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Friday, March 01, 2019

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, MARCH 1, 2019

MEDICAL WAIVER BILL:

The Senate passed SB106, "The Patients First Act". This bill will allow the Governor to submit an application to the United States Secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury for an 1115 waiver and a 1332 waiver of applicable provisions of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If the waiver is approved, the state is authorized to implement waivers that could extend Medicaid coverage to citizens with incomes below 100% of the poverty line with certain other conditions that could include work requirements and incentives to visit primary care physicians instead of emergency rooms. The 1332 waiver would allow the state to employ innovative tactics, like high-risk pools and re-insurance programs, to encourage more health insurance companies to join the Georgia market and drive down costs for citizens purchasing individual health insurance plans.

LEGISLATION PASSED THIS WEEK:

SB 68: Adds "financial management" to the list of skills and training required of local board of education members. Requires the Department of Audits and Accounts to designate certain schools as high risk and requires those designated schools to submit and approved correction plan.

SB 73: Allows for fines collected for the Peace Officer's Annuity and Benefit Fund to be deducted and remitted by the clerk of the court directly to the secretary-treasurer of the fund.

SB 66: Streamlines the deployment of wireless broadband in public rights of way.

SB 18: Allows physicians to enter into direct primary care agreements with patients for a fee and without being subject to insurance regulations.

SB 115: Allows the Georgia Composite Medical Board to issue telemedicine licenses to physicians outside of Georgia who are licensed in Georgia.

SB 118: Requires health benefit plans to provide coverage for telemedicine and telehealth services.

HB 62: Requires health care facilities to notify a patient when a mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue.

SB 15: "Keeping Georgia's Schools Safe Act"; Requires public and private schools to perform threat assessments. Requires GEMA to develop a program for certifying school safety coaches. Creates a smartphone app to anonymously report suspicious activity.

SB 65: Provides that the transfer of a title between legal entities owned by the same person does not require a second TAVT fee payment.

SB 149: Eliminates the requirement that a law enforcement officer have a vehicle towed that does not have the proper tag validation.

HB 183: Allows a taxpayer to appeal their property tax assessment even if they failed to file a property tax return.

HOUSE BILLS NOW IN THE SENATE:

HB 85: Exempts organ procurement organizations from sales and use tax.

HB 105: Exempts payments to taxpayers from disaster relief or assistance programs administered by the United States from state income tax.

HB 226: Extends the repeal date for Joshua's Law (Driver Training) to June 30, 2022.

HB 228: Raises the minimum age of marriage from 16 to 17 years old, and requires that those who are 17 years old be legally independent. Requires premarital education.

VISITORS FROM THE FOURTH THIS WEEK

Homebuilders from Tattnall, environmentalists from Candler and Emanuel, educators from Effingham and Bulloch, a judge from Tattnall.

BILLS INTRODUCED THIS WEEK:

SB 160: Requires all occupants, including children under 8, of a passenger vehicle to wear a seatbelt in both the front and back seat.

SB 161: Allows for weighted scores for AP, Dual Enrollment, and International Baccalaureate courses adjusting the GPA for HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility.

SB 164: Revises provisions regarding what circumstances persons accused of crimes may be released on their own recognizance including offenses that are violations of local ordinances. Prohibits persons charged with a felony from being released on their own recognizance.

SB 165: Provides for the designation of a nonprofit organization to govern high school athletics in Georgia.

SB 175: Requires school systems to make employer and employee contributions to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia for TRS retirees working less than 50%.

SB 199: Requires the drinking water in child care learning centers and schools to be tested for lead contamination.

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