Public Policy for the People: 26 February, 2018
Call to Action: Call your Senator & members of the Senate Human Development & Public Health Appropriations Subcommittee. Ask them to include $11.9 million in funding for 475 NOW/COMP waivers, as well as $4.8 million in supported employment services to DBHDD's FY 19 Budget.
- 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: 3/12, 3/26
2018 GCDD Advocacy Days
Feb 28: UNLOCK! Coalition
Mar 15: Medicaid
Be in the Know: Rumblings Under the Gold Dome
The energy down here is palpable. Bills are flying off the printer, all the while amendments are being tacked on. With Crossover Day fast approaching this Wednesday, the flurry is only expected to get worse. Remember, if a bill does not pass out of its original chamber by Crossover Day, the bill has no chance of becoming law this year.
Since our last newsletter, GCDD has hosted two Advocacy Days over the past two weeks. One for Medicaid and one for Inclusive Post Secondary Education. We are constantly reminded of the importance of our advocacy when we meet people who are unfamiliar with the topic of the day. As always, we could not do it without the many advocates that travel from all over the state to speak with their legislators.
HB 831, Georgia's Employment First Act, passed out of the House Industry and Labor Committee last week. GCDD's Executive Director Eric Jacobson testified, as did many employers, employees with disabilities, GVRA, The Arc, and SPADD. It is now waiting in the Rules Committee, Remember, it must pass out of the Rules Committee and pass a floor vote in the House by the end of Wednesday to stand a chance of becoming law.
HB 768, sponsored by Representative Scott Hilton, was heard in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Setzler Subcommittee late in the day last Thursday. This bill looks at how difficult it is to prove you have an intellectual disability in capital punishment cases. GCDD's Public Policy Director testified in favor of the bill, as did many others. At the end of the multi-hour hearing, the committee chose not to call a vote on the bill, requiring more time to make amendments. On Friday afternoon, the sponsor of the bill presented an amendment to the subcommittee. At the time of publication, this issue continues to evolve. We will keep you updated as to HB 768's progress over the next week.
Regarding the money, the House and Senate have both passed the Amended Fiscal Year 18 Budget. The next stop for the Amended Budget is conference committee where the House and Senate will iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions. They have both moved on to the Fiscal Year 19 Budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee will be holding a Public Hearing this Tuesday, February 27th at 10:00 am in Room 450 of the Capitol Building. GCDD is looking for Georgians on the waiting list for NOW & COMP waivers willing to share their story. If you are interested in testifying, please contact Hanna Rosenfeld at 404.275.8119
The GA General Assembly has released their tentative calendar for the the rest of session.
The Well: The podium at the front of the chamber where members go to speak to the whole chamber.
Veto: When the Governor formally rejects a bill that the General Assembly passes during the legislative session. The General Assembly can only over-ride the veto with a vote of two-thirds in each chamber.
Around Town with UNLOCK!
Welcome back policy advocates! We hope you enjoyed our previous UNLOCK! articles. We discussed how you can advocate for issues that are important to you, and now we wanted to share how UNLOCK! has used power in numbers to advocate this session. Sharing your story is important, and it can be even more powerful when we come together as a group to advocate for issues. Legislators will pay attention when a large group of people are working together to advocate for common concerns. UNLOCK! brings disability advocates from across Georgia together to support issues we all care so much about.
This session we have advocated for:
- DD waivers
- supported employment
- inclusive post-secondary education programs
- and many more important issues
As the session continues, we hope that you will join UNLOCK! to help individuals with disabilities and their families have the opportunity to live, work, and play in their communities.
Join us at our next Advocacy Day at the Gold Dome on February 28!
If you are interested in joining UNLOCK! Please click here to enter your information.
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 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 853: (Dempsey) Quality Basic Education Act; children placed in psychiatric residential treatment facilities may not be charged tuition; pprovide for eligibility for enrollment; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
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.
HR 1257: Creates the House Study Committee on the Workforce Shortage and Crisis in Home and Community Based Settings
SB 118: (Unterman) Raises the age limit to age 12 for coverage of autism services under private insurance policies.
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 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 26: Justice Day with the Georgia Justice Project
Mar 1: Housing Day at the Capitol with Housing Georgia