I appreciate the support I have received for voicing my opposition to elected officials granting themselves a raise during their current term of office. To say I targeted three women Commissioners in DeKalb, even though one male Commissioner and the CEO would also have been affected, is absurd at best.
Unfortunately, the House wanted to make my amendment just apply to DeKalb’s Commissioners and that would have been vindictive. However, their 50 percent pay raise cannot be justified, particularly when we can’t fill public safety positions due to salary levels.
Some of the key legislation we passed last week includes the following bills:
Expanding Sex Trafficking Offenses
House Bill 732 would expand the offense of sex trafficking to include knowingly patronizing a person in sexual servitude. Under HB 732, an individual convicted of patronizing a person 16 years or older would serve between five and 10 years in prison and an individual convicted of patronizing a person 16 years old or younger would serve between 10 and 20 years in prison.
Continuing School Enrollment After Moving
House Bill 852, carried by me, would allow a student who has been enrolled in and attended a public school for more than half of an academic year and moves to another attendance zone within the same school system to continue enrollment at his or her initial public school for the remainder of the school year.
Minimum Standard Codes
House Bill 876 would prohibit local governments from restricting the use of wood as a construction material as long as the minimum state and federal building codes and Georgia State Fire Code have been met. This preempts our cities’ zoning codes and I voted No on the bill. My grandfather amendment failed and I expect litigation will transpire if the Governor signs this bill.
Outlining Firework Uses
House Bill 419 would allow local governments to regulate firework usage through their local noise ordinance with the exception of certain dates. HB 419 would require licensed firework retailers to post signage with safety tips and state laws regarding firework usage within local ordinances. In addition, the bill would grant the governor authority to suspend local firework use whenever the Keetch-Byram Drought Index reaches a level of 700 or above at any point in the county. This bill is a good example of local control at its best.
Economic Analysis and Taxpayer Refunds
House Bill 93 would repay taxpayers with interest for any state and local sales and use overpayments with a direct pay permit. In addition, the bill would require any tax bills passed by the General Assembly to undergo a thorough economic analysis by the state auditor within 30 days of the bill’s passage and would be audited on a rotating schedule. This is a necessary tool for cost/benefit analysis of tax breaks.
House Bill 314 would require hospitals and physicians to clearly post notices and standard charges on their respective websites. The bill would require insurers to provide enrollees with criteria for in-network and out-of-network coverage. The legislation would also allow for mediation of a bill greater than $1,000 for an elective medical procedure.
Expanding Duties for Student Attendance Protocol Committees
House Bill 763 would expand the tasks of Student Attendance Protocol Committees to include reviewing school climate, including disruptive environments, school safety plans and when these plans are exempt from public disclosure. The bill would also require public schools to conduct safety drills based on guidelines from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
Nurse Protocol Agreement
House Bill 927 would increase the number of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) from four to eight that can enter into a nurse protocol agreement with a physician and be supervised at one time. HB 927 would allow APRNs to order radiographic imaging tests (MRI and CAT scans).
Please continue to send me your comments and questions.