On Tuesday, February 22, the Georgia House of Representatives reconvened for a short albeit productive seventh week of the 2022 legislative session. We hunkered down and made the most of two session days and one full committee work day. As usual, we debated and voted on an array of legislation in the House Chamber, and by the end of the week, my colleagues and I reached Legislative Day 20, which means we are at the halfway point of the session.
On Tuesday, Governor Brian Kemp announced over $422 million in awards to improve water and sewer infrastructure in high-need areas throughout Georgia. I'm pleased to announce that Twin City received $303,553 and Oak Park received $659,225.
I am excited to see how our communities will be positively affected by these funds which will ensure that all have access to safe and reliable drinking water and efficient wastewater systems. In order to keep rural Georgia sustainable, it is vital that we continue to search for opportunities like these to ensure the viability of our infrastructure for generations to come. I would like to thank Governor Kemp and members of the committee for identifying and acting on these critical needs.
House Bill 1092
Georgia Women's Child Care Alternatives, Resources, and Education Act
This bipartisan legislation passed unanimously in the House and would provide greater care for incarcerated pregnant women who are sentenced to a period of confinement in a penal institution to have their sentences deferred for the duration of their pregnancies until six weeks postpartum.
This bill would:
· Give judges the discretion to deny deferment if the pregnant woman is a safety risk
· Deferment would not count as “time served” for the offender
· Give the pregnant woman the ability to decline the deferment.
· Require offender to maintain perinatal health care, treatment, and assessments and participate in education and resource programs
· Require every female offender who is not released on bond within 72 hours of an arrest to be given the option to submit to a urine pregnancy test
· Require Georgia’s penal institutions to annually report to the Georgia Department of Public Health the total number of female offenders who are pregnant, incarcerated, declined pregnancy testing and/or declined deferred sentencing
If the offender does not comply with these perinatal health care requirements, the court could rescind the deferred sentence and order immediate confinement.
House Bill 1192
The House passed another bipartisan measure that would serve some of the most vulnerable Georgians, specifically low-income, uninsured individuals living with HIV.
This bill would allow the Georgia Department of Community Health to submit a waiver re-quest to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Health Department of Health and Human Services to provide Medicaid coverage for HIV treatment services. If this waiver request is approved by the federal government, the state would be able to conduct a statewide demonstration project to provide HIV treatment through the state’s Medicaid pro-gram. This demonstration project would be designed to provide more effective, early treatment of HIV to Georgians by making a package of services available, including antiretroviral therapy.
This legislation is supported by many of Georgia’s health care systems, including Grady Hospital and its infectious disease treatment clinic, which currently serves 6,200 Georgians living with HIV. HB 1192 would allow the state to expand access to lifesaving HIV detection and treatment options, as well as explore a more sustainable funding source to help end the HIV epidemic in our state.
House Bill 1217
Student Technology Protection Act
To keep up with this evolving learning environment, the House passed HB 1217, to promote the safe and appropriate use of school-issued technology, whether students are using these devices in the classroom or while learning from home. The Student Technology Protection Act would require each local board of education and charter school governing body to adopt an acceptable-use policy this year that could better prevent and prohibit any school computer or network from accessing obscene materials, child pornography or material that is deemed harmful to minors.
The Georgia Department of Education would provide local school systems with information about contracted providers of technology protection measures, provide guidance and technical assistance to schools and develop guidelines for training school personnel. If the State Board of Education finds that a school has not followed its acceptable-use policy, the board could withhold a portion of state funding allotted for that school. As technology continues to evolve quickly, this bill would ensure that Georgia’s public schools have these policies in place and are equipped with the resources they need to protect children from harmful online content.
The Week Ahead
Heading into the second half of session, the next couple of weeks will certainly be some of our most demanding as we prepare for the Crossover Day deadline, which is the last day a bill can pass out of one chamber and still be eligible to be signed into law this year. There are still many more important bills that will be taken up before Crossover Day, including the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. I hope to hear from you soon about legislation that is still up for consideration this session.
I remain dedicated to serving your interests as your state representative, and I hope that you will con-tact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the legislative session or with any proposals or recommendations for future legislation.
You can also stay in touch by visiting our website at www.house.ga.gov to watch a live stream of the House in action, as well as archived committee meetings, and review legislation that we are consider-ing. Follow me on Facebook for updates throughout the year.
Thank you for allowing me to be your representative.
Representative Butch Parrish
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here