The Union Recorder

Local News

April 4, 2013

State legislative session wrap-up

(Continued)

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Children and Youth

HB 350 (Group-care Facility Operators): Subjects all day care employees to national and state fingerprint checks. Current law only requires day care directors to be subject to national fingerprint checks and exempts employees altogether. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.

 

HB 242 (Juvenile Proceedings): The Juvenile Justice Reform bill substantially, revises, supersedes and modernizes provisions relating to juvenile proceedings and enacts comprehensive juvenile justice reforms recommended by the Council. Specifically, the legislation supports programs that focus on early intervention and effective alternatives to automatic detention. Also upgrades two specific areas of the law.  “Status offenders” are those children who skip school, run away from home or violate curfew. These are crimes only because of the age of the children. The new law would limit the circumstances under which these children would be held in a detention center and expand the services to help them find a path in life other than crime. In addition, in “delinquency” cases, which can involve serious offenses, the courts will be given wider latitude to determine appropriate next steps for each child. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.

  

Education

HB 372 (HOPE Grant for Technical Colleges): This bill was originally introduced by the Democratic Caucus and reduces the required grade point average from a 3.0 to a 2.0 to qualify for the HOPE grant restoring 2010 standards. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor. 

Ethics

HB 142 (Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission): 

· Allows the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission to adopt any rules and regulations necessary and appropriate except they cannot require the reporting or disclosure of more information than required by law.

· Prohibits lobbyists from making expenditures for tickets to admission to athletic, sporting, recreational, musical concert or other entertainment events, unless consideration of equal or greater than face value is received. It also prohibits lobbyists from a reimbursement or payment of expenses for recreational or leisure activities.

· A lobbyist can make expenditure for food and beverages to the House or Senate, standing committees and subcommittees, caucuses of members of the majority or minority political parties of the House or Senate and other approved caucuses. Limits expenses for meals and gifts to $75 per occurrence.

· Permits lobbyists to reimburse or pay for actual and reasonable expenses for the member or support staff related to transportation except airfare, lodging, travel, registration, food, and beverages for attending meetings that directly relate to the office duties of a public officer.

· Permits lobbyists to pay for admission for members of the General Assembly to a collegiate athletic event if the team is part of the University System of Georgia or a private university or college accredited in Georgia and the event is offered to all members of the General Assembly.

· HB 142 defines “lobbyist” as someone for compensation or pro bono advocates a position or agenda on behalf of someone else at a state building, for the purpose of influencing the decision maker who receives compensation or reimbursement in excess of $250. The registration fee for a lobbyist is eliminated and now includes an identification card.

· An individual does not have to register as a lobbyist if he or she communicates personal views, interests or personal opinions to any public officer. An individual does not have to register if they are not paid to lobby and do it no more than 5 days in a year. If an individual is invited to appear before a committee and clearly identifies the interested party on whose behalf her or she is testifying. If someone is required to register they cannot meet at a state building unless they are wearing their lobbyist badge. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.

 

HB 143 (Campaign contributions, disclosure reports): Changes the signing and filing requirements for candidates for county or municipal offices. Instead of filing them with the commission, candidates for county office will now file the required disclosure reports with the election superintendent in the county and candidates for municipal office will file the reports with the municipal clerk in the municipality or the chief executive officer of the municipality if there is no clerk. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.

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