GOVERNMENT - COURTS AND CRIMES
Albers - 56 PASSED Senate
A medical examiner's inquiry will no longer be required if a death occurs "unattended by a physician" unless foul play is expected. Either the coroner or medical examiner will determine if an inquiry is necessary.
Unterman - 45 NNS PASSED Senate
The Senate lauds the Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit of the GBI in its mission to detect, investigate and assist in prosecution of those who exploit children via the Internet, and to conduct forensic analysis and processing related to criminal activity for the GBI and other law enforcement agencies. Declares January as "Human Trafficking Month" at the Capitol.
SB 321 Tillery - 19 DO PASS in S.Judiciary
Increases civil penalties for fraudulent Medicaid claims to the federally authorized maximum of $22,363, now $11,181 plus 3 times the damages which the GA Medicaid program sustains because of the act of the claimant.
EDUCATION - PREK - 12
SB 330 Wilkinson - 50 S.Agriculture & Consumer Affairs
Green Agriculture Education Act. Agriculture education will be based on a nationally recognized model with 3 parts, daily instruction, hands on real-world learning through supervised agriculture experience (SAE), with leadership and learning opportunities through Future Farmers of America participation. DOE shall develop the curriculum with input from agriculture education teachers. A pilot program will begin in 2019-2020 to provide agriculture education in 6 elementary schools, one in each Agriculture Education region which shall be evaluated at the end of the third year with a report to legislative Education committees. Professional Standards Commission shall extend the agriculture education in-field certification to elementary school (K-5) teachers.
HB 655 Williams - 145 H.Education
Public schools must post a sign with a toll free phone number to DFCS, Department of Family and Children Services, to receive reports of child abuses and neglect. The State Board of Education may adopt rules about the size and location of such a sign.
HB 718 Scott - 76 H.Education
Up to 5 excused absences each year for two years are to be allowed for students of active or former military on extended active duty for the student to attend individual or group therapy as recommended by a licensed physician or psychologist.
HB 722 Casas - 107 H.Education
For Move On When Ready or dual credit courses, adds to the definition of eligible postsecondary institution as 'any non-profit, baccalaureate degree granting post secondary institution in existence for at least 10 years in Georgia and is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education'. Sectarian schools?
HB 728 Coleman - 97 H.Ways & Means
The Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation income tax credit is applicable beginning in the 2018 tax year. The tax credit is $1000 for single taxpayers and $2500 for joint taxpayers. The proceeds are used for public schools that need financial help in increasing their student achievement. The 3 year sunset is proposed for removal.
HB 740 Nix - 69 H.Education
K-3 students shall receive vision screening, hearing screening, and a speech-language assessment prior to any out of school suspension of 5 days or more excluding infractions of possession of a weapon, drugs or other dangerous instruments or if the student's behavior endangered others. Requires parental permission. Special education students or those under Section 504 shall have a meeting convened to review appropriate supports for the student.
HB 743 Clark - 98 H.Education
Students participating in interscholastic sports are to be informed about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest. The Department of Education shall develop and post on its website guidelines and other materials to inform students about sudden cardiac arrest. Students and parents will sign annually that such materials have been reviewed.
Does not seem to apply to intramural sports.
HR 898 Coleman - 97 H.Education
Creates the 15-member Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process. Members include 3 legislators from each chamber, the State School Superintendent, State Board of Education Chair, State Charter School Commission Chair, the Office of Student Achievement Director, the Chancellor of the University System, and five appointees of the Governor to include a local board of education member, local school superintendent, principal, teacher, and a parent. The group is to study the resources and structure needed and any impediments, the interaction with existing private accreditation agencies, aligning accreditation reviews with charter or contract renewals for charter systems and strategic waiver systems, establishment of a state process for annual review of system charters and contracts including student achievement, local board of education governance and financial management, possible consequences of losing state accreditation and the possibility of establishing a school board review commission. Report due 12-1-18.
EDUCATION - POSTSECONDARY
SB 331 Henson - 41 S.Higher Education
Lottery winners may remain anonymous for up to 4% of their winnings for costs of maintaining confidentiality.
SB 339 Ligon - 3 S.Higher Education
Requires University System of Georgia (USG) and its institutions to adopt policies to allow free speech on any subject and any speaker invited by students, student groups, or faculty to orate in public areas of the campus. Restrictions of speech are allowed if it achieves a compelling government interest, is the least disruptive means of furthering such governmental interest, leaves open other opportunities to engage in expressive conduct, and provides for spontaneous assembly and distribution of literature. Restrictions of student speech allowed only for activity not protected by the First Amendment, such as violations of state or federal law, defamation, harassment, threats, invasion of privacy, or action that unlawfully disrupts the function of the institution.
SB 348 Harper - 7 S.Public Safety
Gives arrest powers to POST certified Technical College System of GA campus police in the manner that USG campus police have it.
HB 471 Brockway - 102 H.Higher Education
Bans USG institutions from limiting or restricting a student's expression, or subjecting a student to disciplinary action because of the reaction or opposition to such expression by listeners or observers. The institution cannot deny any student organization based on their beliefs. Student activity fees will not be mandatory. A student may sue the institution if student feels aggrieved. If the group is white nationalist or neo-Nazi, this bill would prevent any action by the institution to remove such a group.
HB 700 Belton - 112 H.Higher Education
The service cancellable loan available to GA National Guard members for undergraduate degrees is extended to post graduate degrees. The Guard member must remain active in the Guard for two years following the last period of study for the degree to be eligible.
HB 702 Clark - 147 H.Higher Education
Students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields who agree to work as a civil service employee at a defense installation in GA for 1 year past their eligibility for loan repayments, up to five years, may become eligible for a service cancellable loan administered by Student Finance Commission.
HB 713 Chandler - 102 H.Higher Education
HOPE Scholarship (which pays 100% of tuition) for home schoolers or those graduating from an ineligible high school is changed to a score in the 91st percentile on ACT or SAT, currently the 93rd percentile. Effective 7-1-18 for home schoolers and 7-1-20 for those graduating from an ineligible high school.
SB 334 Unterman - 45 S.Health & Human Services
Transfers the Board of Nursing to the Department of Community Health from the Office of Secretary of State.
SB 344 Thompson - 5 S.Health & Human Services
The GA Retail Marijuana Code authorizes the parameters for cultivation, manufacture, distribution, or selling of retail marijuana. Enabling legislation for SR 614.
SB 346 Thompson - 5 S.Health & Human Services
Removes state law penalties against medical use and cultivation of marijuana. Possession limited to 2 ounces and 8 marijuana plants. The Department of Revenue is authorized to register at least 3 in-state medical marijuana dispensaries and 14 distribution centers. DOR shall be the oversight agency. The bill is extensive in outlining procedures for use of medical marijuana.
SB 351 Unterman - 45 S.Health & Human Services
Authorizes the Board of Nurses to promulgate rules for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to engage as a licensed independent practitioner in rural Georgia counties (under 50,000 excluding military personnel).
SR 593 Seay - 34 S.Rules
Asks Congress to require under the ADA act that public restrooms provide adult changing stations for the disabled and elderly for diaper changes.
SR 614 Thompson - 5 S.Health & Human Services
CA to legalize and regulate marijuana. Fees and tax proceeds from the sale of marijuana are to be divided equally between education and transportation infrastructure. Enabling legislation is SB 344.
HB 715 Hugley - 136 S.Health & Human Services
Women with dense breast tissue who get a mammogram are to be given a notice of such condition with information that cancer is harder to detect in such tissue and encouragement to discuss with a health care provider whether other tests may be appropriate.
HB 733 Alexander - 66 H.Health & Human Services
Psychiatrists are eligible for service cancellable loans who serve in rural areas that lack mental health services. Must be a U.S. citizen and GA resident at the time of the loan and have graduated from an accredited health care educational program. Physicians, dentists, and advanced practice nurses already eligible for such loans.
HB 742 Gurtler - 8 H.Agriculture & Consumer Affairs
If a veterinarian determines that a rabies inoculation would compromise an animal's health, the animal shall be exempt from vaccination.
RESPONSIBLE TAX POLICY
HB 690 Ridley - 6 H.Ways & Means
Limits valuation of leased motor vehicles, in addition to new ones, to the value of the total of payments according to the lease agreement.
HB 694 Harrell - 106 H.Ways & Means
Electronic filing is now required for motor vehicle taxes submitted by distributors.
HB 696 Kelley - 16 H.Ways & Means
A sales tax exemption for computer equipment sold or leased for use in high-technology data centers if total value of the purchase exceeds $15 million. Purchaser must have a tax exemption certificate from the Revenue commissioner. A high-technology data enter means $250 million in aggregate costs for design, construction, and equipment over 10 years.
HB 697 Taylor - 173 H.Ways & Means
A sales tax exemption until 2023 for purchases by non-profit health centers and volunteer health clinics. Current exemptions sunset on 6-30-18.
HB 723 Watson - 1 H.Ways & Means
A sales tax exemption for purchases by any non-profit organization which provides veterinary diagnostic and disease monitory services.
HB 729 Harrell - 106 H.Ways & Means
Repeals the code section regarding the manner and time of making the state ad valorem tax levy (OCGA 48-5-8).
HB 731 Buckner - 137 H.Ways & Means
A sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products. Products would still be taxed for local sales tax purposes.
HB 735 Bentley - 139 H.Ways & Means
An income tax credit for expenditures on the maintenance of a railroad track owned or leased by a Class III railroad as of 1-1-18. Credit is 50% of the total expenditures up to $3500 times the number of miles of track owned or leased by that railroad. Effective 1-1-2019.
HB 741 Corbett - 174 H.Ways & Means
Fair market value for income-producing property shall consider actual income and expense data as one component of such fair market value. Currently, the law requires such data to be 'utilized'.
SB 340 Orrock - 36 S.Natural Resources & Environment
Directs the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources to adopt rules and regulations to limit carbon emissions.
GOVERNMENT - GENERAL
SB 310 Jones - 22 S.Regulated Industries & Utilities
Establishes the internet as an open platform for consumer use. Requires any internet service provider to disclose accurate information regarding management practices, performance, and commercial terms of that service. Prohibits blocking lawful content, application services and non-harmful devices. Bans unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic. Public Service Commission will make the rules. Fines not to exceed $500,000 for violations.
SB 312 McKoon - 29 S.Economic Development & Tourism
The Secretary of State may impose fees not to exceed $50 per filing for expedited processing and filing of corporate documents.
HB 689 Williams - 145 H.Insurance
Deceased depositors without a will will have up to $10,000 of the amount on deposit used for funeral expenses and expenses of the last illness paid in the order they are received. Same criteria for insurance proceeds when no beneficiary is named.
HB 699 Belton - 112 H.Public Safety and Homeland Security
Documented military firefighting training may be accepted as basic firefighting training.
HB 719 Scott - 76 H.Defense & Veterans Affairs
Requires housing authorities to give preference to homeless veterans.
HR 899 Nix - 69 NNS H.Special Rules
Establishes September 6 of each year as Marquis de LaFayette Day. The Marquis toured Georgia and has several memorials here, one being the town of LaGrange, named for his home in France. September 6 was his birthday.
GOVERNMENT - COUNTIES AND CITIES
SB 302 Parent - 42 S.Government Oversight and
HB 650 Oliver - 82 H.Government Affairs
Local governments may relocate, remove, conceal, or obscure any public monument by a local adopted resolution.
GOVERNMENT - COURTS AND CRIMES
SB 335 Unterman - 45 S.Judiciary and
HB 732 Silcox - 52 H.Judiciary Non-Civil
Expands the offense of trafficking a person for sexual servitude to include patronizing such person in addition to solicitation of that person.
SB 345 Jordon - 6 S.Banking & Financial Institutions
Prohibits consumer credit reporting agencies from charging a fee for placing or removing a security freeze on the consumers account which is used to prevent identity theft.
SB 347 Kirk - 13 S.Judiciary
Criminal trespass on a grave of a military person is now a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and includes defiling a grave marker, monument or memorial. Criminal trespass on any other grave is a misdemeanor.
HB 703 Hitchens - 161 H.Public Safety and Homeland Security
Creates the Governor's Office of Public Safety Support to provide counseling and support to those and their family members in law enforcement, firefighters, prison guards, first responders, state highway employees, GA National Guard. The director is appointed by the governor and shall have experience as a public safety officer. The office shall respond to requests to provide counseling services or any other critical incident support services for any incident including death or other tragedies. The office shall develop and hold training courses in critical incident stress management.
HB 705 Kelley - 16 H.Judiciary
Magistrate courts may have jurisdiction when the value of damages for a property claimed does not exceed $25,000, currently $15,000.
HB 716 Rakestraw - 19 H.Judiciary Non-Civil
Those desiring treatment for drug or alcohol abuse or mental health issues including dependence may contact their local law enforcement for information on available treatment programs. Law enforcement may refer such person to the treatment program. The person shall not be arrested, charged, or prosecuted for the infraction for which the person sought information.
HB 737 Cox - 108 H.Public Safety and Homeland Security
Any police officer who is exposed to bodily fluids while making a lawful arrest may ask a court to require the arrestee to submit to a blood test for HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. Test results cannot be used in any criminal proceeding of the arrestee.
SB 336 Unterman - 45 S.Judiciary
A provider of electronic communications or remote computing services shall not notify the subscriber or customer of any subpoena for computer or electronic devices used in certain offenses against a minor or violations involving trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude.
GOVERNMENT - EMPLOYMENT
SB 333 Black - 8 S.Retirement and
HB 692 Maxwell - 17 H.Retirement
A city may choose to pay the costs or fees associated with an employee's 401K type deferred compensation plan. A public employer may choose to automatically enroll all employees in such a plan.
HB 701 Tanner - 9 H.Health & Human Services
Applicants for state employment are tested for illegal drugs which now include opioids.
HB 706 Taylor - 173 H.Retirement
Benefits from the Employees Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System, Public School Employees Retirement System may be assigned by any beneficiary to a funeral home for funeral services of a member of the retirement system.
HB 720 Scott - 76 H.Industry & Labor
An employee cannot be discharged or discriminated against for asking about, discussing, or disclosing wage rate information. Increases the fine on employers to $1000, currently $100.
GOVERNMENT - PUBLIC SAFETY
SB 341 Anderson - 24 S.Public Safety
Ignition interlock devices shall include a camera to photograph who is using it and the date, time, and test results. Installation shall begin 7-1-18.
SB 342 Harbin - 15 S.Public Safety
An owner of a motor vehicle cited for not having a revalidation decal attached to the license plate is to be fined only $50 if the decal is displayed on the vehicle when appearing in court.
HB 691 Belton - 112 H.Defense & Veteran Affairs
A military identification card may serve as satisfactory documentation of a person's social security number.
HB 717 Kelley - 16 H.Motor Vehicles
Consumer protection laws for motor vehicles shall also apply to autonomous motor vehicles.
HB 721 Powell - 32 H.Motor Vehicles
DDS may approve additional drivers education courses which offer:
- On-line 30 hours of instruction plus 6 hours of private in-car instruction provided by a drivers training school so licensed
- On-line 30 hours of instruction plus 40 hours parent in-car curriculum provided by DDS
- DDS provided 30 hours of instruction plus 6 hours on-the-road instruction provided by a licensed driver training school which will administer the driving skills test.