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Day 16: Parents' Bill of Rights Bill Moves Forward; Second Hearing on Senate Divisive Concepts Bill

Senate Budget Writers Begin Work on the Amended Fiscal Year 2022 Budget

The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee began its review of changes to the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2022 budget proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp and the House. The AFY22 budget covers the current school year. Directors and finance officers from the state’s education agencies described the changes to lawmakers. Committee members will continue gathering information and will likely make additional revisions to the AFY22 budget before voting on their version of the spending plan.

Senate Committee Approves Parents’ Bill of Rights & Holds Second Hearing on Divisive Issues Legislation

The Senate Education & Youth Committee held a second hearing on SB 377 by Sen. Bo Hatchett (R-Cornelia), which seeks to prohibit school curriculum or mandatory training based on “divisive concepts.” The committee did not vote on the bill at this meeting.

CLICK HERE for PAGE’s summary of SB 377.

PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs Margaret Ciccarelli was slated to share concerns of PAGE members with committee members via public testimony, but the hearing ended before she and several other speakers were able to deliver comments. Chair Chuck Payne (R-Dalton) announced that the committee will continue to hold hearings to allow as many members of the public to speak to the bill as possible.

By a vote of 6-5, the committee also approved SB 449, sponsored on behalf of Gov. Kemp by Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford). The bill creates a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” that seeks to codify the right of parents to:

  • Direct the upbringing and the moral or religious training of their children

  • Review instructional materials intended for use in the classroom

  • Apply to public school or, as an alternative to public education, a private school, including a religious school, a home study program, or other available options, as authorized by law and subject to applicable enrollment requirements

  • Access and review all records relating to his or her minor child (with some legal exceptions)

  • Access information relating to promotion, retention policies, and graduation requirements

  • Consent in writing to photographs, video, or voice recordings of their children

SB 449 was amended after the committee’s first hearing on the legislation. The original bill had a provision requiring school districts to allow parents to opt-in to recordings of children. The bill now maintains current policy allowing parents to opt-out of such recordings, some of which are used for security purposes in school buildings and on school buses. The newest version also allows parents to withdraw students from entire sex education courses, not just a portion of the courses.

Upcoming Schedule

Tuesday, Feb. 15 - Legislative Day 17

  • House Retirement Committee, 2 p.m., 406 CLOB

Wednesday, Feb. 16 - Committee Work Day

  • House Academic Support Subcommittee, 10 a.m., 406 CLOB

  • House Education Committee, 11 a.m., 406 CLOB

  • Senate Retirement Committee, 2 p.m., 310 CLOB

  • Senate Education & Youth Committee, 2 p.m., 307 CLOB

Thursday, Feb. 17 – Legislative Day 18


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