Capitol Hill happenings were in full swing as we headed into our final week of this year’s legislative session. Our House body passed several bills for the betterment of our state and her citizens. All bills passing now await Gov. Brian Kemp’s final signature into law, including Georgia’s "Heartbeat Bill" of which I proudly voted in favor. This bill will recognize the “personhood” of a fetus once a heartbeat is detected.

Education

House Resolution 52 works to encourage schools, educational programs, and the Georgia Department of Education to recognize the effects of dyslexia, which currently impacts one in five students. This resolution urges a proactive approach in identifying learning disabilities at an early age.

Senate Bill 48 creates procedures for referring students in kindergarten through third grade for further screenings if a teacher identifies dyslexia or similar learning disorders in students and creates a three-year pilot program to determine success of early reading assistance programs for students who have risk factors for dyslexia.

Student Safety

Senate Bill 60 requires that the Department of Education publish guidelines to inform students, parents, guardians, and coaches about the dangers and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest; requires schools to host two annual meetings outlining the symptoms and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest and also implements a response plan when students show signs.

End It

Senate Bill 158 strengthens current anti-human trafficking laws by providing quality care and additional resources for victims. The bill authorizes Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to provide emergency care and supervision for a child victim without a court order or the consent of a parent or legal guardian; DFCS and law enforcement are required to immediately take the child to an available certified victim services organization; victims under 18 cannot not be charged with prostitution; allows authorities and citizens to seek civil penalties against businesses or property owners that have received three or more separate sexually-related charges; allows property owners to assist enforcement officers in criminal investigations regarding sexual-related conduct.

Rural Initiatives

Senate Bill 66 streamlines the deployment of small wireless facilities in public rights-of-way; places limits on provider fees; places deadlines for local the permit application process and creates a standardized process for wireless providers to install, mount, modify or replace small cells and/or poles.

Senate Bill 118 requires insurance companies recognize “telemedicine” in coverage plans; disallows insurers to exclude coverage for remote telemedical consultations; requires insurers to reimburse health care providers for telemedical services at the same rate as an in-person visit.

Senate Bill 115 allows the Georgia Composite Medical Board to issue telemedicine licenses to doctors licensed in other states.

Study Committees

House Resolution 585 creates a study committee to examine the rising rate of gang violence in Georgia. The committee will analyze the best course of legislative action regarding this widespread issue through their report due to state leadership in December of 2019.

House Resolution 589 creates a committee to study maternal mortality rates in our state. Appointees will be tasked to study current policy and present a course of action to address our high rates of maternal mortality where preventable deaths are concerned.

Airport Oversight Committee

Senate Bill 131 creates the Major Airport Legislative Oversight Committee which will examine and review the operations, contracts, safety, financing, organization and structure of commercial airports in the state.

Our 2019 legislative session will come to an end today, April 2. It is important to remember that all measures failing to pass are still eligible for the 2020 session. Meaning, they do not have to begin the process all over again. As always, if you need anything at all, please reach out to me anytime. It is a pleasure and honor to serve as your voice under the Gold Dome!

State Rep. Martin Momtahan, R-Dallas, represents House District 17 which includes part of Paulding County. He can be reached at 404-656-0177 or martin.momtahan@house.ga.gov.

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