Legislative Update 2-29-16

Legislative Update 2-29-16

Friends,

With only 11 days remaining in the 2016 Legislative Session, we are working diligently to pass legislation that enhances outcomes for students, empowers job creators, and encourages economic growth.

Crossover Day on Monday, February 29, 2016

Today is the last chance for legislation to pass from the House to the Senate; remaining legislation will be required to renter the process next legislative year. There are many pieces of legislation yet to be on the House floor so we will be working very long hours on Monday.  We want to be sure that we give key House bills the passage they deserve to receive consideration this session.

Licensed Professional Counselor/Psychologist Bill  

I am proud to support and co-sponsor HB 498, which passed the House and will now go to the Senate to be heard in committee and, hopefully, on the Senate floor.  This bill adds diagnose to the scope of practice of the licensed professional counselor and defined psychological testing as testing to be done by psychologists.

Grayson High School Girls Soccer Team

The State House was honored to host the Grayson High School Girls Soccer team last week at the Capitol.  I am so proud of this team for not only winning the 6A State Championship but for their commitment to excellence in the classroom and community.  It is an honor to serve them and all of our student athletes in District 105!

Welcome Coach Kirby Smart!

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Last Tuesday, we welcomed the University of Georgia’s new head football coach Kirby Smart to the State House. Best of luck to Coach Smart this year and Go Dawgs!

Georgia Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act

The ABLE act eases the financial strains on individuals with disabilities by allowing them to save private funds in tax-exempt accounts and not become ineligible for Medicaid.  Eligible individuals may have a tax-free savings account that can cover medical care, education, community-based supports, housing, employment training, and transportation.

The Honorable Jimmy Carter Cancer Treatment Act

HB 965 was probably the most meaningful life-saving measure passed in the House last week.  This bill provides patients who have been diagnosed with stage four metastatic cancer increased access to treatment.  With HB 965, if a doctor recommends an advanced cancer treatment drug for a patient with stage four advanced, metastatic cancer, the patient would not be required to have taken and failed previous cancer drugs.  This legislation would ensure that all Georgians with insurance covering cancer  have access to the best available treatment and drugs as did President Carter to combat the advanced spread of this aggressive disease.

As we approach the final days of session, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.0254), e-mail (Joyce.chandler@House.Ga.Gov) or engage on Facebook with your feedback.  It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

Joyce Chandler
District 105
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update 2-21-16

Legislative Update 2-21-16

Friends,

After a restful Presidents’ Day, the General Assembly went back to work for the people of Georgia.

House Passes Fiscal Year 2017 Budget

On Friday, the House passed a balanced budget that priorities education, healthcare, transportation, public safety, and economic development.

The 2017 budget includes $124.1 million for enrollment growth and new teachers; $300 million to end teacher furlough days, increase instructional days, and provide teacher pay raises; $543.1 million for capital construction; $204.7 million for routine maintenance on roads and bridges; $41 million in additional funding for Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants (LMIG); and $3.8 million to expand the state’s accountability courts.

Zell Miller Scholarship for Home School Students

On Tuesday, the House passed HB 798.  This legislation allows home school students with high enough standardized test scores (93rd percentile – SAT of 1350 or ACT of 29) to be eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship upon entering college rather than retroactively.  This is in comparison to the requirement for students from public or private accredited schools to have an SAT or ACT at the 80th percentile (1200 or 26) and a 3.7 grade point average to receive the Zell Miller upon entering college.

Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act

Last week, I was a co-signer on HB 1013, which makes major reforms to the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program. HB 1013 allows parents to be more involved in the use of scholarship funds, transfers administrative duties from the Department of Education to the Office of Student Achievement, and improves reporting and oversight.  The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act received a Second Reading on Wednesday, and I am eager to help this bill through the Education Committee.

As we enter into the final weeks of session, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.0254), e-mail (Joyce.chandler@House.Ga.Gov) or engage on Facebook with your feedback.  It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

Joyce Chandler
District 105
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update 2-17-16

Legislative Update 2-17-16

Friends,

With the close of Legislative Day 20 last Thursday, we are officially halfway through the 2016 legislative session! This has been a whirlwind of a session studying, debating and voting on legislation that will strengthen Georgia.

Zell Miller Scholarship for Home School Students

Education remains a top priority for me and for the General Assembly. Last week, the House passed HB 798 out of the House Higher Education Committee. This legislation allows home school students with high enough standardized test scores (93rd percentile – SAT of 1350 or ACT of 29) to be eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship upon entering college rather than retroactively.  This is in comparison to the requirement for students from public or private accredited schools to have an SAT or ACT at the 80th percentile (1200 or 26) and a 3.7 grade point average to receive the Zell Miller upon entering college.

Increasing Reporting Requirements for Courts involved with Abortions

During the week, we also passed an important piece of legislation that will continue the fight to defend life under the Gold Dome. House Bill 555 passed out of the House Insurance Committee on Wednesday and will provide for the reporting of certain statistics regarding juveniles seeking abortions without parental notice.

Grayson High School Standouts

Last Monday and Wednesday, the House of Representatives had the privilege to recognize some of Grayson High School’s outstanding students.  With HR 1295, the General Assembly recognized Noah Wilson and Anna Scartz, the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the Class of 2016, for their outstanding academic achievements. HR 1310 honored Mr. Jeremy Mulkey for being named the 2016 STAR Teacher of Grayson High School and HR 1328 recognized Noah Wilson as the 2016 STAR student for Grayson. I am humbled to serve the great students and teachers across District 105. Keep up the good work!

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House Study Committee on College Course Credit

Last Wednesday, I sponsored House Resolution 1311 to create a House Study Committee on College Course Credit. This committee would take a closer look at how courses that result in college credit benefit Georgia students and how we can make sure parents and students alike know the benefits of these classes.

Weighted Grade Point Averages for Advanced Courses in STEM

House Bill 6 passed out of the Higher Education committee last Tuesday. This bill will provide for weighted grade point averages above 4.0 for International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment courses in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses for purposes of determining eligibility for the HOPE scholarship for incoming freshmen. This legislation will hopefully provide incentives for Georgia students to take on the challenge of STEM courses to prepare for college and the ever-changing job market. I am glad to work with Representative Kendrick on this important education bill.

As crossover day and Sine Die approach, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.0254), e-mail (Joyce.chandler@House.Ga.Gov) or engage on Facebook with your feedback.  It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

Joyce Chandler
District 105
Georgia General Assembly

Legislative Update 2-7-16

Legislative Update 2-7-16

Friends,

Last week, the House passed the Amended Fiscal Year 2016 budget.  This week, we began working on the budget for next year (Fiscal Year 2017).  Unlike the federal government, we don’t print money; and we are required to balance the state’s budget every year.  That’s why the Appropriations Subcommittees are hard at work to ensure that their budget recommendations not only reflect our legislative priorities, but are also grounded in reality.  I look forward to reporting back as the budget process continues.

This week, the House and Senate paused to honor and applaud our firefighters.  “Firefighter Day” at the Capitol included bagpipes and a tribute to our brave men and women in uniform.  I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Gwinnett County Fire Department for their service.  I hope you will join me in praying for their continued safety!

We honored several people and organizations in the State Capitol.  I was excited to commend Mr. Clark Howard through HR 1214 for sponsoring the Clark’s Christmas Kids Program for Georgia’s foster children over the past twenty-five years.  I also formally congratulated the Duluth Men’s Soccer team through HR 1197 for winning the State Championship last year.  The community is proud of this team’s achievements both on and off the field!

We also expressed our appreciation for the thousands of school counselors in Georgia by issuing a proclamation declaring “School Counseling Week” in Georgia.  These hardworking professionals guide our students towards a brighter future, and we are incredibly thankful for their dedication and passion.

The House unanimously passed House Bill 801 this week to change the GPA weighting system for HOPE Scholarship recipients who take certain science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses.  We also passed House Bill 402, which is an effort to increase business partnerships and participation with local public school systems for K-12 work based learning programs.  To learn more about HB 801 or HB 402, click HERE.

As always, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in the General Assembly.   If I can ever be of service to you or your family, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.  My office phone number is 404.656.0254 and my e-mail address is Joyce.Chandler@house.ga.gov.

Sincerely,

Joyce Chandler
District 105
Georgia General Assembly