Public Policy for the People: 4 February, 2019


public policy for the people LS

Volume 5, Issue 3 2019 Legislative Session February 4, 2019

Calls to Action: Call your State Senator and Representative about our two budget requests (in red below).

Keep Up-To-Date

  • Catch our Public Policy Phone Calls at 9:30 AM on 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 3/25. Dial in at 1-888-355-1249, Code: 232357
  • Join our Advocacy Network
  • Read Public Policy for the People: 2/18, 3/4, 3/18, 4/1

Who are my state legislators?

Looking Ahead

2019 GCDD Advocacy Days
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

Click here to register online!

Be in the Know: Rumblings Under the Gold Dome

Well advocates, since we last spoke your lawmakers have been spending much of their time on the state's budget. As a quick reminder, the budget process has five steps.

  1. Governor Kemp shares recommendations for the budget.
  2. The House of Representatives holds budget hearings, makes changes to Governor Kemp's recommendations, passes a bill, and then sends the bill to the Senate
  3. The Senate takes the House's version, holds budget hearing, makes changes, and then passes a bill.
  4. The House and Senate come together in Conference Committee to iron out any differences. Both the House and Senate must agree on the same bill.
  5. Then Governor Kemp will sign the bill, veto the bill, or line item veto the bill.

With a state budget over $26 million, the budget process is understandably slow and complex. On a positive note, this allows advocates such as yourself plenty of time to make an impact on the budget process by voicing your opinions. This is where we need your help!

If you have not already contacted your State Representative and Senator, please make plans to do so this week. Here at GCDD we have two budget requests for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. We need your help to educate our elected officials on why these budget requests are important to Georgia's disability community. You can your elected officials by visiting

CALL TO ACTION: Please educate your State Senator and Representative on two things.

  1. Support the Governor’s recommendation for 125 NOW & COMP waivers, and add an additional $17.8 million to DBHDD’s FY20 budget to fund 525 more NOW & COMP waivers.
  2. For Inclusive Post-Secondary Education, increase legislative funding from the existing $500,000 to $1,000,000 in total within the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities Budget.

On a more somber note, Senator Butch Miller introduced Senate Resolution 60 to honor the life and memory of one of Georgia's disability warriors, Justin A Pressley. The resolution aptly points out that "Justin leaves behind a glowing legacy as an indefatigable fighter who turned his disability into a quest to improve the lives of others." We hope you will join us at GCDD in remembering Justin and working towards a Georgia where all people can live, work, and play across Georgia's many communities.

Finally, the House and Senate have significantly increased their video recording system. Floor sessions and committee meetings can often be streamed live online. If you miss them, you can catch up in their archives.

Learn the Lingo

Appropriations Bill: Just another way of saying the bill deals with the state's budget.
Conference Committee: When the House and the Senate pass different versions of the same bill, they come together to work out their differences.

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 40: To require local school systems to conduct screenings for dyslexia (Rep. Sandra Scott).
  • HB 69: Altering the prior school year requirement for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program (Rep. Scot Turner).
  • HB 79: Establishment of procedural safeguards that require adherence to due process and equal protection rights of blind parents in the context of child welfare, foster care, adoption, and family law (Rep. Carl Gilliard).
  • HR 52: Encourage all schools, local educational agencies, and the state educational agency to recognize that dyslexia has a profound educational impact that must be addressed (Rep. John Corbett).
  • 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)
  • SB 48: To require that all kindergarten through second grade students are screened for dyslexia and increase dyslexia focused professional development for teachers (Sen. P.K. Martin IV).

How does a bill become a law?

Other Days of Note:

  • Feb. 6 & 7 - Senior Week!
  • Mar. 4 - National Federation of the Blind, Georgia Affiliate Day!
  • Mar. 19 - Independent Living Day!

Tags: GCDD, Advocacy, public policy