Senate Passes Two Education Related Bills
The Senate passed HB 385 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire), which allows retired educators to return to work full-time while continuing to draw full TRS benefits after a 12-month waiting period. Employment is restricted to high-needs areas, as determined locally by Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs), and to retired educators who have a minimum of 30 years of creditable service. Unused sick leave can be used to reach the 30-year requirement. HB 385 is part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s teacher pipeline initiative. While presenting the bill on the Senate floor today, Sen. Russ Goodman (R-Cogdell) characterized it as a tool intended to address Georgia's teacher shortage. HB 385 now moves to Kemp's desk for his signature.
The Senate also passed HB 1303 sponsored by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella), which would make permanent an agricultural education pilot program for elementary students. The bill does not require schools to implement the program.
Senate Committee Considers Financial Aid Bill
The Senate Higher Education Committee heard HB 1435, authored by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), which would create a needs-based financial aid program that would provide last-gap funding to postsecondary students. Students who have completed at least 80 percent of their degree or program requirements would be eligible. The program aims to cover costs that might otherwise cause a student to drop out. Committee members expressed support for the bill but indicated an interest in making changes to enhance reporting requirements. The committee meeting was a hearing only, so lawmakers did not vote on the bill.
Wednesday, March 23 – Legislative Day 34
House Education Committee, 1 p.m., 341 CAP
Senate Education & Youth Committee, 2 p.m., 307 CLOB
Thursday, March 24 - Legislative Committee Workday
Friday, March 25 - Legislative Day 35