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House works on HOPE, immigration
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Questions have been asked week after week concerning Georgia’s Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) programs and illegal aliens. These issues were addressed in the House of Representatives this past week.

HB 326, HOPE program; comprehensive, revision was approved by the House. This legislation was needed due to the fact this program was outspending revenue from the Georgia Lottery.  Over 236,000 students received HOPE at a cost of $639.6 million for this academic year. The bill was passed to preserve and strengthen HOPE for tomorrow’s students and generations to come.

Also, HB 87, Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, was passed by the House. The 22-page bill gives authorization to state and local police to verify the immigration status of certain suspects, penalizing of people who “willfully and fraudulently” use fake identification to get a job in Georgia, and requiring, any private employers to verify that their newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. This legislation does not affect the existing H-2A visa program that provides a legal avenue for foreign workers to temporarily come to Georgia and work with the agriculture industry in our state.

The Pew Hispanic Center determined that Georgia has the fastest growing illegal population in the nation. The results of the report indicated that Georgia has the seventh highest total illegal population in the nation with nearly 425,000 illegal aliens.

Other bills debated and passed the Georgia House follow:

• HB 200 Crimes and offenses; human trafficking; change compensation; provisions

This legislation target the horrendous crime of human trafficking and gives victims a pathway out of their criminally forced servitude.

• HB 297 Retirement and pensions; public systems prohibited from expending fund for certain purposes; provide

This bill assures that life insurance purchased by members of the public retirement system is paid to the member’s estate.

This legislation would prevent a public retirement system from expending or obligating funds under the control of the retirement system for the purpose of purchasing life insurance on its members unless all benefits are paid to the member’s estate or designated beneficiary.

• HB 186 High school students; expand career pathway options; provisions

House Bill 186 is relating to the “Quality Basic Education Act” and to provide and expand options for high school students to ensure their career and college readiness. This bill will require a stronger coordination between high schools and institutions of higher education to ensure the readiness of students wanting to continue their education and lessen the need for remediation when entering an institution of higher education.

• HB 162 Sexual offender registry; photograph minor without parent permission; prohibit

The bill clears some ambiguity in legislation that was passed during the 2010 legislative session related to the sex offender registration.

The bill clarifies the Code section relating to photographing a minor child without the consent of the parent or guardian. Currently, it is a crime for any person to intentionally photograph a minor without parental or guardian consent. The bill limits the crime to only prohibit persons who are registered sex offenders.

• HB 279 Motor vehicles; use of child restraint systems; increase age

This legislation as it passed in the Georgia House puts Georgia in line with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards and better protects our children. This raises the age of children who have to be restrained with the use of child safety restraints to 8 years of age, or 40 pounds.

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. Activities and other legislation can be view on the Web at

Contact information for Rep. Ann R. Purcell: 401 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334, phone: (404) 656-5139 or e-mail: