"ABLE" Mable Thomas


2016 Legislative Session Wrap Up

HR 1577 (Able Mable Thomas/ D) House Study Committee on Georgia Minority Participation in the Film and Television Production Industry; create House Resolution 1577 creates the House Study Committee on Georgia Minority Participation in the Film and Television Production Industry. The committee shall be composed of seven members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

HB 614 (V. Stovall/D) Landon Dunson Act
House Bill 614 would allow video monitoring camera equipment to be installed in self-contained, special education classrooms. Participation from local schools would be voluntary; and access to the footage would be strictly limited to school administration, parents who request permission, law enforcement, and court officers via subpoena.  The cameras will be used for educational and safety monitoring purposes.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HB 54 (K. Waites/D) Tuition grants; children of officers killed in line of duty who attend University System institutions and meet certain requirements.  House Bill 54 would allow an additional funding source to provide free college tuition to children of fallen public safety officials. This funding source would help supplement a grant that is already administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission and would be obtained by adding a voluntary donation option to the Georgia Income Tax forms, as well as Georgia Motor Vehicle Driver's License forms.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HR 1253 (D. Sharper/D) Local boards of education; instruction on dugout safety to youth athletes participating in baseball; encourage
House Resolution 1253 encourages public schools and recreation facilities to teach dugout safety to youth athletes when playing baseball and to construct protective dugout coverings.

HB 514 (R. Bruce/D) South Fulton, City of; Fulton County; incorporate
House Bill 514 would allow for a referendum to create the City of South Fulton.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HB 804 (R. Mabra/D) Superior courts; fifth judge of the Clayton Judicial Circuit; provide
House Bill 804 would provide for a fifth judge of the superior courts of the Clayton Judicial Circuit.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HB 814 (M Glanton/D): "Educating Children of Military Families Act"
The language of HB 814 was inserted into an annual  K-12 language cleanup bill (HB 959, sponsored by Rep. Beth Beskin), which passed the General Assembly. This bill would authorize the Georgia Department of Education to establish a unique identifier for children of military service members for the purposes of disaggregating and sharing data related to the educational achievement and progress of such students.
STATUS: Only 2nd Reader in House
HB 821 (A. Williams/D) "Military Spouses and Veterans Licensure Act"
House Bill 821 would require that all state licensure boards adopt and implement a process by which military spouses and transitioning service members may qualify for temporary licenses, licenses by endorsement, or expedited licenses to facilitate their entry into Georgia's workforce.
STATUS: Signed by Governor
HB 831 (C. Smyre/D) "Protecting Guardmen's Employment Act"
House Bill 831 would provide employment protections to Georgia workers called into service by the national guard of a neighboring state.  The bill ensures that men and women called into service by a state National Guard or reserves are entitled to reemployment upon completion of their duty.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HB 895 (R. Mayo/D) Elementary and secondary education; finance directors of charter schools participate in initial and annual training; require:

House Bill 895 would require governing boards of approved charter schools to participate in two or three hours of training regarding sound fiscal management. The State Board of Education shall establish a charter school financial management certification program for charter school leaders. The bill further provides that a leader, principal, or equivalent shall not serve simultaneously as the chief financial officer.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HB 910 (S. Frye/D) Health records; provisions relating to costs of copying and mailing patient records apply to psychiatric, psychological, and other mental health record
s; provide
House Bill 910 would expand the Code section relating to copying and mailing health records and patient's rights as to records, by adding the psychiatric, psychological, and other mental health records of a patient.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HB 941 (R. Golick/R) Courts; review of incidents involving a peace officer's use of deadly force that results in death or serious bodily injury;
provide for procedure
House Bill 941 would bar police officers accused of the use of improper force from attending the entirety of grand jury proceedings and states that if the officer should testify, prosecutors may cross-examine him or her.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HB 962 (S. Abrams/D) Human Services, Department of; creation, appointment, removal, and duties of a kinship care enforcement administrator

The final version of HB 962 would enact the following: (1) a kinship care enforcement administrator position within the Department of Human Services (DHS) to ensure continual compliance with all existing and future state Kinship Care regulations and policies, including timely processing of paperwork; (2) creation of a separate, easier to use COMPASS (Common Point of Access to Social Services) website specifically for grandparents and other relatives to apply for benefits for the children in their care; and (3) authorization of the use of a military service member's state of legal residence for maintaining Medicaid eligibility for military family members with special needs to ensure no lapse in coverage.
STATUS: Signed by Governor
HB 1036 (B. Hitchens/R) Eminent domain; construction of petroleum pipelines and the environmental permitting requirements
; change certain provisions
House Bill 1036 would place a temporary moratorium on the exercise of power of eminent domain for construction of petroleum pipelines and the environmental permitting requirements for petroleum pipelines.
STATUS: Signed by Governor​
SB 304 (E. Parent/D) Criminal Records; allow for the preservation of a person's involuntary hospitalization information received by Georgia Crime Information

Senate Bill 304 was revised to become HB 827, sponsored by Rep. Scott Holcomb.  The Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act would require law enforcement to inventory all sexual assault kits and send them to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's forensic labs for processing. A framework for processing the kits on a rolling basis would also be established.
STATUS: Signed by Governor
SB 364 (L. Tippins/R) "Quality Basic Education Act"; annual teacher, principal, and assistant principal evaluations;
revise provisions
Senate Bill 364 would reduce evaluations with student growth accounting for 30 percent of the evaluation. A professional growth component will account for 20 percent. SB 364 also lowers the test component for administrator evaluations from 70 percent to 40 percent. The number of in-class observations are reduced for teachers with at least three years of teaching experience who have earned 'Proficient' or 'Exemplary' on the previous evaluation. SB 364 also raises the attendance threshold that a student must meet to be counted toward a teacher's evaluation from 65 percent to 90 percent attendance.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

SB 369 (J. Mullis/R) Fireworks; revise the standard of compliance from explosion to ignition;
Senate Bill 369 would allow for a ballot initiative in the city of Atlanta that, if approved, would raise the sales tax by a half penny to fund MARTA expansion projects.
STATUS: Signed by Governor

HR 1093 (K. Alexander/D) Joint Study Committee on Mental Illness Initiative, Reform, Public Health, and Safety
; create
House Resolution 10983 creates the House Study Committee on Mental Illness Initiative, Reform, Public Health, and Safety. The committee shall be composed of five members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Speaker shall designate one of the members as a chairperson of the committee.

HR 1254 (M. Shephens/D) Medicaid care management organizations; cover certain attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications; encourage
House Resolution 1254 encourages Medicaid care management organizations operating in Georgia to cover certain attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication.

HR 1342 (D. Douglas/D) Education; school children; request more recess time

House Resolution 1342 encourages and requests more recess time for school children.


HB 792  (B. Brockway/ R) Firearms; carrying, possession, and use of electroshock weapons by persons who are students or who are employed at a public institution;
House Bill 792 would allow anyone over the age of 18 or enrolled in classes to carry a Taser or stun gun on public college and university campuses.
STATUS: Signed by Governor
SB 269 (J. Stone/R) Counties; require local governing bodies; provide certain entities with certification of compliance with Code section
; condition of funding
Senate Bill 269 would require local governments that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities to comply with said authorities as a condition of funding.
STATUS: Signed by Governor
SB 270 (P.K. Martin IV/R) Firearms; authorize qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry handgun anywhere within this state

Senate Bill 270 would authorize certain retired law enforcement officers to carry a handgun anywhere within this state. It also provides for new Georgia residents who have a carry license issued by a state which recognizes Georgia licenses to have 90 days in order to get their Georgia license. The bill states that persons who have a valid hunting or fishing license are not required to have on their person a carry license when they are engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting on recreational or wildlife management areas owned by the state.
This legislation allows a person who leaves a place of worship upon notification that firearms are prohibited to avoid being cited as violating the Code. The bill also allows probate judges receiving applications for permits, to issue printed information on firearms safety courses. The bill also goes on to require the Department of Natural Resources to provide on their principal website, information on hunter education and classes and courses in this state that render gun safety instruction. Another provision of the bill adds to the exemption for retired law enforcement carry privileges to include officers who are citizens of this state and have an aggregate of ten years in law enforcement with arrest powers, separated from service in good standing, and have an identification card for retired law enforcement.
The bill clarifies definitions for "commercial service airport" and "major airline carrier" as it applies to those who carry a weapon into a commercial airport. Finally, the legislation provides immunity from civil liability from injuries caused by the failure of a person to use a firearm properly or lawfully to those instructors who provide safety training.
House Democrats filed a Minority Report against this bill.
STATUS: Signed by Governor


HB 757 (K. Tanner/ R) Domestic relations; religious officials shall not be required to perform marriage ceremonies in violation of their legal right;
House Bill 757, originally the Pastor Protection Act, was combined in the Senate Rules Committee with the First Amendment Defense Act and passed in that chamber. The legislation appeared stalled and did not return to the House until Day 38, in an amended form and now called the "Free Exercise Protection Act." HB 757 contains the following:

Allows faith-based organizations to deny social, educational or charitable services "that violate such faith-based organization's sincerely held religious belief." For example, it would protect such groups — including churches, religious schools and associations — from having to rent or allow their facilities to be used for events they find "objectionable."
Preserves the right of those faith-based organizations to fire employees who don't hold the same beliefs.
Upholds government's authority to enforce the terms of a grant, contract or other agreement.
Prevents any pastor from being forced to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. Individuals also could not be forced to attend such a wedding ceremony. (Pastor Protection Act)
Require government to prove a "compelling governmental interest" before it interferes with a person's exercise of religion. (RFRA)
Bar the law's use to allow discrimination banned by state or federal law. (Note: state and federal law do not currently provide LGBT civil rights protections)
STATUS: This bill was vetoed by Governor Deal.

HB 781 (B. Raffensperger/R) Local government; individuals appointed to authorities and boards be United States citizens;
House Bill 781 would require that an individual appointed to state and local authorities, boards, councils, and commissions shall be a United States citizen, and a natural or lawful permanent resident. House Democrats filed a Minority Report against this bill.
STATUS: Failed to pass out of committee. 
HB 859 (R. Jasperse/R) Firearms; weapons carry license holders; carrying and possession of certain weapons in certain buildings or real property owned or leased to public institutions of postsecondary education; authorize
House Bill 859, known informally as "campus carry," would allow anyone 21 and over with a weapons license to carry concealed firearms on public college and university campuses except in dormitories, fraternity & sorority houses, and at athletic events.
House Democrats filed a Minority Report against this bill.
STATUS: Awaiting Governor's signature.

SB 6 (J. McKoon/ R) "Georgia Road Safety and Driver's License Integrity Act"; provide persons who possess lawful alien status are only category of noncitizens

Senate Bill 6 would create special Georgia driver's licenses and ID cards for immigrants who lack legal status but have received deferred action from the federal government.
STATUS: Failed to pass out of committee.
SR 675 (J. McKoon/ R) State of Georgia; English as official language
Senate Resolution 675 adds a new paragraph to Article I, Section II of the Constitution to declare English as the official language of Georgia. SR 675 decrees the following:
·        Official actions of this state which bind or commit the state or which give the appearance of presenting the official views of the state shall be taken in English.
·        No law, ordinance, decree, program, or policy of this state including, but not limited to, the administration of driver's license examinations for all classes of licenses by the Department of Driver Services, shall use any language other than English for any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings, programs, or publications with limited exceptions.
·        No law, ordinance, decree, program, or policy of this state or its political subdivisions shall penalize or impair the rights, obligations, or opportunities available to any person solely because a person speaks only English.
STATUS: Failed to pass out of committee.


Other bills to note

HB 808 (W. Willard/R) Courts; Judicial Qualifications Commission;
House Bill 808, with a related constitutional amendment, would overhaul the seven-member Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) by stripping the State Bar of its three appointments on the JQC and giving that authority to the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor. The public will now be denied access to a judge's disciplinary hearing before the JQC for the first time.
STATUS: Signed by Governor​.

HR 1113 (W. Willard/R) Judicial Qualifications Commission; create – CA
House Resolution 1113 amends, subject to approval by voters of this state, Paragraph VI Section VII of Article VI of the Georgia Constitution by abolishing the existing Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) as of December 31, 2016, in order for the General Assembly to create and provide by general law for the composition, manner of appointment, and governance of a new Judicial Qualifications Commission. The new commission would still have the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges.
STATUS: Signed by Governor​.


To view all bills that were signed by Governor Nathan Deal:     http://gov.georgia.gov/legislation/2016