5 more days!! Next week will be the last full week of session, with the last day (Sine Die) being Monday, April 4th.
This week was full of committee work as Senate Bills make their way through the process. We did consider some bills in the House Floor as well. This coming week will be a busy one for sure.
Tune in Tomorrow!
Join me and my fellow Representative Betsy Holland tomorrow afternoon for a listening session where we will be discussing what’s happening under the Gold Dome. Pre-register here.
Standing up for Georgia Workers
SB 331, misnamed the “Protecting Georgia Businesses and Workers Act,” preempts any local jurisdiction from adopting or enforcing any regulation or rule that would entitle workers to guaranteed hours or schedule predictability.
For example, some service industry jobs require their workers to be “on call,” but the workers are only paid if they are called in to work. This leaves workers unable to predict their schedules and work second jobs because they must be available (without pay) at their first job. Some local governments wanted to enact worker protections requiring businesses to pay workers for “on call time” or guarantee a minimum number of paid hours each week. These are common sense protections that workers deserve.
Georgia should do a better job protecting its workers, but at the least shouldn’t prevent local governments from enacting protections. I voted no and spoke against this bill. You can watch my remarks below.
Other Votes this Week
SB 226 would make banning books easier and more prevalent in our public schools. The bill mandates a complaint process that school boards must put in place to allow parents to object to material that is available to a student currently enrolled in the local school system that may be “harmful to minors.” The standard for “harmful to minors” incorporates the U.S. Supreme Court’s three-part test for identifying obscenity. The bill mandates specific measures and timelines that the complaint process must have, and gives responsibility to the school principal or their designee to determine whether material identified by a current student’s parent meets the standard. Appeals of the school decision are subject to review by the local board of education. Titles of materials that have been objected to but that have been determined not harmful to minors must be published within 15 business days of the decision by the local board of education on its website for at least 12 months, and a parent may request access to appealed materials.
Local school systems already have a process for parents to use to object to material they find obscene. This legislation creates an extensive administrative process that our schools do not have time to deal with. I fear it will lead to principals banning books upon objections from parents simply to avoid this drawn out process. I voted no.
SB 514 or the so-called “Unmask Georgia Students Act,” prohibits any public school board or governing board from making or enforcing any rule that requires students to wear face masks/coverings on any property owned and operated by a local school system unless the rule provides that parents can opt their child(ren) out of the requirement. In order to opt out, there is no requirement to provide a reason and no student shall suffer any consequences as a result. This rule shall apply to local school boards, school superintendents, administrators, teachers and other school personnel, and governing bodies of charter schools. I don’t like tying the hands of our schools to set rules they believe will be best to keep all kids safe. I voted no.
SB 543 prohibits a parent who is determined to be responsible for the homicide of their child from claiming the right to recover against the value of the child’s life (life insurance claims, estate claims, etc.). The primary sponsor of this bill is my friend (and town hall partner!) Senator Sonya Halpern. It is a common sense solution to a problem that has unnecessarily devastated some families in our state. I voted yes.
Thank you to those who attended our “Cross Over” Town Hall
Thank you to those how attended our “Cross Over” Town Hall. Senator Sonya Halpern and I shared updates on bills that are still alive for the session involving public safety, voting rights, healthcare, education, and more! If you missed it, but want to hear the discussion, you can watch below.
Save the Date!
We will be having our last town hall of the 2022 Legislative Session on April 11th at 7pm. State Senator Sonya Halpern and I will bring you the latest news from the Gold Dome post-session and answer any of your questions. Please register here.
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.