Public Policy for the People: 22 January, 2019
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2019 GCDD Advocacy Days
Jan 30: Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Day
Feb 12: Home & Community Based Waivers Day
Feb 14: Everyone Out! of Institutional Settings Day
Feb 27: Direct Support Professionals Day
Mar 6: Supported Decision Making Day
Be in the Know: Rumblings Under the Gold Dome
Welcome to the second edition of Public Policy for the People! We at GCDD are thrilled to have you along for the ride this legislative session. For a quick recap of GCDD's legislative priorities, glance through Issue 1 of Public Policy for the People, Legislative Preview Edition.
As you may know, the legislative session began Monday, January 14. This is also the same day as Governor Brian Kemp’s inauguration. Since then, we have had the opportunity to hear from Governor Kemp three times: his inauguration speech, his Egg & Issues speech, and his State of the State. We encourage you to make time to listen them in the week to come.
Of note, Governor Kemp touched on healthcare in his State of the State address. Kemp explained, "while different parts of our state have unique challenges and concerns, all Georgians deserve a patient centered healthcare system that puts families first. The status quo is unacceptable….I have included $1 million dollars in the Department of Community Health’s budget to craft state flexibility options for Georgia’s Medicaid program. We will expand access without expanding a broken system that fails to deliver for patients, we will drive competition and improve quality while encouraging innovation. I will work with the legislature to grow the rural hospital tax credit, tackle the doctor shortage, and build a healthier Georgia."
Other highlights included a proposal of $69 million dollars in one time school security grants, $8.4 million increase for the APEX program to address mental health in schools, and a $3,000 salary increase for public school teachers in Georgia.
Fiscal Year: The state of Georgia organizes their budget by fiscal years, which do not line up with calendar years. You will often see Fiscal Year abbreviated to FY. Fiscal Year 2020, or FY20, covers July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020. Some people call this the Big Budget.
Amended Fiscal Year (AFY):Since it is hard to predict exact spending so far in advance, the Georgia General Assembly always passes an Amended Fiscal Year Budget to reflect actual spending. This is often abbreviated to AFY. Some people call this the little budget.
Following the State of the State, Governor Kemp released his official budget recommendations. It is important to remember that these are merely a blueprint for the House and Senate to use when crafting the budget. The budget only includes changes, meaning increases or decreases in funding. Programs that saw no change in funding will not be listed.
We do want to highlight the following sections for you. You can find the entire budget here.
In particular, you might find page 39 of the budget interesting as it lists all the Olmstead related services in Georgia.
Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities:
- AFY19: $8.4 million increase to the GA Apex Program to provide support counselors for mental health services in high schools.
- AFY19: $7 million increase to maintain DBHDD's state hospital system.
- FY20: $3.6 million increase to annualize the cost of 125 NOW and COMP waivers.
- FY20: $4.2 million increase to fund an additional 125 NOW and COMP waivers.
- FY20: $2.4 million increase for mental health consumers to comply with the Department of Justice settlement agreement.
- FY20: $8.2 million increase to annualize the cost of behavioral health crisis centers.
- FY20: $10.5 million increase for behavioral health services.
- FY20: $10.2 million increase for behavioral health crisis bed capacity.
- FY20: $7 million increase to maintain DBHDD's state hospital system.
Department of Community Health:
- AFY19: $495,264 increase for background checks for owners and employees of long term care facilities pursuant to SB 406 (2018 Session).
- AFY19: $5.6 million increase to replace Medicaid Management Information System.
- AFY19: $1 million increase for an external consultant to review and analyze Medicaid waiver options for the purposes of drafting and preparing waiver policy recommendations for approval from the Governor's office.
- AFY19: Utilize $25,000 in existing funds for the design, development, and implementation of a caregiver registry pursuant to the passage of SB 406 (2018 Session).
- AFY19: $480,000 increase in tobacco settlement funds to serve medically fragile children through the Champions for Children program.
- FY20: $737,639 increase for four additional positions, training, and associated operational costs for increased background checks for owners and employees of long-term care facilities pursuant to SB 406 (2018 Session).
Department of Human Services:
- FY20: $957,087 increase for 12 adult protective service caseworkers to investigate reports of abuse, neglected, and/or exploitation of seniors and adults with disabilities
- FY20: $366,752 increase for 5 additional public guardianship caseworkers to coordinate and monitor all services needed for the health and welfare of guardianship clients.
- FY20: $338,802 increase to sustain options counseling, program outreach, and quality assurance for the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC).
- FY20: $849,951 increase for 50 additional Medicaid -Aged, Blind, and Disabled eligibility
Department of Education:
- AFY19: $822,191 increase for midterm adjustment for the Special Needs Scholarship
- AFY19: $68.8 million increase for one-time funds for school security grants
- FY20: $3.5 million decrease to the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) to reflect enrollment, training, and experience decline.
- FY20: $3.8 million increase for Preschool Disabilities Services to reflect enrollment growth, training, and experience
- FY20: A $3,000 pay increase for all certified teachers and certified employees in GA's public schools.
Bills to Watch:
- HB 1: Rename the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship the Senator Eric Johnson Scholarship (Rep. Jesse Petrea).
- HB 18: Automatic registration of voters who obtain, renew, or change their name or address on a drivers license card in Georgia (Rep. Sandra Scott).
- HB 19: Comprehensive state civil rights law protecting individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Expands to cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and age. Removes the term handicap and leaves the pre-existing term of disability (Rep. Sandra Scott).
- HB 37: Expand Medicaid Now Act (Rep. Robert Trammell)
- SB 3: provide for a program of premium assistance to enable eligible individuals to obtain health care coverage (Sen. Michael Rhett)
- SB 10: to provide that possession of certain quantities of marijuana constitute a misdemeanor (Sen. Harold Jones)
- SB 22: Increased Privacy and security for mail-in absentee ballots (Sen. Donzella James)
- SB 24: Requires the registration of certain electric personal assistive mobility devices (Sen. Donzella James)
Other Days of Note:
- Jan 22 - Rev Up Call! Today at 10 AM. 712-775-7031, PIN 608190939.
- Jan. 25 - Georgia Budget & Policy Institute's Insights Conference!
- Feb. 6 & 7 - Senior Week!
- Mar. 4 - National Federation of the Blind, Georgia Affiliate Day!
- Mar. 19 - Independent Living Day!