This Week in the Senate: February 21 - 25, 2022

March 1, 2022

Officially Past the Halfway Point

With two more legislative days under our belts, we have now officially hit the halfway point of the 2022 Legislative Session. To this point, the Senate has been exceedingly productive, having passed a total 45 Senate Bills and Resolutions throughout our first 20 days of business. This week, in particular, saw the Senate advance measures that extended educational opportunities to more students and granted parents more oversight in the education of their children.

Over the last year, we have heard extensive testimony from parents of our school children who have raised concerns regarding the kinds of content their children are exposed to in the classroom. While we need to ensure our students are provided with a robust and thorough education, we also must respect the wishes of their parents and ensure that any curriculum contains only the material that the parents approve. Senate Bill 449, which passed the Senate on Tuesday, would grant parents explicit rights regarding oversight of their child’s education including: the right to direct the upbringing and the moral or religious training of their minor child and the right to review all instructional materials intended for use in the classroom of their child. I will always stand up for our parents, as they know far better than the government on how their children should be raised.

Georgia’s 911 operators and communications officers do an incredible job in calmly and efficiently assisting Georgians experiencing some of the most traumatic experiences they will ever encounter. Senate Bill 505, which passed the Senate on Thursday, would add another tool to their tool belt by requiring Telephone Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation Training for these officers to talk an individual through how to perform CPR. This measure has the potential to save lives and prevent unnecessary tragedies.

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 397, which would allow for state approved high school equivalency (HSE) diplomas and update language in Georgia Code to replace “general education” (GED) with “high school equivalency” or HSE diplomas. HOPE HSE vouchers will be available to each eligible student who receives pre-certification from TCSG to take an approved examination seeking a diploma through the HSE program. This legislation will allow more students to reach the potential that a quality education can grant them. Now that we have officially hit the halfway point of the session, our work will only become more urgent. Next week, the Senate Appropriations Committee will meet to pass out the Senate version of House Bill 910, the amended budget for 2022.

While the budget will be one of the most consequential bills we take up next week, we are also planning on taking up several bills related to expanding our rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.

Senator Brian Strickland Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22

Adding a Judge to the Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sen. Bo Hatchett (R - Cornelia) sponsored Senate Bill 395, which would add a judge to the superior court of the Mountain Judicial Circuit, increasing the total number of superior court judges for this circuit from two to three. SB 395 passed by a vote of 51 to 1. - SB 395

Parents Bill of Rights

Senate Bill 449, sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon (R - Buford), would outline specific rights reserved by parents of minor students. SB 449 would also require the governing bodies of school systems to adopt policies or regulations that promote parent involvement in public schools. Additionally, SB 449 would provide for a process by which parents may have access to certain information. SB 449 passed by a vote of 33 to 21. - SB 449

Altering Requirements for Coastal Vessels

Sen. Tyler Harper (R - Ocilla) sponsored Senate Bill 469, which would require all vessels operating on the coastal waters of Georgia at night to have either three unexpired pyrotechnic distress signals or one electric distress light onboard. Additionally, SB 469 would require all vessels operating during the day to have one orange flag as a distress signal. SB 469 would also alter the definition of “personal flotation device” to conform with the United States Coast Guard standards. SB 469 passed by a vote of 55 to 0. - SB 469

Chartering the City of Vinings, Georgia

House Bill 840, carried by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R - Marietta) would constitute the charter of the City of Vinings, Georgia. Contingent upon approval by voters of the proposed city on the general primary date of 2022. The legislation establishes city government structure, its powers and duties, as well as its corporate limits. HB 840 passed by a vote of 33 to 19. - HB 840

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24

Revising Districts for the Public Service Commission

Sen. John F. Kennedy (R - Macon) sponsored Senate Bill 472, which would revise the boundaries of each election district for the Public Service Commission. These new districts would take effect November 2024. SB 472 passed with a vote of 33 to 21. - SB 472 Revision of the Cobb County Board of Education Districts House Bill 1028, carried by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R - Marietta), would revise the Cobb County Board of Education Districts in Cobb County. HB 1028 passed with a vote of 33 to 20. - HB 1028

Revision of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners Election Districts

House Bill 1154, carried by Sen.Kay Kirkpatrick (R - Marietta), would revise the boundaries of the election districts of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners. HB 1154 passed with a vote of 33 to 18. - HB 1154

Creating the Joint Georgia Music Heritage Study Committee

Senate Resolution 477, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R - Chickamauga), would create the Joint Music Heritage Study Committee. The purpose of the Committee would be to examine several aspects of the music industry in Georgia including its economic impact, music tourism, and music production. SR 477 passed with a vote of 52 to 0. - SR 477

Establishing State Approved High School Equivalency Diplomas

Sen. Russ Goodman (R - Cogdel) sponsored Senate Bill 397 which would allow for state approved high school equivalency (HSE) diplomas and update language in Georgia Code to replace “general education” (GED) with “high school equivalency” HSE diplomas. HOPE HSE vouchers will be available to each eligible student who receives pre-certification from TCSG to take an approved examination seeking a diploma through the HSE program.SB 397 passed with a vote of 54 to 0. - SB 397

Save Girl Sports Act

Senate Bill 435, sponsored by Sen. Marty Harbin (R - Tyrone) would prohibit schools from participating in athletic programs in which biological males are permitted to compete in athletics events designed for biological females, unless no equivalent existing athletic program exists for males. SB 435 passed with a vote of 34 to 22. - SB 435

Continuing Education for Communications Officers

Sen. Randy Robertson (R - Cataula) sponsored Senate Bill 505 which relates to Telephone Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (T-CPR) Training and Continuing Education for Communications Officers. Specifically, SB 505 would require that communications officers complete training on high-quality telephone cardiopulmonary resuscitation in addition to general basic training. SB 505 passed with a vote of 52 to 0. - SB 505

Congressman Rick Allen Visits the Senate

Congressman Rick Allen (GA - 12) visited the Senate. Representative Allen first took office representing Georgia’s 12th Congressional District on January 3, 2015, and was re-elected in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Rep. Allen currently serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Special Actions

Senate Agreed to House Amendment to Senate Substitute

HB 218 (34-20)

Senate Agreed to House Substitute

SB 391 (52-0)

SB 437 (32-20)

SB 446 (53-0)

Senate Disagreed to House Substitute

SB 120 (32-19)

“Hope Won” with Passage of HB 1013 in Georgia
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In 2023 the Georgia State Senate District 17 will encompass parts of Walton, Newton, Henry, and Morgan with over 150,000 registered voters. Brian Strickland entered his third full term in the Georgia Senate in 2021. Brian, his wife Lindsay, and their two children reside in McDonough, GA. Through Brian’s leadership position at the capitol where he fights for District 17, and all of Georgia, he has impacted Georgia for the better through various executed actions.  Not only did Brian support the First Responder bill which aids police, firefighter, and EMS personnel but he was a key player in the passing of the Georgia Criminal Justice reform bills and Georgia Surprise Medical bills. Above and beyond that, Brian labored to bring funding to Southern Crescent Technical College making it one of the top technical schools in Georgia and is constantly raising the bar in the fight against human trafficking.

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