Highlights From Under the Gold Dome: Week Eight
As week eight of the 2023 Legislative Session comes to a close, the Senate is gearing up for Legislative Day 28, Crossover Day — the day by which a bill must pass one chamber to remain available for the rest of session. With nearly 40 bills receiving passage in the Senate this past week and over 70 measures scheduled for consideration on Monday, March 6, it’s fair to say the next few days will be busy. Here is a brief updated on several bills of note that received passage this week: Senate Bill 149, known as the "Geor gia Door-to-Door Sales Act,” would implement common sense protections to prevent Georgia’s families from deceptive or misleading business dealings from doorto- door sales.
Senate Bill 170, the "Students and Teachers SPEAK Act,” which allow both teachers and students to serve as ex officio advisors to the State Board of Education. Simultaneously, SB 170 seeks to encourage local school boards to invite student representatives to serve as advisors to the boards.
Senate Bill 32, "Alyssa's Law," would require local education agencies to implement mobile panic alert systems capable of connecting disparate emergency services technologies to ensure real-time coordination between local and state law enforcement and first responder agencies.
Senate Bill 107, "Izzy's Law," would require the Department of Public Health to develop a safety plan for aquatic activities based on the standards for nationally accredited private swim instructors. SB 107 would also require that The Department of Public Health would make the aquatic plan widely accessible and downloadable.
Senate Bill 131, legislation I had the pleasure of sponsoring, relates to claims of permanent guardianship or termination of parental rights of a dependent child. Specifically, SB 131 would require notice of service either by direct issuance, by mail to last known address, or by publication, to the legal mother, father, biological father, legal custodian, attorney, and guardian ad litem, if any, so long as the caretaker’s parental rights have not been terminated or voluntarily surrendered. Service by publication should run once a week for two consecutive weeks in the legal organ of the county where the petition for permanent guardianship or termination of parental rights has been filed.
Senate Bill 62, would prohibit cer tain local ordinances or policies relating to public camping or sleeping such as preventing a county or municipal corporation that does not enforce any order that prohibits unauthorized public camping, sleeping or obstruction of sidewalks. It would also require a performance audit by the state auditor on public spending for homeless programs. Lastly it would provide for sanctioned camping areas for the homeless.
Senate Bill 106, the "Healthy Babies Act,” would establish a three-year pilot program administered through the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) aimed at providing remote patient monitoring for expectant mothers under Medicaid.
Senate Bill 109, would require the Department of Community Health to include continuous glucose monitors as a pharmacy benefit for Medicaid recipients. This legislation requires the recipient of this coverage to meet certain requirements such as a diagnosis of diabetes and proper training by the individual or their caregiver in the use of continuous glucose monitors. The recipient must also have an in-person or telehealth visit with their treating practitioner once every six months to maintain their treatment plan.
Senate Bill 222, the "Primary and Election Expenses Act,” would prohibit any government employee, county or municipal government, or election official from soliciting or accepting any contribution, donation, or service for conducting primaries or election-related duties. The donation value cannot exceed a value over $200. SB 222 would also require that all costs and expenses related to election administration are paid for by lawfully appropriate funds.
Several bills of note also failed this week on the Senate floor. Most notably, Senate Bill 57, which would have legalized horse racing and sports betting, failed on the Senate floor by a vote of 19 for and 37 against. Senate Bill 114, which would have allowed for a vote by the citizens for the neighborhood of Buckhead to break away from Atlanta and create its own city also failed by a vote of 23 to 33.
Next week, the Senate will convene Monday through Thursday for Legislative Days 28 through 31. I anticipate the coming weeks will be extremely busy with the adjournment of the 2023 Legislative Session on the horizon. We also should complete the conference committee report on the FY 23 Amended Budget, House Bill 18, next week too. As always, thank you for allowing me to serve you in Atlanta.
Sen. Blake Tillery serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He represents Senate District 19, which includes Appling, Bacon, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Wayne and Wheeler Counties and a portion of Coffee County. He can be reached at 404.656.5038 or by email at [email protected]
By Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia)