The 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly came to a close about midnight on April 2, 2019. Gov. Brian Kemp signed 21 bills on the last day of the session, and has until May 12 to sign or veto passed legislation, or it becomes law without his signature. Our legislative liaison Scott Maxwell provides his final weekly update on bills and other activity relating to public health in this session.
The General Assembly has now completed 39 days of its prescribed 40-day legislative session and many issues are on their way to the Governor, or in the last throes of the vetting process. On Friday, March 29th, the Obesity Management Pilot Project bill received final passage. This pilot project created by HB 187 (Katie Dempsey-R) would provide coverage for the treatment of obesity through medication and counseling for members of the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).
The National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) joined with other health leaders on Capitol Hill during the 2019 Winter Leadership Meeting, to advocate for public health funding and policies. Among them was Ted Toles, GPHA’s representative to NALBOH and member of the NALBOH board.
The Georgia General Assembly is coming into the home stretch, racing toward the April 2nd adjournment date. Our legislative liaison Scott Maxwell has provided the following update on activity through March 22nd, and what’s likely to be the focus of these final days of the session.
Dr. Kathleen Toomey is now Georgia’s top public health official, after Governor Brian Kemp named her Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. Dr. Toomey is an Honorary member of the Georgia Public Health Association, and the 2005 winner of GPHA’s prestigious Sellers McCroan Award.
In our latest legislative report we learn a bit more about the fate of a several new bills, including a new voting machine system in Georgia, term limits for the Lt. Governor, and an update on SB 118 regarding telehealth services in Georgia.
The Georgia legislative session has advanced beyond “Crossover Day,” the deadline by which a bill must have passed at least one chamber or be stranded until next year. Our legislative update outlines the status of bills involving public health as well as other issues, including HB 83. This bill mandates at least 30 minutes of supervised, but unstructured recess daily for schoolchildren in grades K-5, and passed the House by an overwhelming margin.
The current Georgia legislative session is nearing a critical milestone: this coming Thursday is “crossover day.” Any bill that has not passed out of its house of origin and “crossed over” to the other house by this date will be taken out of consideration until next year.
Robert Melvin “Mickey” Channell, Jr., 76, died peacefully at his home on February 26, 2019 after a prolonged illness. He earned the title of “GPHA Legislator of the Year ” for his efforts to establish the standalone Department of Public Health in Georgia.
Friday marked the halfway point of the current Georgia legislative session, and also saw passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 Amended Budget. This week’s legislative update also includes information on a bill to update the language regarding tattoo parlors, and a bill to extend telemedicine licenses to more doctors.