Keeping Current at the Capitol – Week of March 2, 2020

Author: HMHBGA Staff

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 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. [House Appropriations Committee] 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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 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. [House Health & Human Services Committee Update: PASSED Committee by Substitute 

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%. [House Ways & Means Committee] 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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 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. [House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care] PASSED Committee By Substitute  

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] No Action

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] No Action

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. [House Regulated Industries Committee] No Action

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. [House Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care] No Action

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.[House Ways & Means] No Action

HB 888 – Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act
(Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville) Would provide protection for consumers from surprise medical bills. [House Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care] Passed Committee by Substitute  

HB 909 – Age Increase on Cigarettes & Vaping Products
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would increase the age of the sale and distribution of tobacco and vaping products. Would also prohibit marijuana flavored products. [Judiciary Non-Civil Committee] No Action

HB 910 – Georgia Licensed Midwife Act
(Karen Mathiak, R-Griffin) Would provide for the licensure and regulation of midwives and create Advisory Group for Licensed Midwives. Would also provide exceptions to the operation of “Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act” to allow for the practice of midwifery. [Regulated Industries Committee] No Action

HB 958 – The Maternity Supportive Housing Act
(Ed Setzler, R-Acworth) Would provide maternity supportive housing for pregnant and postpartum women up to 18 months after delivery. [House Juvenile Justice Committee] No Action

HB 993 – Vital Records Relating to Child Abuse Reports
(Katie Dempsey, R-Rome) Would provide vital records reports to the Division of Family and Children Services for cases involving child abuse or neglect. Vital records could include birth, death, and father registry data. [Juvenile Justice Committee] No Action

HB 1013 – PeachCare for Adults Act 
(Debbie Buckner, D-Junction City) Would establish the PeachCare for Adults Program, which would cover eligible adults at or below 133% of the federal poverty level who are not enrolled in Medicaid. [Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care]  Introduced February 25, 2020

HB 1054 – Newborn Screening for Various Disorders 
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would revise provisions related to newborn screening for various disorders. Would also create a Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations for newly added disorders. [Health & Human Services] Introduced February 26, 2020

HR 1083 – “Maternal Mortality in Georgia: An Epidemic for Black Women” 
(“Able” Mable Thomas, D-Atlanta) Would recognize the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys and the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Legislative Day, “Maternal Mortality in Georgia: An Epidemic for Black Women,” on February 6, 2020. House Read and Adopted

HR 1168 – House Study Committee on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)(Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville) Would create a study committee to assess the affects of ACEs to improve maternal and child health. [House Special Rules] No Action

HR 1248 – House Study Committee on Infant and Maternal Mortality Among African Americans

(Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn) Would create a study committee to assess mortality among African American infants and mothers. [Health & Human Services] Introduced February 24, 2020

Senate Legislation
SB 4 – Lactation Room in Capitol Buildings
(Jennifer Jordan, D-Atlanta) Would provide private lactation rooms in the Capitol building and Paul D. Coverdell Legislative Office Building. [Senate State Institutions and Property Committee] 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. [Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee] Passed Committee by Substitute

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. [Senate Insurance & Labor Committee] UPDATE: Crossed Over from Senate to House of Representatives by Substitute 

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. [Senate Health & Human Services Committee] UPDATE: Passed Committee

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. [Senate Appropriations Committee] No Action

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. [Senate Insurance & Labor Committee] UPDATE: Passed Committee by Substitute 

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. [Senate Appropriations Committee] Senate Withdrawn Bill/Res Consideration

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. [Senate Health & Human Services] No Action

SB 339 – Medicaid Public Option Network
(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. [Senate Appropriations Committee] No Action

SB 359 – Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act
(Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome) Would provide for certain consumer protections against surprise billing and mechanisms to resolve payment disputes between insurers and out-of-network providers. [Senate Health & Human Services] UPDATE: Crossed Over from Senate to House of Representatives by Substitute  

SB 372 – Public Health Updates
(Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia) Would modernize, clarify, and update provisions relating to public health. For example, updating terminology related to sexually transmitted diseases and create an Office of Women’s Health. [Health & Human Services] UPDATE: Passed Committee by Substitute  

SB 375 – Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Relating to Minors
(Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga) Would provide penalties for people under the age of 21 for selling and distribution of vaping and nicotine products for people under the age of 21. Would also define vapor products. [Regulated Industries and Utilities] No Action

SB 391 – Early Prescription Refills During Emergencies Act
(Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta) Would require health insurance companies to cover early refills of a 30 day prescription supply for emergency situations. [Senate Health & Human Services] No Action

SB 408 – Family Care Act Sunset Removal 
(Brian Strickland, R-McDonough) Would remove the sunset date the Family Care Act, which allows employees use of sick leave for care of immediate family members. Without the removal of the sunset, the Family Care Act would be repealed on July 1, 2020. UPDATE: Passed Committee 

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. [Senate Rules Committee] No Action

SR 520 – Senate Study Committee on Midwifery Practices
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) Would create a study committee to assess regulation of community midwives. [Senate Rules Committee] No Action

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. Senate Read and Adopted

SR 763 – Community Midwives National Alliance Day(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) Would recognize February 26, 2020 as Community Midwives National Alliance Day. Senate Read and Adopted


Helpful Reminder: ‘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. 

Want to Advocate at the Capitol? 

Are you interested in speaking with legislators at the Capitol during this 2020 legislative session? HMHBGA is here to help! Our advocates will be at the Capitol Monday through Thursday every week on behalf of postpartum Medicaid extension, workplace accommodations, tobacco or vaping legislation, and maternal and infant health funding. If you are interested in advocating for these issues please email 

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