Final Legislative Report for 2019

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.

Here are some of the bills relating to public health that have been sent to the Governor:

HB 187, To provide a pilot program for treatment and management of obesity (Rep. Katie Dempsey-R)

Relating to the Department of Community Health, so as to provide for a pilot program to provide coverage for the treatment and management of obesity and related conditions, including medications and counseling; to provide for eligibility; to provide for requirements; to provide for a review of results and outcomes; to provide for an evaluation report on such program; and to provide for termination of the pilot program.

HB 217, Provides that employees and agents of syringe services programs are not subject to certain offenses relating to hypodermic syringes and needles (Rep. Houston Gaines-R)

The Department of Public Health shall be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the purpose of supervising the activities of syringe services programs, including provisions for the registration of such programs. This bill was signed into law by Governor Kemp on April 2, 2019.

HB 551, Controlled substances; kratom (Rep. Dewayne Hill-R)

Relating to controlled substances, so as to provide for legislative findings; to provide a definition; to provide for the identification of a standard level of kratom alkoloids and establish recommended dosages; to provide for the prohibition of access to kratom to persons under 18 years of age; to provide for package labeling requirements.

SB 115, “Medical Practice Act of the State of Georgia”; telemedicine licenses for physicians in other states; engage in the practice of medicine with patients in this state through telemedicine (Sen. Renee Unterman-R)

Relating to the “Medical Practice Act of the State of Georgia,” so as to provide for telemedicine licenses for physicians licensed in other states to engage in the practice of medicine with patients in this state through telemedicine; to provide for requirements for issuance of a telemedicine license; to provide for restrictions; to provide for notice of restrictions placed on a license by another state; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for revocation.

SB 118, Georgia Telemedicine Act; modernize; Telemedicine Act the Telehealth Act (Sen. Renee Unterman-R)

Relating to insurance generally, so as to modernize the Georgia Telemedicine Act; to rename the Telemedicine Act the Telehealth Act; to revise the definition of telemedicine; to provide a definition of telehealth; to prohibit insurers from requiring insureds to use telemedicine; to provide for pay equity for health care providers using telemedicine.

Two house resolutions were also passed. House Resolution 589 would create a study committee on Maternal Mortality, and House Resolution 590 would create a study committee on Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care.

Throughout the session, our legislative liaison Scott Maxwell has provided weekly updates on bills and other activity relating to public health. Click here to view the final update, or visit our Health Policy page to view all of the updates for the 2019 GA Legislative Session.