Keeping Current at the Capitol – Week of February 3, 2020


Maternal & Infant Policy Breakfast

On January 29, HMHBGA hosted its 2020 Maternal and Infant Health Policy Breakfast, in collaboration with the March of Dimes. Attendees had a chance to hear from State policymakers about what they plan to tackle in the year ahead, and Georgia’s legislative leaders discussed what maternal and infant healthcare issues will be addressed in 2020. The Charlotte Wilen Advocate of the Year Award was given to: Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, Representative David Dreyer, Chairman Butch Parrish, Senator Freddie Powell Sims, Senator Randy Robertson, and Representative Debbie Buckner.

Maternal Mortality Awareness Day at the Capitol

Directly after the Maternal & Infant Health Policy Breakfast, HMHBGA hosted Maternal Mortality Awareness Day at the Capitol. A visual of Mother’s Day cards was dedicated to the 250 Georgia mothers that lost their lives while pregnant or postpartum from 2012-2014. Cards represented mothers that passed and every Mother’s Day they have missed since for a total of over 1,700 cards. We were grateful for the opportunity to recognize these lost mothers and speak with the public about Georgia’s maternal mortality crisis. Press coverage can be found at Valdosta Daily Times and the Georgia Recorder

2020 HMHBGA Legislative & Policy Agenda

The link above will take you to our official  2020 legislative agenda. The items below are bills we are monitoring throughout the session. Legislation on this list is not necessarily endorsed by HMHBGA. 

House Legislation

HB 577 – Working for Two(Park Cannon, D-Atlanta) Would require certain accommodations in the workplace for pregnant and postpartum women, including, but not be limited to, more frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedules. No Action

HB 693– Expanding Medicaid to Improve Health Outcomes for New Mothers Act(Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur)Would allow the Department of Community Health to extend Pregnancy Medicaid coverage to new mothers from 60 days postpartum to one full year postpartum from the date of delivery. No Action

HB 717 – Georgia License Midwife Act(Karen Mathiak, R-Griffin) Would create an Advisory Board for Licensed Midwives which would issue licenses to eligible applicants possessing national certification by the North American Registry of Midwives as a certified professional midwife. No Action

HB 719 – Modernization of HIV Laws(Deborah Silcox, R-Sandy Springs) Would update the current crimes and offenses statutes related to HIV transmission. Specifically decriminalizes the unintentional transmission of HIV. No Action

HB 731 – Increase Excise Tax on Tobacco Products(Ron Stephens, R-Savannah) Would raise the tax on full-sized cigars from 23% of the wholesale cost price to 42%. Would raise the tax on a 20-pack of cigarettes from $0.37 cents per pack to $1.87 per pack. Would raise the tax on loose or smokeless tobacco from 10% of the wholesale cost price to 42%. No Action

HB 745 – Georgia Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act(“Able” Mable Thomas, D-Atlanta)  Would mandate that every perinatal facility in Georgia implement an evidence based implicit bias program for all health care professionals involved in the perinatal care of patients. No Action

HB 746 – Women’s Right to Immediate Access Act(Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia) Would amend the “Woman’s Right to Know Act,” by allowing a pregnant woman to decide not to review the materials provided by said Act, or to review the heartbeat or fetal monitoring as prescribed by the Act. No Action

HB 789 – Surprise Bill Rating System(Mark Newton, R-Augusta) Would provide for the creation of a surprise bill rating system and require insurers include hospital surprise bill ratings online and in print.

HB 800 – Out of State OBGyn Reimbursement (Sandra Scott, D-Rex) Would allow OBGyn providers in border states (within 50 miles) to be reimbursed by Medicaid at the same rate as in-state providers. 

HB 801 – 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 809– Prohibit Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors(Angelika Kausche, D-Johns Creek) Would prohibit the sale of tobacco products and tobacco related objects (i.e. vaping) to persons under 21 years of age.

HB 813– Medicaid Expansion Program(Donna McLeod, D-Lawrenceville) Would establish a Medicaid expansion program to provide health care coverage to uninsured individuals and allow for submission of a federal waiver request.   

HB 864 – Vaping Excise Tax (Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee) Would apply an excise tax on the sale of sale of vapor devices and consumable vapor products and would require licensure for persons dealing with vapor devices.

Senate Legislation

SR 263 – Senate Emergency Medical Services Study Committee(Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga) Would establish a Senate study committee to conduct a  review of emergency medical services safety standards, accreditation requirements, zoning for 9-1-1 response, and updates to the regulations and Title 31, relating to Georgia Code requirements for emergency medical services. No Action

SB 298 – Protections and Education for Minors Regarding Smoking & Vaping(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) Would increase penalties for selling vaping products to minors, set the age of purchase for all tobacco and vaping products to 21, and restrict certain flavors and marketing imagery as it pertains to the sale of tobacco and vaping products. No Action

SB 303 – Georgia Right to Shop Act(Ben Watson, R-Savannah) Would provide for the disclosure of certain pricing information through insurer websites to allow consumers to compare prices on non-emergency healthcare services. No Action

SB 330 – Peachcare Public Option Program(Sally Harrell, D-Atlanta) Would establish a Medicaid public option program to provide healthcare coverage to individuals not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or the PeachCare for Kids Program.

SB 324– Pregnancy Medicaid Coverage to One Year(Jennifer Jordan, D-Atlanta) Would provide Medicaid coverage for pregnant women for a period of not less than 12 months after delivery. 

SB 327 – Workplace Break Time to Express Breast Milk(Zahra Karinshak, D-Duluth) Would require employers to provide reasonable break time to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her nursing child. 

SB 334 – Certified Community Midwife Act
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) Would provide for the licensure and regulation of certified community midwives and create a Certified Community Midwife Board.

SB 307 – The Living Hope Home Act(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) Would provide supportive housing for pregnant and postpartum women up to 18 months after delivery.

 SR 545 – Birth Safety Awareness Day(Elena Parent, D-Atlanta) Would recognize March 16, 2020, as Birth Safety Awareness Day at the state capitol in recognition of Kason Choice and Robin Rohe-Oji, two children in recovery from severe birth injuries, and their families. Update: Senate Read and adopted Jan 15.

Helpful Reminder: ‘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. 

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