Keep Current @ the Capitol – Week of February 1, 2021


House Passes Amended Budget

On January 28, the Georgia House voted (149-20) to pass the amended budget (HB 80) for fiscal year (FY) 2021, which will now be reviewed by the Senate. The amended budget provides updates to the state’s budget through June 30, 2021 and in its current version would increase spending by $654 million. The legislature is required by law to pass the amended 2021 budget and the FY 2022 budget before the end of session. HMHBGA and advocates will continue to monitor the budget to ensure that maternal and infant health funds are protected. Learn more here

So far, the legislature is scheduled to meet through February 8, 2021. The Legislative Calendar has been set as follows: 

  • February 1 – Day 9 
  • February 2 – Day 10 
  • February 3 – Day 11
  • February 4 – Day 12
  • February 8 – Day 13

Advocacy in a Virtual World & Beyond

Join us on February 18 from 11AM-12:30PM. HMHBGA, ​in partnership with the March of Dimes, will hold a​n educational session (via Zoom) on how to advocate for maternal and infant health policies in a virtual age. Things may look different this year and we want to make sure advocates’ voices are being heard! Attendees will be equipped with the tools to uplift policy priorities that are important to them throughout the session.

You will also hear from legislators (pre-recorded) describing how they ​plan to address maternal and infant healthcare issues in 2021 and how these issues may impact Georgia’s families. 


Charlotte Wilen Advocates of the Year


Legislation to Watch

The items below are bills we are monitoring throughout the session related to maternal, infant, child, and general health. Legislation on this list is not necessarily endorsed by HMHBGA. 

House Legislation

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. Assigned to House Education Committee

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. No update

HB 38 – Repeal Sterilization Procedures 
(Kim Schofield, D – Atlanta) Would repeal certain provisions related to the performance of reproductive sterilization procedures. No update

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. No update

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. Assigned to House Insurance Committee

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. [House Education Committee] No update

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. Assigned to House Health & Human Services Committee

HB 58 – Georgia Women’s Care Act
(Kim Schofield, D – Atlanta) Would revise provisions related to the arrests of pregnant women, require pregnancy testing upon detention, and enact delayed sentencing for postpartum female inmates. No update

HB 72 – New Mothers Medicaid Expansion Act
(Carolyn Hugley, D – Columbus) Would extend Pregnancy Medicaid to 12 months after delivery. [House Health & Human Services Committee] No update

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. Assigned to House Juvenile Justice Committee

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. Introduced

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. Introduced

Senate Legislation

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). Introduced and assigned to Senate Education Committee

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. Introduced

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
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.

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.

Access Project 236 fact sheets here.