At the Capitol: Week of March 20

It’s hard to believe, but we have only two days left in the 2023 legislative session. Sine Die is scheduled for March 29. Here is your recap of the 11th week of the session and where key bills stand at this point.

Senate Bill 233, sponsored by Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, would create education scholarship accounts that families could use to pay for tuition, tutoring, curriculum and other approved educational expenses. Legislators modified the original bill to now only apply to students who attend schools in the bottom 25% of state assessments. Most recently, the scholarship amount increased from $6,000 to $6,500. After passing the Senate before Crossover Day it moved in the House this week, but was temporarily tabled at the end of the day on Thursday. Gov. Brian Kemp has thrown his support behind the bill and a vote in the House is expected when lawmakers return next week. You can read more about the national momentum for school choice and why parents deserve these options, here.

House Bill 557, sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, would expand prescription authority for physician assistants (PAs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) while also expediting the process to enter into an agreement with a supervising physician. After passing the House earlier, it awaits action on the Senate floor after clearing the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

Senate Bill 157, sponsored by Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, would clarify the standards for licensure eligibility for a person with a criminal record. Specifically, it removes vague “moral turpitude” licensing criteria, while allowing licensure denial only if there is a direct relationship between a criminal record and the licensed occupation. After passing the Senate, the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee also added language from House Bill 334 to increase access to expungement. It now awaits action on the House floor.

House Bill 155, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, would recognize occupational licenses obtained in other states when an individual moves to Georgia. Both chambers have adopted the measure without a dissenting vote.

House Bill 203, sponsored by Rep. Mark Newton, R-Augusta, would amend telemedicine laws to include eye examinations. This has cleared both the House and Senate.

Senate Bill 55, sponsored by Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, is known as the “Lemonade Stand Act.” It would prohibit local governments from regulating youth businesses, such as lemonade stands. This has also been approved by both chambers.

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