Wednesday marked Legislative Day 23 under the Gold Dome and presented another buffet of policy debate and action for legislators and lobbyists alike. After a substantial first course consisting of the House’s version of the FY 2020 Budget, which was fully unveiled and detailed at an early morning meeting, the House and Senate moved on to several bite-size propositions on their Rules Calendars that were relatively quickly and easily disposed. Among those items were Sen. John Albers’s (R-Alpharetta) “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act,” which, despite some tough questions, passed by a substantial margin. This afternoon, insiders and onlookers were offered a selection of committee meetings, our choices of which are detailed below in today’s #GoldDomeReport. The General Assembly returns tomorrow for Legislative Day 24.
In this Report:
House Appropriations Committee Signs Off on FY 2020 Budget
The House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), met today to put its stamp of approval on its version of the FY 2020 Budget and send it to the full House for consideration. After recognizing the contributions of former Rep. Mickey Channell (R-Greensboro), who passed away yesterday, on the State’s budget and appropriations process, Chairman England presented the budget proposition, which includes the following notable changes from Governor Kemp’s proposal:
The full House will consider the FY 2020 Budget proposal on Thursday.
Senate Passes "Keeping Georgia's Schools Safe Act"
After a lengthy floor debate, the Senate passed SB 15, the Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act by a vote of 47-8. Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), the bill’s author called upon his work as Chairman of the Senate School Safety Study Committee. He noted that the bill was a conglomeration of the testimony heard by the Study Committee from experts, school officials, parents, and students. After explaining how the bill will proactively address school safety concerns and creates new requirements for school districts to perform threat assessments, he also explained that the bill strives to address the mental health of students. He received targeted questions from Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta) about the bill’s lack of language related to guns in light of the recent tragic school shootings. He addressed these concerns by explaining that this is one of the bills coming from the Study Committee and it attempts to provide a fix for school safety generally, going beyond school shootings to encompass mental health and suicide prevention as well. After a few words from supporters of the measure the bill received passage from the Senate.
House Approves Obesity Pilot; Re-Authorizes Rural Development Council
The House today passed two non-controversial measures ranging from a reauthorization of the House Rural Development Council to an authorization of a pilot program addressing obesity treatment within the State Health Benefit Plan. HR 214, authored by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie), which reauthorizes the House Rural Development Council passed 164-1 after receiving no debate on the floor. The second measure, HB 187, authored by Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) amends Title 31 to require DCH create a three-year pilot program to provide coverage for the treatment and management of obesity and related conditions under a state health insurance plan. The pilot program, which will be limited to 250 participants, will provide coverage for all FDA-approved medications for chronic weight management, as well as obesity prevention, screening, and counseling benefits. The bill also allows DCH to enter into an agreement with a postsecondary institution for pilot program management, data collection, patient engagement, and other activities related to the pilot program. After Rep. Dempsey’s explanation in the well, the bill received no debate and passed the House 148-14.
Senate Education & Youth Committee
The Senate Education & Youth Committee, chaired by Sen. P.K. Martin IV (R-Lawrenceville), met to consider several propositions today:
All other bills, including SB 108, were deferred until the Committee’s next meeting, which is expected on Friday or Monday.
Senate Health and Human Services Committee
Chairman Ben Watson, MD (R-Savannah) held a Committee meeting with the following proposals on the agenda:
Meeting on February 28, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. in the Mezzanine.
House Insurance Committee
The House Insurance Committee, chaired by Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus), met today to consider a number of propositions:
House Juvenile Justice
Chairman Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton) held a meeting of her Committee this afternoon taking up these proposals:
House Health and Human Services
The House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), met late Tuesday to consider several propositions:
The following legislation of interest was introduced in the House today:
The following legislation of interest was introduced in the Senate today:
Rules Calendars for Legislative Day 24
The House is expected to consider the following measures on Thursday for Legislative Day 24:
The Senate is expected to consider the following measures on Thursday for Legislative Day 24: