Tax Refunds to Georgia Citizens
This week the House Ways and means Committee considered HB 1302, sponsored by Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayettville). This legislation would provide a one-time tax credit for eligible Georgia taxpayers who filed income tax returns in both 2020 and 2021.
Based on your 2020 tax filer status, single tax filers would receive a $250 refund, head-of-household filers would receive $375, and those who file jointly would receive a $500 refund once 2021 tax returns are processed by the state. The refund is not available for non-resident alien individuals, individuals who were claimed as a dependent for the 2020 or 2021 tax years, nor estates or trusts. The refund is automatically credited once a taxpayer files an individual income tax return for 2021, and any refunds due shall be credited against outstanding income tax liability prior to being either electronically transmitted or sent by check to the taxpayer. The bill passed the House Ways and Means Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
SR 525, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Beach
(R-Alpharetta), urging the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to ensure that no less than 85 percent of all early-action admissions are awarded to Georgia resident students. Assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.
SB 378, sponsored by Sen. John Albers
(R-Roswell), would create criminal and civil penalties for the act of hazing. Anyone
convicted of hazing a college student in Georgia, could serve up to five years in prison under this legislation. This would also strengthen
requirements for colleges to report hazing violation on their websites. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Non-Citizen Tuition Legislation
HB 932, sponsored by Rep. Wes Cantrell
(R- Woodstock), would revise current statutes to allow non-citizen students with certain status under federal law to be classified as in-state students for tuition purposes. This bill seeks to be more inclusive in its definition of non-citizens who are eligible candidates for in-state tuition. It also, would include refugees, special immigrants, and Afghan citizens/nationals and others on humanitarian parole. The bill was heard before the House Higher Education Committee, but no vote was taken.
Teachers Retirement System of GA
HB 385, sponsored by Rep. Shaw Blackmon
(R-Bonaire), will allow teachers who have retired after 30 years of credible service to return to teaching in a full-time capacity, pre-k through grade 12, in an “area of highest need” following a one-year waiting period. The school system must pay the employer and employee contribution rate, and the member cannot accrue additional creditable service. The bill passed the Senate Retirement Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act
HB 348, sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Rich
(R-Suwanee), adds vaping to the ‘Georgia Smoke-free Air Act,’ which prohibits smoking inside most public areas, including restaurants and government buildings. A person vaping in violation of this law will face a $100 to $500 fine. The bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Student Technology Protection Act
HB 1217, sponsored by Rep.Chris Erwin
(R-Atlanta), will require that schools promote the safe and appropriate use of technology. By October 1, 2022 there must be policies adopted with the purposes of preventing and prohibiting any computer or network from accessing obscene materials. The bill passed the House by a vote of 131-26 and now crosses over to the Senate.
School Mask Mandates
SB 514, sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon
(R-Cumming), the “Unmask Georgia Students Act”, would allow Georgia public school parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates. The bill passed the Senate Education and Youth Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the Senate Rules Committee.
Parents Bill of Rights
SB 449, sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon
(R-Cumming), would give parents access to the instructional material being used to teach their children in Georgia’s public schools. Principals or superintendents who receive a request for information from a parent would have three working days to provide it. If the principal or superintendent is unable to share the information within that timeframe, they must provide the parent a written description of the material and a timeline for its delivery, not to exceed 30 days. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 33-21 and has been assigned to the House Education Committee.
HB 1178, sponsored by Rep. Josh Bonner
(R-Fayetteville), provides a framework for parents to request information on instructional material. The bill requires a review period for two weeks at the beginning of each nine-week period which will be made available to parents. If parents request access to instructional material outside of the review period, the school has three days to provide a description and a timeline of when the information will be provided within 30 days of the receipt of the request. This legislation would also include a provision for parents to opt their children out of photographs and videography by a written note. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Gender in Athletics
SB 435, sponsored by Sen. Marty Harbin
(R-Tyrone), would prohibit public or private participating schools whose students or teams compete against a Georgia public school to operate, sponsor, or facilitate athletic programs or activities that permit a person of one gender to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for persons of the opposite gender. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 34-22 and will now cross over to the House.
4-H Sponsored Activities
HB 1292, sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse
(R-Jasper), prohibits students who participate in
4-H sponsored activities or programs from being counted as absent from school. The school principal or their designee may request documentation, as proof, from a 4-H representative. The bill passed the House Education Committee and is now eligible for consideration in the House Rules Committee.
Military and Veterans Affairs
SB 405, sponsored by Sen. Ed Harbison
(D-Columbus), would exempt sales tax for sales to and sales by any nonprofit veteran’s support organization. The bill was heard before the Senate Finance Committee, but no vote was taken.
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 (http://www.legis.ga.gov)
Day 21: The House and Senate will convene on Monday, February 28, 2022 at 10:00am.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS TEAM
Michael Parkerson, Vice President of Government & Community Affairs
Jason Thomas, Assistant Director for State Relations
Debbie Jones, Associate to the Director
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