GSSA- Day 40 Update

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sine Die

Preliminary Report


The 40th and final day of the 2017 Georgia General Assembly, AKA Sine Die, occurred on Thursday, March 30, 2017.  On Thursday we all learned again that a legislative day is not the same as a calendar day.  The day was full of recesses and stand downs, while the evening moved into early morning before all the voting was done.  Of all the bills that have passed the House or Senate, 50 of the education related bills that we have been following have either passed or were amended onto other bills, and are on their way to the Governor’s desk for consideration, signing, or veto.  The complete list of education related bills that PASSED is on the GSSA website under the legislative tab. The Governor now has 40 days, (ending May 9, 2017), to take action on a bill, or it becomes law.  As of today, only one education related bill has been signed by the Governor. That bill is HB 43, which is the FY17 Amended Budget.  To follow the Governor’s bill signing progress, go to Governor Nathan Deal’s Office of the Governor press page, and click on Legislation. Here is the link to that page: 2017 legislation.  With the flurry of activity on the 40th day, we believe that we have captured what happened to the education related bills that we have been following.  However, we will continue to review the official legislative sites to prepare a final report of the education related bills that Governor Deal signs into law.   The Governor did make it clear in his closing remarks to the House and the Senate that there is a good chance some bills may be vetoed.


Remember, you can follow the bills and read the complete version of the bills at the GSSA website, under the legislative tab.  We will attempt to keep the postings up-to-date regarding amendments to the education related bills that we are following.  All of the bills that have passed the House and the Senate are listed under the PASSED tab on the GSSA website. If you do look up any specific bill, make sure that you click on the most recent version tab at the bill’s site.  We will provide an up-to-date report of the bills at the GSSA Bootstrap Conference in Savannah on April 18 and 19, 2017.


Thursday’s action:




HB 340 – PASSED AS AMENDED – This is an effort to clean up a number of issues created by moving away from the “Tag Tax” to sales tax on the sales of motor vehicles.  The bill now only addresses leased cars and how they would be taxed.


HB 280 – PASSED AS AMENDED – The bill would allow licensed holders to carry and possess certain weapons in certain buildings or real property owned or leased to public institutions of postsecondary education.  The bill has been amended to prohibit guns from day care centers, areas where K-12 students have classes, and disciplinary hearings.


HB 139 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Provides provisions for transparency of financial information of local school systems and schools.

HB 148 – WAS AMENDED TO HB 139 – The bill would require the DOE to use an additional ID code for students who are children of military personnel.


HB 434 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Eminent Domain; requires that condemnations not be converted to any other than public use after 20 years.


HB 430 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Governor’s Educational Reform Commission – implementation of certain parts of the Charter School Subcommittee’s report, including the transfer of unused schools to charter schools. The bill has undergone revisions.  Three sections of the bill that changed include the section on federal funds, vacant school building definition, and building and occupancy permits.


HB 237 – PASSED AS AMENDED – This bill would allow for income tax credit funds to be collected to assist low performing schools. The bill was also amended to include a five million dollar cap and would sunset in three years.  This is intended to be a public funding mechanism for HB 338.


HB 154 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Authorize dental hygienists to perform certain functions under general supervision. This will affect the health clinics of Title One schools.


HB 198 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Provides information on influenza vaccine.  The Department of Public Health will be the lead agency, not the DOE.


HB 312 – PASSED – Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) of Georgia to include a qualified Roth contribution program in compensation plans.


HB 243 – PASSED – Would preempt local government mandates to require additional pay to employees based on schedule changes.  This bill should have minimal impact on school systems.


HB 268 – PASSED AS AMENDED – The bill would provide a time period for certification of elected officials.


Not all of the resolutions that have passed will receive funding for work over the summer.  One resolution that will definitely be high on the priority list is HR 686.


HR 686 – PASSED – This resolution would establish a three member committee to study the recommendations of the Governor’s Reform Committee on the Funding of Schools in Georgia.


I am sure that we will hear about the work of this committee in the next legislative session. This resolution is a great example that if something has to pass successfully through the legislative session, it can.  The resolution was introduced on Tuesday of this week and was passed out of the House Education Committee on Wednesday.  It passed out of Rules Committee on Thursday morning and passed the full House on Thursday afternoon.  Some legislation only takes a few days to navigate through the legislative process, when it is important to someone.


Day 40 action regarding other committees that may receive approval to meet this summer include:


HR 284 – PASSED – This would create a House Study Committee on state and local construction management.  The committee would look at the bid system across the state and various agencies.


HR 634 – PASSED – This would create a House Study Committee on Civics Education in Georgia.




SB 211 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Assessments of local reading programs; review of current testing to meet the needs of the Georgia Assessments; working with the Federal Government to allow Georgia flexibility in its assessment programs.  This bill was amended with HB 114 – the Move on When Ready Act.  The bill would prohibit school systems from excluding students in dual credit classes from valedictorian or salutatorian determination.


SB 104 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Require the posting of the human trafficking hotline notice in all government buildings.

A version of HB 9/SB 45 may be ATTACHED TO SB 104 – Illegal to use filming device or photography of person’s private parts.


SB 149 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Provide training requirements for School Resource Officers.  Only section 1 of the bill relates to schools.


SB 168 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Permit access to child abuse records by department, or county, or other state or local agencies and to extend the Central Child Abuse Registry.


SB 186 – PASSED – Students who earned high school diploma through dual enrollment course work would be eligible for HOPE to complete their associate’s degree.


SB 201 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Allows employees to use sick leave for the care of immediate family members.  Most school systems already allow for this.


SB 206 – PASSED AS AMENDED – “Hearing Aid for Children Act”


SB 216 – PASSED AS AMENDED – Eliminates a provision per capita share of the Homestead Exemption tax to the county.  Would be divided on census information.


SB 258 –   PASSED – Provides for the ineligibility for office holders of public money of certain governmental entities, including school boards, who refuse or fail to account and pay over such funds to the proper officer.


SR 95 – PASSED – This would provide for the distribution of funds if a county school system and independent school system cannot agree to the amount of funds to be split from an E SPLOST.


SR 130 – PASSED – This would create a Joint Study Committee to study transparency and open access in government.


This will be the last of the daily reports of the 2017 Legislative Session.  We will continue to update changes to legislation and the Governor’s action on bills over the next forty days.  Remember to check the GSSA legislative website for updates.   John Zauner and I will provide a legislative update at the Boot Strap Conference on April 18th and 19th in Savannah.  Hope to see you there.


If you have any questions regarding the actions of the 2017 Legislative Session, contact us and we will be glad to do the research for you.


The next legislative session has already begun in some minds.  Keep in contact with your local delegation and discuss with them ways that the budget and various bills may impact the school district that you represent. Also, work with them regarding ideas that your district may have to improve education.  They might be willing to sponsor a bill.


Please remember to thank them for their hard work during the entire session.


Thanks to all of you for the work you do every day.  Your efforts really do make a difference in the lives of the 1.2 million school children in the State of Georgia.




Michael Surma

Legislative Liaison

Georgia School Superintendents Association


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