Legislative day 32, was light on the consideration of bills in both chambers which we certainly like to see.  A reminder is the only responsibility/requirement of the legislature is to pass a budget during each session but as we all know they tend to go beyond that charge.  We are tracking a few bills that we anticipate will get some legislative discussion and possible consideration.

Some of the TRS bills are being discussed by legislators:

SB 175 Sponsor is Senator Ellis Black. This is the Return to work for 49% TRS employees.  It requires the employer and employee portion of TRS to be paid during the return to work for an employee receiving their current retirement benefits from TRS. This bill will be discussed in the House Retirement Committee next Tuesday.

HB 109 Representative Benton’s sponsored bill to change the TRS retirement rules but keeping the system a defined benefit for those who join the system July 1, 2019, or after.  GSSA continues to oppose this bill as written.  We submitted suggested some changes but only small changes were made. This bill sits in the House rules committee and hopefully that is where it will remain.

SB 117 Senator Black again sponsors a change to the buy-in/back provision to TRS by changing the rules to only allow the current actuarial value not the lower value. Which was an option for those who served in our nation’s military to buy-in/back service to TRS for their comparable military service at the lower rate.  That will no longer be an option if this bill moves forward. This bill could be presented next Tuesday at the House Retirement Committee.

The Recess bill keeps coming back:

HB 83 Representative Demetris Douglas sponsored this bill to reach into the classroom to regulate recess in grades K-5. Just not a good practice for the legislature to get into the daily schedules of elementary schools.(my opinion)  This bill will be considered in the Senate Education Committee next Monday.

The continued push for home schools students to access public school extra curricular activities:

SB 163 This is the Tim Tebow bill.  Although I may be a fan of Tim Tebow, I am not a fan of this unclearly written bill. Some of the unintended consequences of this bill include:

1) Public School students possibly getting bumped off a team, squad, or group to make room for a Home schooled student. (Just might create a controversy amongst parents.)

2) The school/system are not able to question or verify academic records from Home school parents. Must accept what is given.

3) No requirement for shot or vaccination records. (yet they will be in contact with many students)

4) Discipline or consequences for adverse behavior would be very difficult to administer with fairness and equity.

5) The school/system has all the responsibility but very little authority with the bills current language.

6) If Home schooled student attended another public school and had been dismissed form the school for a code infraction, the receiving public school (extra curricular) would not be able to secure the previous school records.  No requirement for full disclosure by parent.

School Safety and Security:

SB 15 Senator John Albers sponsored this bill that could be streamlined to be less bureaucratic by combining the newly required threat assessment every 4 years to be included every five years in every school systems five year facilities plan that is submitted to GADOE per current state requiremnts.

I would encourage many of you to contact your Representative or Senator and express your thoughts directly to them on some of the legislation we are seeing this session.  Next week the pace should pick up and GSSA will be on ready to send out legislative alerts when necessary.  Please be ready to respond.

Next legislative day (33) is Monday, March 18, 2019.  Have a good weekend!

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