Gold Dome Report – Legislative Day 21 - February 2024

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

A frisky dragon revs up the crowd celebrating Lunar New Year Day at the State Capitol on Thursday.

With Valentine’s Day out of the way, legislators returned to work on Thursday. But that doesn't mean there was monotony under the Gold Dome. To the contrary, legislators and lobbyists celebrated Lunar New Year Day at the State Capitol, punctuated with drums thumping in the hallways and a frisky dragon revving up the crowd. All assembled joined in on the celebration, which acknowledged Georgia’s vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander American communities.

Speaker of the House Jon Burns also announced his selection of Representative Butch Parrish (R-Swainsboro) to serve as Chairman of the House Rules Committee, a position vacated by the passing of Representative Richard Smith late last month. Afterward, both chambers had busy floor calendars, followed by a number of committee meetings. Check out what we covered in this #GoldDomeReport.

In this Report:

  • Floor Notes
  • Committee Reports
  • New Legislation
  • What’s Next

Floor Notes

The House took up the following measures on Legislative Day 21:

  • HB 53 - State Board of Registration for Foresters; independent state agency; provisions — PASSED 164-0
  • HB 282 - Quality Basic Education Act; minimum course study in career readiness education for students in grades six through twelve; provide — PASSED 165-0
  • HB 409 - Local government; authorize local authorities to dispose of real property in the same manner as county governing authorities — PASSED 164-2
  • HB 424 - Courts; office of sheriff; revise qualification requirements
  • HB 912 - Motor vehicles; define multipurpose off-highway vehicle; subclassify for ad valorem tax purposes — PASSED 168-0
  • HB 947 - Courts; compensation received by superior court judges; modify provisions; create Judicial System Compensation Commission — PASSED 154-13
  • HB 1010 - Public officers and employees; increase number of hours permitted for paid parental leave — PASSED
  • HR 449 - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Awareness Day; fourth Wednesday in February; designate — PASSED 160-0

The Senate took up the following measures on Legislative Day 21:

  • SB 349 - Ad Valorem Taxation of Property; setting of millage rates; revise provisions — PASSED 42-7
  • SB 430 - COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety; provisions for rebuttable presumptions of risk by claimants in certain COVID-19 liability claims; revise — PASSED 47-0
  • SB 443 - Abatement of Nuisances; inclusion of claims against promoters and organizers for costs incurred by local governments due to unpermitted events: provide — PASSED 47-3
  • SR 470 - Senate Study Committee on the Preservation of Georgia's Farmlands; create — PASSED 47-1

Committee Reports

House Public Health Committee

The House Public Health Committee, chaired by Representative Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), convened and reduced their quorum in order to discuss the following measures:

  • SB 377, authored by Senator Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia), amends Titles 15 and 49 regarding residential treatment programs. The measure seeks to align the Georgia Code with federal law. It revises the definition of a qualified residential treatment program. Title IV-E funds require this change to ensure the state is eligible for federal funding.

The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • HB 1204, authored by Representative Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee), amends Title 33 to allow health benefit policies to include coverage for fertility preservation services. This would only be for patients with cancer, sickle cell, or lupus, which may cause iatrogenic infertility. Coverage shall include evaluation, labs, and treatment associated with standard fertility preservation services and storage of gametes for up to one year.
  • HB 924, authored by Representative Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton), amends Title 33. This is known as the 'white bagging' bill. The measure seeks to limit insurers' ability to send drugs to hospitals and doctors' offices versus letting the providers source them.

Jesse Weathington expressed concern over the measure and offered an amendment on line 90. He explained that with this amendment, they could support the measure. Michael Power with the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association expressed concerns similar to Weathington's and supported his amendment. Shea Ross-Smith with Kaiser Permanente expressed concern about the measure and offered another amendment. She requested that the requirements in sections E, F, and I not apply to an exclusive model like Kaiser. Anna Adams with the Georgia Hospital Association spoke in favor of the measure.

Representative Clay Pirkle (R-Auburn) asked if the hospitals want to have the right to administer this drug solely. Anna Adams explained that patients who need an infusion go to the hospital where they have coverage. The hospital will use its pharmacy to source the drugs. This bill prevents insurers from using PBMs to ship their product to the hospital.

There were two amendments offered. Deemed the Kaiser amendment, the amendment exempting exclusive models passed while the other did not. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • HB 1170, authored by Representative Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), amends Title 31 to allow government buildings with AEDs to stock opioid antagonists. The measure includes expectations for internal training as well as implementation policies. It also provides immunity from civil liability and professional discipline to an individual administering an antagonist.

Amendments included exempting the university buildings, line 18 adding AEDs in courthouses, and striking line 21 to remove public, private, and charter schools. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • HB 1183, authored by Representative Katie Dempsey (R-Rome), amends Title 20 regarding diabetes. The measure seeks to share information on Type 1 and 2 diabetes with parents if a local board shares information on immunizations in grades six through twelve.

The measure receives a DO PASS recommendation.

  • HB 1081, authored by Representative Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville), amends Title 31 regarding preeclampsia testing. The measure requires all insurers to cover inpatient biomarker testing at 23 weeks. The doctor has discretion on whether or not the patient needs testing.

Representative Pirkle expressed concern over malpractice. Taylor explained that this would impact a doctor's liability insurance. Representative Teddy Reese (D-Columbus) discussed the legal standard of care regarding medical malpractice.

LC 33 9652S received a DO PASS recommendation.

HB 1028, authored by Representative John LaHood (R-Valdosta), amends Title 20. The original measure sought to repeal scoliosis screenings in schools. The substitute, LC 54 0361S, repeals the Diabetes Control Grant Program, removes PrEP pilot language (the program is maintained, but it is no longer a pilot), repeals control of mass gathering, and makes changes to the code to depict the department's role in jail sanitation inspections accurately. The measure also includes a request from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and Commissioner Kathleen Toomey's standing order for those exposed to blood to receive post-exposure prophylaxis within the suggested 72-hour window. Additionally, this measure would update the definition of sexually transmitted diseases.

The substitute received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • HB 174, authored by Representative Patty Stinson (D-Butler), amends Title 20 regarding vaccination information specific to tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningitis, and the human papillomavirus being provided to students' parents. This will apply to sixth-grade students.

Pirkle asked why it needed to be printed and electronic. This is just a way for parents to have options. Dempsey asked if the dates in the measure needed to be updated. It does.

Laura Siminelli expressed concern over the measure.

An amendment updating the school dates and changing "and" on line 18 to "print form or electronic or in both print and electronic form" was offered and passed. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation as amended.

New Legislation

The following new legislation of interest has been introduced in the House:


Education; provide for a cause of action by aggrieved students against local education agencies for breach of duty to provide an adequate public education

Rep. Mesha Mainor (R-056)


Georgia Environmental Justice Act; enact

Rep. Kim Schofield (D-063)


Professions and businesses; establish a professional health program to provide for monitoring and rehabilitation of impaired healthcare professionals; authorize

Rep. Ron Stephens (R-164)


Community Housing Options Increase Cost Efficiency Act; enact

Rep. Dale Washburn (R-144)


Georgia Tax Court Act of 2025; enact

Rep. Chuck Martin (R-049)


Georgia High School NIL Protection Act; enact

Rep. Brent Cox (R-028)


State symbols; designate collard greens as official state greens; potlikka as official state dipping sauce of the official state bread

Rep. Angela Moore (D-091)


Sales tax; educational purposes; used and expended for the benefit of public charter schools located within local school systems; provide - CA

Rep. Mesha Mainor (R-056)


Ad valorem tax; qualified low-income building projects may be classified as a separate class of property; provide - CA

Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-146)


Congress; pass Kidney PATIENT Act of 2023; urge

Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-088)


The following new legislation of interest has been introduced in the Senate:


'Georgia Hemp Farming Act'; hemp products; regulate

Sen. Sam Watson (R-011)


Low THC Oil Patient Registry; term of validity of a registration card; provide

Sen. Sam Watson (R-011)


Education; High-demand Career Initiatives Program as the High Demand Apprenticeship Program; redesignate

Sen. Billy Hickman (R-004)


Georgia Interagency Council for the Homeless; create

Sen. Kim Jackson (D-041)


Health; certain requirements relating to subclasses of ground ambulance services; provide

Sen. Clint Dixon (R-045)


"Foundations of Law Act"; enact

Sen. Marty Harbin (R-016)

What’s Next

The General Assembly will reconvene for Legislative Day 22 on Friday, Feb. 16 at 9 a.m.

The House is expected to take up the following measures on Legislative Day 22:

  • HB 546 - Georgia Pharmacy Practice Act; pharmacy care; revise definition
  • HB 872 - Medical professionals; rural assistance; expand service cancelable loan program for health care providers to include dental students
  • HB 874 - Schools; automated external defibrillators; require
  • HB 988 - Georgia Technology Authority; annual inventory of artificial intelligence usage by state agencies; provide
  • HB 1058 - Motor vehicles; federal regulations regarding safe operation of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicles; update reference date
  • SB 353 - Highways, Bridges, and Ferries; duties when death results from an accident upon a highway in certain instances; allow for delegation

The Senate is expected to take up the following measures on Legislative Day 22:

  • SB 341 - Official Code of Georgia Annotated; relating to inactive boards, panels, authorities, centers, commissions, committees, councils, task forces, and other such bodies and certain procedures of the General Assembly; repeal
  • SB 322 - Sheriffs' Retirement Fund of Georgia; increase in dues; provide
  • SB 448 - Official Code of Georgia Annotated; revise, modernize, correct errors or omissions in, and reenact the statutory portion of said Code, as amended, in furtherance of the work of the Code Revision Commission
  • SB 212 - Probate Court Judges; relating to elections; end activities and duties
  • SB 436 - Farm Use Vehicles; define a term
  • SR 487 - Taiwan; its relations with the United States and the State of Georgia; commend

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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