1093, sponsored by Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta), creates the House Study Committee on Cybersecurity. The resolution passed the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
HB 752, sponsored by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead), would give the licensing boards for physical therapists and psychologists the authority to request an FBI criminal background check. The bill passed the House by a vote of 155-1 and now crosses over to the Senate.
SB 397, sponsored by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry), reduces the amount of coin-operated amusement machines that are prohibited in a local ordinance from six to three. It would also increases the percentage of net receipts of those machine proceeds to be paid to the Georgia Lottery Corporation from five to twenty percent. The bill was heard before the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, but no vote was taken.
Intern Spotlight: Christopher Ridgeway
Christopher Ridgeway’s impression of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP) is interesting. “Each day is different and there is always something to do. It truly is a learning experience and can change the way you view politics as a young adult,” says Christopher.
Mr. Ridgeway is assigned to House Media Services where his duties include preparing for and live streaming committee hearings and press conferences, as well as handling administrative tasks such as filing, copying, and delivering important documents.
On campus, Christopher is a resident assistant, a National Residence Hall Honorary, and member of the Criminal Justice Association and the Red Cross Club. Off-campus, he works for Starbucks and volunteers with the beautification organization Keep Troup Beautiful.
Mr. Ridgeway’s favorite quote is “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn,” by Benjamin Franklin. He’s a fan of the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
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 22: The House and Senate will convene at 10:00 am on Monday, March 2.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS TEAM
Trey Kilpatrick, Vice President 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
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Atlanta, Georgia 30302
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Visit Georgia State University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs:
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