Volume 10, Legislative Week Nine | March 2020
The Capitol Express
Legislative Week Nine March 9 - 13, 2020 -- Crossover Week

Forgive this delay, as explanation, and as will be noted in the next statement, Week Nine is " Crossover Week " and my duties representing you in committee and on the House Floor were many causing a delay publishing update.

On Monday, March 9th, the Georgia Georgia Assembly convened for Week Nine of the Legislative Session, Crossover Week -- we conducted Floor Session on three days, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Crossover Day, with a long and productive committee day on Wednesday. Measures that don't pass the House or the Senate by Crossover Day cannot pass as a standalone measure, and would only have a chance if "amended" on to another bill.

Additionally this week was unpresedented due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- I am thankful to all the staff at the Capitol that worked hard, and long hours, to keep the session on track.

Please contact me with your input and thoughts on proposed legislation that may impact our community. When you visit your Capitol please consider stopping by our office at Capitol 417. You can also reach me by phone at my Capitol office at 404-656-5064 or by email at chuck.martin@house.ga.gov .  

To join our mailing list and get The Capitol Express directly to your inbox, text MARTIN4GA to 22828 .
Yours in Service ,
An important announcement came during the ninth week of session as  Speaker of the House David Ralston  and  Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan  made the decision to suspend the 2020 legislative session until further notice due to the growing threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus) across the state and country. The suspension is out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of health and safety of my colleagues in the General Assembly, our staff and the public.  The Speaker and Lt. Governor suspended the legislative session indefinitely, by adopting a joint resolution at the conclusion of Legislative Day 29 on Friday, March 13.

Saturday morning, the Governor declared a  Public Health Emergency  for our state in order to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and to ensure that COVID-19 remains controlled in our state.  You can read the executive order here.  

Governor Brian Kemp signed a public health state of emergency to address the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Georgia on Saturday, March 14, and my colleagues and I convened for one legislative day to consider this important executive order. Article V, Section II, Paragraph VII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia grants the governor the power to convene a special session of the General Assembly, and Gov. Kemp called the House and Senate into a special session to take immediate action on ratifying the public health state of emergency through a joint resolution. So on Monday, March 16, 2020, for the first time in history,the Georgia General Assembly convened for an unprecedented special legislative session to address the public health emergency declaration.

During the special legislative session, the House adopted House Resolution 4EX , which concurs with the governor’s executive order and ratifies the public health state of emergency. This public health state of emergency will assist health and emergency management officials across Georgia by allowing all of the state’s resources to be made available for the mitigation and treatment of COVID-19 . The governor’s emergency executive order will allow the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to direct specific health care action in extraordinary circumstances, suspends restrictions on hours of commercial vehicle operation and vehicle height, weight and length thresholds to assist in preparation and response efforts and authorizes the Georgia Composite Medical Board and Georgia Board of Nursing to grant temporary licenses to applicants who are in good standing in other states to assist in addressing health care needs. Additionally, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency will be the lead agency for responding to this public health emergency and will coordinate all emergency response activities . Gov. Kemp will also have the ability to compel a health care facility to provide services or the use of its facility if such services or use are reasonable and necessary for emergency response, as well as implement a mandatory vaccination or quarantine program. 

While our state and country face these uncertain times, I encourage my constituents to take proactive measures to protect their families and communities against COVID-19 . With preventative measures, we can join together as a state to help our health care systems manage coronavirus cases, as well as reduce the exponential rise of coronavirus cases across that state. The DPH has provided helpful information on best practices that will help reduce the rise of positive cases over the next few weeks. I urge my constituents, my neighbors, to follow the DPH’s guidelines and wash their hands, avoid touching their faces and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the virus. For more information on how to reduce the risk for coronavirus, as well as how to take action if someone is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, please visit the DPH’s website at  www.dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronaviru s .  
You can find the Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report   here .
The Final Passage of Fiscal Year 2020 Mid-Year Budget
On Cross Over Day, we adopted a conference committee report that gave final passage to the Amended Fiscal Year 2020 budget, or House Bill 792 . During the 2019 legislative session, the original Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) budget was set by a revenue estimate of $27.5 billion. When Gov. Kemp first released his budget recommendations at the beginning of the 2020 legislative session, he adjusted the state revenue estimate for Amended Fiscal Year 2020 (AFY 2020) down to $27.3 billion.

The Conference Committee Report on the AFY 2020 budget includes several of the House’s funding priorities, such as fully funding QBE and adding $132.8 million to account for the midterm enrollment adjustment for education , fully restoring $1.3 million for our libraries and archive s, as well as upholding our criminal justice reform funding at $4 million .

The Conference Committee Report also maintains the House’s position on the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, plus it adds $8.2 million for new access to Georgians who are in need of a crisis and fully restores $6.4 million for public health grants to counties, which eliminates the five percent cut to our county health departments .

Finally, the report recognizes a revenue increase of $100 million from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve to be appropriated to the Governor’s Emergency Fund for COVID-19 (coronavirus) preparedness and response efforts, and it adds $5 million to rural hospitals to prepare for the spread of coronavirus. The House and Senate Appropriations committees worked extremely hard to finalize the AFY 2020 budget based on a more accurate revenue estimate, and this budget will ensure that our state funds are used wisely and efficiently for the remainder of the fiscal year, while keeping the health and safety of Georgians a priority.

I was glad to see the completed and sent for signature given the dynamic situation facing our state and nation.
Initial House Passage of HB 793 - FY 2021 Budget
Before we suspended the legislative session, the House passed the most important piece of legislation of the session, House Bill 793, which is the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021) budget. The FY 2021 budget is set at a revenue estimate of $28.1 billion and is $566.3 million, or 2.06 percent, over the original fiscal year 2020 budget. HB 793 demonstrates the House’s ongoing support of expanded mental health core and crisis intervention services, access to quality health care and restoring grants for county health departments and public libraries. It also includes the reinstatement of funds to ensure a fully-functioning criminal justice system, including adequate funding for public defenders, accountability courts and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) crime labs .
           The House’s version of the FY 2021 budget funds several important criminal justice initiatives, such as a restoration of $1.4 million of proposed cuts in Governor Brian Kemp’s budget to the GBI and provides an additional $1.5 million for the Forensic Scientific Services program to hire up to 12 scientists and four lab technicians. HB 793 also includes $1 million to outsource chemistry testing to allow approximately 5,555 of the 17,000 pieces of evidence in the evidence backlog in chemistry to be tested . With current forensic biology staff levels, the crime lab is only able to process approximately 106 sexual assault kits a month. The lab receives more than 200 new kits monthly, which constantly adds to the current backlog of 768 unprocessed kits. These additional forensic biology scientists and lab technicians would help the crime lab to test all sexual assault kits and eliminate the backlog. In support of the governor’s recommendations, the House also added approximately $885,000 in new funding for GBI to develop a gang database . Additionally, my colleagues and I restored $3 million of the governor’s proposed cuts to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and $2.11 million to Georgia’s accountability courts, which have a three in four success rate for graduates and save the state more than $7 in diversion costs for every $1 spent on the court program. We also restored $300,000 in the FY 2021 budget bill for three contract positions within the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) to offer assistance to our mental health accountability courts and $656,560 for Juvenile Justice Incentive Grants, which provide support for juvenile courts. Through HB 793, we also provided targeted pay raises for positions in the criminal justice system that have the highest turnover rates, including a four percent pay increase for juvenile correctional officer positions, which have low starting salaries and a 95 percent turnover rate. Likewise, the Georgia Department of Corrections’ correctional officers would receive a 2 percent targeted pay raise to combat the department’s 42 percent turnover rate. We also restored $2.7 million to the Public Defender Council to hire 22 attorneys, which would reduce the average caseload from 148.8 to 131.6 per public defender and fill vacant positions in eight Georgia counties without a public defender.
           Our FY 2021 budget also appropriates state dollars for economic development initiatives across the state. The House budget restores nearly $340,000 to the Department of Agriculture (DOA) for five food safety inspectors and two animal industry inspectors and approximately $600,000 to provide a four percent pay increase for DOA’s inspectors, which have low starting salaries and a high turnover rate. We also added $500,000 to the FY 2021 budget to help develop the Georgia Hemp Program and restored approximately $735,000 to further enhance the Georgia Grown brand. The House also reinstated $16.4 million in transportation fees for vital road and bridge projects within the Department of Transportation. The House’s FY 2021 budget also includes an unprecedented $147.8 million legislative economic development bond package for projects that improve infrastructure and promote tourism in every corner of the state .
           The House supports and values the abundant responsibility that teachers have in educating Georgia’s children, and this is reflected in the House budget. K-12 education is the single largest expenditure in the budget, totaling $10.7 billion and 44.3 percent of the FY 2021 state general funds budget, and with these funds, Quality Basic Education (QBE) would be fully funded for the third year in a row . The House’s version of the FY 2021 budget demonstrates our support for educators by providing a $1,000 pay raise for certified teachers and personnel, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists and media and technology specialists. With the $3,000 pay raise from FY 2020 included, the combined $4,000 pay raise represents an 11.7 percent increase to the FY 2019 base teacher salary. Compared to neighboring states in the South, Georgia has the highest average teacher salary. We also appropriated $24.8 million to fully fund the school counselor ratio, $6.2 million for a five percent pay raise for bus drivers and lunchroom workers and a two percent raise for school nurses . The FY 2021 budget bill also includes $7.4 million in lottery funds for a $1,000 pay raise for certified teachers and a three percent pay raise for assistant teachers in the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) Pre-Kindergarten Program . Also, the Pre-Kindergarten Program would receive $4.05 million for 1,000 additional pre-k slots, as well as $1.8 million for a 2.5 percent increase to classroom operations. The House’s FY 2021 budget bill also funds a State Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Coordinator position at DECAL to provide behavioral and mental health services to children as recommended by the House Study Committee on Infant and Toddler Social and Emotional Health. Moreover, our version of this budget includes $320,000 for four behavioral and classroom support specialists to work exclusively with lead and assistant teachers in Georgia’s pre-k classrooms.
           We also dedicated funding in HB 793 to promote access to health care for citizens in all areas of Georgia. HB 793 restores $5.4 million for public health grants to counties , which provide significant services, including immunizations and disease prevention; environmental health services through permitting; restaurant inspections; swimming pool inspections; and emergency preparedness and response to disease outbreak. These services are particularly vital as eight counties in Georgia have no physician and nine counties have only one physician. Also, in an effort to help address Georgia’s high incidence of maternal mortality, the House added $19.7 million to provide six months of postpartum Medicaid coverage for mothers starting July 1, 2020 . Extending this medical coverage to mothers after delivery would offer greater access to health care services and is expected to decrease and prevent maternal deaths in Georgia. Similarly, the House included $250,000 to provide lactation care and services for new mothers. Additionally, we added $7 million in new funds to $3 million in existing funds to the Department of Community Health’s Rural Hospital Stabilization program, and we restored $150,000 for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia. To address the shortage of primary and specialist physicians in rural Georgia, the House’s budget bill fully restores the six percent cut to the Mercer School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine operating grants, adding a combined $3.2 million back in the budget. Furthermore, HB 793 fully restores the governor’s $463,000 cut to the Rural Health Systems Innovation Center at Mercer University School of Medicine and reinstates $500,000 for loan repayment awards for rural physicians, physician assistants, dentists and advanced practice registered nurses. These vital funds would provide grants to an additional six rural physicians, five rural physician assistants or advanced practice registered nurses and two dentists that provide primary care or other core specialty in Georgia counties with a population of 50,000 or less.
           My colleagues and I also restored and added funds to the FY 2021 budget to continue to expand access to mental and behavioral health services. The House’s version of the budget adds $10.8 million for crisis beds and behavioral health services in the DBHDD. This new funding would maintain our state’s current serving capacity of 4,935 individuals with 95 beds in 21 crisis units statewide, and it would allow the DBHDD to serve an additional 6,800 individuals in the upcoming fiscal year. Likewise, the House’s budget restores $1.5 million to provide a 25 percent increase in the residential capacity for the treatment of addiction, increasing the bed count by 44 statewide . The House also allocated nearly $5.6 million for 100 additional slots for the New Options Waver (NOW) and Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP) for the intellectually and developmentally disabled , $750,000 to the Marcus Autism Center and nearly $3 million for two crisis respite homes to serve an additional 32 children. HB 793 also restores more than $1.3 million to maintain 22 filled positions within DBHDD that were recommended for elimination, including behavioral health counselors and social workers. To address employee retention within the DBHDD, the House’s version of the budget includes $3 million in targeted salary increases for 1,780 employees working in high turnover positions, including forensic and health service technicians and community service workers. For the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), HB 793 provides more than $2.4 million for a targeted salary increase for 1,897 caseworkers and $1.1 million for eligibility caseworkers. HB 793 also includes $500,000 for the Multi-Agency Alliance for Children (MAAC) so that Georgia’s foster care children can continue to receive continuum-of-care services. We also restored $47,000 for the Georgia Memory Net to allow the five established memory clinics to continue to meet the growing demand of the Alzheimer’s population. The House’s budget also restores $260,000 to DECAL for grants to Georgia Family Connection Partnerships, reflecting partnerships in all 159 counties that focus on early childhood health and education, promotion of quality rated childcare and the Georgia Get Reading Campaign. Lastly, HB 792 provides more than $76,000 for the Department of Veterans Services for a targeted salary increase to mitigate a 36 percent turnover rate for field service officers, who provide a vital resource for the nearly 700,000 veterans residing in our state.
           Other highlights of the House’s version of the FY 2021 budget include an appropriation of $500,000 to the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) for two environmental engineers and third-party testing to safeguard the state’s environmental quality. The House also restored more than $2.1 million to the Georgia Public Library Service, including $1.9 million for material grants; this reduction would have disproportionately impacted small and rural library systems. HB 793 restores $4.4 million to the University System of Georgia’s Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) and Cooperative Extension Service (CES), which have saved Georgia’s farmers $166 million in crop losses. CES has 300 county-level educators and agents who interact with agricultural clients 360,000 times annually and serve nearly 240,000 youth through 4-H, and the House restored $503,000 for 10 of these positions that were eliminated in the governor’s budget proposal. We also restored $245,000 to the Forestry Research program to continue projects that address the 2.4 million acres of forest devastated by Hurricane Michael. Finally, the Georgia Student Finance Commission would receive $54 million in additional lottery funds to go towards nearly 440,000 HOPE scholarship and grant program awards.
Protecting the taxpayer, watching out for your money!
Was glad to be a part of stopping the creation of a new state level defined benefit pension plan for Tax Commissioners . New defined benefit plans are expensive for taxpayers, now or in the future. Georgia needs to honor our current plans before making new promises.

Read full article by clicking here .
Additional Measures Passed in Week Nine
During the ninth week of the 2020 legislative session, my colleagues and I also passed the following bills and resolutions in the House chamber:
  • House Bill 86, which would allow tenured teachers to appeal a summative personnel evaluation of “Unsatisfactory,” “Ineffective” or “Needs Development” to an independent third party, and local school administration would be required to develop a complain review policy for teachers by October 1, 2020;
  • House Bill 93, which would require the owner or operator of a coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundment to provide written notice to the director of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the local governing authority within three days of the commencement of a dewatering operation; the CCR surface impoundment owner or operator would also post a notice via their website and a local legal organ within two weeks of the start of the operation;
  • House Bill 216, which would create a specialty license plate to support the Georgia Tennis Foundation;
  • House Bill 244, which would require electric membership corporations (EMCs) to comply with certain requirements when determining the rates for attachments to utility poles by communications service providers;
  • House Bill 245, which would allow surviving spouses of members of the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund to retain spousal retirement benefits if the spouse remarries; 
  • House Bill 336, which would allow the public school system to hire a retired member of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia to provide classroom instruction in an area of highest need if one year has expired from the member’s effective date of retirement;
  • House Bill 378, which would require the motor vehicle facilitators to collect and remit the local excise taxes due on the rental of motor vehicles;
  • House Bill 448, which would expand the definition of “innkeepers” to include any dealer that is required to collect and remit sales tax as a marketplace facilitator for facilitating the sale of rooms, lodgings, or accommodations and would require the innkeepers acting as marketplace facilitators to collect and remit the local excise taxes due on rooms, lodgings, or accommodations;
  • House Bill 452, which would authorize the Department of Revenue (DOR) to enter into agreements with financial institutions to develop and operate an automated data exchange, and this bill would set forth regulations for such agreements;
  • House Bill 479, or the “Child Victim Protection Act of 2020,” would allow plaintiffs between the age of 23 and 38 years to bring civil actions for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse committed on or after July 1, 2015, to be brought within four years from the date that the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of the abuse, and the abuse resulted in injury established by competent medical or psychological evidence;
  • House Bill 488, which would require merchants that buy or resell stored value cards to record certain information regarding the transaction in the same way as a pawnshop, and knowingly failing to do so could be punished as a misdemeanor;
  • House Bill 690, which would prohibit counties or municipal corporations from charging a permit fee more than $500 for the construction or renovation of an agricultural structure;
  • House Bill 719, which would modernize several pieces of Georgia’s human immunodeficiency virus-related (HIV) statute to better reflect current scientific understanding and advancements made in HIV care by amending certain parts of the criminal code, amending the statute to protect syringe service programs from being criminally liable and creating consistency across statutes by removing hypodermic needles and syringes;
  • House Bill 720, which would require at least one year of probation following the mandatory term of imprisonment for certain sexual offenses and additional consequences for subsequent offenses; it would also allow local governments to post a sign in front of a convicted sex offender’s yard regarding Halloween on October 31. This bill would also track would clarify that consent by a victim under the age of 16 is not a legal defense for certain sexual offenses, and it would revoke or suspend physicians who have committed a sexual assault on a patient;
  • House Bill 736, which would create a refundable income tax credit for educators who participate in the teacher recruitment and retention program managed by the State Board of Education. This program seeks to help recruit teachers to designated rural and turnaround schools;
  • House Bill 761, which would raise the investment cap that electric membership corporations may make and maintain in a gas affiliate from 15 to 60 percent;
  • House Bill 791, which would allow a pharmacist to exercise professional judgement in dispensing up to a 90-day supply of medication authorized by the prescriber;
  • House Bill 807, which would allow a business to submit affidavits of certified public accountants in place of tax returns for the means of determining the gross receipts of the company;
  • House Bill 821, which would allow members of the Employees Retirement System, Judicial Retirement System and Legislative Retirement System who retired after July 1, 2009 to receive a post retirement benefit adjustment on or after July 1, 2020, if the Board of Trustees grants the adjustment;
  • House Bill 833, which would prohibit any person from long-term anchoring, which would be more than 14 cumulative days, a vessel in state estuarine areas without a permit issued by the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources;
  • House Bill 848, which would allow the Department of Administrative Services to sell surplus property to political subdivisions, charitable institutions or public corporations that are not located in Georgia;
  • House Bill 854, which would require counties, municipalities and consolidated governments to treat fence detection systems, in all matters, as alarm systems;
  • House Bill 857, which would require permits issued for biomass boilers to prohibit the burning of railroad ties treated with creosote or naphthalene compounds for the purpose of commercial electricity generation;
  • House Bill 865, which would clarify and expand the jurisdiction of the probate court, codify long-standing common law regarding the incorporation of existing documents into wills by certain reference, as well as provide effect for separate personal property memorandum referred to in a will;
  • House Bill 877, which would change the state’s definition of "low-speed vehicle" to include non-electric vehicles, such as golf carts, that have been converted to comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards;
  • House Bill 879, which would allow a licensed package goods retailer or third-party seller to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages in unbroken packages for consumption off premises;
  • House Bill 881, which would establish a committee to review newborn safety incubators, and would expand the existing Safe Haven Law by allowing newborn children to be left with ambulance providers;
  • House Bill 886, which would require the State Board of Veterinary Medicine to establish and maintain a database for pet owners to register their micro-chipped pets in Georgia;
  • House Bill 894, which would stagger the terms for members of the Georgia Seed Development Commission, and it would extend the terms for members to four years;
  • House Bill 901, which would allow the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to provide loans or loan commitments to local governments and non-governmental entities for projects that protect land or water with certain conservation purposes;
  • House Bill 903, which would allow citations to be issued to the owner of a vehicle rather than the individual driving the vehicle if the owner is present at the time of issuance for the following citations: operation of an unregistered vehicle or a vehicle without a current license plate and citations for driving an unsafe or improperly equipped vehicle;
  • House Bill 906, which would allow the Department of Natural Resources to convey fee simple title up to 15 acres of heritage preserve property to a county or local government or private entity;
  • House Bill 907, which would expand the service period for the definition of "war veteran" to those who were discharged without any dishonorable conditions, served on active duty or served in a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces from January 1, 1947 through June 26, 1950;
  • House Bill 911, which would add foster parents to the list of people who have authority over individuals under their care, such as teachers, therapists and correctional officers, who can be charged with improper sexual contact in the first and second degree;
  • House Bill 912, which would allow a foster parent to arrange for an occasional short-term babysitter of a child in foster care for up to 72 consecutive hours when the foster parent uses a reasonable and prudent standard in selecting an appropriate babysitter;
  • House Bill 929, which would require solid waste handling permittees that manage coal combustion residual surface impoundments, also known as coal ash ponds or basins, to conduct post-closure care at the impoundments for a minimum of 30 years following the closure;
  • House Bill 953, which would determine that certain terms in particular types of state contracts would be void and unenforceable; the Department of Administrative Services would have to provide such information on its website;
  • House Bill 958, which would define "maternity supportive housing" as a residential home that houses on behalf of a church, religious organization or non-profit organization up to six pregnant women aged 18 years or older and their children for up to 18 months after childbirth. These maternity supportive housing facilities would be required to submit an application with the Department of Human Services and be in compliance with applicable residential building codes and have property insurance coverage on the residence and its residents, newborns, and other children;
  • House Bill 959, which would raise the required local government surcharge on a municipal solid waste disposal facility operated by a private enterprise from $1.00 per ton to $2.50 per ton;
  • House Bill 983, which would add landlines and mobile telephone numbers to the list of required registration information that must be submitted to the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board;
  • House Bill 984, which would allow Georgia’s sentencing courts more time to hear arguments on motions to modify a defendant’s sentence by removing the requirement to issue an order or hear the matter within the time limits required to file the motion by the defendant;
  • House Bill 991, which would create the Health Care Transparency and Accountability Oversight Committee, which would have authority to review the performance and conduct of all state health care plan contractors and their subcontractors;
  • House Bill 993, which would direct the state registrar to provide reports filed regarding abuse and neglect concerning a child or his or her parents or siblings to the Division of Family and Children's Services;
  • House Bill 994, which would add participation in gang activity to the list of considerations that must be assessed when moving an alleged delinquent child from juvenile court to superior court;
  • House Bill 998, which would align implied consent language regarding boating or hunting while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances to acknowledge that submitting to a chemical test is optional;
  • House Bill 1008, which would allow a “residential industrialized building,” also known as a modular home, to have a permanent metal chassis;
  • House Bill 1111, which would provide new parameters for withholding allotments of appropriated state general funds to agencies after the first quarter of a fiscal year when revenue collections fall by one percent or more below the amount collected for the same period during the prior year;
  • House Bill 1112, which would modernize portions of the “Budget Accountability and Planning Act of 1993” and codifies certain existing fiscal practices, including establishing a five-member State Council of Economic Advisors who are economists or have expertise in state revenues and providing for the simultaneous electronic delivery of annual budget requests and supporting documentation to the legislative budget offices between August 1 and September 1;
  • House Bill 1014, which would remove a provision that requires downtown development authorities to exist in perpetuity;
  • House Bill 1015, which would require the director of the Georgia Forestry Commission to establish the Sustainable Building Material Carbon Sequestration Technical Advisory Committee to advise on interoperability and compatibility of state credits derived from carbon sequestration of building materials with global carbon credit and offset markets;
  • House Bill 1017, which would require indemnification payments for death suffered in the line of duty by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, emergency management specialist, state highway employee or a prison guard to be made to the surviving, not remarried spouse, or in any surviving dependents, and such claims could be filed for incidences after August 1, 2016;
  • House Bill 1020, which would change the hour requirement for the intervention component of DUI risk reduction programs from 20 hours to 16 hours; if an individual completes a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program in order to obtain a limited driving permit, the Department of Driver Services would count that completed course toward specified driver's license reinstatement requirements;
  • House Bill 1021, which would increase the additional penalty under  Joshua’s Law 1.5 percent to three percent;
  • House Bill 1026, which would reduce the number of REACH scholars from 12 to eight for school systems with five or more high schools and from seven to five for school systems with less than five high schools;
  • House Bill 1032, which would allow for certain Medicaid reimbursements for patients treated by a behavioral rehabilitation joint venture, as well as require that proceeds from the rural tax credit program received by a behavioral rehabilitation joint venture are not counted against a hospital’s cap. Also, certain consideration for certificate of need requirements would not be applicable to utilizing unused hospital inpatient beds for behavioral health patients;
  • House Bill 1035, which would eliminate the sunset dates on the sales and use tax exemptions on purchases made by and tangible personal property donated to the following: non-profit health centers; non-profit volunteer health clinics; qualified food banks; donations of food and food ingredients to a qualified non-profit agency used for hunger relief or disaster relief purposes; and donations of food and food ingredients following a natural disaster which is used for disaster relief purposes;
  • House Bill 1037, which would expand the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act’s audit requirements, require all productions claiming credits to be audited by either an independent auditor or the Department of Revenue, restrict the additional 10 percent credit received for including the Georgia promotional and limit the qualified expenditures;
  • House Bill 1039, which would require that a seller for any contract for service that automatically renews for a period of more than 12 months must obtain written or electronic acknowledgement from the consumer about the renewal in order for it to be enforceable;
  • House Bill 1045, which would add flood risk reduction to the list of services that a county may provide with the proceeds from certain county taxes;
  • House Bill 1046, which would require every attendant employed by a gasoline station to dispense gasoline for the holder of a special disability permit;
  • House Bill 1050, which would add "health care management organizations" to the life and health association guarantee fund, and it would equally split future assessments for long-term care insurer insolvencies between the association's member insurers;
  • House Bill 1057, which would prohibit the distribution or application of fertilizer or a soil amendment that contains domestic septage;
  • House Bill 1070, which would allow a condominium association and unit owners to request a written copy of the certificate of insurance or contact information of the assigned adjuster from the other party for claims related to water damage;
  • House Bill 1071, which would prohibit text messages as a method of making unwanted telephone solicitations;
  • House Bill 1073, which would create guidelines for the establishment and governance of regional development authorities;
  • House Bill 1082, which would change the requirement to 10 calendar days for specified notifications regarding to abandoned vehicles;
  • House Bill 1084, which would create the Georgia Endowment for Teaching Professionals in the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to support the efforts of the Department of Economic Development through education by identifying key courses, subjects and disciplines for the expansion of state businesses and provide grants to branches of the technical college system that enable teachers to offer those courses;
  • House Bill 1090, which would require employers to provide break time to employees who need to express breast milk;
  • House Bill 1092, which would authorize an advanced practice registered nurse to order radio-graphic imaging tests in non-life threatening situations if delegated to do so by a physician and increases from four to six the number of advanced practice registered nurses the physician may supervise in a nurse protocol agreement;
  • House Bill 1093, which would create the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Wine and Grapes;
  • House Bill 1098, which would require  the Department of Transportation to develop the state-wide strategic transportation plan in coordination with the state-wide transportation plan that is required by the federal government;
  • House Bill 1122, which would change the makeup of regional commission councils by removing members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, as well as add one non-public resident of each county in the region;
  • House Bill 1125 which would require the Department of Community Health and the Georgia Composite Medical Board to identify and compile information on an annual basis that identifies individuals at high risk for breast cancer;
  • House Resolution 18, which would authorize the Department of Administrative Services to pay Jakeith Bendray Robinson, Sr. $560,000 in the form of equal monthly installments over 20-years beginning one year after an initial lump sum payment of $50,000 because of his wrongful conviction, incarceration, and subsequent loss of liberty;
  • House Resolution 1038, which would authorize the Department of Administrative Services to pay Kenneth Eric Gardiner $1,000,000 in equal monthly installments over 20-years beginning one year after an initial lump sum payment of $50,000 because of his wrongful conviction, incarceration and subsequent loss of liberty;
  • House Resolution 1039, which would authorize the Department of Administrative Services to pay Dominic Brian Lucci $1,000,000 in equal monthly installments over 20-years beginning one year after an initial lump sum payment of $50,000 because of his wrongful conviction, incarceration and subsequent loss of liberty;
  • House Resolution 1041, which would authorize the Department of Administrative Services to pay Mark Jason Jones $1,000,000 in equal monthly installments over 20-years beginning one year after an initial lump sum payment of $50,000 because of his wrongful conviction, incarceration and subsequent loss of liberty;
  • House Resolution 1163, which is the annual House version of road dedications and would dedicate the bridge on State Route 113 over I-75 in Bartow County as the Justice Robert Benham Bridge among others;
  • House Resolution 1216, which would rededicate Directors Drive behind the Annex Buildings at the Garden City Terminal is rededicated as Rappé Way;
  • House Resolution 1240, which would urge the federal government to allow states to switch permanently to Daylight Saving Time.
Awesome to Attend the Capitol Art Exhibit
Great time at the Capitol Art Exhibit spending time with some very talented young artists and their equally talented and very dedicated teachers! Thanks for including me in this great event, you made me day! @Alpharetta_ES @CCE_Colts
Committee Assignments
I remain honored to serve my neighbors in House District 49 and Georgians on the following committees:

You can find the schedules of these committees and the online streaming links of each by clicking on the links above or by clicking here .
Team Higher Education
For the next few months during this Legislative Session, you'll most likely find me at the Capitol in my office. It is my absolute honor to serve you all and my hometown community; look forward to hearing from and seeing you.

417 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334 

Executive Assistant: Sarah Galyean Sarah.Galyean@house.ga.gov

Intern: Matthew Couper Matthew.Couper@house.ga.gov