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Session 2018: Week 11

Session 2018: Week 11

The eleventh week of the 2018 legislative session included the passing of several key bills and resolutions. The end of our 40-day legislative session is now only days away. We passed the following bills this week:

Education

In an effort to increase protection in our state schools, House Resolution 1414 would create the House Study Committee on School Security. This committee would be in charge of research in security, life-saving responses, violent incidents, and legislative recommendations based off of their findings. These recommendations would be filed by December 1, 2018, and the committee would thereby be abolished.

Senate Bill 139 was also passed and would permit and require the following:

– Local school systems, charter schools and college and career academies would be allowed to develop and submit new pathways/focused programs of study to the State Board of Education for consideration

– The State Workforce Development Board would develop and promote an annual list of industry credentials and state licenses with input from the Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia

– Each local school system would be required to submit an annual report of the number of students earning an industry credential or state license from the high-demand careers list to the Department of Education. The department would then report the number of students earning such credentials or licenses to the governor, president of the Senate and speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as post the list on their website each year

– The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program would be expanded by allowing students who previously qualified for the scholarship to be exempt from the requirement that the student attend a Georgia public school the year prior

Georgia Lottery

Senate Bill 331 would attempt to provide better protection for Georgia lottery winners by requiring the Georgia Lottery Corporation to keep the information of winners of $250,000 or more confidential if the winner requests to do so. News organizations are currently allowed to acquire this information, which makes these winners unfortunate and unnecessary targets.

Health

Senate Bill 444, also known as the “Senator Thorborn ‘Ross’ Tolleson, Jr., Act,” would create the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan Advisory Council, which would include leaders of various health, human services and aging-related departments, divisions, associations, councils and committees. This council would be responsible for the following:

– Advising the governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Human Services and all other state agencies on the state’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan

– Ensuring that the state’s focus remains on implementing and amending the goals of the state plan

– Recommending strategies to reach the state plan’s goals, as well as review progress made towards reaching these goals and how resources and services for individuals with dementia-related diseases have been implemented statewide

– Submitting a report every three years to the governor and the General Assembly on the council’s work

Internet

Senate Bill 402, also known as the “Achieving Connectivity Everywhere (ACE) Act,” would promote public-private partnerships and thereby help expand broadband services throughout the state. This bill would establish the following:

– Permitting qualifying electric membership corporations (EMCs) and telephone cooperatives to provide and operate broadband services, wireless services and other emerging communications technologies

– Establishing the “Georgia Broadband Ready Community Site Designation Program” to allow communities to apply to be designated as “broadband ready” and therefore qualify for certain grant programs and tax exemptions

– Creating and administering a designation program to encourage economic development and attract technology-enabled growth, which would promote statewide broadband deployment

– Developing the “Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative” to offer funding for qualified broadband providers to deliver broadband services in unserved areas

– Outlining the rates and fees charged for attachments to utility poles and wireless support structures that belong to an authority

There are now only two legislative days remaining in our session. “Sine Die,” our final day, is this Thursday, March 29. Please feel free to contact me to voice any concerns or questions you have on any legislation up for consideration in the House or the Senate as we draw to a legislative close. My office phone number is 404-656-5099, and I can be reached via email at david.knight@house.ga.gov. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.

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CONTACT DAVID KNIGHT.