The 2019 Session is nearly over, scheduled to end at midnight on April 2! During this first year of the biennial, we've seen several bills introduced that would benefit consumers if passed. Read more about the status of legislation we've been tracking closely below.
You can keep up-to-date on all the bills we're following on our
Here are some highlights:
In February, Senator Blake Tillery (R-19) introduced
Senate Bill 106
, seeking an 1115 and 1332 Medicaid waiver. An
1115 Medicaid waiver
provides states with the ability to experiment with or tailor their Medicaid programs, while a
addresses plans offered on the exchange. On March 27, 2019, Governor Kemp signed the bill into law. Though we are concerned that the 1115 waiver is limited to those only up to 100% of the federal poverty level ($12,100 annually for an individual), we look forward to working with the Governor’s office to make the waiver proposal as helpful as it can be for the maximum amount of Georgians.
, introduced by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-43), prohibits retaliation against tenants who complain of unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions to Code Enforcement.
On March 28, 2019, HB 346 passed the Senate, with one amendment, and now awaits confirmation by the House.
Senate Bill 112, introduced by Senator Lindsey Tippins (R-37) and co-signed by Senator Bill Cowsert (R-46) and Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R-52), would exempt public and state charter schools from paying financing costs for Plant Vogtle construction through a nuclear tariff on their power bills. We strongly support this legislation. Currently, the bill is in the
Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee
. Though the bill stalled in committee, we will continue to highlight the prolific cost overruns and address the financing method, known as the “Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery” tariff, and its impact on captive ratepayers.
Introduced by Rep. Scot Turner (R-21),
House Bill 42
would make it illegal for state licensing boards to take away professional licenses due to student loan debt or non-payment.
On February 12, 2019, Senator Brandon Beach (R-21) introduced a companion bill,
Senate Bill 92
, which has passed the Senate and awaiting an “agree” motion in the House.
Introduced by Georgia Watch's 2017 Lifetime Achievement Consumer Champion Award recipient,
Rep. Penny Houston (R-170),
House Bill 23
would expand internet access in rural areas of the state by allowing local electricity cooperatives to sell online service. Georgia Watch supports this measure, which would go a long way toward increasing access to healthcare around the state. On February 11, legislators voted unanimously to pass the bill in the House. Rep. Steve Gooch (R-51) introduced
Senate Bill 2
, a companion bill in the Senate, which passed in both chambers.
Sponsored by Senator Elena Parent (D-42),
Senate Bill 41
would create a state earned income tax credit (EITC) in Georgia. We support this legislation that would put more disposable income into the pockets of consumers, give low-income working Georgians an economic leg up, infuse dollars into local economies, and boost business. The bill did not make “crossover day” and will not pass this year.
Introduced by Rep. Bob Trammell (D-132) and Senator Steve Henson (D-41) respectively,
House Bill 37
Senate Bill 36
would expand Medicaid in Georgia as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act by increasing Medicaid eligibility for adults up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). This is equivalent to $17,236 annually for an individual and $29,435 for a family of three. Georgia Watch supports closing the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid coverage to all Georgians below 138 percent FPL. Currently, both bills remain in committee. These bills were left behind in favor of SB 106.
Introduced by Rep. Richard Smith (R-134),
House Bill 84
would increase transparency related to possible surprise medical bills by setting disclosure requirements for health care providers, insurers, and hospitals.
Senate Bill 56
, introduced by Georgia Watch's 2018 Lifetime Achievement Consumer Champion Award recipient, Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R-52), would address surprise out-of-network billing by disallowing surprise billing in emergency situations under insurance plans issued after July 1, 2019. Georgia Watch is following these two bills closely, hoping consensus will be reached between the two chambers this year so that patients can be taken out of the middle of this problem. HB 84 failed to pass the House in March, while SB 56 passed in the Senate.