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Georgia AAP 2021 Legislative Blueprint for Children

2022 Georgia General Assembly Report

State Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The Georgia General Assembly adjourned its 2022 session, last “Monday” April 4 at about 12:20am.  The legislature used to treat 12:00 midnight as a hard stop on their session, but after lawyers re-read the Constitution a few years ago, they decided it was 12:00 midnight-ish.

The session was an unusually partisan one, given the number of primary challengers that many incumbents, especially Republicans, had. Governor Kemp has drawn opposition from former Sen. David Perdue.  Senate president pro tem Butch Miller will be opposed by fellow senator Burt Jones. And so on.  We were heartened by the passage of the Mental Health Parity Act, which contains several good provisions for children.  Also, a bill updating the state’s leading poisoning law also passed. And the FY 2023 budget added funds to end the problem of Attestation, which is a trap that several of our members have been caught in for the past 4 years. Starting July 1, pending the Governor’s expected signature, all physicians in the Medicaid program will be paid off of the “enhanced rate schedule”

However, we were also pleased that moves by NP’s and PA’s to write for Schedule II drugs failed. Also, as a negative: bills that restricted schools from requiring masks for school children;  and another one that undermined confidence in COVID vaccine also passed. So, it was the proverbial “mixed bag” of good and bad things for our young patients and their families. Below is a summary of the key bills we followed and their final status.

  1. Vaccines: SB 345. Covid Vaccine Prohibitions. Prohibits public entities from requiring Covid vaccine passports. Does not affect private entities or public health orders by Governor; and sunsets 6-30-23. Passed.
  2. Mental Health: HB 1013. Passed & signed by the Governor. Enforces “mental health parity” by insurers, imposes 85% MLR spend ratio on Medicaid CMO’s, directs Governor’s office to establish common formulary for drugs for mental health conditions.
  3. PA/NP Prescribing: HB 369. Failed.
  4. Guns: SB 259. Churches & courthouses. Passed.    SB 319. Permit-less concealed carry. Passed.  
  5. Lead: HB 1355, updates the state’s lead poisoning law, reducing triggering level to CDC standards. Passed
  6. Masks: SB 514. Passed and signed by Governor. Prohibits schools from requiring masks without a “opt-out” for parents.
  7. Raw milk: HB 1175. Passed. Only permits “direct-to-consumer” sales, and delays implementation to 7-1-23.
  8. Smoke Free/ Vaping: HB 1348. Failed. Would have added vaping products to the state’s smokefree law.
  9. Young Drivers Bill, Changed to Allow Adult + 21. SB 510. Failed.
  10. Transgender sports: SB 435. Failed as separate bill, but language added to HB 1084 establishing a study committee on this issue and requests the Georgia High School Association
  11. Recess bill: HB 1283. Passed. Requires public elementary schools to schedule daily recess for children K-5.

 

FY 2023 budget. Conference Committee. (still must be signed by the Governor)

  1. $85M to eliminate Attestation.  This means all physicians in Medicaid program, regardless of specialty, will be paid “enhanced rates.”
  2. Included language to file waiver to eliminate 5-year residency requirement for Medicaid for legal immigrant children.
  3. $$ for Medicaid coverage of human donor milk for NICU infants
  4. $$ for extended Medicaid coverage for post-partem mothers
  5. $$ for “fast track” Medicaid enrollment process
  6. $148M (total funds) for “value-based” purchasing by Medicaid.

Melinda Willingham, MD, FAAP
Chair, Legislative Committee

Key House Leaders on Child Health Issues

Terry England, Auburn
Chair, Appropriations Committee

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

Rep. Katie Dempsey, Rome
Chair, Appropriations Sub-committee on Public Health

House Leadership

Rep. David Ralston, Blue Ridge
Speaker of the House

Rep. Jan Jones, Milton
Speaker Pro Tem

Rep. Sharon Cooper, Marietta
Chair, Health & Human Services

Rep. Jon Burns, Statesboro
House Majority Leader

Key Senate Leaders on Child Health Issues

Sen. Blake Tillery, Vidalia
Chair, Appropriations Committee

Sen. Ben Watson, MD, Savannah
Chair, Health & Human Services Committee

Sen. Dean Burke, MD, Bainbridge
Chair, Appropriations Sub-committee on Community Health (Medicaid)

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Cumming
President of the Senate

Sen. Mike Dugan, Carrollton
Senate Majority Leader

Sen. Butch Miller, Gainesville
Senate President Pro Tem

Further Information

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 mhudson@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.