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A look at what else passed
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Health and Human Services

HB 99 – Requires applicants for licensing for practical nursing to undergo a fingerprint record check and a background check.

HB 147 - Requires state Composite Medical Board to create profiles of physicians licensed by the board and to include in the profile whether the physician carries malpractice insurance.

HB 200 - Increases penalties for human trafficking and strengthens protections for victims.  Need for stronger penalties rose from the sex trafficking of children. Conviction can now result in up to a $100,000 fine and/or 25-50 years in prison if the victim was a child. Victims can receive assistance from Georgia Crime Victims Emergency Fund. Training of law enforcement officers is now required in recognizing and fighting this crime by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Center and the Ga. Public Safety Training Center.

HB 214 - Establishes a separate department for Public Health, establishes a Board of Public Health and provides for a commissioner to be appointed by the governor. Takes effect July 1, 2011.

HB 226 - Allows the creation of individual development accounts (IDA) for low income persons and allows for matching funds to be deposited under the management of a fiduciary organization. The account can be used for education or job training, repairs or home improvements, capitalization of a business or purchase of assistive technology. A fiduciary organization would normally be a registered non-profit or other qualified group.

HB 275 - Clarifies that a nurse, physician assistant or caregiver may carry out an order not to resuscitate as outlined in the order by the patient. Order may be revoked by the patient by communicating that wish to a nurse, physician assistant or caregiver.

HB 307 - For the first time includes burn centers in the Georgia Trauma Care network, which qualifies burn victims for those services.

HB 343 – Authorizes the Department of Behavioral Health to establish and license without a Certificate of Need crisis stabilization units that serve as emergency receiving and evaluation facilities.  Provides civil immunity for physicians and others acting in good faith in treating these individuals but does not exempt them from the liability of providing the applicable standard of care.

HB 457 - Allows the licensure of automated prescription dispensing by pharmacists to a skilled nursing home or hospital removing the requirement for the facility to have an on-site pharmacy.

SB 36 - Requires the Ga. Drugs and Narcotics Agency (GDNA) to establish an electronic database of prescription drugs filled by pharmacists. The intent is to aid pharmacists and law enforcement in identifying prescription drug abusers and “pill mills.” Requires photo I.D. for consumers picking up Schedule II controlled substances.

SB 93 - Adds commonly abused drugs to the classes of controlled drugs including bath salts. Also allows for pseudoephedrine to be considered as an exempt over the counter Schedule V controlled substance.

SB 100 - Allows an unaccredited nonprofit postsecondary four-year nursing institution to be qualified if the institution’s curriculum has been approved by the State Board of Nursing. Also revises the licensure requirements for graduates of non-traditional nursing education programs.

Higher Education

HB 60 - Creates a service cancelable loan of up to $80,000 for up to five veterinarians yearly. Veterinarians must practice food animal specialties in a rural county in Georgia. Cancellable at $20,000 per year of service. Subject to appropriations.

HB 326 - Revises the HOPE scholarship program and ties the payment of tuition to the amount of funds transferred by the Lottery Commission rather than automatic 100 percent tuition. FY 2012 payment is set at 90 percent of tuition at the institution the student attends. Leaves the grade point average for HOPE qualification at 3.0 and leaves maintenance of HOPE at 3.0 GPA. Initiates the “Zell Miller Scholarship” for high achievers (3.7 high school GPA, 1200 SAT) who maintain a 3.3 GPA in college. Limits bonuses to lottery commission employees and reduces the commission to retailers.

HB 500 - Authorizes the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to administer and implement the Georgia Work Ready Program through the Technical College System of Georgia. Subject to federal funding but available to job seekers free of charge. Also extended the eligibility period for unemployment benefits.

SB 161 - Establishes the Office of College and Career Transitions, which will coordinate and develop certification criteria for career academies around the state that are jointly operated by local school systems and technical schools.

SB 190 - Transfers operation of the Ga. Capitol Museum from the Secretary of State to the Board of Regents of the University System. Gives the Board of Regents the authority to manage the museum and to accept donations but requires maintenance of the museum’s exhibits.

Next week: a look at the April state revenues report and predictions on the balance of FY2011.

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