Summary of 2017 Session
April 24, 2017 2017 Session Summary
Here are a few of the most active bills
Campus Sexual Assault: The bill that would limit campuses’ responses to sexual assault, formerly House Bill 51, was tabled in Senate committee, but came back to life when the House added the provisions to Senate Bill 71. This bill failed to pass.
Campus Carry: House Bill 280 HB 280 , the bill allowing concealed handgun permit holders to carry on public college campuses, passed. It now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. The bill would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry firearms on public college and university campuses, with exceptions that include dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and buildings used for athletic events. On-campus childcare centers would also be excluded, as would areas on some college campuses where high school students attend class. If you have concerns about the bill, you should contact the Governor, who vetoed the campus carry bill that was passed last year.
Adoption: House Bill 159/Senate Bill 130 was a bipartisan effort to modernize adoption laws, including the elimination of a six-month residency requirement for adoptive parents and allowing adoptive parents using a private adoption agency to pay for a birth mother’s prenatal care and other living expenses. The bill was held up in the Senate because of some Senators insisting on the inclusion of a ban on gay adoptions. Even though Speaker Ralston and Gov Deal argued against the amendment, the Senators insisted so the whole bill failed.
Medical Marijuana: House Bill 65 expands the list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. Most of this bill was added to Senate Bill 16 in a compromise. This bill passed and is pending the Governor’s signature.
Flat tax: House Bill 329 would replace the current graduated state income tax structure with a flat rate of 5.4 percent. This bill failed to pass this session.
School Improvement Plan: House Bill 338 House Bill 338would allow the state to sanction low-performing school districts that refuse to implement turnaround plans they create. This bill passed and is pending the Governor’s signature.
Budget. Each year we pass a midyear adjustment to the State Budget and a Budget for the next fiscal year. State lawmakers sent the proposed $25 billion 2018 budget to the governor’s desk before the 40th legislative day, an uncommon occurrence. The Governor has an early-May deadline to sign the 2018 budget that takes effect July 1. Here are a few important items.
A much-needed boost to salaries of child welfare workers by 19 percent is $26 million of the governor’s 2018 budget proposal, designed to tamp down the 32 percent turnover rate among caseworkers in the Department of Family and Children Services. The state added more than 600 child welfare positions in the last three budget years.
$11 million for a new Integrated Eligibility System to more efficiently help qualified Georgians gain access to Medicaid, food stamp benefits or and other public supports.
$5.4 million for 107 new child welfare workers to better safeguard young Georgians in peril.
$160 million for a long overdue 2 percent cost of living adjustment for certified K-12 teachers, school bus drivers and school nurses.
$19.3 million for waivers that allow Georgians with physical or intellectual disabilities to receive care at home or in the community rather than live in residential facilities.
$65 million for diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Medicaid and Public Health.
Here is a link to a complete summary of the 2018 Final Budget can be found in this document. 2018 Final Budget Summary
Here is a link to the legislation that I sponsored during this session. Sponsored by Pat GardnerI.
I have been proud to serve as Chair of the City of Atlanta Delegation, the Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus and as a member of the Committees on Health Appropriations, Transportation, Natural Resources and the Environment, and Higher Education
It is an honor to represent the diverse 57th House District and I thank you so much for your support. Please feel free to contact me between now the when the legislature convenes again next January.
Contact Information: email@example.com, or at the Capitol 404 656-0265