House committees have forward numerous bills for the Rules Committee to consider. As Day 30 of the legislature approaches, Legislators know that many of these bills will not make it to the floor of the House for debate. Day 30 is based on a Senate rule that they will not take any House bills other than local bills after that date.
The following Legislation has been passed by the House:
HB 78, General appropriations; State Fiscal Year July1, 2011-June 30,2012
Georgia is facing the loss of about $1 billion in federal stimulus monies that were used last year to balance the budget. This year’s budget totals $18.25 billion. The state has slashed about $3 billion in state funds from the budget during the past three years. The House version of the Fiscal Year 2012 budget maintains Family Connection provisions.
Also, many state workers and retirees were concerned about rising cost of health insurance. A plan was formulated to deal with a $250 million shortfall in the state health benefit plan. A 20 percent increase instead of a 67 percent increase was realized by borrowing about $70 million from Medicaid and increasing health cost for non-certified workers. The budget added money for Meals on Wheels and provides money for growth in Education in K-12.
Pre-kindergarten has been restored which ensures a full nutritional and educational opportunities available for 86,000 children. The school year has been shortened by ten days on both ends of the calendar, but Pre-K slots expand by 2000 more children by allowing two more children in each classroom. Each classroom has one teacher and one paraprofessional, which ensures a 1:11 teacher to student ratio.
Georgia must maintain a balanced budget, and because of its fiscal conservation Georgia continues to enjoy a AAA bond rating.
HB 214, Public Health; Department of; establish
The bill creates the Department of Public Health. It moves duties of the Division of Public Health and the Office of Health Improvement from the Department of Community Health into the newly created department. Among the things that are moved under this legislation; the Office of Women’s Health, the Diabetes Coordinator, and the Georgia Diabetes Control Grant Program. It designates the new department as liaison with county boards of health and moves certain emergency medical services underneath the newly created department’s oversight capabilities.
The legislation is necessary to see that Public Health receives the attention and consideration it desperately needs in Georgia. By creating a cabinet level department, the Department of Public Health will be able to apply full concentration on the areas within its purview instead of being subject to the different directions that it may be pull in because of its current state as a subordinate division.
HR 251, Savannah Harbor; cruise ship terminal facility
House Resolution 251 encourages member of the Georgia House of Representatives to support the public and private efforts aimed at making Savannah the first cruise ship port in Georgia.
Savannah’s port location makes it very appealing to the Cruise Ship industry. this industry will promote the tourism efforts of the city and the State of Georgia as a whole.
HB 414, Georgia Aviation Authority, revise duties
This proposal will allow the Georgia State Patrol to handle the public safety aviation operations of the state.
The legislation moves all aviation assets related to the Department of Public Safety from the Georgia Aviation Authority, and back under the purview of the Department of Public Safety.
Also, the six mechanic positions previously granted to the Georgia Aviation Authority by the Department of Public Safety, and all funds required to fulfill those salaries, will move back underneath the control of the Department of Public Safety.
HB 186, High school students; expand career pathway options
Our schools must do a better job of offering options to our students so that they can be successful in obtaining their high school diploma that is both rigorous and relevant.
This legislation would provide and expand options for high school students to ensure readiness for college and/or their career.
The State Board of Education, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and the Board of Technical and Adult Education will develop policies to ensure that a student’s core curriculum will be accepted at any institution of higher education beginning with students entering school in the Fall of 2011. The Department of Education and State Board shall approve models and curriculum framework for 16 specific career clusters of study no later than July 1, 2012.
Within these career, technical, or agricultural clusters there shall be embedded competency standards requirements for credit acceptance at the postsecondary level.
This bill also requires State Board of Education to embed, to the extent possible, academic standards in Career, Technical, and Agricultural education courses and to provide for course credit in both the academic course and the CTAE course. The Department of Education shall develop forms and information for students in eighth-12th grades relating to the availability of dual enrollment courses.
HB 147, Patient Right to Know Act of 2001; medical malpractice insurance
This legislation adds that if a physician does not carry malpractice insurance the public has a right to know. The additional information will be made available to the public via the Composite Medical Board of Physician information website.
It also requires certain compiled information be made available to the governor and the General Assembly. No report is required, only notification that the information is available.
HB 326, HOPE program; comprehensive revisions
This legislation to preserve HOPE has been passed by the House and the Senate. It is now on the Governor’s desk for signature.
HB 179, State highway system; permits for legally erected signs
This bill has passed the House and Senate. It is also waiting action by the Governor.
Note: Legislation that is passed in the Georgia House of Representatives must be passed by the Senate and sent to the governor before it can become a state law. Other legislation can be view on the Web at www.legis.ga.gov.
Contact information for Rep. Ann R. Purcell, 401 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334, phone: (404) 656-5139 or e-mail: email@example.com.