2012 legislative session begins Jan. 9

Print This Post

The 2012 legislative session begins Monday, Jan. 9. Since this is the second year of the 2011-2012 session, legislation that didn’t pass in 2011 is eligible for action in 2012. Here is a list of carry-over legislation and prefiled bills that may have an impact on the children and families in your county.

Carry-Over Legislation

The following bills are still eligible for passage during the 2012 session.

Healthy Children
HB 132
(Rep. Ben Watson, 163rd) would require insurance policies to cover any “medical food” required for the treatment of metabolic and genetic disorders when a physician prescribes special dietary foods or formulas that are medically necessary. Status: Assigned to House Insurance.

HB 655 (Rep. Ron Stephens, 164th) would create a provider choice system for the Dept. of Community Health’s Vaccines for Children program. The bill allows health care providers to select alternative vaccines from vaccines are approved by the Centers for Disease Control. Status: Assigned to House Health & Human Services.

HB 345 (Rep. Pat Gardner, 57th) allows lawfully admitted and qualified children and pregnant women to be eligible for Medicaid and PeachCare programs. Status: Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

School Readiness and Success
HB 181
(Rep. Rich Golick, 34th) allows the State Board of Education to waive “prior year in Georgia school” as a requirement for a special needs scholarship. Status: Currently in the Senate Education and Youth Committee.

SB 14 (Sen. Lester Jackson, 2nd) raises the age of mandatory education from 16 to 17. Similar bills include SB 43 (Sen. Donzella James, 35th ) and SB 49 (Sen. John Albers, 56th) Status: All bills assigned to Senate Education & Youth Committee. SB 49 was favorably reported by the Senate Education & Youth Committee but did not reach the Senate floor for a vote and was recommitted to the Committee.

SB 291 (Sen. Jack Hill, 4th) changes the Pre-K funding source from the Georgia Lottery to funds appropriated for that purpose and prioritized by the Georgia Department of Education. Enrollment slots would remain fixed at FY 2013 state budget levels.SB 291 allows the State Board of Education to increase enrollment levels when the Georgia General Assembly makes additional funding available to expand the Pre-K program. Status: Assigned to Senate Education and Youth.

SB 68 (Sen. John Albers, 56th) permits parents to petition to turn around low-achieving schools. Status: Assigned to Senate Children and Youth.

SB 87 (Sen. Chip Rogers, 21st) allows students from military families and foster care to be eligible for Special Needs Scholarships (vouchers). Status: Assigned to Senate Education and Youth.

Self-Sufficient Families and Strong Communities
HB 23
(Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, 83rd) helps Georgia comply with mandates of the Fostering Connections Act of 2008. The bill requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish regulations for the use of psychotropic medications for children in the state’s custody. Status: Assigned to House Health & Human Services

HB 432 (Rep. Katie Dempsey, 13th)  entitled the Family Care Act, allows families employed by firms with 10 or more workers to use earned sick leave to care for a child, spouse, or parent. Status: Assigned to House Industrial Relations. HB 432 was heard by the Committee but no vote was taken.

HB 633 (Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, 83rd) creates a state-wide reporting system for child abuse as well as a toll free number and Internet based system. Status: Assigned to House Judiciary

SB 105 (Sen. Emanuel Jones, 10th) similar in intent to HB 373 (Rep. B.J. Pak, 102nd), outlines the provision of parole, aftercare services and supervision, and calls for the creation of juvenile parole panels to determine which juveniles serving sentences for designated felonies could be recommended for release and community follow-up services. Status: Assigned to Senate Judiciary.

SB 127 (Sen. Bill Hamrick, 30th) significantly amends and updates laws related to juvenile proceedings. The Barton Child Law and Policy Center, Voices for Georgia’s Children and Georgia Appleseed are leading efforts to update the 40-year old Georgia Juvenile Code. During the last days of the 2011 session, Rep. Wendell Willard (49th) introduced HB 641, the House version of the Juvenile Code re-write. Status: SB 127 is assigned to Senate Judiciary and HB 641 to House Judiciary.

Pre-filed Legislation

Legislators have the option of prefiling bills that they intend to introduce. Bills may be prefiled any time on or after November 15. These bills are assigned a bill number, but the author must introduce the legislation on a legislative day for it to be considered. Some prefiled bills are never introduced.

HB 668 (Rep. Jason Spencer, 180th) and SB 292 (Sen. John Albers, 56th) require drug testing of all TANF applicants in order to qualify for benefits.

HB 676 (Rep. Ben Harbin, 118th) removes the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges. Current Georgia law requires that charges be brought forward within seven years of the alleged incident of child sexual abuse.

SB 294 (Sen. John Albers. 56th) entitled the Dignity for the Unemployed Act requires 24 hours of volunteer service per week with a non profit organization for applicants to qualify for unemployment benefits.