When we adjourned on Thursday, the General Assembly completed legislative day 20 – we’re now halfway through the 2022 legislative session. Even though it was a short week, we passed more than 20 bills out of the House (some good, some not-so-good…more on that below). My week was filled with committee work, a City of Atlanta Delegation meeting that included a presentation from the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund, and several community events, including the 7th Annual Roses for Roe at the Temple and a gathering with Neighbors for a United Atlanta. With Crossover Day just a little more than two weeks away, we’re getting ready for some very busy days at the Capitol.
My Voting Record
HB 1217: The Student Technology Protection Act. While I agree with the intent of this bill – promoting responsible digital stewardship – it’s yet another unfunded burden on our already overburdened school districts. I do not agree with enacting state laws that are unfunded mandates. I voted no on this bill.
HB 1092: The Georgia Women’s CARE (Child Care Alternatives, Resources, and Education) Act. This bill allows a judge to postpone the sentencing of a pregnant woman so she can get access to pre-natal care. In Georgia, between 50-100 women give birth while incarcerated every year, and there is a high rate of fetal and infant death with prison pregnancies. I voted yes on this bill.
Interested in this topic? I encourage you to check out the local group Motherhood Beyond Bars, the only nonprofit organization in the state of Georgia offering pregnancy and postpartum health education and support for justice-involved women, new mothers and caregivers in Georgia.
HB 1192. This bill will provide Medicaid health insurance to thousands of uninsured Georgia residents who have HIV. I voted yes on this bill.
Bills to Watch
SB 435 passed the Senate along party lines on Thursday. This bill would require that students participate in high school sports according to the sex that appears on their birth certificate. The sponsor of the bill, Marty Tybin of Tyrone, refused to take questions on the Senate floor, and has said he is not aware of any transgender students who have taken the spots of girls on youth sports teams.
This bill now moves to the House.
SB 449. the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” passed the Senate on Tuesday. This bill allows parents to object to classroom content, and includes the right to review all instructional materials used in a child’s classroom. School districts would be required to create a process allowing parents to object to material, and parents would be allowed to have their child opt out of a particular lesson. This creates undue burden on our already overworked teachers, and contributes to a climate of classroom censorship. An identical bill, HB 1178, exists in the House.
This bill now moves to the House.
HB 1400 will increase the number of licenses granted to companies to produce medical marijuana from six to 22. Currently, the process to buy medical marijuana in this state is stalled because of lawsuits from companies competing for one of the six available licenses. This bill is currently in the House Regulated Industries committee.
Update from the Higher Education Committee
It’s nice when I can report on some good bills moving through committee – bills that are supported by both Democrats and Republicans! This week in the Higher Education committee, we heard testimony on the following bills:
HB 932 will extend in-state tuition rates to refugee students at USG colleges as soon as they settle in the state, instead of waiting one year to establish residency. This is helpful for both humanitarian and economic reasons – there are many barriers for foreign-born Georgians entering the workforce, and this removes one of them.
HB 1319: This bill provides for the Georgia Law Enforcement Officer Scholarship grant, which awards a $2000 grant to eligible peace officers annually for studying in a criminal justice or related field. This is an innovative way to support our public safety efforts, by creating more ways that our police officers can attend and afford college.
HB 646: Pathways In Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Dual Enrollment Act. This legislation promotes a pathway for students, particularly underserved students, to earn a high school degree and an associate degree from the Technical System of Georgia by creating dual credit courses and establishing unified partnerships.
HB 820: Value of HOPE GED vouchers. This bill provides for HOPE vouchers for those passing the GED or HiSet examination administered by the Technical College System of Georgia. A more comprehensive bill is coming from the Senate.
HB 751: The Pay As You Earn Education Program Act. This bill creates a pathway to pay for school and school-related fees by loans provided by the Georgia Student Finance Authority. Students would pay $1000 per year, and then will have a payment plan based upon the future earnings of the student for a period of 15 years after the student’s graduation.
No votes were taken this week in committee.
I’m doing a little something different for my Listening Session on February 27th! Now you don’t have to just listen to me talk. Join me and Atlanta Public School Board of Education member Jason Esteves to discuss educational bills working their way through the state legislature. Pre-register for the Zoom link here.
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at email@example.com or 404-656-0116 with questions, concerns, or solutions you may have regarding legislation or other happenings in District 54.
To stay updated, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and follow the Georgia House of Representatives @GAHouseHub on Twitter. Additionally, in-depth information regarding current bills, Georgia’s annual and supplemental budgets, committee meetings, and livestreams from the General Assembly can be accessed via www.legis.ga.gov.
I encourage you and your family to visit our State Capitol and my office, where all constituents are welcome. I look forward to connecting with you!
My office is located at:
18 Capitol Square, SW
409-B, Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54