Day 36 of the session saw the House Education Sub Committee and Full Committee focus on a few pieces of legislation. The Curriculum Subcommittee heard SB 202 from Sen. Rahman (D) which is the Outdoor Classroom Pilot bill that directs GADOE to develop standards through the pilot program that school systems can opt in to – to assist in setting those standards for successful outdoor learning spaces.  The bill passed out of the subcommittee and is ready to be heard in the Full House Education Committee. This bill could possibly be used as a vehicle for other bills. We will watch carefully.

The Full House Committee heard two bills:

SB 32 Alyssa’s Law – Sen Jason Anavitarte (R) A mobile panic alert system to be enacted.  DOAS, GADOE, GEMA, Homeland Security, all will collaborate to provide the guidelines for a mobile panic alert system.  The dates for implementation are pushed out to 2026. More to come on this one.  There is some serious work between agencies that must take place for this to be successful. This passed the Full Committee.

SB 351 –  Sen Jason Anavitarte (R) – Regulating internet access with state owned devices.  This is well intended to keep students safe from the various negative content available online.  The cyber bullying, human trafficking, and simialr nefarious activities on the internet are a huge distraction to school age children.  This bill attempts to control access of the harmful material to minors. There is a lot to be worked through with this very complex potential policy and the GADOE will be heavily involved in crafting some of this language.  HB 910 – Rep. Rick Jasperse (R) was added to this bill which targets harmful internet porn and requiring age verification.  This passed out of the Full House Committee with much discussion.  It feels like they are building this as it moves through the process.

The Senate Floor saw one education related bill pass:

SB 50Sen Burns (R) –  A bill that has good intentions by basically an opt in for schools who can partner with local agencies(i.e. Red Cross) to offer lifeguard instruction/certification for eligible students. This is to assist in addressing the shortage of certified lifeguards in Georgia.

We are watching the numerous tax bills that are now receiving much attention and I would expect some negotiations between both chambers seeking some sort of compromise. The devil will be in the details of the language to see which tax bills will gain traction.  Most of the tax bills seek tax breaks (homestead exemptions), tax caps(3% Cap on property valuations), personal property tax exemptions (up to $20,000) and income tax reduction. (5.49% down to 5.39%) Not all of these bills are negative to school districts.  We are pulling for a tax study committee to be formed with both chambers so these issues can be studied before they become law.  The total cumulative impact is unknown.  If you can drop this seed to your local Reps and Senators, that we/you would support a tax study committee to assess the impact of most of these tax bills would be a wise and fiscally prudent move.

Have a good night! Tomorrow is a committee day for the legislature and Wednesday will be Day 37.

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