Crossover Day Under the Gold Dome
Legislators in both chambers approved four education bills today: two each in the House and Senate. Monday, March 8, was Crossover Day and therefore legislation was required to pass in one chamber to progress this session.
No Vote on Voucher Bill in House
Lawmakers in the House did not vote on HB 60, sponsored by Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock), which seeks to create Georgia’s third private school voucher program. PAGE opposes HB 60 and advocates for the prioritization of public dollars for public schools. PAGE appreciates the efforts of educators who reached out to their representatives to share concerns about the bill.
House Supports More Transparency for Tax Credit Voucher
House members approved HB 517 by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), which adds long-overdue and sorely needed transparency on the finances and operations of the tax credit private school voucher program. The bill was amended in the Rules Committee to remove a proposed three-year extension of the existing $100 million cap on the tax credits that fund the program.** HB 681 by Rep. Bill Yearta (R-Sylvester), which requires local school boards to provide personal financial literacy courses for students in high school, also passed.
The House also passed HB 173 by Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson), which allows large retirement systems—excluding the Teacher Retirement System (TRS)—to invest up to 10 percent of their assets in alternative investments. Alternative investments for TRS remains capped at 5 percent.
Senate Passes Bills About Wraparound Services & Election Instruction
Much of the debate in the Senate centered on bills that make changes to Georgia’s election system. The following education-related bills passed before the Crossover Day deadline:
SB 106, by Sen. Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro), would allow schools to provide wraparound services to students in Pre-K to third grade before expelling or suspending those students for more than five days. The bill was originally directed to students in Pre-K to eighth grade, but lawmakers changed it to Pre-K to third grade during discussion on the Senate floor.
SB 226, by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), would require local boards of education to adopt policies providing for a complaint resolution process to address school media material including books and movies that objecting parents find obscene. More information on SB 226 is available HERE.
**In our original Day 28 report, published on March 8, 2021, PAGE incorrectly reported on the version of HB 517, which was amended in the House Rules Committee. We have updated the Day 28 report to reflect the removal of the amendment in the version of the legislation which passed the House on Crossover Day.