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Wednesday, February 1, 2023 - Legislative Day #11
Archive of Past Legislative Alerts
This afternoon, a combined meeting of the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Higher Education Committee was held on literacy education.  The Senate committees will meet again Tuesday, February 7, according to Senate Higher Education Committee chair Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro.

The committee heard from University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue on teacher preparation programs and from representatives from the Sandra Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy at the Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, the Fulton County School System on literacy professional development, and the Georgia Math and Reading Corps.  The meeting can be viewed at:

A similar meeting of the House Education Committee, also on literacy, is scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 506 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.  The meeting will be broadcast live at: https://vimeo.com/showcase/8988912.

Gov. Kemp's school safety bill filed

Gov. Brian Kemp's "Safe Schools Act," HB 147, has been filed by Rep. William Wade, R-Dawsonville.

The bill requires the Professional Standards Commission (PSC) to offer a "school safety and anti-gang" endorsement "for promoting and preserving safe schools and for identifying and deterring youth gangs."  The endorsement is voluntary.

The legislation also requires filing existing "school safety plans" with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).  Currently such plans are filed with local law enforcement and local emergency management agencies.

Finally, the measure also requires schools to conduct an annual "intruder alert drill," from which parents/guardians may opt their child out.


HB 148, named the "Student Teacher Promotion Act," would provide grants of up to $7,500 to pay student teachers who successfully complete the student teaching component of their teacher education program.

HB 152 creates the "Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact" to facilitate the mobility of teachers across the member states, with the goal of supporting teachers through "a new pathway to licensure" and to "support the relocation of eligible military spouses."

Democrats have filed legislation to make mandatory kindergarten, HB 173, lowering the age of compulsory school attendance from six years old to four years old and requiring all school systems to offer a full-day kindergarten program.

HB 174 requires the Georgia Department of Education provide all parents and guardians of students entering the sixth grade "with information on recommended adolescent vaccinations for meningococcal meningitis disease, human papillomavirus (HPV), and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDAP)."  Such information shall be provided in both print and electronic form ..."

SB 50 would allow schools to offer instruction in lifeguarding and aquatic safety.

SB 52 requires the Georgia Student Finance Commission to issue regular reports to the General Assembly and to establish participation and performance targets, including, but not limited to, targets to increase participation and success among under-represented groups of students in the state's dual enrollment program.


HB 3 would create a new weight in the QBE funding formula that would add money for school districts with a large number of students who are living in poverty.

HB 32 would require the use of video instant replay for high school football championship games.

HB 39, a bill that would require institutions of high learning in Georgia to issue transcripts even if the student owes a financial debt to the school, has bi-partisan support.

HB 51 would allow the use of "vehicles other than school buses for the transport" for any student.  Current law, adopted in 2021, allowed the use of such vehicles to transport students receiving special education services and students who were homeless as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

HB 54.  Last year, Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, tried to double the state's existing tax break for donors to private schools.  He was unsuccessful thanks to GAE's persistent lobbying on the issue.  HB 54 is Rep. Carson's attempt to once again double the tax break, which will cost the state $200 million each year, $1 billion in the next 10 years.

HB 127 would direct the state Department of Education to:
• Prescribe rules and regulations to ensure that parents and guardians are provided information regarding English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, and

• Establish standards for foreign language interpreters working with students in educational settings.
HB 127 also would require school systems, in an annual notice to all parents of children with disabilities, and in each notice sent to parents or guardians of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, provide information related to the availability of an interpreter.

HB 141 states that each local school system shall require every student age eight through 18 to undergo a suicide screening at the beginning of each school year.

SB 45 provides for the creation of a "seizure action plan" to be followed by the school for a student with epilepsy or other seizure disorder.


Republicans Sweep 4 Special Elections

Republicans won special elections in four vacant legislative seats yesterday.  State Rep. Sam Watson was elected to the state Senate in District 11, which includes Brooks, Colquitt, Cook, Decatur, Grady, Seminole, and Thomas counties.  Republican Charlie Cannon won the seat vacated by Watson.  He was unopposed in the race for House District 172, centered around Moultrie, Georgia.

The seat of former Speaker of the House David Ralston was won by Blue Ridge banker Johnny Chastain, who beat Ralston's widow, Sheree, in the runoff for House District 7.

In the Winder-Barrow area, Republicans Holt Persinger and Charlie Chase will square off in a runoff to fill the vacancy in House District 119 on Tuesday, February 28.

A fifth vacant seat in Clayton County, House District 75, will be filled in a special election on Tuesday, March 21.

Next Legislative Alert will be Thursday, February 2

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