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Private School Tax Credits: HB 325 (Rep. Earl Ehrhart, 36th Dist.) alters Georgia’s existing private school scholarship tax credit law. Among other things, the bill would:

  • Increase the current cap on the program from $50 million to $62.5 million and, in effect, permanently remove any cap on tax credits for future years,
  • Remove any income limits on SSO tax credits by individuals or married couples, provided that they pay at minimum 25 percent of their total tax liability,
  • Allow private pre-kindergarten programs to be eligible to receive SSO funds.

Children’s Law Re-write: SB 127 (Sen. Bill Hamrick, 30th Dist.), formerly known as SB 292, now revised and known as the “Children’s Code Rewrite,” was reintroduced Wednesday, February 23. This omnibus bill substantially revises the current provisions related to juvenile proceedings, based on evidence-based best practices, Efforts to move it toward passage will recommence with an ongoing series of legislative hearings, starting Monday at the State Capitol at 3:00 p.m.

Department of Community Health FY 12 Budget: On Thursday, 26 individuals signed up to provide comments to the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee on the 2012 DCH Budget. Voices provided testimony on the following issues: commending the Governor’s office and leaders within DCH for working to implement family-friendly enrollment and retention processes for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids while at the same time maximizing opportunities to receive federal funding; expressing concern over changes to the budget that may further restrict access to care for children by proposing a 1% provider reimbursement rate cut and also by implementing copays for children enrolled in PeachCare over age 6; and expressing concern over the proposed $2.9 million cut to the Children 1st Program.

Public Health: HB 214 (Rep. Mickey Channell, 116th District ) Rep. Channell introduced this bill to create a stand-alone Public Health Agency for the state. The bill was heard before the House Health and Human Services Committee earlier this week and received a Do Pass. One amendment was offered by Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, which also was passed, that was to move the Georgia Volunteer Health Care Program our from under Dept. of Community Health to the new Georgia Dept. of Public Health if and when that entity is created under law.

Medicaid Hearings and Appeals: HB 229 (Rep. Sharon Cooper, 41st District) The bill was heard on Wednesday afternoon by the House Judiciary Committee and received a Do Pass. Changes made to the bill before passage out of committee were to decrease from 30 to 10 the number of business days within which the Dept. of Community Health must send a copy of a request for hearing to the Office of State Administrative Hearings.

Georgia’s Pre-K: Governor Deal released his recommendations the funding and implementation of Georgia’s Pre-K. The plan commits to using one third of Lottery education revenues for Pre-K, includes the addition of 5000 Pre-K slots, but cut the Pre-K day from 6.5 hours to 4 hours. Some funds have been added to augment extended stay programs for low income children as well as transportation, but questions remain as to the effects such a significant cut in funding. Click here to read the Governor’s press release about his Pre-K and HOPE plan.

GA Pre-K Week: Both HR 362 (Rep. Brooks Coleman, 97th Dist.) and SR 183 (Sen. Fran Millar, 40th Dist.) were read and adopted, declaring the first week of October as Georgia Pre-K Week in recognition of the educational, societal and economic importance of preparing young children for kindergarten through pre-k programs.

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February 2011
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