Members of the Georgia House of Representatives voted February 13 to approve two healthcare-related proposals. HB 198 would provide for the licensing of health insurance navigators under the health insurance exchange provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Navigators are individuals who are authorized to provide insurance advice and guidance to uninsured individuals and groups seeking health care insurance coverage. The legislation would establish training and licensing procedures, including a requirement for 35 hours of training.
HB 50 would require nurses to report to the state Board of Nursing any suspected violations of Georgia nurses' licensing regulations, including, for example, substance abuse or practicing with a false license. Both HB 198 and HB 50 now go to the Senate for its consideration.
Firearms carrying expansion proposals moving
On Februrary 13, the House approved legislation that would expand the current law that exempts active and retired state and federal judges from state restrictions on the possession and carrying of firearms. HB 60, which now goes to the Senate for its consideration, would extend the exemption to retired judges from local jurisdictions as well.
In addition, legislation that would allow local school boards to authorize administrators and staff to carry weapons on campuses was favorably reported by the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee. The proposal includes some training criteria as well as undergoing a background check and other requirements. No school system or employee would be required to participate. HB 35 now awaits action on the House floor.
Other House action
Also last week, the House approved and sent to the Senate the following legislation:
HB 59, which would require alarm monitoring services to utilize alarm verification in an effort to preserve law enforcement and firefighter resources.
HB 101, which would authorize nonprofit organizations to sell food for a short-term periods without a food service permit.
HB 103, which would remove a participation requirement before the extension of group life insurance coverage to dependents of employees or members of certain groups as approved by the state Insurance Commissioner.
HB 115, which would make changes to the law governing the suspension and removal of local board of education members when school systems lose their accreditation.
HB 154, which would make revisions to the law related to workers' compensation payments for medical, disability and other benefits.
HR 4, which seeks to settle a longstanding border dispute between Georgia and Tennessee and gain access to the Tennessee River as a source of water for Georgia.
'Invest Georgia Fund' proposed
Legislation has been introduced that would create an "Invest Georgia Fund" to make investments in Georgia-based, start-up businesses with fewer than 20 employees and gross annual revenues of less than $1 million.
HB 285 calls for the state to put $100 million into a venture capital fund for the investments, through the sale of state insurance premium tax credits to insurance companies or from the OneGeorgia Authority, which provides economic development grants to rural counties and cities. Under the legislation, the fund would be administered by a five-member board appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House.
HB 285 was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee for its consideration.
Here is this week's progress report on some legislation I have sponsored or co-sponsored during the 2013 session:
HB 208 Nursing homes; annually offer influenza vaccinations to health care workers and other employees; require (favorably reported by House Health & Human Services Committee)
HB 299 Tax returns; contributions to Special Olympics Georgia Inc.; provide (pending in House Ways & Means Committee)
HB 324 Georgia Student Finance Commission; board of commissioners; Georgia Student Finance Authority; board of directors; verification of lawful presence; provide exemptions (pending in House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee)
HB 337 Elementary and secondary education; public and private schools to stock supply of auto-injectable epinephrine; authorize (pending in House Education Committee)
HB 338 Georgia Council for the Arts; role of arts in economic development and other vital functions to the state; clarify (pending in House Economic Development & Tourism Committee)
HB 372 HOPE; grant at technical college or university institutions; revise eligibility (introduced)
Follow the General Assembly Online
You can read the details of all legislation online at www.legis.ga.gov. During the session, please feel free to contact me 218 State Capitol; by phone at 404-656-6801; or by email at email@example.com.