The following report encompasses legislation which passed after 8 p.m. on Legislative Day 39. PAGE reported education-related bills which passed earlier in the day in Part 1 of our report.
Voucher Bill Pending in the House – Please Keep Advocating for Academic Accountability & Fiscal Transparency
SB 233, PAGE-opposed private school voucher legislation sponsored by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming), was not considered on Day 39. The bill creating Georgia’s third private school voucher is still tabled in the House. Please keep the House member calls and emails coming, encouraging them to hold the line in support of academic accountability and fiscal transparency. We need their help in opposing this measure that unfairly labels Georgia schools in the bottom quartile of student achievement as “failing” and redirects public funding to private schools concentrated in metro areas.
The delayed House vote on this bill demonstrates that educator advocacy is working. Please keep it up, in conjunction with PAGE advocacy under the Gold Dome.
Senate Literacy Bill on Its Way to the Governor
The Senate agreed to House changes to SB 211 by Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro), which seeks to establish the Georgia Council on Literacy. Read more about SB 211 in the Day 34 PAGE Report. The bill is on its way to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk for his signature.
PSERS Social Security Bill, Dual Enrollment Study Committee & School Speed Zone Legislation Progress
SB 240 by Sen. Larry Walker, requires the Employee Retirement System (ERS) -- the agency responsible for managing the Public Schools Employee Retirement System (PSERS) -- to survey school districts to determine which offer Social Security benefits or an alternative qualified plan in lieu of Social Security to PSERS members. The survey must be complete by Sept. 1, 2023. Districts that do not offer Social Security benefits or a district-sponsored retirement plan to PSERS members must do so by Jan. 1, 2024. In committee, the House added language on behalf of Atlanta Heritage Academy schools which impacts some charter schools. The provision states that educators hired after June 1, 2023, will not join TRS if their charter operator or management company offers a qualified alternative retirement plan. A representative of Atlanta Heritage Academy testified that the language is in response to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) finding. Learn more in the Day 37 PAGE Report.
SR 175 by Sen. Matt Brass creates the Joint Study Committee on Dual Enrollment for Highly Skilled Talent at Younger Ages.
SB 217 by Sen. John Albers was changed significantly to include language from HB 348 and HB 301. HB 348 by Rep. J Collins (R-Villa Rica), would change components of school speed zones operation, including the use of speed cameras and related penalties and fees. Cameras would be authorized to monitor speeds 60 minutes before and 30 minutes after the start of the school day, and 30 minutes before and 60 minutes after school dismissal. The bill also establishes that municipal or county governments, which are responsible for the roads, install and use the cameras. HB 301 by Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth) caps the penalty fines and fees for violations of improperly passing a school bus or speeding in a school zone. The substitute version of SB 217, which includes portions of SB 348 and HB 301, now goes back to the Senate for agreement.
Wednesday, March 29 - Legislative Day 40/Sine Die