2018 Legislative Session Week Ten
With only five work days remaining until “Sine Die,” my colleagues and I were extremely busy this week in our respective committees. The following bills were passed during Week Ten:
- Senate Bill 357 – Also known as “The Health Act,” this bill would create the Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia under the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. Made up of 18 members consisting of commissioners, directors, and health care professionals, this council would be responsible for the following:
- Streamlining and coordinating all components of our state’s health care system
- Bringing together academic, industry and government experts and leaders to share information, coordinating the major functions of Georgia’s health care system and developing innovative approaches to stabilize costs and improve access to quality health care
- Serving as a research forum to identify our state’s greatest health issues and promote cooperation between private and public agencies to test new ideas
- Evaluating the effectiveness of previously enacted and ongoing health programs; determining how to best develop new approaches and promote innovation to improve Georgia’s health care system; and maximizing the effectiveness of existing resources, expertise and improvement opportunities
- Establishing an advisory board that would provide guidance to the council
- Senate Bill 118 – This bill will take effect on January 1, 2019 if signed into law and it would benefit children with autism in Georgia by establishing the following:
- Increasing the age of coverage for autism spectrum disorder treatments from six-years-old to 20-years-old
- Increasing the coverage limit from $30,000 to $35,000 per year
- Requiring insurers to provide coverage for applied behavior analysis, which is recognized as a necessary medical treatment for autism
- Senate Bill 406 – In an effort to protect our senior citizens, this bill would establish the Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program, responsible for comprehensive, fingerprint-based criminal background checks on elder care providers, personal care homes, or assisted living facilities. This bill would also create a central caregiver registry where a family member or guarding could access this information. These requirements would take effect on October 1, 2019 for new applicants and January 1, 2021 for existing employees and owners if this bill is signed into law.
- House Resolution 1376 – Hospitals are a major economic factor in our state, and this bill seeks to help rural hospitals flourish by encouraging the House Rural Development Council to request information on the financial conditions (profitability, community benefit, cash revenue and viability projections) of hospitals experiencing a financial crisis.
- Senate Bill 330 – Also referred to as the “Georgia Agricultural Education Act,” this bill would update agricultural education programs in Georgia by establishing the following:
- Requiring programs to be based on the nationally recognized three-component model of school-based agricultural education (daily classroom and lab instruction; hands-on, experimental learning through a supervised agricultural experience program; and leadership and learning opportunities through participation in agricultural education programs, such the Georgia Future Farmers of America)
- Authorizing the Department of Education to establish an elementary agricultural education pilot program to determine whether such a program would be appropriate for statewide implementation
- Senate Bill 82 – Applicable for Georgia National Guard reserve members stationed in Georgia or listing Georgia as their home of record, this bill would classify members of the Guard and United States Armed Forces as eligible for HOPE scholarships and grants.
- Senate Bill 395 – In an effort to benefit our state’s military, this bill would create the Georgia Joint Defense Commission, which would be responsible for the following:
- Advising the governor and the Georgia General Assembly on state and national-level defense and military issues
- Recommending policies and plans to support the long-term sustainability and development of Georgia’s active and civilian military
- Developing programs to enhance communities’ relationships with military installations
- Serving as a task force to prepare for potential base realignment or military installation closures in the state
- Submitting an annual report to the governor and the Georgia General Assembly on the state of Georgia’s military installations, as well as a tactical plan for navigating a possible base realignment or military installation closure
- Establishing the Defense Community Economic Development Grant Program to assist military communities with projects, events and activities that promote military installations
Local Alcohol Sales
- Senate Bill 17 – Expected to increase sales by $100 million, this bill would permit the authorization of alcoholic beverage sales beginning at 11am on Sundays.
As we draw nearer to the completion of the 2018 legislative session, I encourage you to visit me at my Capitol office or call or email me if you have any questions or concerns regarding any current or upcoming legislation. My Capitol office is located at 220 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334, my office phone number is 404-656-5912, and I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.