Georgia Capitol

Keeping Current @ the Capitol – Sine Die Edition

Yesterday marked Sine Die, the final day of the 2022 Georgia legislative session. Bills had until the end of day to pass both chambers (House & Senate) before heading to Governor Kemp’s desk. If a bill does not proceed before the close of Sine Die, it is still eligible for consideration during the 2022 legislative session. Once the General Assembly adjourns, the Governor has 40 days to sign or veto legislation. If a bill is not signed or vetoed by the end of the 40 days, it automatically becomes law. 

Come join HMHBGA, Postpartum Support International – GA Chapter and March of Dimes to learn more during our end of session wrap up. Click the following link to learn more – https://hmhbga.org/event/2022-virtual-legislative-wrap-up-free-event/


HOT TOPIC: SB338 – HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK

SB338: (Sen. Dean Burke, R – District 11)is on its way to be signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp after passing the full Senate and House. This bill will increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth.  With nearly half of Georgia’s births being covered by Medicaid and 2/3’s of maternal mortalities occurring postpartum, this is a critical piece is increasing health outcomes for moms and birthing people in our State.  This has been a significant policy priority for HMHBGA for several years and we rejoice with our partners for getting this important law to the finish line. We are truly thankful to all of the lawmakers and advocates for supporting this bill.


WHAT ELSE IS HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK?

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB1355: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 41 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to lead poisoning prevention, so as to update provisions to comport with nationally recognized guidelines; to revise definitions; to revise provisions relating to abatement of lead poisoning hazards; to expand written advisement requirements; to expand applicability of provisions; to provide for related matters; to provide for a funding contingency; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB496: Medical Examinations on the Death of Pregnant Women: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to death investigations, so as to require a medical examiner’s inquiry when a pregnant female dies and an inquest; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.



SB342: Annual Reporting Regarding Mental Health Parity: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of  Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for annual reporting regarding mental health parity in healthcare plans; to provide definitions; to establish penalties; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws and for other purposes. 

HB1348: Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A., relating to offenses against public health and morals, so as to provide that vaping in restricted areas is a misdemeanor punishable by fine; to amend Chapter 1A of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to early care and learning, so as to provide that operators of early care and education programs shall post signs prohibiting vaping; to amend Chapter 12A of Title 31 of the O.C.G.A., relating to smoke-free air, so as to revise the short title; to prohibit vaping in designated smoke-free areas; to provide for exemptions; to provide that “No Smoking” signs may include the words “or Vaping”; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

We will continue to advocate for appropriate accommodations for pregnant peoples, smoking & vaping taxes/regulations as well as other policies to ensure moms, birthing people and babies survive and thrive.  Stay tuned to learn how you can support!


A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 3/25/2022

HOT TOPIC: Postpartum Medicaid

This past Tuesday, we observed a positive step forward towards our efforts to ensure that Georgia’s moms and birthing people have access to the medical coverage they need to survive and thrive throughout the perinatal period.  SB338 was heard during the House Health and Human Services Committee meeting and after powerful testimony from advocates, the committee voted in favor of the bill.  The final steps will be a full vote in the House of Representatives and then the bill will be sent to the Governor’s desk for signature.  If you’re interested in seeing the hearing, click the link below.  Be sure to CONTACT YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE to urge them to support SB338.

Click the following link to access the HHS committee hearing: https://vimeo.com/showcase/8972626?video=691049937


BILLS TO WATCH

SB338A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.  **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

SB496: Medical Examinations on the Death of Pregnant Women: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to death investigations, so as to require a medical examiner’s inquiry when a pregnant female dies and an inquest; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB342: Annual Reporting Regarding Mental Health Parity: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of  Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for annual reporting regarding mental health parity in healthcare plans; to provide definitions; to establish penalties; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws and for other purposes. 

HB1348: Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A., relating to offenses against public health and morals, so as to provide that vaping in restricted areas is a misdemeanor punishable by fine; to amend Chapter 1A of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to early care and learning, so as to provide that operators of early care and education programs shall post signs prohibiting vaping; to amend Chapter 12A of Title 31 of the O.C.G.A., relating to smoke-free air, so as to revise the short title; to prohibit vaping in designated smoke-free areas; to provide for exemptions; to provide that “No Smoking” signs may include the words “or Vaping”; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB1355: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 41 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to lead poisoning prevention, so as to update provisions to comport with nationally recognized guidelines; to revise definitions; to revise provisions relating to abatement of lead poisoning hazards; to expand written advisement requirements; to expand applicability of provisions; to provide for related matters; to provide for a funding contingency; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 3/18/2022

HOT TOPIC: Crossover Day

This past Tuesday marked the 28th Legislative Day known as Crossover Day for the Georgia General Assembly which signifies the last day a bill can cross from one chamber to the other. In order for bills to progress to law, they have to pass both the House of Representatives and Senate. If a bill passes both houses, they are sent to the Governor’s desk for approval. If they don’t cross over, the likelihood of passage would depends on the bill language being inserted into other legislation, which has a low probability.  Bills that we have been tracking that didn’t cross over include:

  • HB825: Medical assistance; Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; provide
  • HB864: Public assistance; use certain benefits for purchasing diapers or menstrual products; provide for waiver request

Please visit the “Bills to Watch” section below to review the bills that have crossed over that we will continue to monitor.  We are asking YOU to contact your legislator to share the passage of these bills are critical in improving maternal and infant health.  For more information on other bills not related to maternal and infant health that did/did not cross over, check out this article by 11 Alive.


BILLS TO WATCH

SB338A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.  **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

SB496: Medical Examinations on the Death of Pregnant Women: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to death investigations, so as to require a medical examiner’s inquiry when a pregnant female dies and an inquest; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB342: Annual Reporting Regarding Mental Health Parity: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of  Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for annual reporting regarding mental health parity in healthcare plans; to provide definitions; to establish penalties; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws and for other purposes. 

HB1348: Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A., relating to offenses against public health and morals, so as to provide that vaping in restricted areas is a misdemeanor punishable by fine; to amend Chapter 1A of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to early care and learning, so as to provide that operators of early care and education programs shall post signs prohibiting vaping; to amend Chapter 12A of Title 31 of the O.C.G.A., relating to smoke-free air, so as to revise the short title; to prohibit vaping in designated smoke-free areas; to provide for exemptions; to provide that “No Smoking” signs may include the words “or Vaping”; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB1355: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 41 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to lead poisoning prevention, so as to update provisions to comport with nationally recognized guidelines; to revise definitions; to revise provisions relating to abatement of lead poisoning hazards; to expand written advisement requirements; to expand applicability of provisions; to provide for related matters; to provide for a funding contingency; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 3/5/2022

HOT TOPIC: HB1013- Mental Healthy Parity Bill

This week, after a compelling message from House Speaker David Ralston paired with testimonies from several mental health advocates in support of the  bill, the House Committee on Health and Human Services unanimously passed HB1013. The bill, among other things, requires that health plans cover mental health and substance use treatment at the same levels as physical conditions. To view the hearing, click here.


BILLS TO WATCH

SB338A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.  **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

SB496: Medical Examinations on the Death of Pregnant Women: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to death investigations, so as to require a medical examiner’s inquiry when a pregnant female dies and an inquest; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB342: Annual Reporting Regarding Mental Health Parity: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of  Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for annual reporting regarding mental health parity in healthcare plans; to provide definitions; to establish penalties; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws and for other purposes. 

HB1348: Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A., relating to offenses against public health and morals, so as to provide that vaping in restricted areas is a misdemeanor punishable by fine; to amend Chapter 1A of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to early care and learning, so as to provide that operators of early care and education programs shall post signs prohibiting vaping; to amend Chapter 12A of Title 31 of the O.C.G.A., relating to smoke-free air, so as to revise the short title; to prohibit vaping in designated smoke-free areas; to provide for exemptions; to provide that “No Smoking” signs may include the words “or Vaping”; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB864: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public assistance, so as to provide for the submission of a waiver request by the Department of Human Services to permit the recipients of certain public assistance benefits to use such benefits for the purpose of purchasing diapers or menstrual hygiene products if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB825: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; to provide for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request, if necessary; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB1355: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 41 of Title 31 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to lead poisoning prevention, so as to update provisions to comport with nationally recognized guidelines; to revise definitions; to revise provisions relating to abatement of lead poisoning hazards; to expand written advisement requirements; to expand applicability of provisions; to provide for related matters; to provide for a funding contingency; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 2/25/2022

HOT TOPIC: Childhood Lead Exposure

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body. Children can get lead in their bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead in them. Little by little, lead can collect in your child’s blood, brain and bones. Symptoms may take a long time to appear, but at toxic levels, lead poisoning can affect your child’s language, attention and even IQ. Lead can affect people of all ages, but children aged 6 and younger are especially at risk, in part because their growing bodies absorb more lead. Rep. Katie Dempsey sponsored HB1355, to ensure Georgia’s policies aligns with the nationally recognized guidelines regarding lead exposure in children.  For more information, click here.


BILLS TO WATCH

SB338A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.  **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

SB496: Medical Examinations on the Death of Pregnant Women: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to death investigations, so as to require a medical examiner’s inquiry when a pregnant female dies and an inquest; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB342: Annual Reporting Regarding Mental Health Parity: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 24 of Title 33 of the Official Code of  Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for annual reporting regarding mental health parity in healthcare plans; to provide definitions; to establish penalties; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws and for other purposes. 

HB1348: Georgia Smoke-Free Air Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A., relating to offenses against public health and morals, so as to provide that vaping in restricted areas is a misdemeanor punishable by fine; to amend Chapter 1A of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to early care and learning, so as to provide that operators of early care and education programs shall post signs prohibiting vaping; to amend Chapter 12A of Title 31 of the O.C.G.A., relating to smoke-free air, so as to revise the short title; to prohibit vaping in designated smoke-free areas; to provide for exemptions; to provide that “No Smoking” signs may include the words “or Vaping”; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. **Top HMHBGA Agenda Priority

HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB864: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public assistance, so as to provide for the submission of a waiver request by the Department of Human Services to permit the recipients of certain public assistance benefits to use such benefits for the purpose of purchasing diapers or menstrual hygiene products if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB825: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; to provide for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request, if necessary; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 2/11/2022

OUR 2022 POLICY BRIEFING WAS A HUGE SUCCESS

Thank you to all of our partners who joined us for our 2022 Virtual Maternal and Infant Health Policy Briefing, cohosted by March of Dimes.  We had over 250 change makers join us via Zoom and Facebook Live to learn more about how we can work alongside our legislators to ensure moms, birth givers and babies across Georgia survive and thrive.  If you missed the event, we would like to share a copy of the recording, slides and program which you can access at anytime:

Special thanks to our sponsors Amerigroup and National Council of Jewish Women as well as our guest speakers Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, Andrea Waterstone and Rochelle Smalls for making the event a huge success.  Congratulations to our Wilen Award honorees Rep. Houston Gaines, Rep, Carolyn Hugley, Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, Rep. Bonnie Rich and Rep. Kim Schofield.


HOT TOPIC: Women’s CARE Act 

This past Tuesday, the Georgia House Committee on Health and Human Services discussed HB1092 to provide further accountability measures regarding the treatment of incarcerated birthing people throughout their perinatal period.  Our partner, Pamela Winn, CEO of RestoreHER, has been at the forefront of this issue and she gave a compelling testimony during the committee hearing. Committee members voted favorably for the bill and now it will move to the Rules Committee and then to the House floor for a vote. CLICK HERE to watch.


BILLS TO WATCH

HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB338: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB864: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public assistance, so as to provide for the submission of a waiver request by the Department of Human Services to permit the recipients of certain public assistance benefits to use such benefits for the purpose of purchasing diapers or menstrual hygiene products if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB825: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; to provide for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request, if necessary; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 2/4/2022

Hot Topics: PREGNANCY MEDICAID

 

Positive Momentum in extending Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 Months Postpartum

This past Tuesday, the Georgia Senate Committee on Health and Human Services discussed SB338 to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth.  Sen. Burke made a compelling statement regarding the importance of this bill which was followed by dynamic testimonies from HMHBGA, GA OBGyn Society, Voices for Georgia’s Children, Georgia Quality Healthcare Association and the American Heaty Association – GA Chapter. Committee members unanimously supported the bill and now it will moves to the Rules Committee and then to the Senate floor for a vote. Click the link below to view to view the committee meeting recording.

CLICK HERE to watch.

 


BILLS TO WATCH

HB1092: Georgia Women’s CARE Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 17 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to arrest by law enforcement officers generally, so as to revise provision relating to the arrests of pregnant women; to provide that women who have been arrested are offered pregnancy testing upon detention; to enact a provision regarding delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates; to amend Article 1 of Title 42 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to inmate policies, so as to revise provisions relating to the treatment of pregnant and postpartum female inmates; to provide for a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB338: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB864: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public assistance, so as to provide for the submission of a waiver request by the Department of Human Services to permit the recipients of certain public assistance benefits to use such benefits for the purpose of purchasing diapers or menstrual hygiene products if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB825: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; to provide for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request, if necessary; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


 

A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


ONE WEEK AWAY: FREE VIRTUAL POLICY BRIEFING

We invite you to join our 2022 Virtual Maternal and Infant Health Policy Briefing on February 10, 2022. During these unprecedented times, understanding the state of maternal and infant health in our State so that we can improve the health and well-being of our moms and babies is more important than ever. Attendees will explore maternal and infant health data to deepen their understanding and learn about policy priorities that, if adopted, would be pivotal in increasing health outcomes for moms and babies in our State. We will also hear from State policymakers about what they plan to tackle in the year ahead and how these issues may impact Georgia’s families. We hope you’ll join our community of advocates and changemakers!

CLICK HERE to register.

Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 1/28/2022

Hot Topics: MENTAL HEALTH PRESS CONFERENCE

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston unveils his omnibus bill targeting mental health reform (Source: GPB)

 

This past Wednesday, House Speaker David Ralston announced his commitment to addressing the mental health needs of Georgian’s through the introduction of House Bill 1013. The bill aims to expand access to care, increase the number of mental health professionals in the state, require insurance companies to cover mental health in the same way that they cover physical health, and a host of other reform recommendations. To watch highlights from the press conference, check out this YouTube clip from 11Alive news, CLICK HERE.

 


BILLS TO WATCH

HB1013: Mental Health Parity Act: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Titles 15, 20, 31, 33, 37, 45, and 49 of the O.C.G.A., relating to courts, education, health, insurance, mental health, public officers and employees, and social services, respectively, so as to implement the recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

SB338: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB864: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public assistance, so as to provide for the submission of a waiver request by the Department of Human Services to permit the recipients of certain public assistance benefits to use such benefits for the purpose of purchasing diapers or menstrual hygiene products if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB825: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; to provide for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request, if necessary; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.


Resource Alert: MATERNAL MORTALITY REDUCTION INITIATIVES

The Maternal Mortality Stakeholder Group (MMSG) put together a wonderful resource that highlights the maternal mortality reduction initiatives supported by the legislature since the establishment of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) in 2014.  MMSG members include American College of Nurse Midwives Georgia Chapter, Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Emory University, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, Georgia OBGyn Society, Georgia Perinatal Quality Collaborative, March of Dimes and Morehouse School of Medicine. This document has helpful information such as the MMRC’s recommendations, legislation and appropriations aligned with those recommendations as well as progress of the efforts to date.

CLICK HERE to access.


A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236


Save the Date: MATERNAL AND INFANT HEALTH POLICY BRIEFING

We invite you to join our 2022 Virtual Maternal and Infant Health Policy Briefing on February 10, 2022. During these unprecedented times, understanding the state of maternal and infant health in our State so that we can improve the health and well-being of our moms and babies is more important than ever. Attendees will explore maternal and infant health data to deepen their understanding and learn about policy priorities that, if adopted, would be pivotal in increasing health outcomes for moms and babies in our State. We will also hear from State policymakers about what they plan to tackle in the year ahead and how these issues may impact Georgia’s families. We hope you’ll join our community of advocates and changemakers!

CLICK HERE to register.

Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 1/21/2022

HOT TOPICS: BUDGET

Joint Senate and House Budget Hearings

This week, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees met to review the state budget. State agencies presented FY 2022 amended and FY 2023 general budgets to the committee. The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Georgia Department of Community Health presented on 1/20/2022.  A specific win, aligned with HMHBGA’s agenda, is the 28MM allocation for postpartum Medicaid from 6 – 12 months. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE GA-DCH AND GA-DPH PRESENTATIONS

BILLS TO WATCH

SB338: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to increase postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB864: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public assistance, so as to provide for the submission of a waiver request by the Department of Human Services to permit the recipients of certain public assistance benefits to use such benefits for the purpose of purchasing diapers or menstrual hygiene products if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

HB825: A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide for Medicaid coverage for medically necessary donor human milk; to provide for submittal of a state plan amendment or waiver request, if necessary; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236

Save the Date: MATERNAL AND INFANT HEALTH POLICY BRIEFING

We invite you to join our 2022 Virtual Maternal and Infant Health Policy Briefing on February 10, 2022. During these unprecedented times, understanding the state of maternal and infant health in our State so that we can improve the health and well-being of our moms and babies is more important than ever. Attendees will explore maternal and infant health data to deepen their understanding and learn about policy priorities that, if adopted, would be pivotal in increasing health outcomes for moms and babies in our State. We will also hear from State policymakers about what they plan to tackle in the year ahead and how these issues may impact Georgia’s families. We hope you’ll join our community of advocates and changemakers!
CLICK HERE to register.

Keeping Current @ the Capitol – 2022 Session

The 2022 LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS HERE

The 2022 Georgia General Assembly commenced Monday, January 10. As always, we will be monitoring legislation that has the potential to impact maternal and infant health outcomes for Georgia families and providers. Every week, we will send out our signature newsletter, Keeping Current @ The Capitol, with updates on legislation, appropriations, and other big news from the Gold Dome!

Making your voice heard as a constituent is very important and we encourage you to get involved at any point during the legislative session. You can find your Georgia State legislators here. To learn more about how to get involved directly with HMHBGA this session, email us at: thecoalition@hmhbga.org. 

HOT TOPICS

Yesterday, Governor Kemp hosted his annual State of the State address and released  his recommendations for the regular FY2023 budget for consideration by the legislature. His budget report included several significant investments, specifically for moms, birth givers, and babies. Of particular note is the appropriation to extend postpartum Medicaid to 12 months which has been a key priority for HMHBGA. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET

OUR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

THE EXTENSION OF PREGNANCY MEDICAID TO ONE YEAR POSTPARTUM. During the 2019 legislative session the Georgia Assembly recognized the need to improve access to maternal health care in Georgia and extended pregnancy Medicaid from 60 days to 6 months post-partum. While this is a great step in improving maternal health, women are at risk for pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity throughout the entire first year after delivery.  We support extending pregnancy Medicaid from six months to one year postpartum.  

ENSURE  ADEQUATE FUNDING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH’S MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH SECTION. The Maternal & Child Health Section, under the Georgia Department of Public Health, is the state agency responsible for administering vital maternal and child health programs. Some of these programs include newborn screening, group prenatal care, *home visiting, family planning, neonatal abstinence syndrome prevention, peer support groups, and resource access.
We support any effort to ensure adequate funding to the Department of Public Health’s Maternal & Child Health Section.

LEGISLATION TO PROTECT PREGNANT AND POSTPARTUM EMPLOYEES IN THE WORKPLACE AND PROVIDE APPROPRIATE WORKPLACE ACCOMODATIONS. About 70% of Georgia women of childbearing age are in the workforce. Yet, there are no state-level laws in Georgia that govern workplace protections and accommodations for employees during the full pregnancy and the postpartum period. We support legislation that affords employees reasonable accommodations for a safe and healthy pregnancy and postpartum period.

INCREASING THSE STATE TOBACCO PRODUCT EXCISE TAX ON BOTH TOBACCO AND TOBACCO ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTS.  Smoking during pregnancy puts moms and babies at higher risk for medical complications including placental hemorrhage, fetal growth restriction, and preterm birth. Maternal smoking during pregnancy and second hand smoke exposure after birth are also significant risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which accounts for 11% of infant deaths in Georgia. Raising the cost of tobacco can lower tobacco usage and improve health. We support an increase to the state tobacco product excise tax on both tobacco and tobacco alternative products.

DOULA MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT FOR PRENATAL, BIRTH, AND POSTPRTUM. While Georgia’s provider shortage has been well-documented, less attention has been paid to the lack of perinatal support professionals serving families in our state. Women and birthing people receiving doula care have been found to have improved health outcomes for both themselves and their infants, including higher breastfeeding initiation rates, fewer low-birth weight babies, and more. We support legislation that provides for Medicaid coverage for doula services which improves maternal and infant outcomes in Georgia through increased, equitable awareness and access to full spectrum doula care for birthing person, especially those with the fewest resources.

INCREASE ACCESS TO ADEQUATE ORAL HEALTHCARE THROUGHOUT THE PERINATAL PERIOD. Dental care during pregnancy is an essential part of health management. Pregnant women are at risk for a host of poor oral health outcomes that not only affect the mother, but also the baby. Due to poor oral health in pregnancy, pregnant women can experience premature delivery, low birth weight baby, pre-eclampsia, gingival tissue ulcerations, pregnancy granuloma, gingivitis, pregnancy tumors (epulis gravidarum), loose teeth, mouth dryness, and dental erosions. We support legislation to increase access and awareness to adequate oral healthcare for pregnant women covered by Medicaid in Georgia.

A Tool for Advocating: 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.

How does your district compare to the state of Georgia overall? Is there an area where your Senate district is performing lower? Speak with your Senator about how comprehensive policies can address negative outcomes. Does your House district have outcomes that are better than the state of Georgia? Talk with your Representative about what they can do to make sure it stays that way or even improves. Fact sheets for all 236 of Georgia’s legislative districts are available.

CLICK HERE to access Project 236

Save the Date: MATERNAL AND INFANT HEALTH POLICY BRIEFING

We invite you to join our 2022 Virtual Maternal and Infant Health Policy Briefing on February 10, 2022. During these unprecedented times, understanding the state of maternal and infant health in our State so that we can improve the health and well-being of our moms and babies is more important than ever. Attendees will explore maternal and infant health data to deepen their understanding and learn about policy priorities that, if adopted, would be pivotal in increasing health outcomes for moms and babies in our State. We will also hear from State policymakers about what they plan to tackle in the year ahead and how these issues may impact Georgia’s families. We hope you’ll join our community of advocates and changemakers!