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Tuesday, March 26, 2024 - Day 39
General Assembly will adjourn Thursday

Archive of all 2024 Legislative Updates
Bill expanding paid parental leave
for educators goes to the governor
The House today voted to agree to Senate changes to HB 1010, a bill that doubles paid parental leave for educators and state employees from three weeks to six weeks, on the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.  The bill now goes to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature of approval or veto.

Senate votes to make sex education "opt-in"


The Georgia Senate today passed legislation, HB 1104, on a party-line vote.  The bill:

   Requires that parents and guardians "opt-in" rather "opt-out" their children for sex education classes and mandates that no sex education may be offered before the sixth grade.  School systems could elect not to offer sex education at all,

•   Requires that public school libraries notify parents and guardians each and every time their child checks out a book or other library material,

•   Requires students use the restrooms or locker rooms associated with their gender as determined at birth and prohibits "any person whose gender is male but whose gender identity is female to participate in any interscholastic athletics designated for females."

This section of the amended bill defines "sex" as: "the biological state of being male or female, in the context of reproductive potential or capacity, based on the individual's sex organs, chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, gonads, and internal and external genitalia present at birth, including secondary sex characteristics.  An individual's sex can be observed or clinically verified at or before birth,"

Expands the "Parents Bill of Rights" that passed a few years ago to create a new parental complaint process to challenge "instructional material."  The bill now expands to cover "any written or electronic materials made available students in a public school, including classroom materials, school library materials, or any materials made available to a public school student ..."

Most of the bill's provisions apply only to public schools and not private schools.
Other education-related bills debated by the House and Senate today and awaiting the governor's signature or veto include:

HB 51, a bill to allow schools to use passenger vehicles such as mini-vans to transport up to eight students to school competitions and events.  The House agreed to the Senate version, which added the following language:

"No high school which receives funding under this article shall participate in, sponsor, or provide coaching or support staff for interscholastic athletic or literary events or other school activities which are conducted under the authority of, conducted under the rules of, or scheduled by any athletic association that is a member of a national association, federation, or alliance of high school athletic, literary, or school activities associations that does not include or recognize all other voluntary nonprofit athletic, literary, or school activities associations of Georgia high schools ... "

HB 285, which will allow the Employee’s Retirement System (ERS) of Georgia to invest a higher percent of its assets in alternative investments.  It will not impact the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).

SB 464 is a bill to create a web site where teachers can buy school supplies, presumably at a discount or with state funding.  There is no funding provided for the program.  The bill was amended in the Senate to require the state Board of Education and Georgia Literacy Council approve a list of five universal literacy screeners, one of which must be provided free to schools.
Bills that passed both chambers but in different forms:

The Senate also approved HB 338, "the Student Technology Protection Act."  The bill concerns "acceptable use" policies implemented by schools and school-provided or issued technology to prohibit access to sexually explicit conduct, sexual conduct, and obscene material.  Provisions were added to the bill to lower the age of enrollment at a state completion school to 16 from 18 years-of-age.  If the House agrees to the Senate changes, the bill will be transmitted to the governor.

HB 1122, which provides funding for administrators for charter schools.  An amendment to the bill also requires the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) to establish a ranking of schools on a scale of 0-100, which would presumably be used to identify the "lowest performing schools" in the state for eligibility in the recently passed private school voucher program.  The Senate also added the following language to the bill:

"Each local unit of administration shall be authorized to allow a student to attend and be enrolled in the school in which a parent or guardian of such student is a part-time teacher, para-professional, or other employee who works for at least 20 hours per school week on average measured monthly ... "

SB 240 requires a review of school systems to determine which do not extend coverage for the benefits of Title II of the Social Security Act to its employees or positions which are eligible for membership in the Public School Employees Retirement System.  SB 240 goes to a conference committee where three members of each chamber will try to work out differences in their respective versions.

A conference committee has also been formed to iron out differences in the respective 2024-2025 state budget.

The next GAE Legislative Update will be Friday, March 29.
Please check your email for action alerts
Wednesday and Thursday, the final day of the session.

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