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Committee Workday: Workforce Development Bills Considered, School Bus and Speed Zone Bill Stripped, & More

House Education Committee Approves ACE Grant and Lifeguarding & Aquatic Safety Instruction Bills

The House Education Curriculum Subcommittee approved SB 440 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan). The bill establishes the Accelerated Career Diploma Program. It outlines requirements for students to receive a related high school diploma, including requiring them to complete an associate degree in a program included on the High-Demand Career List published by the State Workforce Development Board. The bill also establishes the ACE Grants program to award accelerated career education grants to students participating in the Accelerated Career Diploma Program. Finally, SB 440 requires all students to complete at least a half-credit course in the foundations of algebra. After an explanation by Mark Whitlock, CEO of the Central Education Center, a career academy in Newnan, the subcommittee amended the bill to align with updated federal requirements for Pell Grant recipients. After the subcommittee meeting, the full House Education Committee convened and approved SB 440.

The full committee also approved SB 50, which allows schools to provide lifeguarding and aquatic safety instruction for students in grades nine through 12. The bill does not mandate that schools offer the program. The course would count as a half credit for students who complete the program. The bill was amended in committee to update effective dates since the bill was introduced in 2023. Both bills passed unanimously and move forward for consideration by the House Rules Committee.


School Bus and Speed Zone Bill Stripped in Committee

The Senate Public Safety Committee approved a substitute version of HB 301 by Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth). The bill initially dealt with capping penalty fines and fees for violations of improperly passing a school bus or speeding in a school zone. The substitute version stripped the school-related language completely and now deals with restricting sanctuary cities.


High-Demand Career List Legislation Passes Senate Higher Ed Committee

HB 982 by Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Cartersville) tasks the State Workforce Development Board with publishing an annual “High-Demand Career List,” which would identify careers deemed most critical to Georgia’s current and future workforce needs. State and local agencies, including local school boards, would be required to use this list to inform their use of federal and state funding and ensure relevant educational programs are aligned with the list. HB 982 is also intended to ensure funds are used effectively. Senate Rules will next consider HB 982.

House Higher Ed Hears High-Demand Apprenticeship Program 

SB 497 by Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro) expands and re-designates the High-Demand Initiatives Program as the High-Demand Apprenticeship Program. The public service apprenticeship program prioritizes students aged 15-21 and is administered by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). It reduces the apprenticeship award to apprentice employers from $10,000 to $5,000.  The committee is likely to vote on the bill soon.


Upcoming Schedule

Thursday, March 7 – Legislative Day 31

  • Senate Appropriations Education Subcommittee, 7 a.m., 341 CAP

  • House Education Policy Subcommittee, 1 p.m., 515 CLOB

  • House Education Curriculum Subcommittee, 2 p.m., 515 CLOB

  • Senate Retirement Committee, 2 p.m., 307 CLOB

  • Senate Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security Committee, 5 p.m., 310 CLOB


Friday, March 8 – Legislative Day 32


Monday, March 11 – Legislative Day 33


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