Capitol Update Week 4 – Education and Rules

Week four included numerous bills emerging from their respective committees. Each bill, once out of committee, then goes to the House Rules Committee (more info below). A bill that passes the Rules Committee may then come to the House floor for a vote before the entire House of Representatives.

Education remains the General Assembly’s top legislative priority; therefore, we unanimously passed House Bill 801, authored by Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, this week encouraging students to enroll in college courses in certain areas.  HB 801 wouldimprove the GPA weighting system for HOPE Scholarship recipients who take certain science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. During his State of the State address, Governor Nathan Deal targeted 11 areas, all in STEM related fields, under the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grants as part of his continued plan to strengthen Georgia’s workforce and address the job skills gap. By providing additional GPA weight to courses where our state sees the most need, we are making progress toward bridging the skills gap in Georgia.

We also unanimously passed House Bill 402, authored by Representative Eddie Lumsden, this week, HB 402 is an effort to increase business partnerships and participation with local public school systems for K-12 work based learning programs. Work based learning programs allows students age 16 and older to participate in a structured learning environment at an employer’s job site for a portion of the school day, while also receiving academic credit.

As we continue through the legislative session, I hope that you will contact me if you have questions or concerns about these bills, or any other legislation that may come before us. As your state representative, it is my job to represent your thoughts and opinions in Atlanta, and I would like to hear from you often.

House Rules Committee

I am very fortunate to join the House Rules Committee as Vice Chairman this session. The Rules Committee considers every piece of legislation (both House and Senate bills) prior to receiving a vote by all Representatives on the House floor.

Serving on Rules is an important and interesting role, however, it requires an extraordinary amount of time to review each piece of legislation. I pledge to you and my fellow legislators to do my best in this new role; however, I will always continue to rely on you to share your thoughts, concerns, and insights.

Please bring to my attention any issue you have with legislation pending in the General Assembly.

Upcoming Votes

Below please find a few of the issues the House will likely consider this week:

HB 593 dealing with continuing education requirements for low-voltage contractors.I co-signed this bill, however, was convinced by discussion on the floor to vote NO. The measure failed on Thursday of last week and may be reconsidered on Monday.

HB 649 Georgia Lactation Consultant Practice Act would establish a licensing requirement for lactation consultants working primarily in a hospital environment. I intend to vote NO.

HB 759 provides that bankers providing customers information regarding loans and other products shall not constitute the ‘unauthorized’ practice of law . I intend to vote YES.

HB 775 would effectively prohibit the use of a cell phone to take an eye exam (yes, that actually exists) and then an out-of-state medical professional writing a prescription and shipping you glasses or contacts. I intend to vote YES  and require an actual in-person eye exam to receive a prescription.

HB 780 permits non-diagnostic laboratories an exemption to state licensure as a clinical laboratory. I intend to vote YES .

HB 737 Code Revision Commission revises to modernize and correct errors in the Georgia Code . I intend to vote YES .

HB 767 proposes to add utility service vehicles to the “Spencer Pass (Move Over) Law.” Thanks to Chairman Alan Powell for modifying this bill not to disturb the bill I passed last session regarding sanitation trucks, I intend to vote YES .

Committee Meetings

Both the House and Senate are now actively considering bills – both remaining from last year as well as newly introduced legislation. You may view the meeting schedules online as well as watch many of the meetings live via your computer.

Let me hear from you

As always, I remain appreciative that you allow me to serve as your state Representative.  I encourage you to contact me with any comments or questions you have about the legislation being considered at the state Capitol.   You can reach me at my Capitol office at 404-656-0254 or on my cell at 404-966-5804 or via email at brett.harrell@house.ga.gov.

Thanks for allowing me to serve.