Here is the latest legislative update for this current 2016 session. To receive updates like this from the Georgia PTA, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.

Day 17

House Appropriations Education Subcommittee held a public hearing on the ’17 budget. There were twelve speakers present asking for funds for their programs.

The January revenue report was released today and the revenue was up 6.4% over last January.

HB 865 was heard in the House Ways & Means Income Tax Subcommittee. $25 million in income taxes will be allocated to fund student scholarship organization (SSO) program to provide vouchers to a private school. No vote was taken.

There was a “put prayer back in schools” rally today.

HB 65 requiring local boards to have two budget hearings, was heard in Senate Education & Youth, but no vote was taken.

HB 870 was heard today in the Joint Oversight Committee for High School Athletic.  They discussed the bills and took public comments. This bill will go to the House tomorrow for a vote.

SB 310 will make the General Assembly the decision makers of grants over $20 million, was also heard in Senate Ed but no vote was taken.

HB 879 creating a bi-literacy seal for diplomas or transcripts, was given a “Do Pass” by the Joint Economic Development & Tourism Committee. In addition, the sponsor and the Department of Education will work on a substitute.

Day 18

What a cold and snowy Day!

SR 388 was discussed in the Senate Government Oversight Committee. The bill passed 3-2 and is headed to Senate Rules and will require a 2/3 vote to pass.

HB 739 relating to the approval of instructional materials, passed the House 165-3 and moves on to the Senate.

HB 870 postponed.

More Action

HB 777 allowing bus drivers to use a cell phone as a 2-way radio, with some changes, received a “Do Pass” from the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.  Those changes include, software locks on the cell phone so it functions only as a 2-way radio.  Districts provide the phones. This bill moves on to House Rules.

SB 275 relating to the freedom of speech of locally elected officials. The bill applies to city, county, and school boards. The substitute received a “Do Pass” and moves to Senate Rules.

Day 19

FY 16 supplemental budget passed the Senate.  The budget will now go to a conference committee of House and Senate members to work out a few differences in the House and Senate versions.  As usual, public education gets a major share of the newly appropriated funds to pay for educating newly enrolled students.

HB 659 passed the House. This bill requires systems and schools to report certain financial information via web sites.

HB 870 passed the House. This bill precludes high schools that receive state funding from participating in an athletic association which prohibits religious expression on the clothing of student athletes and from participating in any athletic association which prohibits member schools from organizing and playing scrimmage matches, games or other athletic competitions with nonmember schools.

Committee Action

Senate Education and Youth

SB 348 passed. This bill provides for college and career academics to be organized as charter schools or schools within a strategic waiver school system or charter system.

SB 309 passed. This bill prohibits state schools from participating in an athletic association that limits religious expression on the clothing of student athletes or prohibits member schools from playing against non-member schools.

Senate Higher Education

SB 329 passed. This bill clarifies how high school diplomas will be awarded as related to dual credit courses.

House Judiciary Non Civil

HB 744 Clarifies the prohibition against sexual contact between educators and students. Action on the bill was postponed.
Day 20

Read and Preferred:

SB 353 limits the required initial and annual training for charter school governing board members to a maximum of six hours.

HB 942 requires provisional enrollment of students for 90 days

SB 329 makes some changes to last year’s changes to the dual credit program.

HB 959  Update and clarify certain provisions relating to K-12 education

SB 357 will establish a code of ethics is in the discretion of the local board of education

SB 355 the Student/Teacher Protection Act, includes an opt-out provision.

SB 364 differentiates the changes with district(s) that either signed a flexibility contract, charter system or strategic waiver.

SB 367 provide for comprehensive reform for offenders entering, proceeding through, and leaving the criminal justice system as to promote an offender’s successful reentry into society, benefit the public, and enact reforms recommended by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.

SB 348 authorizes charter systems and strategic waiver systems to have career academics, also sets out requirements for the governing board. Received a favorable report Senate Ed. Committee.

The General Assembly is in recess until Tuesday, February 16th. Click here to view the 2015-2016 Legislative Priorities for the Georgia PTA.