Although this legislative session produced laws Georgia Appleseed believe will negatively impact school climate, there were positive reforms in mental health and child safety.
A highlight is the Mental Health Parity Bill, which was signed into law on April 4, after unanimous votes in both chambers. The overhaul requires insurance companies to pay for mental health services as they would physical health services. These reforms should provide Georgians with greater access to mental health services and substance abuse treatment.
Georgia Appleseed also applauds the passage of a bill to strengthen protections for Georgia’s children against lead poisoning. The new law lowers the amount of lead found in children’s blood that triggers state regulatory action, including testing, warning letters, and correction of the problem. The State Department of Health estimates that the new regulations will protect thousands of additional children each year.
Georgia Appleseed generated new awareness and discussion around the role of out-of-state and large, institutional investors on Georgia’s low-income communities. Executive Director, Michael Waller, recently testified before a US Senate Committee to encourage federal reforms that will help Georgia communities.