Legislative Daily Reports

01/27 - Day 8: More anti CRT bills

Day 8: More anti CRT bills
by Justin Pauly on 1/27/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

Day 8: More anti CRT bills

The House and Senate met briefly today for floor sessions. There were no education bills heard in committees today. While it was a relatively quiet day under the Gold Dome there were a few pieces of legislation that were filed. Even though we have already had a bill on the House side HB 888 banning Critical Race Theory, today seemed to be the Senate’s turn to file anti-CRT legislation.

We now have Senator Jeff Mullis’, CRT bill, SB 375 “state agencies and certain local government entities to take measures to prevent the use of curricula or training programs which act upon, promote, or encourage certain concepts, with exceptions.” To read the analysis click on the link in the bill number. This one includes schools (section 1), cities and counties (section 2), and state agencies (part 3). Each local board and superintendent shall prohibit employees from discriminating against students and other employees based on race, sex, or any characteristic protected by state or federal law.  The board and superintendent must also ensure that all diversity and inclusion efforts directed to employees shall encourage them not to judge each other based on race, sex, or any characteristic protected by federal or state law.

Next, we have Senator Bo Hatchett’s, CRT bill, SB 377 “State Government; take measures to prevent the use of curricula or training programs which act upon, promote, or encourage certain concepts, with exceptions; require state agencies.” Click the bill link to read the analysis. This bill has sections for K-12, the University system, and the Technical Colleges System, and state agencies.  This bill also requires local boards to adopt a complaint resolution policy. Each local board and each superintendent shall prohibit employees from discriminating against students and other employees based on race, skin color, or ethnicity. They shall ensure that all diversity and inclusion efforts directed to their employees shall encourage them not to judge students, other employees, or other individuals based on race, skin color, or ethnicity.

These two bills are very similar with the exception of who they apply to, also 377 outlines a complaint resolution process. The interesting part is both Senators who authored these bills signed on to the others bill. There is a long list of sponsors for each. Only time will tell which one will work its way through the legislative process.

Representative Sandra Scott, filed HB 1048, “local units of administration to annually report to State Board of Education certain information regarding educational performance of foster care students.” This bill requires local units of administration (local boards of education), to assess for trauma on foster care students and how they are performing academically and to annually report to the State Board of Education.

Last, a House Resolution was filed by Representative Darlene Taylor, HR 630 “Joint Study Committee for Consolidation of County Governments and School Systems.” While there is no public education representative named to this study committee, GSBA will remain involved as the Resolution works its way through the process.

That’s it for this week, have a great weekend. Business picks back up Monday.

Schedule

The House and Senate both start their weeks on Monday with a 5-day week. Monday, January 31-Friday February 4, 2022.

01/26 - Day 7: Vouchers Are Back....Again

Day 7: Vouchers Are Back....Again
by Angela Palm on 1/26/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

You knew it was coming didn't you?  And yes, here we are with a voucher bill or a "promise scholarship account" as HB 999 calls it. Representative Wes Cantrell is sponsoring the Georgia Educational Freedom Act which would provide $6,000 to each student, subject to appropriations.  Click the link to see our summary of the bill.

In other news, House Speaker David Ralston held a press conference this morning announcing a mental health bill, HB 1013. The bill is based on recommendations from the Georgia Health Reform & Innovation Commission established in 2019.  The press release provides more information.

Committee Meetings 

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee met this morning to hear the Department of Education’s amended FY 2022 budget. It was a relatively brief meeting. Rusk Roam, Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Education, presented the budget. There were some questions and discussion around projections of enrollment increasing in the upcoming year. The Department staff indicated that the number is a moving target and difficult to predict. The hope is that the enrollment lost from the pandemic will come back but will most likely be incremental increases each school year.

Senate Education and Youth met this afternoon to hear Senator Kay Kirkpatrick’s SB 357  “To provide military students with the discretion to select adjacent school districts for attendance.” The bill would allow any student of a military family to attend a school of their choosing in the district in which the student resides or any district within 50 miles of the residence and space is available for enrollment.  The parent would be responsible for transportation.

After testimony and discussion, the committee recognized the need for clarification on a few points to allow the receiving school districts to better understand the 50-mile radius, eligible students, the annual notification to military parents and guardians and the funding. Ultimately, Senator Kilpatrick pulled her bill to make changes she heard from the committee and will bring it back for another hearing. Those of you with a military base near your district might want to take a look at the bill.

Senate Education also heard Senator Anavitarte’s SB 231 “To provide for a pilot program to allow for certain adults to enroll in charter schools that provide instruction for only individuals between ages 21 and 35 residing in this state who have not attained a high school diploma.” After much discussion and questions the bill passed the committee 8-2.

The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee was scheduled to hear SB 226, the library/obscene materials bill, but it was pulled from the agenda because the sponsor, Sen. Anavitarte, was busy in the Senate Education & Youth Committee meeting.   

Finally, Representative Mesha Mainor filed HB 1005 “local school systems to conduct suicide screenings on all students age eight through eighteen.” Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, each school system shall require all students age 8-18 to undergo a suicide screening at the beginning of each school year.

Schedule

Thursday, January 27, 2022

House convenes 10 a.m.

Senate convenes 1 p.m.

 

01/25 - Day 6: The pace is picking up

Day 6: The pace is picking up
by Justin Pauly on 1/25/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

Day 6: The pace is picking up

The House and Senate convened this morning at 10 a.m. The action started shortly thereafter when the Senate GOP Caucus held a press conference on the Senate steps to outline their priorities for the session.

Among them were public safety concerns, apprenticeships and internet security, economic development and banning CRT. Senator Bo Hatchet announced that he will be filing a bill to ban CRT.

The House Education Committee met, and it was a quick meeting. Chairman Matt Dubnik ran through a few housekeeping items to ensure a smooth operation for the committee and then adjourned the meeting.

House Judiciary Non-Civil Smith Subcommittee met and had a list of bills. Most relevant to public education was Senator Jason Anavitarte’s bill, SB 226 Sale or Distribution of Harmful Materials to Minors. This bill outlines a complaint process for what may be deemed as obscene material in schools. It requires a district to adopt a complaint resolution policy for parents or guardians of students in the district. The committee discussed a few changes to the bill, to which Senator Anavitarte agreed. The first was to add a parent input process during public comment during a regularly scheduled board meeting and the second was to avoid any copyright issues to further clarify and define, “posting material on the local board of education’s website.” The bill will come back to this subcommittee to hear the changes.

House Ways & Means Chairman Shaw Blackmon once again presented HB 385, the Return to Work bill, to the House Retirement Committee.  The bill is a priority of Gov. Kemp as part of his focus on the teacher pipeline.  It passed by substitute with eligibility to participate now being limited to those who retired with 30 years creditable service.  The bill has previously been found to have no cost to the Teachers’ Retirement System, but that review will be updated, and the bill will then be sent to the Rules Committee.

SB 357  Military Student Transfers; military students with the discretion to select adjacent school districts for attendance, was filed. The bill would allow any student of a military family to attend a school of their choosing in the district in which the student resides or any district within 50 miles of the residence and space is available for enrollment.  The parent would be responsible for transportation.

Schedule

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Education Appropriations Committee 8 a.m.

Senate Education & Youth 2:00 p.m.

House Judiciary Non-Civil 3:00 p.m.

The Senate passed a resolution SR 382 that the House approved outlining the rest of the legislative days for the session. To view the resolution, click here.

Cross Over Day- Tuesday, March 15, 2022

SINE DIE- Monday, April 4, 2022

01/24 - Day 5: Back to Business

Day 5: Back to Business
by Justin Pauly on 1/24/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

Day 5: Back to Business          

Today was relatively quiet as the legislators were back in the Gold Dome after budget hearings were conducted last week. 

The Joint Appropriations Committee heard budget presentations from all the state agency heads. The Department of Education’s budget hearing occurred last Wednesday and State School Superintendent, Richard Woods presented. For those of you who would like to watch the presentation you can click here and start at the 5:01:30 mark. 

The House Government Affairs Subcommittee on General Government met today and discussed HB908 which sets dates for special and primary elections. At the beginning of the meeting the committee removed HB908 from consideration. Instead, they replaced it with HB907 relating to dates for special elections to present a question related to sales and use taxes for transportation, mass transportation, or transit special districts to the voters in even numbered years. They heard brief testimony from the bill sponsor, Representative Tyler Paul Smith and then voted for HB907 to move on. The bill will now go on to the full Government Affairs Committee. 

An important bill to be aware of that has had a First Reading is HB903 Second Amendment Restoration and Protection Act, which allows for those with a lawful carrier license to possess a firearm on or in school property if a local board adopts a policy to do so. The education provisions begin on line 251. This bill has been assigned to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

Stay tuned and have a great week. 

01/14 - Day 4: We have our first CRT bill

Day 4: We have our first CRT bill
by Justin Pauly on 1/14/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

Day 4: We have our first CRT bill

We made it through the first week of the 2022 legislative session. It has been a week full of excitement with the Bulldogs National Championship and the Governor’s positive outlook for public education in the state budget, it’s enough to get the weekend started right.

Congratulations to GSBA Past President Pat Hugley Green as SR 368 recognized her work.

But alas, we have our first Critical Race Theory (CRT) Bill, HB 888 introduced yesterday. While the bill does not specifically cite CRT by name, it walks the line of prohibiting everything that many describe as CRT. HB 888 had its first reading yesterday morning and was assigned to the Education Committee. 

HB 888 is a broad bill with many parts. One of the more eye-opening provisions comes on line 101: “No public elementary or secondary school administrator, teacher, or other personnel shall compel or attempt to compel any individual to engage in or observe a discussion of any public policy issue.”  That’s a very wide net.  There are seven concepts (lines 74-90) the bill seeks to prohibit any teaching, conversation, or training around. 

It provides for a complaint/ grievance process for parents, allows the State Board of Education to withhold QBE funds from a district that is not in compliance and outlines a specific civics curriculum that must be taught in schools. To read the bill in its full form click here. There will be more bills around this issue, so stay tuned. 

House Education has three more bills assigned so far. HB 892 and HB 904 propose eliminating corporal punishment in schools. Both bills were assigned to the Education Committee. HB 885, from Representative Dave Belton, expands the definition of “military student” for purposes of public school choice in their district. 

HB 908 would make a change to dates allowed for a special election to present a question.  In even-numbered years, it would be the third Tuesday in March or in a presidential election year the date of that primary. The bill is in House Governmental Affairs.

Next week the budget hearings will take place starting Tuesday through Friday, and each agency head will present their budget to the House and Senate Joint Appropriations Committee. Click here for the full schedule of the hearings.

The General Assembly will reconvene the week of January 25.

01/13 - Day 3: State of the State

Day 3: State of the State
by Justin Pauly on 1/13/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

Day 3: State of the State

The House and Senate convened at 10 a.m. this morning and moved through their business quickly due to the State of the State which was set to be delivered by Governor Brian Kemp at 11 a.m. in the House Chamber. You can read his full remarks by clicking here. We have summarized the education highlights from his remarks as well as, the Governor’s Budget Report for the Amended FY2022 Budget and the FY2023 budget. Governor Kemp seems to take great pride in Georgia’s schools and has continued to support the public education community for which we are very appreciative.

In his State of the State remarks, Governor Kemp dove right into public education. While most of what is below are the numbers, he took the time during his address to publicly thank the school staff, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and teachers. His remarks were positive and recognized the hard work and effort that has gone into educating students, especially the past 2 years.

During the Governor’s campaign in 2018 he promised a $5,000 raise to teachers and followed through on the first $3,000 of it during the 2019 legislative session. He plans to finalize the $5,000 raise by adding the remaining $2,000 to this year’s budget. This raise will impact K-12 public education teachers, assistant teachers, and pre-k teachers.

In the FY2022 Amended Budget, he recommends a one-time pay supplement of $2,000 to full-time, state-funded instructional staff, school support staff, and school administration and a $1,000, one-time supplement for school bus drivers, nurses, nutrition workers, and part-time employees.

He is also recommending in the FY2023 Budget to eliminate the austerity cut by adding $425 million back to the education budget to fully fund schools. 

All in all, Governor Kemp is recommending $1.4 billion dollars to be placed back into public education between the FY2022 Amended Budget and the FY2023 Budget.

Legislatively, the Governor noted that he plans to work with the General Assembly to give attention to some additional items in the schools: Critical Race Theory, parental bill of rights, fairness in school sports, and obscene material on the internet and in media centers.

It is important to note that the Governor’s budget recommendations are the first step. The House gets the second round so we will see how the negotiations unfold in the coming weeks.

To view the FY2022 Amended and the FY2023 Budget document click here.

FY2022 Amended Budget

=      $93 million for a midterm adjustment based on enrollment growth.

=      $14,582,761 for the State Commission Charter School supplement. 

=      $3.4 million for a midterm adjustment to the State Commission Charter School supplement training and experience. 

=      $233,651 for a midterm adjustment to the charter system grant. 

=      $3 million to reflect growth in the Special Needs Scholarship. 

=      $318 million to provide a one-time salary supplement of $2,000 to full-time employees and $1,000 to parttime employees, to include QBE-funded instructional staff, school support staff, school administration, all school nurses and central administration. 

=      $382,696,501 to offset the austerity reduction for K-12 education. 

=      No change in the Forestland Protection Grant

=      $188 million to replace 1,747 buses statewide over three years at a base bus cost of $88,110 and provide funds for reimbursement of key safety features.

FY2023 Budget

=      $13 million to reflect a change in the Teachers' Retirement System actuarially determined contribution from 19.81% to 19.98%.

=      $43 million for enrollment growth and training and experience. 

=      $35,338,833 for the State Commission Charter School supplement. 

=      $4.7 million for grants for state special charter schools per SB 153 (2021 Session). 

=      $1.3 million for the charter system grant. 

=      $2.8 million for the local charter school grant per SB 59 (2021 Session). 

=      $280,505 for school nurses. 

=      $2.9 million for the Special Needs Voucher. 

=      $103,762 for special education in state institutions. 

=      $287,136,600 to adjust the state base salary schedule to increase salaries for certified teachers and certified employees by $2,000 effective September 1, 2022. 

=      $382,696,501 to offset the austerity reduction for K-12 education. 

=      No change in the Forestland Protection Grant

=      Decrease formula funds for Equalization grants. ($164 million)

=      $3,144,214 to meet the projected need for dual enrollment

=      $289 million Capital Outlay Program 

=      $2,270,000 Purchase career, technical, and agricultural education equipment, statewide.

01/12 - Day 2: Slow but steady

Day 2: Slow but steady
by Justin Pauly on 1/12/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

Day 2 of the legislative session was relatively quiet. The House and Senate convened and conducted their business. Neither chamber took long. 

The buzz today mostly centered around SB 328 from Rules Chairman, Senator Jeff Mullis, which seeks to restructure the Georgia High School Association. Below are a few highlights from the bill summary:

=      to provide for the designation of a nonprofit organization to govern high school athletics in this state; 

=      to provide for definitions; 

=      to provide for a governing structure; 

=      to provide requirements for a board of directors; 

=      to provide for a representative assembly; 

=      to provide for a public liaison advisory committee; 

=      to provide for due process and appeals; 

=      to provide for amendments to the bylaws; 

=      to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; 

=      and for other purposes.

=  To view SB 328 in its entirety click here. We anticipate the first reading of this bill to be tomorrow on day 3 of the session. 

On a lighter note, Governor Kemp announced on Monday, $47 million in GEER II (Governors Emergency Education Relief) funding. This funding will assist K-12 and higher education in addressing continued disruptions due to the pandemic. Click here to view the press release detailing the amounts and categories.

This morning the Governor addressed the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues. During the event he announced plans to provide a tax refund, legislation for retired veterans, and an update to the HOPE scholarships. Read the details of the Governor’s plans and his remarks by clicking here.

Thursday, January 13

10:00 a.m. House & Senate Convene 

11:00 a.m. State of the State, Governor Brian Kemp (Click here to watch the live stream

Friday, January 14

10:00 a.m. House & Senate Convene

01/11 - It’s Tuesday: What a week so far!

It’s Tuesday: What a week so far!
by Justin Pauly on 1/11/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

First and foremost a big congratulations to the University of Georgia for winning the college football national championship. It was definitely a game that did not disappoint and kept us all on the edge of our seat. This was a well deserved win and one heck of a season for the Bulldogs.

While the celebrations continue here are a few updates. On Monday to kick off the week, the House and Senate gaveled in to start the second year of the legislative session. It was mostly ceremonial for both chambers and expedited so that those who were traveling to the game could get moving. The atmosphere was upbeat and positive as most were focused what was to transpire in the hours to come. 

Both chambers set a tentative calendar for the week with today being an off day and business picking back up Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will begin with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s, Eggs and Issues at the Fox Theater tomorrow morning with the session picking back up shortly thereafter. Thursday, Governor Kemp will deliver the State of the State in the House Chamber at 11 a.m. He will preview his accomplishments this past year and his priorities for the session.

As usual GSBA we will keep you up to date of the latest via Capitol Watch. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 12

Senate Convening 10:00 a.m.

House Convening 11:00 a.m.

Thursday, January 13

House & Senate Convene 10:00 a.m.

State of the State 11:00 a.m.

Friday, January 14

House & Senate Convene 10:00 a.m.

01/07 - Just three Days to Go -- Everybody Ready?

Just three Days to Go -- Everybody Ready?
by Angela Palm on 1/7/2022

GSBA-CWO Header

Monday, January 10th is almost here!  For some reason, a lot more people are focusing on a certain football game that night than on the happenings of the morning but the General Assembly will pop into the Capitol long enough to convene the 2022 session and then call it a day.

To help get you back into the legislative groove, here is a list of bills that did not pass last year and where legislators left them. I have added a few of the prefiled bills and one that was in the Senate hopper at the end of the session.  Prefiling a bill does not start the legislative process, it still has to be dropped and move on to the first reading. It gets the author and the idea a bit of publicity sometimes but nothing process-wise.  When a bill is in the hopper, it is starting its legislative path.

There will be a few new faces replacing three legislators who have moved on and a new legislator replacing the late Rep. Mickey Stephens.  Several legislators have already announced they will not run again.  Many more have announced plans to run for a different office.  Qualifying is the first week of March, so everybody still has time to change their mind.  Some of the shuffling during redistricting may impact the actions of some.

Everybody stay tuned, sessions move slow as molasses then suddenly it's off to the races. 

Revenue 

The rainy day fund is at its legal limit with $4.3 billion.  There's a $2.2 billion surplus from FY '21.  FY '22 revenue is up almost 17%, $1.7 billion, over last year through November.  It's good that there is a lot of money because there are also a lot of high dollar needs.  

The FY '22 budget retained a $383 million austerity cut to QBE.  The Governor wants to provide teachers with the remaining portion of the $5000 raise he promised in his 2018 campaign.  In 2019, the House Budget Office estimated the cost of the remaining $2000 raise would be $350 million.  There are needs for mental health funding across the state, public safety costs, needs for additional social workers, Medicaid and many other items. 

Issues Coming Up 

Keep in mind it is an election year.  That sometimes makes it harder to separate the serious from the needed soundbite.  Some of the issues we will see attempts to address are happening around the country.  This blog has a good summary of the national trending topics. 

What we teach, who has input into what we teach, and who approves it is likely to come up in several ways.  What rights parents have is likely to be explored.  There may be discussions around mask mandates, vaccine mandates, schools shifting between in-person and virtual models.  Discussions around age appropriate and inappropriate materials accessible by students online or in the school building will continue. There may be discussion around a prohibition of any sex education in grades K-5. 

And there will undoubtedly be some surprises.  What's a session without those?

UPCOMING SCHEDULE 

Monday, January 10th 

 8:30 AM House will convene (Senate has not announced their schedule)

Wednesday, January 12th 

10:30 State Board Committee meetings begin 

11 AM House will convene

Thursday, January 13th 

9 Am State Board Committe of the Whole convenes 

11 AM State of the State Address