2017 Legislation

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HB 65 (Rep. Allen Peake, 141st) expands the number of diagnoses that legally can be treated with cannabis oil to include Tourette’s syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, epidermolysis bullosa, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, AIDS, and peripheral neuropathy. The bill also states that cancer and other currently covered diseases may be treated beyond just the end stages.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 1. It was then assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which took no action on the bill. However, most of the language from HB 65 was added to SB 16 (Sen. Ben Watson, 1st), another bill dealing with the use of cannabis oil, specifically to treat autism spectrum disorder. After passing the Senate, SB 16 was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, which stripped the original language, substituted language from HB 65, and passed it on March 20. The full House passed the substitute version of SB 16 on March 28, and the Senate agreed to the House changes. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 163 (Rep. Betty Price, 48th) prohibits school bus drivers from using a cell phone unless it’s used to allow live communication between the driver and school or public safety officials. The bill also stipulates that drivers must use hands-free technology.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 198 (Rep. Katie Dempsey, 13th) requires that information about influenza and the influenza vaccine be included in resources regarding immunizations, infectious disease, or other school health issues that are provided to parents of students in grades 6-12 by local boards of education.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 16. The Senate amended the bill by adding language from SB 245 (Sen. Butch Miller, 49th), relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of automated external defibrillators in schools, and passed the bill on March 30. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 200 (Rep. Mark Newton, 123rd) requires local boards of education to adopt policies authorizing students to carry and self-administer sunscreen.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. A House Education subcommittee discussed the bill on Feb. 22, but it did not take a vote. The bill did not cross.

HB 241 (Rep. Lee Hawkins, 27th) adds Krabbe disease to the list of metabolic and genetic conditions for which newborns may be screened. Krabbe disease is a rare, often fatal, degenerative disorder that affects the myelin sheath of the nervous system. Under the bill, screening for Krabbe disease will be conducted separately at the option of—and paid for by—the parents.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 24, and the Senate passed it on March 24. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 246 (Rep. Wes Cantrell, 22nd) repeals the sunset provision on an annual fitness assessment program approved and funded by the State Board of Education for students in grades 1-12.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 23, and the Senate Education and Youth Committee passed it on March 15. However, the Senate Rules Committee did not send it to the Senate floor for a vote.

HB 273 (Rep. Demetrius Douglas, 78th) requires each local board of education to schedule a daily recess for students in grades K-5, beginning in the 2017-18 school year, provided that recess will not be required on any day when a student has had physical education or structured activity time. Local boards shall establish written policies to ensure that recess is a safe experience for students, that recess is scheduled so that it provides a break during academic learning, and that it is not withheld as punishment.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 3. The Senate Education and Youth Committee passed a substitute version of the bill on March 24, which clarifies that recess for grades K-5 will be scheduled every day unless reasonable circumstances impede such recess. Additionally, elementary schools are encouraged to include an average of 30 minutes per day of supervised unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors. HB 273 was sent to the Senate floor for a vote, but the Senate voted to table the bill.

HB 274 (Rep. Sandra Scott, 76th) makes it a misdemeanor to smoke inside a motor vehicle when a person under the age of 14 is present.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HR 1 (Rep. Keisha Waites, 60th) proposes a constitutional amendment to dedicate existing fees and assessments to fund driver education and training courses for ninth- through 12th-graders in public schools.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HR 36 (Rep. Allen Peake, 141st) proposes a state constitutional amendment to allow the production and sale of medical cannabis in Georgia. Fees and taxes will be dedicated to a fund to support drug treatment programs. The bill would require statewide passage by voters.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HR 446 (Rep. William Boddie, 62nd) creates the Johnny Tolbert, III House Study Committee on Heatstroke. The bill is named for a 12-year-old who died from heatstroke during football practice in 2016.
Status: The resolution was assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee, which discussed it on March 21. The committee passed a substitute version of the bill on March 24, but it was later withdrawn and recommitted.

SB 16 (Sen. Ben Watson, 1st) adds autism spectrum disorder as a diagnosis eligible for treatment with cannabis oil and lowers the maximum percent of THC permitted for medical treatment from 5 to 3 percent.
Status: The Senate passed the bill on Feb. 16. It was then assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, which stripped the bill of its original language and substituted in the language from HB 65. The full House passed the substitute version of SB 16 on March 28, and the Senate agreed to the House changes. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

SB 29 (Sen. Vincent Fort, 39th) requires testing of drinking water in all child care learning centers as well as public and private primary and secondary schools. Remediation where necessary is required. HB 28 (Rep. Billy Mitchell, 88th) is a similar bill that requires all public and private schools to test drinking water for lead contamination.
Status of SB 29: The Senate passed the bill on March 3, and it is now assigned to the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
Status of HB 28: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. A House Education subcommittee discussed the bill on Feb. 22, but the committee took no action due to concerns about cost. The bill did not cross.

SB 118 (Sen. Renee Unterman, 45th) increases the age for health insurance coverage for individuals with autism spectrum disorder from 6 to 21.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee, which discussed the bill on Feb. 14. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 206 (Sen. P.K. Martin, 9th) requires health insurance plans to cover one hearing aid per impaired ear, not to exceed $3,000 per hearing aid, for individuals under age 19.
Status: The Senate passed the bill on March 3. The House Insurance Committee passed a substitute version, which states that insurers are exempt from providing this benefit if an actuarial analysis—to be completed no more frequently than one time per year—determines that the costs associated with this coverage exceed 1 percent of the premium’s charge over the experience period by the insurer. The law will also not apply to policies offered by an employer with 10 or fewer employees. The House passed the bill on March 20, and the Senate agreed to the House changes on March 30. Deal signed the bill, and it will apply to health benefit policies beginning Jan. 1, 2018.



SB 24 (Sen. Joshua McKoon, 29th) exempts from licensure requirements nursery schools, kindergarten programs, or other educational programs for children under age 7 that operate no more than four hours per day, five days per week.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee, which held a hearing on Jan. 30. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 98 (Sen. Elena Parent, 42nd) allows capital outlay funds to be used on educational facilities for school systems’ voluntary pre-K programs in addition to the construction of K-12 classrooms for which the funds may currently be used.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.


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HB 16 (Rep. Keisha Waites, 60th) requires local boards of education to collect data on instances of bullying and harassment and to provide the data to the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) via an existing annual report on disciplinary and placement actions.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 23 (Rep. Billy Mitchell, 88th) discourages charter schools from including an exemption of required statewide assessments in their charter petition.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 24 (Rep. Billy Mitchell, 88th) directs the State Board of Education to establish an incentive pay program to retain and employ quality teachers in schools with high percentages of children from low-income families.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 77 (Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, 93rd) instructs the GaDOE, in consultation with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) and mental-health experts, to provide local school systems with a list of training materials for mental-health awareness, behavioral disabilities, and learning disabilities. The materials must be provided no later than July 1, 2018. HR 354, (Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, 93rd), urges the GaDOE, in consultation with DBHDD, to develop and provide a list of training materials on mental-health issues to local school systems.
Status of HB 77: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. A subcommittee held a hearing on Feb. 14, but no vote was taken. The bill did not cross.
Status of HR 354: The resolution was assigned to the House Education Committee, which passed the resolution on March 16. The resolution only needed to pass the House, so it was not affected by the Crossover Day deadline. However, the resolution was withdrawn and recommitted by the House.

HB 114 (Rep. Robert Dickey, 140th) prohibits local school systems from excluding students in dual-credit courses (the Move-on-When-Ready program) from valedictorian or salutatorian determinations. This shall not apply to a high-school student who moves into the local school system after his or her sophomore year and has not taken any courses on-site at the participating high school.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 1, and the Senate Education and Youth Committee passed it on March 15. The bill did not get out of the Senate Rules Committee, but language from HB 114 was added to SB 211 (Sen. Lindsey Tippins, 37th), which requires the State Board of Education to adopt research-based student assessment programs. Deal signed the amended version of SB 211, and it became effective on April 27.

HB 170 (Rep. Sheila Jones, 53rd), the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act, prohibits operators of educational websites or services from using a student’s personal information to engage in targeted advertising or selling a student’s information.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 178 (Rep. Dave Belton, 112th) stipulates that, subject to funding by the General Assembly, local school systems must provide counselors for students whose parents are on active military duty or were killed or severely injured while on military duty. The bill specifies that there must be one counselor for every 200 military students; that the counselors must spend at least 50 percent of their time advising military students and families; and that funding for the positions will be supplemental to funds already earned by school systems for counselors.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 223 (Rep. Keisha Waites, 60th) requires local schools to provide driver education as an elective course for students in grades 9-12 and increases the age for receiving a Class D driver’s license from 16 to 17. The bill also repeals a sunset date of June 30, 2019, for collecting additional penalties for traffic violations that fund retirement for various public safety officers such as firefighters.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 229 (Rep. Matt Dollar, 45th) prevents the amount of tuition and fees charged to a student for an academic year from exceeding those from the previous year, adjusted to the rate of inflation. According to the bill, specified committees of the General Assembly may waive the requirement in any given academic year. Implementation of the bill requires Georgia voters to pass a constitutional amendment, which is proposed via HR 159.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Higher Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 237 (Rep. Brooks Coleman, 97th) authorizes the Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation to receive private donations used for public-school grants for the implementation of academic and organizational innovations to improve student achievement.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 24. The Senate Finance Committee passed a substitute version of the bill on March 22, adding a $5-million-per-year cap to the tax credits that foundation donors can receive, and a Dec. 31, 2020, sunset date. The Senate passed the substitute bill, and the House agreed to the Senate’s changes on the final day of the session. Deal signed the bill on April 27, and it became effective on that date. HB 237 will apply to the tax year beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

HB 297 (Rep. Debra Bazemore, 63rd) revises school safety plan requirements for early care and education programs by expanding the list of emergency situations that must be included. The bill also details new steps programs must take in developing and implementing their plans.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 338 (Rep. Kevin Tanner, 9th) provides a comprehensive intervention strategy for chronically underperforming schools and offers an alternative to the Opportunity School District plan that Georgia voters didn’t approve in Nov. 2016.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 1, and the Senate passed it on March 24 after making some changes. Retitling it “The First Priority Act—Helping Turnaround Schools Put Students First,” the Senate also clarified the financing of the legislation so that the State Board of Education is responsible for ensuring “that all necessary department resources and supports are made available.” The House agreed to the Senate’s changes on March 28. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 425 (Rep. Joyce Chandler, 105th) creates procedures for students to opt out of statewide testing and to allow the administration of such testing in a paper-and-pencil format.
Status: Deal vetoed the bill, stating that local school systems already have the flexibility to determine opt-out procedures and that he opposes encouraging the administration of assessments in paper-and-pencil format due to concerns about getting test data to school districts as quickly as possible.

HB 376 (Rep. Brenda Lopez, 99th) expands eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship by eliminating the provision that states students are ineligible seven years after high-school graduation or its equivalent.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Higher Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HR 354 (Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, 93rd) urges the GaDOE, in consultation with the DBHDD, to develop and provide a list of training materials on mental-health issues to local school systems.
Status: The resolution was assigned to the House Education Committee, which passed the resolution on March 16. The resolution only needed to pass the House, so it was not affected by the Crossover Day deadline. However, the resolution was withdrawn and recommitted by the House.

SB 5 (Sen. Bill Cowsert, 46th) clarifies the percentage of lottery proceeds to be transferred each year to the Lottery for Education Account, so that net proceeds must equal at least 26.5 percent of lottery proceeds in 2018; at least 27.5 percent in 2019; and 28.5 percent in 2020.
Status: The Senate passed a substitute version of the bill on Feb. 28, which amends the required lottery proceeds targets. The House Appropriations Committee passed a substitute version on March 24, which states that net proceeds from the lottery shall not be less than 25 percent. Beginning in 2018, for every fiscal year where net sales revenue exceeds revenue for the previous year by 5 percent, the net proceeds will be increased by 0.5 percent. The bill was ultimately withdrawn and recommitted by the House.

SB 77 (Sen. Vincent Fort, 39th) increases the age for mandatory school attendance from 16 to 17.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 83 (Sen. Lester Jackson, 2nd) increases the age for mandatory school attendance from 16 to 17 1/2. The bill also increases the age of eligibility for adult literacy programs from 16 to 17 1/2 and moves oversight and control from the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) to the TCSG.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 149 (Sen. Emanuel Jones, 10th) details training requirements for school resource officers (SROs). The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council shall maintain a 40-hour training course for SROs.
Status: The Senate passed the bill on March 3. The House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security passed a substitute version on March 20, stating that it is a best practice for SROs to complete a training course approved by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council and that the council shall maintain a 40-hour training course for SROs. The substitute version also included language from HB 350 (Rep. Alan Powell), which adds tobacco to the list of items that a person is prohibited from bringing within guard lines at penal institutions. The House passed the substitute version on March 24. The Senate agreed to the House changes on March 30. Deal did not sign or veto the bill, so it will become effective July 1, 2017.

SB 150 (Sen. Emanuel Jones, 10th) requires a code of conduct for law enforcement officers assigned to or employed by a local school system, beginning in the 2017-18 school year. Under the bill, school systems must provide students with a School Resource Officer Student Reference Guide to enhance personal relationships and understanding between law enforcement officers, students, and staff. The guides must be developed by law enforcement agencies in cooperation with the local boards of education.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 152 (Sen. Emanuel Jones, 10th) amends mandatory student attendance policy by precluding students from being suspended or expelled without being assigned to an alternative education program and by setting a two-semester maximum for assignments to alternative programs. The bill provides an exception to the two-semester maximum for serious offenses, which include physical assault or battery of school personnel or students, bullying, and unlawful use or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol.
Status: The Senate passed a substitute version of the bill on March 1, clarifying that the new policy will apply to all students except those guilty of serious offenses. The House Education Committee passed a substitute version on March 22, changing it from a mandatory practice and clarifying that it is preferable to refer a student to an alternative school instead of employing suspension. SB 152 was voted on by the House, but it did not pass.

SB 186 (Rep. Lindsey Tippins, 37th) clarifies that students who earn a high-school diploma through dual-credit coursework are eligible for a HOPE grant toward an associate degree at a Georgia technical college.
Status: The Senate passed a substitute version of the bill on March 1. The bill was assigned to the House Higher Education Committee, which passed the bill on March 16. While on the House floor for debate on March 24, the bill was amended to include language from HB 331 (Rep. Stacey Abrams, 89th), which authorizes a kinship caregiver, on behalf of a child living with the caregiver, to give legal consent for the child to receive educational and medical services and to participate in school activities. The House passed SB 186 as amended, and the Senate agreed to the House changes. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

SB 211 (Sen. Lindsey Tippins, 37th) requires the State Board of Education to adopt research-based student assessment programs that are selected after consulting with local school systems, and to conduct a comparability study to determine whether nationally recognized academic assessments, such as the SAT and ACT, are in alignment with state content standards in grades 9-12. The bill also directs the State Board of Education’s existing assessment workgroup to pursue maximum flexibility for state and local assessments under federal law. Reports are due to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State School Superintendent, and House and Senate Education Committee chairs by Friday, Sept. 1.

Status: The Senate passed the bill on March 3. The House amended the bill by adding language from HB 114 (Rep. Robert Dickey, 140th) which prohibits local school systems from excluding students in dual-credit courses (the Move-on-When-Ready program) from valedictorian or salutatorian determinations. The House passed the bill as amended and the Senate agreed to the House changes. Deal signed SB 211, and it became effective on the date that he signed it—April 27, 2017.

SB 243 (Sen. Jeff Mullis, 53rd) creates a pilot program for developing and implementing agricultural education in elementary schools that will begin in the 2018-19 school year. The GaDOE is authorized through its Agricultural Education Program to select six public elementary schools for the pilot, with one school in each of six existing regions.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

 


HB 52 (Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, 82nd) provides Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for children living with a legal custodian. TANF benefits are currently available only if the child is living with a parent, relative, or legal guardian.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 124 (Rep. David Clark, 98th) revises Georgia law related to fraud in obtaining public assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid to include those who knowingly or intentionally aid or abet a recipient in obtaining or attempting to obtain a benefit to which he or she is not entitled.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 1. It was assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which took no action on the bill.

HB 159 (Rep. Bert Reeves, 34th), a comprehensive revision of Georgia’s adoption code, lowers the age one can access the adoption reunion registry from 21 to 18, eases foreign adoption procedures, and permits nonresidents to grant adoption of his or her child.
Status: The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill on Feb. 16, and the full House passed it on Feb. 24. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a substitute version on March 20 that includes language allowing private agencies receiving state funds to refuse to place children with same-sex parents. The bill was then sent to the Senate Rules Committee, which recommitted the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further discussion on March 22. Senate Judiciary took no further action on the bill; however, the House Judiciary Committee incorporated the original language from HB 159 into SB 130 (Sen. Blake Tillery, 19th). The full House subsequently passed the amended version of SB 130, and it was returned to the Senate for its consideration of the House’s changes. After debate, the Senate voted to recommit SB 130 to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which ended the bill’s chance of passing during the 2017 session.

HB 242 (Rep. Brian Prince, 127th) requires child welfare agencies to notify the applicable military family advocacy program in the event of an abuse allegation that relates to a child with an active-duty military parent or guardian.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 267 (Rep. Kimberly Alexander, 66th) requires all employers to implement a sick-leave policy that allows employees to earn and accrue at least 56 hours of paid sick leave per year.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Industry and Labor Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 305 (Rep. Beth Beskin, 54th) adds stepparents and former stepparents to the list of third parties who may be awarded custody of a child in certain circumstances when it’s determined by a court to be in the best interest of the child.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 23. It was assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which took no action on the bill.

HB 307 (Rep. Sandra Scott, 76th) requires that students from a foster home or homeless situation be classified as in-state for tuition purposes within the USG and TCSG. The bill also stipulates that state-funded foster care assistance will not be counted as income for purposes of calculating financial aid.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Higher Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 330 (Rep. Stacey Abrams, 89th) adds regional Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) caseworkers as well as county and district DFCS directors as contact names in notices sent to adult relatives of a child removed from parental custody to explain options a relative has to participate in the care and placement of the child. The notices must also include information about financial assistance options for the relative.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 1. It was assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which took no action on the bill.

HB 331 (Rep. Stacey Abrams, 89th) authorizes a kinship caregiver, on behalf of a child residing with the caregiver, to give legal consent for the child to receive educational and medical services and to participate in school activities.

Status: The House passed the bill on March 1, and it is now assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Language from HB 331 was added to SB 186 (Sen. Lindsey Tippins, 37th) when the bill was on the House floor for a vote. The House passed SB 186 as amended, and the Senate agreed to the House changes. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 359 (Rep. Barry Fleming, 121st) allows a parent to delegate caregiving authority for their child to an individual who resides in Georgia and is a relative or fictive kin for one year or less by executing a power of attorney.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 3, and the Senate passed it on March 15. Deal vetoed the bill, stating that it “creates a parallel and unchecked system to our Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS).”

HB 521 (Rep. Erica Thomas, 39th) increases the state minimum wage from $5.15 to $10.10. HB 315 (Rep. Dewey McClain, 100th) and SB 28 (Sen. Vincent Fort, 39th) are similar bills that increase the minimum wage to $15.
Status of HB 521: The bill was assigned to the House Industry and Labor Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.
Status of HB 315: The bill was assigned to the House Industry and Labor Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.
Status of SB 28: The bill was assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 3 (Sen. Lindsey Tippins, 37th), the Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training (CONNECT) Act, directs the Technical College System of Georgia State Board, in consultation with industry representatives, to annually identify fields of study in industries that address a critical workforce need and are linked to occupations in the skilled-trade industry or an emerging technology. Under the bill, the State Board of Education must also include industry credentialing when developing policies and guidelines for awarding high-school credit.
Status: The Senate passed the bill on Feb. 17. The House Education Committee passed a substitute version on March 22, which directs the GaDOE to develop industry-required content standards after consultation with Georgia industries and in collaboration with the TCSG and the University System of Georgia to ensure alignment with postsecondary opportunities for a variety of focused programs of study. The House passed a substitute version of the bill on March 28. A House-Senate conference committee was appointed, but they ultimately did not agree on a final version of the bill.

SB 97 (Sen. Elena Parent, 42nd) requires an amendment to the Georgia child care plan to extend the length of time child care subsidies are offered to parents attending a job training or educational program, increasing it from up to 12 months to up to 24 months.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 131 (Sen. Blake Tillery, 19th) requires adoption proceedings to be stayed while a termination of parental rights appeal is pending.
Status: The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 170 (Sen. Hunter Hill, 6th) establishes the Georgia SERVES volunteer program and allows placement of a child in the temporary care of a Georgia SERVES volunteer to increase the number of volunteers helping with the foster care system. Under the bill, the DHS is directed to establish a uniform certification system and guidelines for SERVES volunteers. There will be two certification levels: Level I for household support, babysitting, and mentoring in the foster child’s home; and Level II to include Level I support and provide babysitting and mentoring in the volunteer’s own home for up to 72 hours at a time.
Status: The Senate passed the bill on March 3. The House Juvenile Justice Committee passed a substitute version on March 16, which directed DFCS to adopt policies and procedures to establish a uniform system for approving volunteers. However, the bill was ultimately withdrawn and recommitted by the House.

SB 201 (Sen. Butch Miller, 49th) requires employers to allow employees who earn sick leave to use up to five days of accrued leave to care for immediate family members—including an employee’s child, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, or parent.
Status: The Senate passed the bill on Feb. 27, and the House Industry and Labor Committee passed it on March 14. The bill was then amended in the House Rules Committee to be repealed on July 1, 2020, unless it’s later extended by the Georgia General Assembly. The House passed the bill as amended on March 22, and the Senate agreed to the changes on March 30. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

SR 73 (Sen. Horacena Tate, 38th) proposes a state constitutional amendment to create a Family Medical Leave Fund—a trust fund for individuals who need to take leave from work due to sickness or injury of themselves or a family member, or for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.
Status: The resolution was assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.


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HB 2 (Rep. Jason Spencer, 180th) extends by two additional years (until July 1, 2019) a window of opportunity for plaintiffs of any age to file civil actions related to childhood sexual abuse. Until HB 17, the Hidden Predator Act, was passed in 2015, adult victims were unable to file civil action suits due to expired statutes of limitations.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 32 (Rep. Joyce Chandler, 105th) amends the definition of sexual assault to include sexual contact between an employee or agent of a school with a student enrolled in the same school. Current law only applies to teachers, principals, assistant principals, or other administrators in a school. The bill also expands the definition to include sexual contact between employees or agents of a correctional facility, juvenile detention facility, facility providing services to a person with a disability, or facility providing child welfare and youth services and a person in custody of any such facility. The law currently only applies to employees and agents of the specific facility in which the person is in custody.
Status: The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee passed the bill on March 1. However, the full House did not vote on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 37 (Rep. Earl Ehrhart, 36th) prohibits private postsecondary institutions in Georgia from adopting sanctuary policies for undocumented immigrant students and requires that state funding and state-administered federal funding be withheld from institutions in violation of the prohibition.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 22, and the Senate passed it on March 28. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 53 (Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, 82nd) expands the jurisdiction of juvenile court to include children who are under 18—instead of under 17—when they are alleged to have committed a delinquent act.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The committee held a hearing on Feb. 2, but no vote was taken. The bill did not cross.

HB 86 (Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, 82nd) expands the definition of sexual abuse to include acts involving trafficking a person for sexual servitude.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 22, and the Senate passed it on March 14. Deal signed the bill, and it became effective on that date—May 8.

HB 116 (Rep. Bert Reeves, 34th) adds aggravated assault with a firearm to the list of juvenile offenses (ages 13 to 17) for which superior courts have original jurisdiction.

Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 27. The bill was passed by the Senate Public Safety Committee but did not get out of the Senate Rules Committee. Language from the bill was added to SB 160 (Sen. Tyler Harper, 7th), the Senate version of HB 116 with the same language. SB 160 passed the Senate and House. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 250 (Rep. Mandi Ballinger, 23rd) provides that an employee of an early care or education program who has received a satisfactory fingerprint and record check within the previous 12 months is exempt from an additional background check for purposes of providing short-term care for a child in the custody of the Department of Human Services.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 21, and the Senate passed it on March 28. Deal signed the bill on May 8, and it became effective at that time.

HB 259 (Rep. Alan Powell, 32nd) adds aggravated assault or battery to the list of juvenile offenses (ages 13 to 17) for which superior courts will have original jurisdiction.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Juvenile Justice Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 280 (Rep. Mandi Ballinger, 23rd), known as the Campus Carry Bill, allows any weapons carry license holder to carry concealed guns on public university campuses, except for into dormitories, athletic events, and preschool or daycare centers.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 3, and the Senate passed a substitute version of the bill on March 28. Leaders in the House and Senate appointed a conference committee to reach agreement on a final version of the bill, which happened on the 40th day. The final version stipulates exceptions to locations concealed weapons are allowed on public postsecondary campuses, and also outlines penalties for violating restrictions. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 293 (Rep. Deborah Silcox, 52nd) allows a court to admit hearsay evidence from a child under 17 years old that describes sexual contact or physical abuse, provided that notice is given to the accused prior to trial and the child testifies at the trial.
Status: The House passed the bill on Feb. 27, and the Senate Judiciary Committee passed it on March 24. However, the Senate Rules Committee did not send it to the Senate floor for a vote.

HB 391 (Rep. David Clark, 98th) expands the locations where a mother may leave a newborn child without risk of prosecution to include fire and police stations.
Status: The House passed the bill on March 3, and the Senate passed it on March 20. Deal signed the bill, and it will become effective July 1, 2017.

HB 494 (Rep. Katie Dempsey, 13th) expands the definition of “crimes” to be included in background checks of early care and learning center employees to include battery of an unborn child, assault by an HIV- or hepatitis-infected person upon a minor, cruelty to children, sexual exploitation of children, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and endangering a child. The bill also clarifies that previous record checks will be invalid if they are more than 12 months old or if the person has been separated from employment with an early care or education program for more than 180 days.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Education Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

HB 513 (Rep. Pam Dickerson, 113th) requires the Department of Community Health to develop a sign to be posted at all medical facilities to inform the public that such facilities are authorized locations to leave a newborn child.
Status: The bill was assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee. The committee took no action on the bill, so it did not cross.

SB 4 (Sen. Renee Unterman, 45th) establishes the Georgia Mental Health Treatment Task Force to examine the current mental-health landscape and effectiveness of mental-health services and programs.
Status: The Senate passed the bill on Feb. 7. The House Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill by substitute on March 15, but it was withdrawn and recommitted to the committee on March 16. The committee then passed another substitute version on March 22, which creates the Georgia Mental Health Task Force that will be composed of three House members and three Senate members, and will be staffed by the DCH. The task force will perform an examination of the current landscape of mental-health services in the state, develop a plan for the appropriate distribution of funds, and explore the option of a Medicaid waiver targeted at mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The House passed SB 4 on March 24, but the House and Senate ultimately did not agree on a final version.