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With crossover day looming, House OKs anti-cheating bill
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With crossover day quickly approaching, legislation must pass the House committees and be passed on the House floor by the end of the session on legislative day 30 in order to be considered by the Senate for possible passage into law this session. Many bills passed the House this week and I will highlight some of them below.

One piece of legislation that passed the House of Representatives this week, House Bill 215, seeks to protect the physical wellbeing of children. HB 215 does this by ensuring registered sex offenders cannot work as school bus drivers. The legislation accomplishes this by making it impossible for registered sex offenders to receive the commercial driver’s license required to drive school busses, charter busses, and other commercial vehicles that may be employed to transport children.

We passed House Bill 692 to protect our children from being cheated out of their education. Specifically, HB 692 would help deter cheating on state tests by requiring educators proven guilty of CRCT cheating to return all bonuses and/or incentive pay that they received as a result of their students’ CRCT results. These funds would be returned to the local school system.

After many years of research and meticulous work, we passed House Bill 641, which provides a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s juvenile code. By updating Georgia’s laws affecting children, this bill will allow the state to better help children who enter the state system either through no fault of their own, such as those in foster care, or through their own actions, such as those in juvenile detention.

For example, HB 641 would make Georgia’s juvenile courts more efficient in handling cases of abuse, neglect, youth violations of the law, and other circumstances requiring court intervention. The legislation would improve communication between state agencies by requiring them to create a coordinated plan for each child in the state system. HB 641 would help foster children by ensuring they have access to caring adults who can provide them with the guidance, skills, and opportunities needed to become independent adults.

HB 456, known as the Georgia Government Accountability Act, will allow the state to determine whether there is a continued need for existing state-run programs and agencies. This would be done through the Joint Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee, which would evaluate state agencies and entities based on their productivity, efficiency and responsiveness. The committee would then submit its findings to the General Assembly with recommendations for legislative action that could include privatization, consolidation or elimination of a state program or agency.

Finally, as we find ways to create a more efficient and cost-effective state government, I want to tell you about a piece of legislation passed by the House this week that would provide Georgia families with an opportunity to earn extra income of their own. House Bill 520 would allow Georgians with solar panels, windmills, or other alternative energy generators to sell any surplus energy they create to their local electric service provider. This is already possible under current law, but HB 520 increases the amount of energy that an electric service provider can purchase from an individual who owns a device capable of generating a renewable energy source. Like all the legislation passed this week, HB 520 must now receive approval from the state Senate and Gov. Deal before becoming law.

If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5099, or write to me at: State Rep. Jon Burns, 18 Capitol Square, 228 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334, or e-mail me at