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Tuesday, January 30, 2024 - Day 12
Prior Legislative Updates for this Year

Bill to improve ESP pension will be on
the floor of the Senate tomorrow for a vote

State Senators tomorrow will vote on legislation tomorrow, SB 105, that will lead to higher monthly retirement payments for school bus drivers, custodian, food service workers, and maintenance personnel in the future.  These education support professionals are covered under a state pension fund, the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS).  Passage of this legislation tomorrow would mark a significant victory for these educators.

House Education Committee to meet Thursday

The House Education Committee will meet Thursday to consider two bills, including:

HB 941, which, if passed, would allow pre-kindergarten programs, voluntarily offered by public schools, to be eligible for state funding for capital outlays, such as classroom construction, equipment acquisition, maintenance, renovation, and repair, and

HB 987 which would revise the definition of the statutory term "qualified local school system school" by reducing the minimum required millage rate or equivalent millage rate from 14 mills to 10 mills.

This week at the state Capitol

The House Public Health Committee gave its approval this afternoon to HB 1010, a bill sponsored by the Speaker Pro-Tempore of the House, Rep. Jan Jones, R-Milton.  The legislation states: "The maximum amount of paid parental leave that may be taken by an eligible employee during a rolling 12 month period" is doubled, from 120 hours to 240 hours, "regardless of the number of qualifying life events that occur within such period."  This amends the law enacted on the passage of HB 146 in 2021 that extended, paid parental leave to full-time state employees and educators.  Leave is given for the birth or adoption of a child or when a child enters a foster home.

SB 386 was heard in the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee this morning morning.  The committee gave its approval to the measure.  SB 386 would legalize betting on sporting events for the benefit of the State Lottery, and, consequently, for the HOPE Scholarship and pre-K programs.  It was stated at the meeting that the bill could generate $100 million annually for HOPE and pre-k.  The bill passed the committee by an 8-2 vote.  Representatives of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and Georgia Faith and Freedom Coalition testified against the bill.

The Senate Retirement Committee meets Thursday, February 1, at 1 p.m. in 310 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.  Among the bills on the agenda are GAE-backed legislation, SB 206, which codifies in state law requirements that school systems participate in the Social Security System for employees who are members of the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS).  The bill will be live-streamed at: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9076396?autoplay=1

The House Industry and Labor Committee will hear HB 282, sponsored by Rep. Mesha Manor, R-Atlanta, that prescribes a minimum course study in career readiness education for students in grades 6-12.  Specifically, the requires a curriculum that includes instruction on "professionalism, problem solving and resiliency, effective communication, time management and efficiency, and collaboration, teamwork, and leadership competencies in the workplace."  Mainor was the only Democrat to vote for private school vouchers last session, and she has switched parties.

House Rules Committee chair passes
State Rep. Richard Smith, 78, chair of the House Rules Committee and a Republican from Columbus, passed away Monday.  He was first elected to the House in 2004, and thus was in his 20th year in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Sen. Halpern introduces bill on defibrillators in schools

State Sen. Sonya Halpern, D-Atlanta, has filed legislation, SB 423, pertaining to defibrillators and schools and the establishment of school cardiac emergency response teams.
Completion schools bill
The Senate Education Committee met today to hear SB 405, a bill which proposes to lower the age of eligibility from 18 to 16 for certain students to be enrolled in a completion special school.  The bill passed out of committee 5-1.

Join hundreds of your colleagues and fellow GAE members at our 2024 Day at the Capitol

Invited speakers include the chair of the House Education Committee, the state School Superintendent, the sponsor of GAE's waiver bill, and others.  Last year, GAE set a record for attendance at a Day at the Capitol event.  Let's set a new record this year.  Click on the graphic below to register.
The next Legislative Update will be Wednesday, January 31
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