Day 39, moved into the night and approached the midnight hour.  Both chambers were pushing to pass bills to beat the clock of the 40th day. Which translates to a lot of language that was attached/inserted into many bills that did not and will not get the proper vetting necessary to measure unintended consequences. A clear example of this is HB 1104 authored by Democrat Amari Crawford. The Senate Education Committee decided to use this bill as a vehicle for their bills that likely would not pass any other way but to insert parts of bills to get their pieces of agenda type legislation moved across the finish line.  Unfortunately, they stuffed Rep. Crawford’s bill over his objections which was a well vetted mental health bill for student athletes (a relatively good bill) and they loaded up his bill with the sketchy language which is now referred to as the “Franken Bill”. Added language: from bills SB 365, SB 532, and SB 438. Ensures parent/guardian is notified when a student checks out school library materials. This is an email notification. Also includes materials harmful to minors and redefines “education record”. (not good from SB 365)  Language from SB 532 prohibits sex education for public school students before the fifth grade, no longer will sex education be required as a part of the curriculum. This also requires local school boards to post any sex education curriculum for public review for 45 days.  Requires two public hearings on sex ed curriculum and creates an opt-in process instead of an opt-out.  SB 438’s language deals with gender identity concerns and addresses females in facilities and interscholastic sports. Slapping all of the bills into a well vetted and discussed bill is an example of the shenanigans that our politicians pull at the end of a session. It becomes a challenge for a full review of the changes and their impact.

Here is what the House passed:

HB 1122 – Establishes newly funded positions for Charter Schools and a single score for the CCRPI.

HB 51 – Allows local boards to transportation of students in alternative vehicles of 8 passengers or less.

HB 916–  FY 25 Budget will now got to a conference committee for reconciliation of the differences in each chamber. The big one for school districts is the classified healthcare cost recommendation differences. This issue will be addressed. (just not sure of the outcome)

HB 1022 – Statewide tax exemption with an opt out provision.

HB 1010 – Paid Parental Leave

SB 464– Teacher supplies stipend to continue with added language for 5 literacy screeners  with one of those being free as presented by GADOE.

SB 395 – Opioid Antagonists in schools

SB 112 – Workforce EXCELeration Act (Higher Ed)

Here is what passed the Senate:

HB 338 – Technology protection for students and completion school age change 16-18.

HB 993– Grooming of minors for indecent purposes.

HB 1104– Franken Bill that was addressed above.

HB 1022 – Allows local legislation for an option homestead exemption when the value increase exceeds inflation.

HB 808– Tangible personal property exemption rises from $7500 to $20,000.

Tomorrow is day 40 Sine Die!  A lot of the tax bills pending will be decided, the FY25 budget, and many of the Franken Bills.. our legislature has done enough damage to K-12 Public Education in Georgia this session. ..Let’s hope and pray the continued damage is limited. The aftermath will be reported soon after day 40 and again at Spring Bootstrap April 10-11, in Savannah. Good night!

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