House Caucus Report, February 24-28
HB 837: Probation Services for Misdemeanors and Ordinance Violations
Sponsor: Rep. Mark Hamilton (HD-24)
Passed: February 21, 2014 by a vote of 152-9
Summary: This legislation clarifies the General Assembly’s original intentions to authorize municipal court judges to use county and municipal probation officers and private probation services to supervise misdemeanor and ordinance offenders in the same way superior courts use such services to supervise felony offenders.
HR 1186: High School Financial Literacy Class
Sponsor: Rep. Harry Geisinger (HD-48)
Passed: February 24, 2014 by a vote of 149-22
Summary: This resolution would request that the State Department of Education require that all Georgia high school students successfully complete a SKILLS FOR SUCCESS financial literacy class in order to graduate.
HB 251: Prohibiting sale of additional tobacco products to minors
Sponsor: Rep. Alan Powell (HD-32)
Passed: February 24, 2014 by a vote of 164-2
Summary: In addition to the sale of tobacco and tobacco products, this legislation prohibits the sale of alternative nicotine products (defined as noncombustible products containing nicotine) as well as vapor products (defined as containing a heating element, power source, etc that produces a vapor from nicotine) to minors.
HB 973: Medicaid Fraud
Sponsor: Rep. Edward Lindsey (HD-54)
Passed: February 24, 2014 by a vote 171-0.
Summary: Individuals knowingly or conspiring to defraud Medicaid in order to receive assistance would be liable to the State of Georgia a civil penalty of $5,500 to $11,000 per fraudulent claim.
The proceeds of Medicaid fraud lawsuits are split between the state and federal government—however Georgia receives a 10% shift in our favor when we initiate a successful case. This legislation makes certain changes to maintain compliance with federal requirements for Medicaid fraud cases.
HB 965: 911 Medical Amnesty Law
Sponsor: Rep. Sharron Cooper (HD-43)
Passed: February 25, 2014 by a vote of 144-20
Summary: This legislation provides immunity for individuals who, in good faith, seek medical assistance for either themselves or another person believed to be experiencing a drug overdose. These so-called “good Samaritans” cannot be arrested, charged, or prosecuted if the evidence for the arrest results solely from them seeking such medical assistance.
HB 549: Water Emergency Response Procedures
Sponsor: Rep. Jon Burns (HD-159)
Passed: February 26, 2014 by vote of 157-0
Summary: This legislation establishes the notification and response procedures for water contamination emergencies. Whenever a contaminate enters into the state’s water supply, the owner of said contaminant is required to notify the Environmental Protection Division. The EPD is then charged with carrying out an investigation and notifying all applicable emergency response agencies (i.e. GEMA, local health departments, etc) to coordinate a response and notify the public. Such response protocol would be reviewed every 5 years.
HB 998: Georgia Board for Physicians Workforce bill
Sponsor: Rep. Matt Hatchett (HD-150)
Passed: February 26, 2014 by vote of 159-2
Summary: Revises the powers of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce (GBPW) as it relates to medical student loans and scholarships. The GBPW offers service cancelable scholarships to medical students who agree to practice in an area underserved by primary care physicians. Currently, primary care physicians specializing in OB/GYN and General Surgery hare having difficulty finding practice locations in qualifying counties due to hospital closures. HB 998 allows the GBPW – with approval of both the Commissioner of the Department of Community Health and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health – to place physicians in regional areas of the state composed of rural counties where an unmet need for these specialties exist.
HB 915: Security freezes for Minors in cases of Identity Theft
Sponsor: Rep. Josh Clark (HD-98)
Passed: February 26, 2014 by a vote of 167-0
Summary: This bill provides guidance to consumer credit reporting agencies regarding requests for security freezes on minors’ (defined as persons under age 16) credit information in the case of identity theft. Specifically, it classifies minors as “protected consumers” and stipulates the requirements and steps necessary to freeze and unfreeze a minor’s credit information.