Public Policy for the People: 12 February, 2018


public policy for the people enews

Volume 4, Issue 4 2018 Legislative Session February 12, 2018

Call to Action: Attend Advocacy Day this Wednesday - share why you love Medicaid!

Keep Up-To-Date

  • Catch our weekly phone call, every Monday during session at 9:30 am. Dial in at 1-888-355-1249, Code: 232357
  • Join our Advocacy Network
  • Read upcoming Public Policy for the People newsletters: 2/26, 3/12, 3/26

Who are my state legislators?

Looking Ahead

2018 GCDD Advocacy Days
Feb 14: Medicaid
Feb 22: Inclusive Post-Secondary Education
Feb 15: UNLOCK! Coalition
Mar 15: Medicaid

Click here to register online!

Be in the Know: Rumblings Under the Gold Dome

It has been a real whirlwind under the Gold Dome since we spoke last. The long awaited Adoption Bill passed through the Senate, which means everyone can focus on other things.

HB 831, Georgia's Employment First Act, was dropped this past week by Representative Terry Rogers. This bill would create an Employment First Georgia Council for the purpose of "advising the Governor, General Assembly, and state agencies on the adoption and integration of an employment first policy that recognizes that competitive integrated employment, including self-employment, is the first and preferred outcome of all state funded services provided to working age individuals with disabilities." GCDD is proud to support this bill and we urge you to contact your State Representative and ask them to support HB 831. Currently it has been assigned to the House Industry and Labor Committee.

The House passed the Amended Fiscal Year 18 Budget, sending it off the Senate for debate. The House was then able to move on to the Fiscal Year 19 Budget. Last week, the House Appropriations Human Resources Subcommittee held public comment, where committee members had a chance to hear from advocates on the waiting list for NOW and COMP Waivers. The testimony given was powerful and a great reminder of the importance of sharing your story.

SB 118, sponsored by Senator Renee Unterman, which raises the age limit to age 12 for coverage of autism services under private insurance policies, passed the Senate last Wednesday. It now moves on to the House of Representatives for debate.

Since our last newsletter, GCDD held one advocacy day on Employment. Our next advocacy day is this Wednesday where we will be speaking about Medicaid. We hope you will register and share with your legislator why you love Medicaid. GCDD was also excited about the Independent Living Day at the Capitol last week, as well as CO-AGE's Senior Week. Both had excellent turnouts and we were thrilled - it is always important to remind legislators about the voice of Georgians with disabilities.

The GA General Assembly has released their tentative calendar for the the rest of session.

Need a quick refresher on GCDD's Legislative Priorities? Click here.

Learn the Lingo
It ends the business of the day for the House and Senate. Committee meetings happen, but neither the entire House nor the entire Senate meet all together after adjournment.

Caucus: A group of legislators who share common ideas within the Georgia General Assembly.

Around Town with UNLOCK!

Welcome back policy advocates! We wanted to give you a few story telling tips.

  • Keep it short. Remember, you will only have about 2 to 3 minutes to tell your story when working the ropes. Some people call this an “elevator speech.”
  • Practice with a friend.
  • Learn the issue and why it matters to you or people you care about.
  • If the policy has helped, share the success story. If the policy has harmed you or someone you know, explain what happened and how your legislator can make it better.

Sharing your story can be scary at first, but it gets easier with practice! If you would like more help telling your story, please join us at the next GCDD Advocacy Day on Wednesday, February 14 to learn how it goes at the Capitol.

Also, if you have not already, please join the UNLOCK! Coalition, a partnership of powerful policy advocates and agencies, by clicking the link below to complete your membership. We hope to see you at the Gold Dome on February 14!

Some Bills to Watch:

HB 288: (Kirby) Creates penalties for using fake service animals, penalties for harming a service animal, and would allow the Department of Human Services to "authorize private service organizations ... to create and issue information cards containing the department's seal" that explain the rights and penalties associated with service animals.

HB 482: (Trammel) Educational Scholarship Act - Allows parents to use the money the state would have spent on their child's public school education to pay for private school education.

HB 635: (Cooper) The Disabled Adults and Elder Persons Protection Act - creates an at-risk adult protective investigative/coordination team in each judicial circuit in Georgia to coordinate investigations of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of people with disabilities or the elderly.

HB 645: (Peake) To legalize possession of low THC oil and cultivation of cannabis for the production of low THC oil in the state of Georgia under certain conditions/medical conditions.

HB 668: (Price) Allows guardianship proceedings to begin when someone is 17 years old.

HB 669: (Trammel) Medicaid Expansion Bill.

HB 740: (Nix) Requires local school systems to conduct certain screenings before a student, in pre-K through third grade, can be expelled or suspended for more than five days. If a student has an IEP or Section 504 plan, the school will hold an IEP or Section 504 meting to review the supports currently being provided as part of their IEP or Section 504 Plan.

HB 768: (Hilton) Changes the rules around intellectual disability and capital crimes.

HB 759: (Turner) Relaxes regulations for the GA Special Needs Scholarship, to allow the children of active duty military service members stationed in GA within the previous year, or children that have previously qualified, be exempt from the requirement to have attended a public school in Georgia the prior year.

HB 776: (Douglas) The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-term Care Facilities Act allows for the placement and use of electronic monitoring devices by the resident of a long term care facility (such as a any skilled nursing facility, intermediate care home, assisted living community, or personal care home) within their personal room.

HB 801: (Hilton) Allows the GA Special Needs Scholarship to cover services, therapies, and other materials, as opposed to only tuition.

HB 803: (Willard) Prohibits the trafficking of an adult with a disability.

HB 844: (Houston) Revises provisions of the GA Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons, specifically around membership of commission, as well as creates a multi-agency task force to provide recommendations for improvements to the GA General Assembly and the Governor.

HB 891: (Gilliard) States that the Department of Human Services, the courts, or a child placing agency cannot deny someone child placement, child custody, visitation, guardianship, or adoption solely or primarily because the individual is blind.

SB 322: (James) Requires non-electric personal assistive mobility devices to have front and rear reflectors when used on highways or sidewalks, as well as all electric and nonelectric personal assistive devices sold after December 31, 2018 to have reflectors.

SB 357: (Burke) Creates the Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia, a recommendation of the Lt. Governor Cagle's Health Care Reform Task Force.

SB 406: (Strickland) The Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program establishes minimum standards for conducting criminal background checks of owners, applicants for employment, and direct access employees at facilities such as a personal care home, assistive living community, private home care provider, home health agency, provider of hospice care, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, intermediate care home, or adult day care facility.

SB 408: (Jackson) Allows for individuals with autism to request a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health counselor, special education instructor, clinical social worker, or any other mental or behavioral health professional be present at an interview by a local law enforcement officer.

SR 467: (Unterman) Creates a Senate Study Committee on Service Animals for Physically or Mentally Impaired Persons

SR 593: (Seay) A RESOLUTION urging the United States Congress to establish a policy whereby public facilities shall be required to provide adult changing stations.

SR 506: (Dugan) A RESOLUTION creating the Senate Study Committee on the Excessive and Duplicative Regulatory Oversight of Community Based Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Services.

SR 593: (Seay) A RESOLUTION urging the United States Congress to establish a policy whereby public facilities shall be required to provide adult changing stations.

Other Days of Note:

Feb 15: Hearts for Children Day with the Interfaith Children's Movement
Feb 15: Cover GA Day with Georgians for a Healthy Future
Feb 20: Anti-Sex Trafficking Day at the Capitol with Street Grace
Feb 26: Justice Day with the Georgia Justice Project
Mar 1: Housing Day at the Capitol with Housing Georgia

Tags: GCDD, Advocacy, public policy