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2019 Georgia General Assembly

Update: February 18, 2019

The General Assembly is off today in observance of Presidents Day. More bills are beginning to be introduced as the legislature will convene for its 17th Legislative Day tomorrow.  Last week was highlighted by Governor Kemp’s bill to seek Medicaid waivers to include more adult Georgians in the Medicaid program; and also to take steps to moderate the escalation of exchange premiums, which has made some products unaffordable.  Also, last week the legislature approved an “adjournment calendar” that now calls for the final day of the session to be Tuesday, April 2. Remember too, that our Legislative Day at the Capitol is February 28. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to register. Following are summaries of some of the bills we’re following & their status:

APRN SCOPE OF PRACTICE SB 109 by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) would allow APRNs to order radio-graphic imaging tests in non-life-threatening situations introduced today.

CARDIAC ARREST — HB 78 by Rep. David Clark (R-Buford) and SB 60 by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville) would require the Georgia DOE to develop and post on its website guidelines and other materials to inform students, parents, guardians and coaches about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest.  Education.

CERTIFICATE OF NEED (CON) OVERHAUL — Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate, HB 198 by Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) and SB 74 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan), proposing the elimination of CON requirements for all health care facilities except certain long-term care facilities and services.  The House bill was heard by the  House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care last week. The Ga. Hospital Association strongly opposes this bill.  A hearing for the  Senate bill is pending.

CON, Other — Two separate bills, HB 89 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) and SB 61 by Sen. John Albers, would provide an exemption for integrated ambulatory surgical centers from CON laws.  House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care & Regulated Industries.

DEXTROMETHORPHAN — HB 112 by Rep. John LaHood (R-Valdosta) would prohibit the sale to and by minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan (a medication most often used as a cough suppressant in over-the-counter cold and cough medicines). Juvenile Justice.

DNR FOR MINORS SB 104 by Sen. Chuck Payne (R-Dalton) proposes to revise the parental requirements for consent to an order for do not resuscitate for a minor child.  Judiciary

HANDHELD ELECTIONIC DEVICES— HB 113 by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) specifies that anyone driving with a Class C learners permit, Class C license, or Motorcycle instruction permit is prohibited from using a stand-alone electronic device or wireless telecommunications device unless it is an emergency. Passed Public Safety Committee, but referred back by Rules Committee.

DYSLEXIA — SB 48 by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville) requires all pre-kindergarten students to be screened for dyslexia & provide information, etc. Passed Education Committee.

GUNS — Three bills have be introduced (HB 20, HB 58, HB 137) to prohibit gun ownership by individual convicted of misdemeanors crimes of family violence. Public Safety.

GUNS HB 55 by Rep. Bruce would prohibit using 3-D printer to produce guns. Public Safety

GUNS — Democrats in the House and Senate (Sen. Sally Harrell) have introduced bills (HB 122 and SB 50) to repeal the Campus Carry law passed in 2017.  Public Safety

LOW THC OIL PRODUCTION HB 324 by Rep. Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville) would allow for the production, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. It creates the Office of Low THC Oil Control within the Department of Public Health and establishes a license process to produce, grow, manufacture, or dispense low THC oil. The bill would prohibit regulation by the Department of Agriculture.

MEDICAL LICENSURE COMPACT — SB 16 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta) is a MAG supported bill that would allow the Georgia Composite Medical Board to administer the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact in Georgia. The Compact compliments existing licensure and regulatory authority of state medical boards and provides a streamlined process for physicians to become licensed in multiple states.  Passed Senate. Moves to the House.

PRECEPTOR TAX CREDIT HB 287 by Rep. Matt Dubnik (R-Gainesville) creates the Preceptor Tax Incentive Program,  a new income tax credit for taxpayers who are licensed physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, or physician assistants and who provide uncompensated preceptorship training to the same. Ways & Means

REQUIRE RECESSHB 83 by Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge), would require schools to provide 30 minutes of daily recess. Education

SMOKING IN CARS — HB 17 by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) would prohibit the smoking in vehicles when a person under 13 years of age is present. Judiciary Non Civil

STEP THERAPY — HB 63 by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) would require health benefit plans to establish step therapy protocols. Passed House.

SURPRISE BILLING — HB 83 by Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) has introduced legislation again to address the issue of surprise medical bills. The bill intent is to provide more information and transparency to patients about network coverage and the cost of healthcare services.  This approach is opposed by MAG and other physicians’ associations.  Passed House Insurance.

SURPRISE BILLING — SB 56 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) has also introduced legislation to address surprise billing that is supported by MAG. Hearing in Senate Insurance this week.

VACCINE PROTOCOL AGREEMENTS HB 214 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) removes the geographic limitation for pharmacists who are participating in a vaccine protocol agreement.  Health and Human Services.

Events this week:  Moms Demand Action Day at the Capitol, Wednesday 10am, at the Central Presbyterian Church, across from the Capitol. Click here for information.

Also, remember that the Georgia AAP Legislative Day at the Capitol is set for Thursday, February 28, at the Floyd Veterans Memorial Building and the State Capitol. Click here for registration inform.

House Appropriations Committee Leadership

Terry England, Auburn
404-463-2247 Cap

Rep. Butch Parrish, Swainsboro
Chair, Sub-committee on Community Health/Medicaid

House Leadership
Rep. David Ralston, Blue Ridge
Speaker of the House

Rep. Jan Jones, Milton
Speaker Pro Tem

Rep. Jon Burns, Statesboro

Senate Appropriations Committee

Sen. Jack Hill, Reidsville, Chair

Sen. Ben Watson, MD, Savannah

Chair, Senate Health & Human Services

Senate Leadership
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Alpharetta

Sen. Mike Dugan, Carrollton
Senate Majority Leader 

Sen. Butch Miller, Gainesville
Senate President Pro Tem


For a complete text of any these bills you can visit the Georgia General Assembly website:  www.legis.state.ga.us.   For more information on these or other bills, contact Rick Ward, at the Chapter office, at jrice@gaaap.org. Thanks to the members of the Legislative Committee for their efforts during the session and to all our members who contacted their legislators about our issues.  Your support and participation in the legislative process is vitally important to our advocacy.