We have reached the time in Session when the Senate and House begin considering bills that primarily originated in the other chamber. Bills that passed their respective chamber on or before Day 28 of the legislative session are eligible to be considered by the other chamber this Session. Because of this deadline, most bills in the newsletters for the remainder of the Session will be Senate bills. Bills that pass both chambers go to the Governor’s Office for his consideration. With the Governor’s signature, those bills will become Georgia law. I frequently post updates to my Facebook page and my website about the legislative process. Please “Like” Jon Burns on Facebook, or follow along at www.FriendsofJonBurns.com.
Senate Bill 43, carried in the House by Representative Matthew Gambill from Cartersville, is the “Non-Covered Eye Care Services Act.” This bill stops insurers from setting prices for ophthalmologists or optometrists for eye care services that the insurer’s policy doesn’t even cover. SB 43 levels the playing field for ophthalmologists and optometrists when negotiating with insurers and benefits Georgia patients.
Senate Bill 88 provides support for non-traditional teacher certification pathways for military veterans to become certified teachers. Senate Bill 88 was carried in the House by Representative Dominic LaRiccia from Douglas. Providing additional career options for our veterans is a top priority for the House Republican Caucus, and this bill passed with unanimous support from our Caucus. Additionally, this bill allows the Georgia Teacher of the Year to serve as an ex-officio advisor to the State Board of Education.
Senate Bill 34, carried in the House by Representative Josh Bonner from Fayetteville, will help victims of human trafficking receive a name change that is secure and private. Under current Georgia law, the requirements for a name change petition are different for victims of family violence and allow the petition to be considered without being widely publicized. SB 34 extends the same protection to victims of human trafficking, allowing them to receive a name change without advertising the name change in the local newspaper. Additionally, the proceedings for the victim’s name change can be conducted “under seal,” meaning that the public cannot access the information without a court order. This bill received unanimous support from the House Republican Caucus and demonstrates our commitment to protecting victims of human trafficking. Senate Bill 140, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Jeff Mullis and carried in the House by Speaker David Ralston, establishes a monument honoring Zell Miller on the Georgia State Capitol’s grounds. Zell Miller served as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Georgia and represented our state well as a United States Senator. As Governor, Zell Miller spearheaded Georgia’s HOPE scholarship program that has helped over 1.8 million Georgia students attend college. His hard work has enabled Georgia students to attend college when they may otherwise have been unable to do so.
Additionally, as Governor, Zell Miller committed to using Georgia’s lottery funds to support Georgia Pre-K students. Today, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning serves Pre-K students all over the state of Georgia using funding from the Georgia lottery. This is a well-deserved honor and one that I was proud to see pass with unanimous support from the House Republican Caucus!
As we continue to engage in the 2021 Session, do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.