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Day 26: Conference Committee Report on Midyear Budget Passes

General Assembly Sends AFY24 Budget to Governor’s Desk

The Joint Appropriations Conference Committee quickly worked through differences between the Amended Fiscal Year 2024 (AFY24) budget as passed by the House and the Senate. The conferees met at 8 a.m. to begin their negotiations, which wrapped shortly after 9:30 a.m. By the end of the day, both chambers adopted the conference committee report, granting the AFY24 Budget final passage and sending it to the governor’s desk. 


Senate Passes Protecting Georgia’s Children on Social Media Act 

With a vote of 51-1, the Senate passed SB 351 by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas). The bill requires local school boards to create a social media policy prohibiting students from accessing social media through school-owned devices or internet services. Students could still access social media if they are authorized to do so for educational purposes. The State Board of Education (SBOE) is empowered to review these policies and may withhold funding from non-compliant schools and districts. Additionally, existing local board bullying policies must be expanded to address cyberbullying and provide information on resources and services related to addressing bullying. SB 351 also places requirements on social media companies to verify user ages, prevent minors from holding social media accounts without parental consent, and provide additional privacy protection for minor account holders.  


The Senate also passed SB 440 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) which establishes the Accelerated Career Diploma Program and outlines requirements for students to receive a related high school diploma. These requirements include that the student completes 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 pilot program to provide for awarding 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. The bill was amended on the floor to clean up the high school requirements within the bill and make the program permanent. The amended bill passed 52-1. 


House Education Subcommittee Passes Bill on Suicide & Violence Prevention Training and hears bills on High School NIL and a Writing Pilot Program.  

The House Education Curriculum Subcommittee met to hear three bills.


HB 1131 by Rep. Rick Townsend (R-Brunswick) would require schools to provide all students in grades six through 12 an hour of evidence-based suicide awareness and prevention training and an hour of youth violence prevention training. This requirement would become effective starting in the 2026-27 school year. All schools serving sixth through 12th grade students which sponsor student clubs would be required to sponsor a student-led student violence prevention club. Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) would be tasked with developing materials and policies for these programs. GaDOE would also be tasked with developing and operating a statewide program for anonymously reporting relevant dangerous, threatening, violent, harmful, or potential harmful behavior. This reporting system would be required to provide 24-hour support and forward information to school-based teams. During the first year of this reporting program's operation, school districts would be required to provide a report on all disciplinary actions that occurred in the last 12 months. Subsequently, districts would need to report information related to the use of the program such as the number of tips each school received.  Lauren Fralick representing Sandy Hook Promise spoke in support of the bill as it provides concerned students a way to anonymously report concerns and get help for their peers.   The committee substitute of HB 1131 was passed on to the full committee.  

HB 1198 by Rep. Bazemore (D-South Fulton) directs the SBOE to establish a pilot immersive writing program for students in grades two through four. This pilot program would begin with the 2025-2026 school year and run for three years.

Stan Tucker provided public comments in support of his program Share Your Story , an immersive writing program. This program was also endorsed by a Campbell Middle School student who spoke to Share Your Story’s positive effect on her sister’s view on writing and said programs like Share Your Story allow students to use their creativity. As this bill was scheduled as a hearing only, no action was taken.   


HB 1276 by Rep. Brent Cox (R-Dawsonville) would provide name, image, and likeness (NIL) contract regulations for high school athletes.  Robin Hines of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) shared concerns about the bill. He stated that the GHSA has a rule relating to these contracts and suggested more time was needed to study the issue before moving forward with new laws.  Following a motion by Rep. Chris Erwin (R-Homer), the subcommittee tabled the bill. Subcommittee comments indicated that the House may convene a high school athlete NIL study.


Suicide & Violence Prevention Bill Continues Through Full Education Committee, Along with Athlete Mental Health Bill 

After a short break following the adjournment of the Curriculum Subcommittee, the Full House Education Committee convened and passed HB 1131. It also approved HB 1104 by Rep. Omari Crawford (D-Decatur) which requires schools to make mental health resources available to student athletes. A committee substitute of the bill makes it clear that no additional screenings would be mandated.  


Upcoming Schedule  

Tuesday, Feb. 27, Legislative Day 27 

  • 8 a.m. House Motor Vehicles, 606 CLOB 

Wednesday, Feb. 28, Committee Work Day 

  • 2:30 p.m. Senate Education & Youth 450 CAP 

Thursday, Feb. 29, Legislative Day 28/Crossover Day 



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