We convened for two legislative days this week and Day 20 is officially in the books, so we are technically halfway. But the second half will feel like two halves I’m sure!
The next half of session will only get more demanding and intense. We are working toward our crossover day deadline of March 15th. Crossover day is the last day for a bill to pass either the House or Senate to stay alive for the session (with some tricky exceptions!).
Prayers for Ukraine
Democracy is worth fighting for. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine. Read here to find out ways to help the people of Ukraine.
The Urban Advocate
This week, I wanted to highlight the amazing work that The Urban Advocate organization has done. The Urban Advocate is a grassroots organization whose aim is to identify community gaps & barriers to develop layered approaches focused on solving some of the biggest challenges impacting Black communities. They are currently working on reclaiming space and creating a safe zone at Dunbar recreation complex. You can learn more and donate here.
Votes this Week
HB 1092 or the Georgia Women’s Child Care Alternatives, Resources, and Education Act, would allow eligible 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, and this deferment would not count as “time served” for the offender. The pregnant woman would also have the ability to decline the deferment. Starting in 2023, this legislation would 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. This is a huge win for women and children. I voted yes.
HB 1059 allows an insurance producer or insurer to offer or provide a value-added product under certain circumstances. This means insurance agents can legally gift fire extinguishers or other products that help prevent and mitigate damage. The updated bill removes the language that allowed an insurer or insurance producer to offer or give a charitable donation on behalf of current or prospective customers. I voted yes.
HB 1186 expands the category of individuals whose hearing may be screened for communication disorders by individuals not licensed as audiologists, from infants to three months of age to persons aged zero to 22 years. This expansion would allow more school-aged children to have hearing loss identified. Individuals subject to this law must comply with Department of Health disease reporting requirements. I voted yes.
HB 1217 mandates that school systems and charter schools must update acceptable use of technology policies, which will include installing filters on all computers and computer networks that block access to obscene materials, child pornography, or other materials deemed harmful to minors. The state Department of Education must establish compliance standards and technology specifications on a yearly basis for use by school systems. The systems must include a method of notifying school personnel if a school-issued device has been used in a way that violates use policies and accesses restricted sites or materials. The department may publish a list of providers whose technology solutions meet or exceed standards. The State Board of Education must also add lessons in responsible use of technology and digital citizenship to their character curriculum. I voted yes.
Save the Date!
We will be having our second town hall of the 2022 Legislative Session on March 22nd. State Senator Sonya Halpern and I will bring you the latest news from the Gold Dome post-crossover day and answer any of your questions. Please register here for this virtual event.
Updated COVID-19 guidance from the CDC:
Find a vaccine
Health Department Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line
Monday – Friday 8 AM – 8 PM ET
Saturday – Sunday 8 AM – 5 PM ET
Health Department Vaccine Schedule Web Portal: https://gta-vras.powerappsportals.us/en-US/
Vaccine Finder: https://www.vaccines.gov/
Find a COVID-19 test:
DPH Testing Locations: https://dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting
Order COVID-19 at-home test:
You can request free at-home COVID-19 tests here. You can order four at-home tests per household that will be delivered by the USPS.
Find COVID-19 case and vaccine numbers
DPH Case Dashboard: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report
DPH Vaccine Dashboard:
As always, it is an honor to represent you under the Gold Dome. Please share your thoughts on legislation and let me know if you need help with any state agency.