HMHBGA

2021 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

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The 2021 Legislative Session Comes to A Close

On Wednesday, March 31 the Georgia General Assembly ended the 2021 legislative session. The legislature is expected to reconvene in November 2021 to redistrict based on 2020 Census data. Below is a summary of what happened this year. 

Paid Parental Leave Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk

HB 146 (Houston Gaines, R – Athens) is on its way to be signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp after passing the full Senate and House. This bill will provide three weeks of paid parental leave to state employees for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. Once the bill is signed, it will go into effect July 1, 2021. 

HMHBGA is grateful for the work of lawmakers and advocates for getting this important law to the finish line. This policy will help teachers and other state employees take care of themselves and their families after birth, adoption, and foster placement with less worry about missing a paycheck. Paid parental leave is important for the health and wellbeing of families and is an important step in improving maternal and infant health in our state. We will continue to work to ensure this benefit is available to all families across Georgia in the future. 

Updates on HMHBGA Supported Bills

HMHBGA supported a number of bills related to postpartum Medicaid extension, workplace accommodations, doula coverage, and tobacco & vaping taxes. Below is a summary of where bills stand after Sine Die.

The following bills passed and are on the way to Governor Kemp for consideration:

HB 146 – Paid Parental Leave for State Employees 
(Houston Gaines, R – Athens) Would provide for three weeks of paid parental leave for eligible state employees and eligible local board of education employees following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

HB 231 – Stalking Protective Orders
(Houston Gaines, R – Athens) Would expand the applicability of protective orders for victims of stalking to include people with whom they have had a current or past pregnancy or relationship.

HB 287 – Tobacco and Vaping Education
(Bonnie Rich, R – Suwanee) Would include tobacco and vapor products in the course of instruction regarding alcohol and drugs required each year for all students in grades kindergarten through 12.

The following did not pass this year but will be up for consideration during the 2022 legislative session:


HB 72 – New Mothers Medicaid Expansion Act
(Carolyn Hugley, D – Columbus) Would extend Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 197 – Family Care Act Extension 
(Regina Lewis-Ward, D – McDonough) Would extend the Family Care Act, which allows employees to use sick time to care for immediate family members, to 2025. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 377 – Georgia Women’s Care Act
(Sharon Cooper, R – Marietta) Would revise provisions related to the arrests of pregnant women, require pregnancy testing upon detention, and enact delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates. Stalled in House Rules Committee

HB 381 – Expanding Medicaid to Improve Health Outcomes for New Mothers Act
(Renitta Shannon, D – Decatur) Would extend Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 394 – Tobacco & Vaping Tax
(Ron Stephens, R – Savannah) Would raise the tobacco tax to $1.87 per pack and tax vaping products at 39% of the wholesale cost. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 650 – Working for Two Act
(Park Cannon, D – Atlanta) Would require certain accommodations in the workplace for pregnant and postpartum employees and protect such employees from discrimination based on their perinatal status. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 670 – Tobacco & Vaping Taxes
(James Beverly, D – Macon) Would raise taxes on cigarettes to $2.00 per pack and vaping products to 40% of the wholesale price. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 722 – Georgia Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act
(Park Cannon, D – Atlanta) Would require perinatal facilities in this state to implement evidence based implicit bias programs for its health care professionals. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 727 – Doula Medicaid Reimbursement
(Park Cannon, D – Atlanta) Would provide for Medicaid coverage for prenatal, birth, and postpartum doula services. Was not heard in committee for consideration

HB 825 – Medicaid Coverage for Donor Milk
(Sharon Cooper, R – Marietta) Would provide Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor breast milk. Was not heard in committee for consideration

SB 173 – Medicaid Coverage for Lactation & Postpartum Care
(Gail Davenport, D – Jonesboro) Would extend Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery to provide coverage for lactation services. Was not heard in committee for consideration

2021 Legislative Session Wrap Up
Below is a summary of bills we monitored throughout the session related to maternal, infant, child, and general health. Legislation on this list is not necessarily endorsed by HMHBGA.  

The following bills passed and are on the way to Governor Kemp for consideration:

HB 146 – Paid Parental Leave for State Employees 
(Houston Gaines, R – Athens) Would provide for three weeks of paid parental leave for eligible state employees and eligible local board of education employees following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

HB 154 – Protection of Children 
(Bert Reeves, R – Marietta) Would strengthen, clarify, and update provisions relating to the protection of children, including foster children and adopted children.

HB 163 – Medicaid Express Lane Eligibility 
(Sharon Cooper, R – Marietta) Would implement express lane enrollment, which would automatically enroll and renew eligible children in Medicaid based on SNAP data.

HB 231 – Stalking Protective Orders
(Houston Gaines, R – Athens) Would expand the applicability of protective orders for victims of stalking to include people with whom they have had a current or past pregnancy or relationship.

HB 287 – Tobacco and Vaping Education
(Bonnie Rich, R – Suwanee) Would include tobacco and vapor products in the course of instruction regarding alcohol and drugs required each year for all students in grades kindergarten through 12.

HB 307 – Georgia Telehealth Act
(Sharon Cooper, R – Marietta) Would authorize health care providers to provide telemedicine services from home and allow patients to receive telehealth services from home, work, or school.

HB 509 – Reasonably Priced Health Insurance
(Houston Gaines, R – Athens) Would require certain insurers to make at least one reasonably priced comprehensive major medical health insurance policy available to residents in this state without limitation or exclusion based on preexisting conditions.

HB 567 – Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee
(Sharon Cooper, R – Marietta) Would create a Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee and require newborns to be screened for new disorders recommended by the committee. 

SB 20 – Child Advocate Advisory Committee(Chuck Payne, R – Dalton) Would revise the composition of the Child Advocate Advisory Committee to include a foster parent, a former foster child, and a court appointment special advocate (CASA).

HR 52 – Joint Study Committee on Lead Exposure
(Katie Dempsey, R – Rome) Would create a Joint Study Committee to study prevention of childhood lead exposure. 

The following did not pass this year but will be up for consideration during the 2022 legislative session:

House
HB 9 – Telehealth Services in Schools
(Sandra Scott, D – Rex) Would require the Department of Education to develop guidelines for the use of telehealth services in public schools for mental health and behavioral health services. 

HB 11 – Safe Patient Limits Act
(Sandra Scott, D – Rex) Would limit the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered professional nurse in specified situations in hospitals.

HB 38 – Repeal Sterilization Procedures 
(Kim Schofield, D – Atlanta) Would repeal certain provisions related to the performance of reproductive sterilization procedures. 

HB 41 – Health Benefit Plan Network Access and Adequacy Act
(Kim Schofield, D – Atlanta) Would increase consumer access to health care by improving network adequacy and under certain circumstances charge out-of-network services at in-network rates.

HB 49 – Mental Health Parity Act 
(Shelly Hutchinson, D – Snellville) Would require mental health substance use services to be treated in line with other health insurance claims.

HB 54 – Menstrual Hygiene Education
(Debra Bazemore, D – South Fulton) Would provide instruction on best practices and risks associated with tampons during sex education and AIDS prevention instruction in core curriculum. 

HB 57 – Breastfeeding in Penal Institutions 
(Sandra Scott, D – Rex) Would provide policies for breast milk storage and the breastfeeding of a newborn, require prenatal and postpartum care, and require the provision of breast pumps in penal institutions.

HB 72 – New Mothers Medicaid Expansion Act
(Carolyn Hugley, D – Columbus) Would extend Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery. 

HB 96 – Presumption in Child Custody Cases
(Jasmine Clark, D – Lilburn) Would revise presumption in cases in which the custody of any child is at issue.

HB 197 – Family Care Act Extension 
(Regina Lewis-Ward, D – McDonough) Would extend the Family Care Act, which allows employees to use sick time to care for immediate family members, to 2025. 

HB 209 – Medicaid Expansion Program
(Donna McLeod, D – Lawrenceville) Would expand Medicaid coverage to eligible people up to 150% of the federal poverty line. [House Health & Human Services] 

HB 215 – Telehealth Options Under Medicaid
(Mary Robichaux, D – Roswell) Would extend the use of temporary Medicaid telehealth options during the pandemic emergency to a permanent status. Would also provide certification and training to providers through telehealth options. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 

HB 257 – Maternity Supportive Housing Act 
(Ed Setzler, R – Acworth) Would provide registration of maternity supportive housing for pregnant women. 

HB 377 – Georgia Women’s Care Act
(Sharon Cooper, R – Marietta) Would revise provisions related to the arrests of pregnant women, require pregnancy testing upon detention, and enact delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates. 

HB 381 – Expanding Medicaid to Improve Health Outcomes for New Mothers Act
(Renitta Shannon, D – Decatur) Would extend Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery. 

HB 382 – Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program Repeal
(Renitta Shannon, D – Decatur) Would redirect public health funds from the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program (Crisis Pregnancy Centers) to evidence-based programs.

HB 394 – Tobacco & Vaping Tax
(Ron Stephens, R – Savannah) Would raise the tobacco tax to $1.87 per pack and tax vaping products at 39% of the wholesale cost.

HB 448 – Medicaid & PeachCare Disclosure of Cost Data
(David Knight, R – Griffin) Would require all contracts with Medicaid and PeachCare programs to disclose all cost related data to the state. 

HB 650 – Working for Two Act
(Park Cannon, D – Atlanta) Would require certain accommodations in the workplace for pregnant and postpartum employees and protect such employees from discrimination based on their perinatal status. 

HB 670 – Tobacco & Vaping Taxes
(James Beverly, D – Macon) Would raise taxes on cigarettes to $2.00 per pack and vaping products to 40% of the wholesale price. 

HB 722 – Georgia Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act
(Park Cannon, D – Atlanta) Would require perinatal facilities in this state to implement evidence based implicit bias programs for its health care professionals. 

HB 727 – Doula Medicaid Reimbursement
(Park Cannon, D – Atlanta) Would provide for Medicaid coverage for prenatal, birth, and postpartum doula services. 

HB 825 – Medicaid Coverage for Donor Milk
(Sharon Cooper, R – Marietta) Would provide Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor breast milk. 

Senate
SB 55 – Georgia Family Medical Leave Act 
(Gloria Butler, D – Stone Mountain) Would create a program to compensate wage loss sustained by any individual who is unable to work due to such individual’s own sickness or injury, the sickness or injury of a family member, or the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a new child. 

SB 83 – Medicaid Public Option
(Sally Harrell, D – Atlanta) Would provide for a Medicaid public option program to provide healthcare coverage to individuals not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or the PeachCare for Kids Program. 

SB 91 – Feminine Hygiene Products to Students
(Donzella James, D – Atlanta) Would require boards of education to provide free feminine hygiene products to students. 

SB 111 – Georgia Community Midwife Act
(Lester Jackson, D – Savannah) Would provide for the licensure and regulation of community midwives.

SB 170 – Home Childbirth
(Lester Jackson, D – Savannah) Would require health benefit policies to provide coverage for expenses incurred in home childbirth.

SB 116 – Maternity Supportive Housing Residences
(Randy Robertson, R – Cataula) Would provide for registration of maternity supportive housing residences to provide housing for pregnant women.

SB 173 – Medicaid Coverage for Lactation & Postpartum Care
(Gail Davenport, D – Jonesboro) Would extend Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery to provide coverage for lactation services. 

House & Senate Resolutions
HR 78 – Racism Public Health Crisis
(Sandra Scott, D – Rex) Would declare racism a public health crisis in Georgia.

HR 131 – House Study Committee on Health in Georgia
(Karen Bennett, D – Stone Mountain) Would create a House Study Committee on Health, which will study various health conditions impacting Georgians. [House Health & Human Services Committee] No update

HR 146 – House Study Committee on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
(Sam Park, D – Lawrenceville) Would create a House Study Committee on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to Improve the Health of Women and Children. 

HR 163 – House Study Committee to Evaluate Workplace Safety and Labor Law Enforcement
(Spencer Frye, D – Athens) Would create a House Study Committee to Evaluate Workplace Safety and Labor Law Enforcement.

HR 186 – Medicaid Sustainability Study Committee
(Debbie Buckner, D – Junction City) Would create a Joint Medicaid Sustainability Study Committee. 

HR 268 – Addressing Involuntary Sterilization in ICE Custody 
(Yasmin Neal, D – Jonesboro) Would urge the Congress of the United States to abolish the practice of involuntary sterilization of women in custody of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. 

SR 42 – Family Medical Leave Fund
(Gloria Butler, D – Stone Mountain) Would create a Family Medical Leave Fund as a trust fund from which funds can be used to provide a program for individuals who need to take leave from work due to their own sickness or nonwork related injury, the sickness or injury of a family member, or the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. 

SR 107 – Family Leave Policy Study Committee 
(Jennifer Jordan, D – Atlanta) Would create a Senate Comprehensive Approach to Family Leave Policies within State Government Study Committee.

Helpful Reminder

Red text notes any updates that have occurred since the last newsletter.
‘No Action’ means there has been no update since the last newsletter.
‘SB’ or ‘HB’ refer to Senate and House BILLS. ‘SR’ or ‘HR’ refer to Senate
and House RESOLUTIONS.
Bills are used to propose changes or additions to existing statutory
law, while resolutions usually express legislative opinion or recognition
on some matter and do not have the effect of law.

2022 Advocacy Stakeholder Planning Meeting

Please join us on August 13, 2021 from 10 AM to 12 PM as we plan out our 2022 Advocacy Agenda to improve maternal and child health in Georgia. This event is open to all HMHBGA members in good standing, organizational partners, and invited stakeholders. The meeting will take place via Zoom video conference.

Anyone is welcome to become an HMHBGA member by signing up here.

Not sure if your membership is active? Email us at thecoaliton@hmhbga.org

AGENDA:

I. 2021 Legislative Recap

II. What We Expect in 2022– Threats, Challenges & Opportunities

III. Partner Priorities: Impacting Maternal & Child Health in the Next Legislative Session

IV. Planning for: HMHBGA Legislative Breakfast & Capitol Awareness Day

V. Other agenda items

REGISTER HERE

Project 236

Project 236 is an advocacy tool that can be used to understand the state of maternal and infant health in your legislative district! Outcomes include rates of preterm birth, low birthweight, infant mortality, and prenatal care inadequacy. In this age of virtual advocacy, we hope that this can be used as a way to advocate for improved maternal and infant health in your own backyard.

We encourage you to engage with your legislators on why investment in maternal and infant health is necessary for the health of Georgia’s families. You can access the fact sheet for your district below.

PROJECT 236 SHEETS