Capitol Watch Day 32

Legislative Day 32


Legislators are in the home stretch as we approach the final weeks of the session. We have 8 days remaining to see bills pass through their respective chamber before sine die on March 29.


Bills This Week


Georgia’s Employment First Act - HB 831 by Rep. Terry Rogers – Establishes the Employment First Georgia Council for all working age citizens with disabilities. PASSED SENATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – In Senate Rules


Health Coordination & Innovation Council of the State - SB 357 - Sen. Dean Burke, MD - Would coordinate health planning and services of all relative state agencies.  PASSED HOUSE HEALTH – In House Rules


Optometric Injection Training SB 382 by Sen. PK Martin – Provides for consultation by the Department of Public Health on optometric training courses.  PASSED HOUSE HEALTH – In House Rules


Micro Hospitals - HB 769 by Rep. Rick Jasperse - CON Reform or Repeal dropped from the bill) This bill reflects the House Rural Development Council recommendations on health care, and among other things allows for micro hospitals. PASSED SENATE HEALTH –In Senate Rules


Harm Reduction/Needle Exchange – HB 161 by Rep. Betty Price, MD. Senate Health – HEARING ONLY


2019 General Appropriations Budget – HB 684 – PASSED HOUSE


Bills to Watch


Long-Term Care Background Checks – SB 406 by Sen. Brian Strickland – Requires background checks for all personnel. House Human Relations and Aging- HEARING EXPECTED


State Nursing Board Transfer to DCH - SB 334 by Sen. Renee Unterman - Move the nursing board from under the Secretary of State's Office to DCH, much like the Composite Medical Board. House Health – HEARING EXPECTED


Out of Network Reform - SB 359 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler - Addresses surprise/out of network billing and reflects the collective efforts of the Medical Association of Georgia and a board coalition of physician specialties.  House Insurance – HEARING EXPECTED


APRN Protocol and Supervision (FORMERLY Independent Practice) SB 351 by Sen. Renee Unterman - AMENDED to allow for expanded supervision only - no RXing authority. House Health – MONITORING – no hearing set at this time


1013 Records Purge/Weapons Concealed Carry License Waiver - HB 999 by Rep. Christian Coomer - Strips GA provision of a records purge of a 1013 for purposes of obtaining a gun and passing a gun background check.  Senate Judiciary – HEARING EXPECTED


Step Therapy - HB 519 by Rep. Sharon Cooper - Addresses the health insurance protocol requiring that certain medications be tried first.  Senate Health – HEARING EXPECTED


PTSD/THC Oil/Marijuana - HB 764 by Rep. David Clark – Allows for small quantities of Low THC oil to be distributed and dispensed to those with PTSD.  Senate Health – HEARING EXPECTED


Distracted Driving - HB 673 by Rep. John Carson – Prohibits actions which distract a driver while operating a motor vehicle.  Senate Judiciary - HEARING EXPECTED


Credit Card Payments from Insurers HB 818 by Rep. Lee Hawkins - Allows the provider an option on payment method by the insurance carriers.  Senate Insurance – HEARING EXPECTED


Commission on Substance Abuse & Recovery - SB 352 by Sen. Renee Unterman - Creates a way for communities and recovery treatment providers to work together to expand access to treatment, sets up a K-12 education strategy designed to educate students about and prevent abuse of substances (both street drugs and household medications); it will also include insurance reforms to protect patients who are undergoing treatment for drug addiction. House Health – Monitoring




Governor Deal Signs Amended FY 2018 Budget


The budget authorized $25.4 billion in spending for the current fiscal year. The additional funding addresses needs within education and human services, and supports statewide economic development efforts. Some highlights:

  • $28.2 m for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid.
  • $1.2 m for hospitals to offset costs due to the high number of flu cases.
  • $15.1 m for child welfare services to care for children in state custody.
  • $3.5 m for autism services for children under 21.


Notes from the March DCH Board Meeting


The board took action on the following items:

  • Unanimously approved the Licensure of Clinical Laboratories Rule Changes, Final Adoption
  • Unanimously approved the Nursing Home Rule Changes, Final Adoption
  • Confirmation that pronouncement of death IS within the scope of practice.
  • Unanimously approved the Hospice Rule Changes, Final Adoption
  • Unanimously approved the Disaster Preparedness Rule Changes, Final Adoption

The next meeting will be on 4/12



Election News


Qualifying officially ended at 12:00 pm today. You can find all of the qualified candidates on the Secretary of State website here. The primary election is Tuesday, May 22nd. The following legislators are either retiring or not seeking re-election:


Sen. David Shafer (Duluth)

Sen. Michael Williams (Cumming)

Sen. Josh McKoon (Columbus)

Rep. Wendell Willard (Sandy Springs)– Chairman of Judiciary

Rep. Howard Maxwell (Dallas) – Chairman of Regulated Industries

Rep. Bubber Epps (Dry Branch) – Chairman of Motor Vehicles

Rep. Buddy Harden (Cordele) – Chairman of Special Rules

Rep. David Casas (Lilburn)

Rep. Buzz Brockway (Lawrenceville)

Rep. Allen Peake (Macon)

Rep. Earl Ehrhart (Powder Springs) – Chairman of Subcommittee Appropriations on Higher Education

Rep. Chad Nimmer (Blackshear) - Chairman of Subcommittee Appropriations on General Government

Rep. Joyce Chandler (Grayson)

Rep. Paul Battles (Cartersville) – Chairman of Retirement

Rep. Rich Golick (Smyrna) – Chairman of Judiciary Non-Civil

Rep. Brad Raffensperger (Johns Creek)

Rep. John Pezold (Columbus)

Click here for the full legislative tracking sheet


Please let us know if you have any questions.

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