2018 Legislative Session – Week 12 Update

This is my final blog update on the 2018 Legislative session! On Tuesday, March 27th, the House met for the 12 and final week of the 40 day session. We completed the last day of session, or “Sine Die,” on March 29th. Last week consisted of busy, late nights as my colleagues and I strived to complete our work. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the bills we were able to pass.

Protecting Victims’ Rights

Last week, the House unanimously passed two adjoining bipartisan measures—Senate Bill 127 and Senate Resolution 146. SB 127 would provide a way for victims to be heard by the court when their constitutional rights to participation and information have been denied. The victim in question would need to make a written request to the prosecuting attorney to be notified of all proceedings, provide appropriate contact information, and proclaim that they have not been notified in order to file a motion to the court to be heard on the issue within 20 days after the violation. SR, or Marsy’s Law, would place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to provide victims explicit rights in Georgia’s Constitution. If Georgia voters approve this amendment, Georgia’s Constitution would grant victims several rights including:

-reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of court proceedings or schedule changes pertaining to the alleged crime,

-reasonable and timely notice of the arrest, release or escape of the accused

-inclusion in any court proceedings

-the opportunity to be heard in any proceedings involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused,

-and to be informed of their rights.

These measures would put our laws in line with other states who have adopted similar legislation in order to protect the rights of crime victims.

Protecting Sexual Assault Victims

The House also passed Senate Bill 154 which outlines consequences in sexual assault cases involving those in authority positions such as police officers. SB 154 would dictate that anyone who engages in sexual conduct with a victim under their care or supervision would be guilty of sexual assault in the second degree and would be required to serve a prison sentence of 1-5 years and fined a maximum of $25,000. However, they would not need to register as a sex offender unless they are convicted of a second or subsequent offense. Those who engage in sexually explicit conduct with a victim in their care or supervision would be guilty of sexual assault in the first degree, would be required to serve a prison sentence of one to 25 years, fined a maximum of $100,000, and would be required to register as a sex offender. SB 154 provides exceptions to these sentencing requirements for offenders who commit sexual assault in either degree if the offender did not have supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim, or if the victim is younger than 16, if the victim is between 14 and 16 and the offender is 18 or younger, if the victim is at least 16, and the offender is younger than 21. Senate Bill 154  would apply to employees/agents of:

– schools,

– community supervision offices

– probation offices

– law enforcement agencies

– hospitals

– correctional facilities

– juvenile detention facilities

– disability services facilities or child welfare and youth services facilities

– psychotherapy counseling fields, 

–  licensed facilities that provide drug and alcohol treatment,

– and senior living care or hospice services.

The point of this measure is to hold authority persons accountable who have our most vulnerable citizens under their care.

Update In Criminal Justice Reform

Another unanimously passed bill from last week was Senate Bill 407. SB 407 consists of updates to criminal justice reform based on recommendations from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. These updates include:

-authorizing courts of inquiry to set bail for city ordinance violations

-requiring courts to only impose conditions that are reasonably necessary to ensure court attendance and protect public safety

-requiring courts to consider the accused’s financial resources, earnings, and other economic factors when determining bail.

-In local ordinance violations cases, the court would be authorized to allow the defendant to satisfy any fines or fees through community service, and courts would be able to waive, modify, or convert fines and fees if the defendant has undergoing financial hardship.

Under SB 407, the Judicial Council of Georgia would create a uniform misdemeanor citation and complaint form for use by law enforcement officials and the bill would allow misdemeanors to be prosecuted by accusation, citation or citation and arrest. Additionally, SB 407 would expand the list of misdemeanor crimes an officer can arrest by citation. Prior to the offender’s release, an officer would need to review the accused’s criminal record and ensure that the accused’s fingerprints are obtained. This bill would authorize accountability court judges to order the Department of Driver Services to reinstate or revoke driver’s licenses or limited permits as a reward of sanction for actions in the accountability court, and the court would be able to grant petitions for early termination of probation that the state does not oppose within 90 days of receiving the petition. SB 407 would cap supervision fees collected on pay-only probation at the rate in the private probation company’s contract, and the court would provide probationers who fail to report a 10-day grace period from the time the officer mails a letter to the probationer, as long as the probationer reports. This bill also includes provisions pertaining to firearm theft and those prohibited from firearm possession. SB 407 would authorize the Department of Community Health to share info on the prescription drug monitoring program database with federal agents and would allow for disclosure to out-of-state prescription drug monitoring programs operated by governmental entities. Lastly, SB 407 would allow Technical College System police officers to arrest for offenses committed on or within 500 feet of a Technical College System property. Under Governor Deal, our state has made significant strides in criminal justice reform. Senate Bill 407 will serve to further define and improve Georgia’s criminal justice system.

Updates in Child Support Laws

The House passed Senate Bill 427 which would require the courts to consider an obligor’s, or an individual that owes child support, earnings, income, ability to pay child support, and the basic needs of the recipients of such child support when making decision about child support costs. If a parent cannot produce reliable evidence of earnings, his or her income for the current year may be assigned by the court based on the parent’s ability to earn and other economic factors. If the parent is incarcerated, his or her income may be assigned based on their actual income and available assets, not based on their pre-incarceration wages. SB 427 would also prohibit courts from treating incarceration as willful or voluntary unemployment or underemployment when setting child support costs. Additionally, SB 427 provides that a child’s enrollment in a public health care program, such as Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids, may satisfy the health care requirement for providing for the child’s health care needs in a child support order. Such enrollment however would not prevent a court from ordering parents to insure their child. 

Promoting Post-Graduation Success

Under Senate Bill 401, would require postsecondary institutions that provide dual credit courses to provide enrollment and student record data to the Office of Student Achievement and to the statewide longitudinal data system. Also, the Office of Student Achievement would collect and monitor enrollment and student record data for dual credit courses and would annually measure and evaluate the dual enrollment program. Senate Bill 401 would require middle school students to be provided with counseling and information to assist them in evaluating their career oriented aptitudes. Students would develop a graduation plan with their parents or guardians based on academic skills, career aptitudes and interests before the end of the eighth grade. Under this legislation, the Department of Education would be required to review each school counselor’s role, workload, and program service delivery in grades 6-12th. The department would report findings to the State Board of Education and the Georgia General Assembly including recommendations for improvements for counselors to ensure student success in academic skills, career oriented aptitude, and career interests. Finally, SB 401 includes provisions that would help prepare students in Kindergarten-9th grade to address sexual abuse, and will allow funding for students taking dual credit courses at eligible eligible postsecondary institutions that use nonstandard term systems.

Rural Georgia & Metro Atlanta Improvements

On March 29th, the House finally passed two significant measures—Senate Bill 402 and House Bill 930. SB 402 contains technical changes to facilitate broadband expansion to rural areas including implementing grant programs for rural broadband. House Bill 930 would create a new regional governance and funding structure for transit in Metro Atlanta. This bill means to improve the coordination, integration, and efficiency of transit in the 13-county Metro Atlanta region.

Passing A Balanced Budget

Before we officially adjourned Sine Die for 2018, the House gave final passage to House Bill 684— The Fiscal Year 2019 ( FY 2019) budget. The FY 2019 budget includes $166.7 million for local school systems, $16 million for school security, $100 million in bonds for transit, and additional funds the meet several, various needs of the state.


With Sine Die competed, the General Assembly has adjourned for this year’s 40 day session. Over the next 40 days, Governor Deal will review and sign or veto measures that were passed during session. Any piece of legislation not signed or vetoed within those 40 days will become law.  I encourage you to reach out to me with questions and concerns about the bills the General Assembly have been working on. You are always welcome to come and visit me at my capitol office located at 601-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta, GA 30334.

You can view my committee assignments for legislative term here. Please feel free to contact me by phone at 404.656.0254, or by email at dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov. Don’t hesitate to reach out throughout the legislative session with any opinions or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

2018 Legislative Session – Week 11 Update

Last week, Chipper Jones visited the Capitol and was commended for his outstanding baseball career.

My colleagues and I began the 11th week of this year’s legislative session on Monday, March 19th at the Capitol. With the finish line in sight, we are working towards passing key bills and resolutions before adjourning this 40-day session on March 29th.  In this blog post, I’ll share some of the bills we were able to pass.

A Response to School Violence

On Monday, the House unanimously adopted House Resolution 1414. This resolution would create the House Study Committee on School Security to study ways to curb incidences of violence in order to provide safer learning environments for students, teachers, and staff members. HR 1414 is a response to the recent, tragic mass shooting that has devastated our country. The 9-member House Study Committee on School Security would explore conditions, needs, and issues associated with school security in order to recommend legislation necessary for preventing similar tragedies. The committee would hold 5 hearing to discuss ways to decrease violence in schools and also how to respond if is does occur. Any findings for proposed legislation would be filed by December 1st, 2018.

Improvements in Education & Future Employment

The House also passed Senate Bill 139 and House Bill 759  last week which are additional pieces of legislation concerning our state’s students. SB 139 would allow local school systems, charter schools, colleges, and career academies to create and submit new focused programs of study to the State Board of Education for consideration. Examples of current focused programs are finance information technology and health and science manufacturing. SB 139 would require the State Workforce Development Board to develop and promote an annual list of industry credentials and state licenses that students can earn in middle or high school such as computer certifications. This list would include credentials and licenses related to high-demand occupations with wages of at least 70% of Georgia’s average annual wage. Local school systems would be required to submit an annual report to the Department of Education with the number of students who are earning an industry credential or state license from the high-demand careers list, and the Department of Education would report the number of students earning such credentials or licenses to the governor, president of the Senate and speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as post the list on their website each year. Lastly, House Bill 759 would expand the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program by allowing students who previously qualified for the scholarship to be exempt from the requirement that the student must attend a Georgia public school the year prior. These measures will further equip our state’s students to find meaningful employment after completing their education.

Veteran Mental Health

My colleagues and I adopted House Resolution 1137 which urges the president and Congress to enact federal legislation that would provide members of the armed forces with mental and physical health assistance prior to being discharged. As you may already know, service members often return home with PTSD and other mental or emotional health conditions that make returning to civilian life difficult. We must do what we can to provide the necessary support for these men and women to help them transition back to normalcy.

Protecting Lottery Winners

The House passed Senate Bill 331  in order to protect the identities of Georgia’s lottery winners. SB 33l would require the Georgia Lottery Corporation to keep all information on lottery winners of $250,000 or more confidential upon the winner’s written request. As it stands,  lottery winners may request for their identity to be protected but news sources can still obtain information. Other states have implemented similar legislation in order to prevent lottery winners from scams and additional life-threatening possibilities. SB 331 would give lottery winners the ability to truly remain anonymous and protect themselves and their family members.

Fighting Dementia-Related Diseases

In order to make sure that citizens with dementia-related diseases are best cared for, the House passed Senate Bill 444 or the “Senator Thorborn ‘Ross’ Tolleson, Jr. Act.” This bill would establish the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan Advisory Council to Advise the governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Human Services, and all other state agencies on the state’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan. The council would recommend strategies to reach the state plan’s objectives and will review progress towards these goals and how resources for individuals with dementia-related diseases have been implemented. This council will consist of leaders in various health, human services and aging-related departments, divisions associations, councils, and committees. Additionally, the governor would appoint individuals with expertise in relevant fields to the council. Lastly, this council would submit a report to the governor and the General Assembly on their work every three years.

Connectivity For all Citizens

The last bill I want to share with you is Senate Bill 402 or the “Achieving Connectivity Everywhere (ACE) Act.” This act would lay the groundwork for expanding broadband services throughout the state by promoting public-private partnerships. The Georgia Technology Authority would be authorized to create any programs or policies needed to coordinate statewide broadband implementation efforts. Under this legislation:

– The Department of Transportation would plan for and implement a policy for the use of rights-of-way on interstate highways and state-owned roads to deploy broadband services.

-Qualifying electric membership corporations and telephone cooperatives would be allowed to provide and operate broadband services, wireless services, and other emerging communications technologies.

-The “Georgia Broadband Ready Community Site Designation Program,” would be established to allow communities to apply to be designated as “broadband ready,’ qualifying them for grant programs and tax exemptions.

-The Department of Community Affairs would develop the “Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative,” to offer funding for qualified broadband providers to deliver broadband services in unserved areas.

Lastly, SB 402 would outline the rates and fees charged for attachments to utility poles and wireless support structures belonging to a local authority, local governing authority, political subdivision providing retail electric service, EMC, and cooperative. The goal of SB 402 is to ensure that all Georgia citizens, especially our state’s rural citizens, have access to high-speed internet.


My colleagues and I are currently in the 12th and final week of this year’s legislative session. We will adjourn on March 29th.  You are always welcome to come and visit me at my capitol office located at 601-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta, GA 30334. You can view my committee assignments for legislative term here. Please feel free to contact me by phone at 404.656.0254, or by email at dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov. Don’t hesitate to reach out throughout the legislative session with any opinions or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

2018 Legislative Session – Week 10 Update

March 14th was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the Capitol. Gov. Deal addressed several members from GA’s law enforcement agencies to recognize them for their service.

My colleagues and I reconvened for the 10th week of session on Monday, March 12th. There are only a few working days left in this year’s session, so the House is busy with committee meetings and passing Senate measures. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the bills we were able to pass.

Senate Bill 357 – The Health Act

In order to improve our state’s healthcare policies, the house passed Senate Bill 357”The Health Act.” This bill would establish the Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia under the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget to coordinate components of our state’s health care system. SB 357 would also establish an advisory board to provide guidance to the council. Responsibilities of this 18-member council would be to bring together academic, industry, and government experts and leaders to share information, organize functions of Georgia’s health care system, and develop innovative ways to stabilize costs and improve access to quality care. Members would conduct research in order to identify Georgia’s health needs and would promote cooperation between private and public agencies. This council will consist of commissioners and directors from health and human services-related departments and divisions, including a director of health care policy & strategic planning, and health care professionals appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the House of Representatives. This bill is vital for addressing issues in our health care systems and providing citizens with the best quality care.

Updates in Autism Treatment

Another health care related bill that my colleagues and I were able to pass is Senate Bill 118. This bill would ensure that children with autism have access to the necessary treatments and therapists in order to lead healthy lives. SB 118 would increase the age coverage for autism spectrum disorder treatments from 6 years old to 20 years old and would increase the coverage limit from $30,000 to $35,000 per year. Lastly, this bill would require insurers to provide coverage for applied behavior analysis, which is considered a necessary medical treatment for Autism. If signed by Gov. Deal, SB 118 would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. I hope to see every child with autism receive the treatment they need to live a healthy, successful life.

Preventing Elderly Abuse

The House passed Senate Bill 406 which would create the Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program. This program would require elder-care providers in personal care homes or other assisted living facilities to undergo fingerprint-based criminal background checks. This would apply to owners, applicants for employments, and current employees. If signed into law, SB 406 would take effect on Oct.1, 2019 for new applicants and on Jan. 1, 2021 for existing employees and owners. Additionally, the Department of Community Health would establish and maintain a central caregiver registry so that a family member or guardian seeking to hire a caregiver for an elderly person would have access to information on eligible and ineligible persons.

House Resolution 1376 -The RDC and Health care

House Resolution 1376 urges the House Rural Development Council (RDC) to solicit input from Georgia’s hospitals on their financial conditions, including profitability, community benefit, cash revenue, and viability projections for hospitals in financial crisis. This resolution would encourage the RDC to hear from the hospital industry on any changes or legislation that would help sustain our state’s health care system. There is a wide discrepancy among hospitals concerning how much indigent and charity care they provide. Some Georgia hospitals are doing well while others suffer or are even at risk of closing their doors. This measure would provide the RDC with the information they need to improve hospitals in rural Georgia.

Senate Bill 330 – Improvements in Agriculture

The House passed Senate Bill 330, also known as the Georgia Agricultural Education Act. This bill would require agricultural education programs for students in grades 6 through 12 to be based on the nationally recognized 3-component model of school-based agricultural education. This 3-component model would consist of:

-daily classroom and lab instruction,

-hands-on learning through a supervised agricultural experience program,

-and leadership & learning opportunities through participation in agricultural education programs.

The Department of Education would be in charge of creating curriculum and standards for the program with input from agricultural educators. Lastly, this bill would allow the Department of Education to create an elementary agricultural education pilot program to determine whether such a program should be implemented throughout the state. Agriculture is the biggest industry in Georgia, so we would do well to encourage the proper instruction and opportunities to our young citizens.

HOPE & Georgia’s Armed Forces Members

Senate Bill 82 would allow members of the Georgia National Guard or of a reserve component located in Georgia to be classified as legal residents under eligibility requirements for HOPE scholarships and grants. Eligible individuals would be Georgia National Guard members or reservists stationed in Georgia or those who list Georgia as their home. Under current law, only active-duty military service members, their spouses and dependent children are eligible to receive HOPE scholarships and grants. This bill would expand this benefit so more men and women who serve the state of GA can have access to higher education.

Senate Bill 17- The “Brunch Bill”

Senate Bill 17 would allow local governing authorities to authorize alcoholic beverage sales beginning at 11 AM on Sundays. This bill would only apply to licensed establishments that derive at least 50% of their total annual gross sales from food sales or from room rentals for overnight lodging. If signed into law, the results of this bill is expected to increase sales by $100 million and generate approx. $11 million in additional state and local tax revenue. SB 17 would allow voters to decide whether to approve of early Sunday sales within their communities.

As this year’s session comes to a close, I encourage you to reach out to me with questions and concerns about the bills the General Assembly is working on passing. You are always welcome to come and visit me at my capitol office located at 601-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta, GA 30334. You can view my committee assignments for legislative term here. Please feel free to contact me by phone at 404.656.0254, or by email at dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov. Don’t hesitate to reach out throughout the legislative session with any opinions or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

2018 Legislative Session – Week 9 Update

Monday, March 5th, marked the 9th week of the 2018 legislative session. The week consisted of committee hearings and reviewing Senate bills. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the measures we were able to pass including the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

Passing a Balanced Budget for 2019

My colleagues and I are required to pass a balanced budget for each year. On March 9th, we passed House Bill 684—the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) budget. The FY 2019 budget is $26 billion which is an increase of $1.03 billion over the 2018 budget. Continue reading to learn how these funds are allocated.

Improvements in Rural Georgia

The House Rural Development Council (RDC) is tasked with studying the needs of rural Georgia in order to discover ways to boost the economy and health of the area. A portion of the FY 2019 budget is allocated towards several initiatives that will help these rural areas based on the recommendation of the RDC. The budget includes funds for:

– The Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown marketing program – a downtown development attorney to help Georgia’s small towns secure redevelopment grants,
-A deputy commissioner of rural Georgia
-The Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovations
-Soft skills training and character education development for rural Georgia’s lowest performing schools
-Education: a mobile audiology clinic and a birth to five literacy & numeracy.
-Rural health programs: 2 rural surgical fellowships at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital, a statewide residency recruitment fair for rural medical facilities, insurance premium assistance for physicians who practice in underserved counties with one or less physicians, 10 regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training positions to train EMS personnel in rural Georgia, and the Rural Health Systems Innovation Center.

Funding for Education

A large portion of the budget is always allocated towards education. The FY 2019 budget allocates:

-$119.5 million for K-12 enrollment growth and training and experience for an additional 6,552 students and 1,869 teachers.
-$361.7 million for the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) to support 117,957 retired and 218,193 active TRS members.
-Funding for two Advanced Placement exams, one STEM exam and one non-STEM exam, for low-income students, as well as dollars for the new Chief Turnaround Officer program to help Georgia’s schools in most need of assistance.
-$1.6 million for a student mental health awareness training program, including response and intervention training, for students in preschool through 12th grade.
-$111 million for the University System of Georgia enrollment growth and increased square footage.
-$5.5 million for the Technical College System of Georgia enrollment growth and increased square footage.
-$27.1 million for the Dual Enrollment program.
-$2.7 million for 1,177 additional HOPE and Zell Miller private scholarships.
-$65.3 million for 27,832 more HOPE and Zell Miller public scholarships.
-$8 million for school security grants to improve security in response to the recent tragic school shooting in Florida

Funding for Healthcare

Another significant portion of the FY 2019 budget will go towards improvements in the heathcare system. The budget allocates:

-$16.9 million for a 4.3 percent provider rate increase for nursing homes.
-$962,022 for increased background checks for long-term care facility owners and employees.
-Funding for a program coordinator position and to develop capacity in the Department of Community Health and the Department of Public Health to provide behavioral health services to autistic children under the age of 21.
-$568,057 towards the Marcus Autism Center to cover the cost of treating autistic children with the greatest needs.
-$2 million to address Georgia’s maternal mortality rates.
-Funds for Mental Health initiatives- funding for four new respite homes, 13 new Georgia APEX Program grants to expand mental health services to students in 100 more schools, telemedicine equipment and services, and high-fidelity wraparound services training. Additionally, funding is allocated to expand the Georgia Crisis Access Line’s operating hours and create a mobile application to provide mental health crisis services. Lastly, $2.2 million is allocated for Department of Human Services care coordinator positions to improve mental health outcomes for foster care children.

Needs of the State

The FY 2019 budget also allocates funds to meet other various needs and implement economic development projects. For example:

– $15.1 million for growth in out-of-home care and $15.2 million in additional funding to increase foster care per diem rates for relative and child placement agency foster care providers.
-Funding to clear hurricane debris and remove sunken vessels along our coastlines
-Funding for Georgia’s accountability courts and for 9 additional assistant district attorney positions and 9 assistant public defenders to support juvenile courts.
-Funding for transportation infrastructure construction, maintenance, and improvements.

The entire budget includes funding for several more needs, visit this link for more info-FY 2019 budget 

Small businesses – The Fast Act

In addition to passing the budget, the House was able to pass Senate Bill 2—“The FAST Act – Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency – Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed.” This bill would enhance accountability, expedite local government permitting processes, and reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses by removing certain regulations that make it more difficult to conduct business in Georgia. It would allow the Department of Community Affairs to establish “Ready for Partnership Georgia,” which is a voluntary best-practices certification program for each county and municipality in Georgia. Under SB 2, a 13-member group would develop best practices and standards for certifying counties and municipalities as “Ready for Partnership Georgia” and would establish a process to review, renew, and revoke the certifications. The certification would be based on metrics including county or municipality licensing and permitting fees, the time required by the local government to process license and permit applications, and the consolidation of forms & documents to avoid repetitive or duplicative information requests.

The BRACE Act

Another measure we successfully passed was House Resolution 1225. This resolution urges Congress to pass the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act. This act would make permanent the federal Railroad Track Maintenance Tax Credit, also known as the 45G tax credit, which would be used for rail improvement and enhancements. The 45G tax credit allowed short line and regional rail lines to claim 50 cents for every dollar spent, up to $3,500, per mile on track improvements. According to findings of the RDC, the BRACE Act would greatly boost the economic growth of rural Georgia. A permanent 45G tax credit would incentivize continued rail maintenance and improvements.

Improvements in Education

House Resolution 1162 would create the House Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process to explore whether a state accreditation process for Georgia’s public schools and school systems should be formed. This committee would have 5 members that would explore the resources and structure needed for a state accreditation entity. This committee would also look at ways to align accreditation review with charter renewal for charter systems and contract renewal for strategic waivers school systems, explore the possibility of creating a state process to review system charters and contracts, study potential consequences of losing state accreditation, and review the possibility of creating a school board review commission. The study committee chairperson will report any findings and recommendations by Dec. 1 2018 and the committee will adjourn.

Adoption law update

I’m excited to share the Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 159 into law on March 5th. HB 159 will update Georgia’s adoption laws by making the adoption process more streamlined and modern. I applaud State Rep Bert Reeves for refining this bill for nearly 2 and a half years in order to bring Georgia’s adoption process up to date and in line with the rest of the country.

We are currently on day 35 of the 40 day session. As this year’s session comes to a close, I encourage you to reach out to me with any questions about the bills my colleagues and I are working on. Thank you for reading!

You are always welcome to come and visit me at my capitol office located at 601-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta, GA 30334. You can view my committee assignments for legislative term here. Please feel free to contact me by phone at 404.656.0254, or by email at dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov. Don’t hesitate to reach out throughout the legislative session with any opinions or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

2018 Legislative Session – Week Four Update

Here I am with Gov. Deal and Ansley Frickey, the Page for the Day.

On Monday, Jan 29th my colleagues and I reconvened for the 4th week of this year’s legislative session. The week was comprised of bill proposal hearings and passing legislation that will positively affect the lives of Georgia citizens. In this blog post, I want to share with you some details on bills concerning adoption, tax reform, retirement benefits for law enforcement, and the preservation of our state’s ecosystem.

Adoption Law Updates

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that our state’s adoption laws would soon be modernized. House Bill 159  passed unanimously in the House. The House worked with the Senate & the governor’s office to make some amendments and create a bill we could all agree on. This bill includes:

A four-day revocation period– Currently, birth mothers have 10 days to revoke surrender of the child. This new version of HB 159 will cut that time down to 4 days in order to balance out the rights of the birth mother and those of the adoptive parents.

Reasonable living expense update– At present, only birth mothers in agency adoptions are allowed reasonable living expenses. Updates to HB 159 would allow birth mothers to receive reasonable living expenses in private and agency adoptions.

Updates to repeal conflicting laws– HB 159 includes safeguards on temporary powers of attorney. It also requires local boards of education to extend maternity leave and other benefits to adoptive parents. You can read additional, similar updates here.

The updated version of HB 159 is now in the Senate and will soon be on its way to Gov. Deal’s desk for approval. This is an exciting piece of legislation for future adoptive parents and for our state’s children. I will keep you updated on the bills progress in later blog posts.

House Bill 661 and 694-Tax Reform

Another bill that passed unanimously was House Bill 661 which would make the process for filing and removing tax liens against real estate more efficient and transparent. This bill would:

-remove the current provision concerning statewide liens and revert back to county specific liens,

-require every tax lien against realty to be filed with the superior clerk in the county where the real estate is located,

-and increase transparency for taxpayers by updating the Department of Revenue’s process to electronic-based transactions as opposed to paper-based.

 
The House also passed another bill concerning tax reform last week. House Bill 694 would update the way motor fuel distributors and wholesalers submit their monthly motor fuel tax reports to the Department of Revenue. Currently, distributors file reports electronically if they owe the department $500 or more. This updated bill would require distributors to submit all monthly reports electronically, regardless of the distributor’s tax liability.

House Bill 135-Retirement benefits for DDS Investigators 

House Bill 135 would expand the term “law enforcement officer” to include Department of Driver Services (DDS) investigators. Investigators would qualify to receive up to an additional 5 years of creditable service in the state’s Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) for past law enforcement service. DDS investigators that are not already receiving retirement benefits from a local government for the same service and/or if they have been a member of the retirement system for at least 10 years will not be eligible. This bill updates a measure from last year that made it possible for all other law enforcement officers to receive creditable service through ERS.

House Bill 671-Specialty License Plate

The last bill I want to share with you concerns our state’s official state insect—the honey bee. Georgia is the 3rd largest bee producer and the 10th largest honey producer in the US. House Bill 671  would create a specialty license plate to promote honey bee conservation in order to protect an essential player in our state’s ecosystem. All the proceeds from license plate sales will go to the Georgia Beekeepers Association. This effort will raise awareness about honey bee endangerment and support beekeeper education, prison beekeeping, grants for beekeeping organizations, and research facilities.


The 28th day of the 40-day legislative session is called “Crossover Day.” This is the last day for a bill to move from one chamber to another. This means that my colleagues and I will be working diligently as we approach Crossover Day to make sure certain bills get the opportunity to be signed into law this year.

You are always welcome to come and visit me at my capitol office located at 601-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta, GA 30334. You can view my committee assignments for legislative term here. Please feel free to contact me by phone at 404.656.0254, or by email at dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov. Don’t hesitate to reach out throughout the legislative session with any opinions or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

2018 Legislative Session – Week Two Update

The House honored former Covington Mayor Samuel Ramsey with House Resolution 877 for his many accomplishments.

Last Tuesday, January 16th, marked the second week of this year’s legislative session. My colleagues and I spent the majority of the week with one of our most pressing responsibilities—working on the budget. The General Assembly is required to pass a balanced budget every year, and we do that by hearing from committees, state agency heads, and reviewing Governor Deal’s recommendations. The House and Senate Appropriations committee met throughout the week for joint budget hearings.

Gov. Deal’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget (FY 2019 budget) proposal is the largest to date in Georgia’s history! Our state has seen tremendous economic growth over the past few years, and this proposal reflects that. Georgia’s economic success paves the way for even greater improvements in education, transportation, healthcare, and other areas that affect all citizens.

Each year that we are able to maintain our title of the “No. 1 State in which to do Business” means more possibilities for growth in countless areas. The Governor highlighted the fact that Atlanta is a contender to host Amazon’s second headquarters. Our state economy has been consistently improving, so this does not surprise me!

Gov Deal gave his budget recommendations for several areas that I will highlight below.

TRASPORTATION

The FY 2019 budget recommendations appropriates a great deal to our state’s infrastructure to ensure that it grows with our population and transportation needs.

  • $1.9 billion to maintain and enhance our transportation infrastructure
  • $100 million for bridge repair and replacement
  • $25 million allocated from the Amended Fiscal Year 2018 budget (AFY 2018 budget) to expand runways at 11 airports.

 

EDUCATION

Gov. Deal has also allocated a great deal of funds to our state’s education system. Investing in our state’s future leaders is vital to our state’s continued success. The AFY 2018 budget includes:

  • $102.1 million for a midterm adjustment for K-12 enrollment growth
  • $10.7 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program.
  • Fund allocation recommendations for the FY 2019 budget include:
    $30 million to assist low‐wealth school districts
  • $127.6 million to fund K-12 enrollment growth and training for Georgia teachers.
  • $1.8 million for the REACH Georgia Scholarship program.
  • $361.7 million for our state’s Teachers Retirement System

 

HEALTHCARE

Georgia has invested nearly $240 million in behavioral health since 2011. Because of this, we have see a notable decline in the number of citizens committed into our behavioral health hospitals. We want to see even more improvements in healthcare in the years to come. Gov. Deal’s healthcare recommendations include:

  • $15 million to continue to fund Georgia’s intellectual and developmental disabilities waiver services and to provide supportive housing for Georgians in need.
  • $ 3.5 million from the AFY 2018 budget and $7 million from the FY 2019 budget towards the Children’s Autism Initiative.
  • $22.9 million to fund crisis services, therapeutic foster care, Apex grants, telehealth services, suicide prevention, wraparound services, supported employment and education, and opioid prevention & treatment.

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

In my last blog post, I highlighted the success of accountability courts. These court systems provide alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders. The FY 2019 budget includes allocations for $5 million towards accountability courts, so we can continue establishing and operating them throughout our state. This will help low-level offenders get the assistance they need to get back on track and keep them out of the prison system.
Programs & Initiatives

Gov. Deal lastly gave his budget recommendations for certain programs and initiatives to meet the needs of Georgia citizens’ overall well-being. This included:

  • $15.1 million for growth in out‐of‐home care utilization
  • $10.1 million to continue to increase Georgia’s foster parent per diem rates
  • $3.6 million to increase out‐of‐home care provider rates
  • $256 million for Medicaid expense growth and to offset federal revenue and settlement loss.

The General Assembly heard more budget proposals from Gov. Deal that I will update you on as session continues. The House Appropriations subcommittees will hear and review even more proposals this week. Leaders of these subcommittees will eventually pass along their respective portion of the budget to their committees before the draft goes before the full House Appropriations Committee. This committee is tasked with reviewing and passing balanced budgets for AFY 2018 and FY 2019.

MORE SESSION UPDATES – HOUSE BILL 159

Last week, the Senate passed their version of HB 159. This bill passed unanimously in last year’s session and would modernize our state’s adoption laws for the first time in nearly 30 years. The House will review the Senate’s amendments the this bill, and we hope to get this bill signed into law very soon!


As you read this, my colleagues and I are working towards creating a balanced budget for our state and passing legislation that will support our state’s continued growth. Return next week to learn about the third week of the 2018 legislative session!

You are always welcome to come and visit me at my capitol office located at 601-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta, GA 30334. You can view my committee assignments for legislative term here.

Please feel free to contact me by phone at 404.656.0254, or by email at dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov. Don’t hesitate to reach out throughout the legislative session with any opinions or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

Session Has Begun – Week One Update 2018

On January 8th, the House joined together for the first week of the 2018 legislative session. This is an exciting and important time for my colleagues and I. We are currently hard at work on passing legislation that will improve the lives of Georgia citizens. The first order of business was for Governor Nathan Deal to deliver his final annual State of the State address.

After four decades of service to the state of Georgia, Governor Deal will retire. We were all encouraged by his speech which covered his hopes for the future and how far Georgia has come. Since Gov. Deal has been in office, Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped from 10.4% to 4.3%, over 675,000 private sector jobs have been created, and Georgia has been named the number 1 state to do business with for the last 5 years.

I’m sure you have noticed the increase in GA film production over the past few years. Gov. Deal touched on this as well. There are now over 200 new companies located in the state of Georgia in support of our growing film industry. An impressive 92,000 jobs are tied to this industry! In addition to this, roughly 1,900 students have taken courses at the Georgia Film Academy. These individuals will eventually go on to support and further grow the industry. I’m excited to see how far our state goes in this area.

Gov. Deal touched on our improvements in education as well. Since he took office, state spending on education has seen a $3.6 billion increase which brings us to $14 billion in state education expenditures. You may recall the allocation of funds to create the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. This center opened in June 2017 to give educators the skills they need to improve literacy in our schools. Gov. Deal highlighted the center’s namesake First lady Sandra Deal for her terrific work as an educator.

My colleagues and I were also reminded of how far the HOPE Scholarship has come. When Gov. Deal took office back in 2011, the HOPE Scholarship and other grant programs were nearing bankruptcy. In response to this, Gov. Deal created reforms that kept these programs afloat along with the HOPE Career Grant program. This program covers the cost of technical school tuition for students in one of the 17 strategic industry, high-demand fields. 99.2% of these students have found employment!

The state of Georgia has also seen great strides in criminal justice reform initiatives. For example, our state’s accountability courts have been successful to say the least. These courts provide sentencing alternatives for non-violent offenders and have significantly decreased the prison population. Today, there are 149 reform programs and all of Georgia’s judicial circuits manage at least one kind of accountability court.

Finally, Gov. Deal spoke on his budget recommendations. For the Amended Fiscal Year 2018 budget he proposed:

  • $102 million for K-12 enrollment growth
  • $10.7 million for growth in Georgia’s Dual Enrollment program
  • $43.6 million for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid
  • $15.1 million for child welfare services to care for children in state custody
  • $2.4 million for autism services for children under the age of 21
  • $17.6 million for Forestland Protection Act grants
  • $10 million for beach nourishment projects
  • $25.2 million for airport runway extension projects

For the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Gov. Deal proposed:

  • $361.7 million for the Teachers Retirement System
  • $127 million for K-12 education
  • $30 million to assist low-wealth school systems
  • $28.8 million for child welfare services to fund out-of-home care growth and foster care per diem increases
  • $22.9 million to implement recommendations from the Commission on Children’s Mental Health
  • $5 million for accountability courts to implement new courts and expand existing courts
  • $31 million for transportation
  • $100 million to repair roads and bridges

 

These recommendations will guide the General Assembly’s decisions as we do our best to create a balanced budget.You will learn more about what will be included in the budgets as session continues.

While most of this first week of session was spent getting to work on legislative decisions, we took time to celebrate College Football Playoff National Championship Day. On the first day of session, the House adopted House Resolution 867 which recognizes Dan Corso, president of Atlanta Sports Council, and commends the Atlanta Football Host Committee for organizing the championship game. While we were not victorious, hosting the National Championship was a first for Georgia and that is something to be proud of!


We are currently in our second week of session working towards creating important, impactful legislation for the state of Georgia. Each week, you can return to my blog to read updates on the 2018 legislative session.

You are always welcome to come and visit me at my capitol office located at 601-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta, GA 30334. You can view my committee assignments for legislative term here.

Please feel free to contact me by phone at 404.656.0254, or by email at dale.rutledge@house.ga.gov. Don’t hesitate to reach out throughout the legislative session with any opinions or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

Holiday Light Spectacular at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Holiday Lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway

The Atlanta Motor Speedway is full of fun year-round and the holiday season is certainly no exception. I hope you’re prepared for some festive fun because the Holiday Light Spectacular will stop you in your tracks. There are so many activities that you will be able to find something to please everyone you bring along.

Start your night off by driving through the giant winter wonderland light display. Here you can expect everything from giant reindeer flying above your head to long lighttunnelsof over three million lights. After the grand entrance, head down to the Village for your kids to meet Santa and tell him all of the things they are wishing for this Christmas. After that, head down to my personal favorite part: the carnival. If you love Ferris wheels, carousels, games, face painting, and delicious holidaytreats, this is the spot for you. With a wristband, you will have unlimited rides all night! Don’t worry mom, there is plenty for you to enjoy too. Santa’s Village has tons of shopping at local business vendors so you can get all of your holiday shopping done and maybe even buy a little something for yourself. After all of the fun, I know your stomachs will be growling so I recommend heading to Tannery Row Ale House to sit back, relax, and enjoy an exceptional dining experience. If you’re still hungry at the end of the night, you can sit by the open fire to warm up and enjoy frees’mores.

Need even more reasons to race down to the speedway? This Friday just so happens to be Cookies for a Cause where you can #DecorateforDonations alongside local Metro Atlanta Chefs. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Speedway Children’s Charities and will remind you and your family what this season is really all about. If you can’t make it on Friday, plan to head over on Saturday for a showing of The Polar Express. All of  this fun is waiting for you in Henry County at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I hope you get the chance to enjoy celebrating at this great local attraction with your loved ones.

The Holiday Light Spectacular is open every day until Wednesday, December 30th this year, except on Christmas Day. Show hours are from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm through the end of the month.

Source: Holiday Light Spectacular Info and Atlanta Motor Speedway

Photo Credit: Holiday Light Spectacular Info

March 8, 2013 Weekly Update

 

Week Ending March 8, 2013

As your representatives, it is important for us to consider your views throughout the legislative process.  Please feel free to call our capitol office at 404-656-0109 or email us to tell us what you think about the issues facing our state. 

           Thursday, March 7th marked the 30th legislative day of the 2013 session.  Known as “Crossover Day,” this critical point in the session marks the last chance for most bills to pass the legislative chamber from where they originated.  This is because by the end of Crossover Day, all legislation passed by the House must “cross over” to the Senate, and vice versa.  As a result, any House bill that has not passed the House by the end of Crossover Day will have little chance of becoming law this year, because the remaining ten legislative days will be used to consider Senate bills.  Due to this deadline, the House worked long hours this week, debating and voting on lengthy lists of pending legislation.

 

One of the bills passed this week that may directly affect your family is House Bill 123, the Parent and Teacher Empowerment Act.  This legislation would allow parents to petition their local school board to convert their traditional public school into a public charter school. HB 123 also provides parents and teachers several options for transforming low-achieving schools.  These options would allow parents and teachers to decide whether their low-achieving school should: 1) remove administration; 2) restructure the school; 3) allow students an option to transfer to a better performing school in the district; 4) utilize a school management team; and/or 5) impose student improvement plans. To enact these options or convert to a charter school, more than 50 percent of parents or teachers would have to sign a petition. The petition would then go before the local school board for consideration, who could defeat the petition by a simple majority vote.  If, however, a petition is supported by more than sixty percent of parents or teachers, the board must have a two-thirds vote to reject the petition.  This measure is intended to engage students, inspire teachers, and involve parents in their children’s education.

 

Another bill passed this week would help veterans find jobs after returning home from serving their country and protecting our freedom.  House Bill 188 creates the potential for newly honorable discharged veterans who have received training in certain specialized skilled trades to receive an initial professional license for that trade from the Secretary of State.  The bill does this by creating a committee that would identify military jobs with requirements that meet or exceed Georgia requirements for certification in skilled trades applicable to HVAC, plumbing, electrical contracting, utility foreman or residential light commercial contracting.  If their research shows it is appropriate, the committee could allow an exemption from some Georgia requirements for veterans with these skills.  The committee could also certify military spouses living in Georgia who have a skilled trade certification from another state if the committee determines that the other state’s requirements meet or exceed Georgia’s requirements.  This will help our state fill the 60,000 vacancies in these skilled trades expected over the next seven years and reduce the number of unemployed veterans in Georgia.

 

One of the most debated bills on Crossover Day, House Bill 512, would allow licensed weapons holders who have gone through the process of finger printing, a background check, and a mental health inquiry to obtain a Georgia Weapons License (GWL) to carry their firearms in more places in Georgia than currently allowed by state law.  This bill, known as the Safe Carry Protection Act, would allow property owners – not the government – to decide whether a licensed weapon holder may carry a gun in their places of worship and establishments that primarily serve alcohol beverages. The bill would also allow GWL holders to carry their firearm in a government building that is not afforded the protection of security services at the entrances or exits of the premises.  Additionally, HB 512 would allow gun owners to carry their firearms on most areas of public college campuses, but would not allow weapons in residence halls or competitive sporting events. 

 

Further, the Safe Carry Protection Act would no longer require fingerprinting for GWL renewal, but would continue to require fingerprinting for first time applicants.  Another important section of this bill creates uniformity in Georgia gun laws by making the General Assembly solely responsible for regulating possession, ownership, transfer, licensing, and registration of firearms or other weapons, as well as gun shows. HB 512 would also give each local Board of Education the option to designate one or more administrators to possess a weapon in a school safety zone. The bill additionally addresses the issue of gun owners who unknowingly bring their weapons to commercial airports.

 

Moreover, the Safe Carry Protection Act improves Georgia’s gun laws by strengthening mental health inquiries for obtaining a Georgia Weapons License. HB 512 would make it mandatory for a probate judge to perform an inquiry with the Georgia Criminal Information Center (GCIC) to determine whether applicants for a Georgia Weapons License have received involuntary treatment ordered by a court or medical professional. Applicants who have received involuntary treatment within the last five years could only receive a license if the probate judge determines that the applicant is mentally fit. The bill also prevents any person falling into any of the following categories from receiving a Georgia Weapons License: (1) anyone who has been under the care of a guardian or a conservator appointed to represent that person as a result of a mental illness or substance dependency within the last five years; (2) anyone who has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial; (3) anyone who has been found not guilty by reason of insanity; (4) anyone who is a registered sex offender; or (5) anyone who has made a threat against another person that was reported to the GCIC within the last five years.

 

This week we also passed House Bill 287.  This bill was introduced in response to the numerous comments we received from Georgians who were upset by a reduction in the state Archives’ operating hours. Georgians contacted their state representatives to let us know they wanted the archives to stay open, and we listened. Your emails, letters, and phone calls led us to pass HB 287, which would reassign the Division of Archives and History from the Secretary of State’s office to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

 

In addition to House Bills 123, 188, 512, and 287, we also passed House Bills 34, 36, 45, 78, 94, 104, 124, 125, 127, 131, 132, 139, 146, 150, 184, 189, 192, 197, 199, 203, 207, 211, 215, 229, 238, 240, 256, 266, 268, 271, 276, 287, 289, 296, 297, 310, 317, 318, 323, 332, 337, 345, 350, 354, 361, 362, 365, 371, 372, 375, 381, 382, 389, 399, 400, 402, 407, 434, 443, 451, 454, 458, 463, 473, 475, 482, 486, 487, 497, 494, 499, 506, 513, 511, 517, 520, 536, 537, 538, 539, and 540, as well as House Resolutions 73, 107, 502, 549, and 603

 

Now that this legislation has been approved by the House, it has been sent to the Senate for consideration. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, these bills will become law.  You can learn more about these bills and track their progression through the legislative process by visiting our website at www.house.ga.gov.

Now that Crossover Day has passed, the remaining ten legislative days will be used to consider legislation already passed by the Senate. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions regarding this Senate legislation. We will be sure to consider your comments as the Senate bills begin to make their way through the House committee process.

We welcome you to visit us at the capitol during this legislative session. You can also reach out to us with your questions or concerns by contacting us at:

Dale Rutledge, District 109

404-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Andy Welch, District 110

404-F Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Brian Strickland, District 111

404-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Dale Rutledge
District 109

 Dale Rutledge at desk on floor

Andy Welch
District 110

 Andy Welch at desk on floor

Brian Strickland
District 111

 Brian Strickland at desk on floor

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

March 1, 2013 Weekly Update

 

Week Ending March 1, 2013

As your representatives, it is important for us to consider your views throughout the legislative process.  Please feel free to call our capitol office at 404-656-0109 or email us to tell us what you think about the issues facing our state. 

            Friday, March 1, 2013, marked the 27th legislative day of the 2013 legislative session. Now that we’re almost three quarters through session, the House is considering more legislation than at any other time this session. We spend longer days at the capitol, and vote on more legislation. Some of the bills we passed this week would strengthen Georgia’s ethics laws, modernize Georgia’s juvenile justice code, and create uniformity in the way Georgia teachers are evaluated.

 

            House Bills 142 and 143 would strengthen Georgia’s ethics laws by banning expenditures by lobbyists on individual members of the General Assembly and by making common sense changes to the campaign contribution disclosure requirements. HB 142 specifically bans gifts of tickets to athletic, sporting, recreational, musical concerts and other entertainment events from lobbyists to state officials, which is currently allowed. The only exception would be for events where all members of the General Assembly are invited like the annual legislative day held at UGA, Georgia Tech or other collegiate sporting events held in Georgia.  Food and beverages may be provided to legislators only at group events where all members of the General Assembly, all members of the state House or Senate, all members of a standing committee or subcommittee of either body or a caucus of either body are invited.  HB 142 also restores power to the Georgia Government and Campaign Finance Commission by empowering it with rule making authority.  Further, it clarifies and broadens the definition of who must register as a lobbyist.  HB 143 will require greater transparency in campaign finance by requiring disclosure of all contributions of more than $100 received between January 1st of each year and the convening of the General Assembly’s regular session.  These campaign contributions would have to be disclosed with five days of the beginning of the legislative session.

 

            House Bill 242, or the Juvenile Justice Reform bill, would substantially revise and modernize provisions relating to Georgia’s juvenile proceedings and enact comprehensive juvenile justice reforms.  These changes have been discussed by advocacy organizations for years and many were recommended by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, which Governor Nathan Deal asked to study the state’s juvenile justice system and formulate ways to improve public safety while decreasing costs. Among the changes enacted by HB 242 are general definitions of key terms used in juvenile courts and guiding principles that would apply in all juvenile court proceedings. HB 242 would also provide consistency with national standards for cases involving children who have been abused or neglected by the adults responsible for their well-being. Additionally, the bill would create a new approach for children who have committed acts that would not be against the law if they were adults, such as skipping school, running away from home, or violating curfew. This bill also revises current law regarding how Georgia courts determine a child’s competency in juvenile proceedings. In addition to the many changes made to Georgia law governing juvenile proceedings in state courts, HB 242 makes some changes to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

 

            House Bill 244 would create uniformity in the way Georgia teachers are evaluated by establishing a single statewide educator evaluation system. This evaluation system has been piloted in 50 districts across the state, and teachers, superintendents, principals, and advocates who participated in the pilot program all came together to publicly support this bill.  The evaluation system implemented by HB 244 would become effective no later than the 2014-2015 school year, and would apply to teachers, assistant principals, and principals. Creating this evaluation system would ensure all public school teachers and school leaders in Georgia receive the feedback they need to grow and improve in their profession. This evaluation would recognize the outstanding teachers in this state, and identify specific areas that teachers can improve to become outstanding teachers. Because the evaluations will be used to help educators receive the feedback they need to do the best job possible, the evaluation system would include measures to protect educators’ privacy. 

 

      In addition to House Bills 142, 143, 242, and 244, we also passed House Bills 70, 141, 155, 156, 175, 177, 187, 205, 210, 226, 252, 266, 274, 281, 283, 293, 302, 315, 320, 324, 327, 328, 329, 336, 384, and 388. Now that this legislation has been approved by the House, it has been sent to the Senate for consideration. 

We welcome you to visit us at the capitol during this legislative session. You can also reach out to us with your questions or concerns by contacting us at:

Dale Rutledge, District 109

404-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Andy Welch, District 110

404-F Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Brian Strickland, District 111

404-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Dale Rutledge
District 109

 Dale Rutledge at desk on floor

Andy Welch
District 110

 Andy Welch at desk on floor

Brian Strickland
District 111

 Brian Strickland at desk on floor

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.