Keeping Current @ the Capitol – Week of February 22, 2021


Parental Leave Bill Passes Full House

House Bill 146, sponsored by Representative Houston Gaines (R – Athens), passed the full House last week with a vote of 155-2. This bill would provide three weeks of paid parental leave to state employees for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration and has been assigned to the Insurance & Labor Committee. Learn more here.

To watch the full vote visit here (begins at 1:01:44).

Thank You Attendees!

HMHBGA and March of Dimes would like to thank all of those who attended last Thursday’s legislative event, Advocacy in A Virtual World & Beyond! Attendees were able to hear from both organizations regarding their policy priorities this session and were equipped with tools to uplift advocacy items that are important to them throughout the session. Legislative panelists shared tips on how to engage policy makers in a virtual age, thoughts on the budget, and what they are working on to improve the health of Georgia’s moms and babies. HMHBGA was also happy to introduce our new Executive Director Ky Lindberg. The event closed with acceptance speeches from this year’s Charlotte Wilen Advocates of the Year. 

Charlotte Wilen Advocates of the Year

Legislation to Watch

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. [House Education Committee] No update

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 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. [House Insurance Committee] No update

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] 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. [House Juvenile Justice Committee] No update

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] Passed full House (155-2) and assigned to Senate Insurance & Labor Committee

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. [House Juvenile Justice Committee] Passed full House (160-4) by substitute

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] Passed full House (166-0) by substitute and assigned to Senate Health & Human Services Committee

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. [House Industry & Labor Committee] No update

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] No update

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] No update

HB 257 – Maternity Supportive Housing Act 
(Ed Setzler, R – Acworth) Would provide registration of maternity supportive housing for pregnant women. [Health & Human Services Committee] No update

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. [House Education Committee] Passed full House (156-0) 

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] Favorably passed committee by substitute

HB 377 – 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. [House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee] No update

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. Assigned to House Health & Human Services Committee 

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] No update

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. [House Ways & Means Committee] No update

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. Introduced and assigned to House Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care Committee

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. [House Health & Human Services Committee] Favorably passed by committee

HR 78 – Racism Public Health Crisis
(Sandra Scott, D – Rex) Would declare racism a public health crisis in Georgia.[House Human Relations & Aging Committee] No update

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. Introduced and assigned to the House Health & Human Services Committee

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. Introduced and assigned to House Industry & Labor Committee

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). [Senate Education & Youth Committee; House Juvenile Justice Committee] Assigned to House Education & Youth 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. [Senate Insurance & Labor Committee] No update

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. [Senate Appropriations Committee] No update

SB 91 – Feminine Hygiene Products to Students
(Donzella James, D – Atlanta) Would require boards of education to provide free feminine hygiene products to students. [Senate Education & Youth Committee] No update

SB 111 – Georgia Community Midwife Act
(Lester Jackson, D – Savannah) Would provide for the licensure and regulation of community midwives. [Senate Health & Human Services Committee] No update

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. [Senate Health & Human Services Committee] Favorably passed by committee

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

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

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.[Senate Insurance & Labor Committee] No update
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.

Project 236 Fact Sheets