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May 20, 2020

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Gold Dome

January 16, 2020

Gold Dome Report - January 16, 2020

Widespread anxiety gave way to mixed emotions among legislators and lobbyists in the State Capitol on Thursday as Governor Kemp delivered his second State of the State address and unveiled his proposed Amended FY20 and FY21 budgets. As the Governor outlined his policy agenda for the next three-or-so months before a packed House chamber, his audience repeatedly clicked refresh on the Office of Planning and Budget’s website to get a glimpse at the math behind Kemp’s plans. Shortly after noon, those efforts were rewarded with details of broad cuts in Amended FY20 followed by another record-high budget in FY21 in which Governor Kemp proposes to complete his pledged $5,000 educator salary increase before the middle of his first term. Fulfilling that promise, along with efforts to curb gang violence, aid victims of human trafficking, and increase adoptions in Georgia were top of mind for Governor Kemp today, and the key details are here for you in today’s #GoldDomeReport.

In this Report:

  • Governor Kemp Details Budget, Policy Agenda in State of the State Address
  • IN DEPTH: Governor’s Budget Reports for AFY 2020 and FY 2021
  • Senate Higher Education Committee Takes Action on Dual Enrollment
  • New Legislation

Did You Know: While our team publishes this report at the end of each day, you can follow the action in real-time with us on Twitter? Follow our team (George Ray, Helen Sloat, and Sam Marticke) or search for #GoldDomeReport for up-to-the-minute updates throughout the legislative session!


Governor Kemp Details Budget, Policy Agenda in State of the State Address

After teasing the public at yesterday’s Eggs and Issues breakfast, Governor Brian Kemp dove into the deep details of his budget proposals and policy agenda for 2020 during Thursday’s State of the State Address. Harkening back to last year’s address, Kemp deepened his construction analogy--turning from building on the “sure foundation” laid by his predecessors to focusing on the “sheetrock, siding, and bricks” in his second year. As with his Eggs and Issues speech, the Governor outlined the successes of 2019 but went further, recognizing that there is “still more work to be done” and “we’re just getting started”.

Focusing first on education, Kemp called on the State to “reaffirm [its] commitment to Georgia schools” and “support superintendents, teachers, counselors, and specialists”. He reiterated his emphasis on improving schools by continuing to fully fund the QBE formula, reducing mandated testing, and removing Common Core from course standards. Then, to the surprise of many, Governor Kemp announced that his proposed budget for FY21 would include the final installment of $2,000 toward his pledge to increase teacher salaries by $5,000.

Kemp then turned to health care, expressing support for legislation that remedies surprise billing and noting that he will “demand transparency” and “insist on fairness” in the health care industry. He also recognized recently retired U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and was present for the address. Kemp announced that an Isakson Professorship for Parkinson’s Research will be created in his honor at the University of Georgia to study the disease and help find a cure.

In terms of criminal justice, Governor Kemp continued his recent calls for toughened laws to curb gang violence across the state. He also reaffirmed his support of victims of human trafficking, outlining plans to pursue legislation that closes loopholes that leave children vulnerable to exploitation, encourages victims to testify in court without fear of retaliation, and helps victims get the help they need to reintegrate into society.

Finally, Kemp proposed sweeping changes to State law to increase adoptions in the state. He called for a tripling of the adoption tax credit, from $2,000 to $6,000, as well as lowering the adoption age from 25 to 21. Kemp also announced a Families First Coalition that will focus on ways to innovate in caring for kids who need homes.

IN DEPTH: Governor’s Budget Reports for AFY 2020 and FY 2021

Following Governor Kemp’s State of the State address on Thursday, the Office of Planning Budget released the entirety of the Governor’s Budget Reports for Amended FY 2020 and FY 2021. While the Amended FY20 proposal reflects a decline in State general fund receipts (and therefore cuts) of nearly $404 million (-1.5%) from receipts projected when the FY20 budget was originally passed, the FY21 proposal reflects an increase over the original FY20 budget of over $488 million (+1.9%). If this revenue estimate is maintained, Georgia’s FY21 budget is expected to be the largest ever.

As expected, the Amended FY20 proposal contains numerous cuts across Georgia’s state agencies.

  • Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
    Originally budgeted $1,408,568,597 ($1,230,810,591 in State Funds) in FY20, the Amended FY20 proposal includes cuts totaling $34,428,328 ($33,340,642 in State Funds) for DBHDD. Notable amendments proposed include:
    • Adult Addictive Disease Services
      • $4,939,920 reduction to maintain prior year funding levels for residential treatment of addictive diseases.
    • Adult Developmental Disabilities Services
      • $1,000,000 reduction to for assistive technology assessments and research.
      • $1,000,000 reduction for intensive family support services to reflect projected expenditures.
      • $1,017,982 reduction for personal services.
    • Adult Forensic Services
      • $1,060,763 reduction for personal services.
    • Adult Mental Health Services
      • $745,782 reduction for personal services.
      • $1,148,837 reduction for provider support and training.
      • $1,994,944 reduction for supported employment services to reflect utilization rates.
    • Child and Adolescent Developmental Disabilities
      • $1,087,686 reduction to reflect contractual savings associated with Medicaid eligible services.
      • $1,664,762 reduction to reflect savings from the delayed start date of a crisis stabilization unit.
    • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
      • $342,131 reduction for community innovation programs.
      • $406,691 reduction to reflect savings from a shift to fee-for-service reimbursements of high fidelity wraparound services.
      • $1,046,881 reduction for System of Care to reflect projected expenditures.
      • $1,974,566 reduction for enhanced staffing at crisis stabilization units to reflect projected expenditures.
      • $3,060,000 reduction for supported employment and education services.
      • $5,923,288 reduction for four crisis respite homes due to non-implementation.
    • Departmental Administration
      • $1,553,023 reduction for personal services.
    • Direct Care Support Services
      • $635,712 reduction for regular operating expenses.
      • $3,656,848 reduction for personal services.
         
  • Department of Community Health
    Originally budgeted $15,649,092,261 ($3,572,602,642 in State Funds) in FY 2020, the Amended FY 2020 proposal includes changes totaling $9,714,021  (cuts of $12,715,641 in State Funds) for DCH. There are additions across programs for adjustments in agency premiums for Department of Administrative Services administered self-insurance programs. Notable amendments proposed include:
    • Departmental Administration
      • Reduction of $703,656 for contractual services to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Reduction of $201,343 to reflect reduction of funds for personal services to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Reduction of $2,544,383 in a transfer from Right from the State Medical Assistance Group to the Department of Human Services effective November 1, 2019 (total of $10.1 million).
    • Georgia Board of Dentistry
      • Reduction of $33,744 to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Georgia State Board of Pharmacy
      • Reduction of $31,148 to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Healthcare Access and Improvement
      • Reduction of $463,000 in one time funds for the Rural Health Systems Innovation Center.
    • Indigent Care Trust Fund
      • Addition of $23 million to increase funds to provide the state match for DSH hospital payments for private deemed and non-deemed hospitals (total of more than $70 million).
    • Aged, Blind and Disabled Medicaid
      • Language instructing to “replace $1,844,241 in nursing home provider fee funds with state general funds).
      • Addition of $3,936,297 to reflect increase in the Medicare Part D Clawback payment.
      • Addition of $6,780,737 for funding for hold harmless provision in Medicare Part B premiums (total of more than $20.7 million).
      • Addition of $65,267,880 to increase funds for “growth” in ABD based on projected need (total of more than $200 million).
    • Low-Income Medicaid
      • Language instructing replacement of $5,721,600 in state funds with tobacco settlement funds.
      • Reduction of $109,568,690 to reduce funds for growth based on projected need (total of more than $335 million).
    • PeachCare
      • Addition of $5,717,740 for growth in PeachCare based on projected need (total of funds of more than $66.9 million).
    • State Health Benefit Plan - NO changes
    • Administratively Attached Agencies
    • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce - Board Administration
      • $20,000 reduction for telecommunications to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Reduction of $80,000 for personal services to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Language instructing “reflect a change in the program name to Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Board Administration (per SB 207 - 2019 Session).
    • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Graduate Medical Education
      • Reduction of $273,358 for the Accelerated Track program at Memorial Health.
      • Reduction of $40,000 for statewide residency recruitment to reflect utilization rates.
      • Reduction of $14,603 for contractual services.
      • Language instructing a change in the program name based on SB 207.
    • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Mercer School of Medicine Grant
      • Reduction of $961,596 in Mercer School of Medicine Operating Grant.
    • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Morehouse School of Medicine Grant
      • Reduction of $1,157,269 to Morehouse School of Medicine Operating Grant.
    • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Physicians for Rural Areas
      • Reduction of $500,000 for loan repayment awards for rural advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, physicians assistants and physicians.
      • Reduction of $130,000 for malpractice insurance premium assistance for physicians with a practice in underserved counties that currently have one or less physicians.
    • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Undergraduate Medical Education
      • Reduction of $170,700 for medical student capitation payments to Emory University School of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
    • Georgia Composite Medical Board
      • Reduction of $150,000 to eliminate one medical director position (HB 31 language considered non-binding by the Governor).
      • Reduction of $5,000 for travel.
      • Reduction of $25,000 so as to eliminate one contracted assistant medical director position.
      • Reduction of $70,314 to reflect efficiencies gained through the implementation of System Automation licensure software.
    • Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency
      • Reduction of $184,940 to eliminate funding for a data management system.
      • Reduction of $16,230 for regular operating expenses.
      • Reduction of $29,015 for telecommunications funding.
      • Reduction of $52,306 in funding for personal services.
         
  • Department of Education
    Originally budgeted $12,769,228,158 ($10,644,827,624 in State Funds) in FY20, the Amended FY20 proposal includes cuts totaling $138,480,964 (all State Funds) for DOE. Notable amendments proposed include:
    • Business and Finance Administration
      • $227,040 reduction for three vacant positions.
    • Charter Schools
      • $136,000 reduction for facilities grants.
    • Chief Turnaround Officer
      • $507,577 reduction for five vacant positions.
    • Curriculum Development
      • $85,539 reduction for one vacant position.
    • Grants for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education and Technology
      • $80,000 reduction for the Grants for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, and Technology program.
    • Information Technology Services
      • $774,107 reduction for contracted information technology personnel.
      • $141,193 reduction for computer purchases.
      • $118,420 reduction for one vacant position.
    • Quality Basic Education Equalization
      • $337,523 reduction for equalization grants to reflect corrected data.
    • Quality Basic Education
      • $113,742,778 increase for a midterm adjustment for a 0.3% increase in enrollment.
      • $18,382,887 increase for the State Commission Charter School supplement.
      • $9,384,675 increase for a midterm adjustment to the State Commission Charter School supplement training and experience.
      • $9,742,283 increase for a midterm adjustment for the Special Needs Scholarship.
      • $273,209 increase for a midterm adjustment to the charter system grant.
      • $6,039,014 reduction for training and experience and health insurance for Atlanta Public Schools ($3,169,646) and health insurance for Glynn County ($2,869,368) to reflect corrected data.
    • Regional Education Service Agencies
      • $300,000 reduction for consulting services.
      • $282,720 reduction for grants to RESAs.
    • School Improvement
      • $303,459 reduction for three vacant positions.
      • $150,021 reduction for travel.
      • $139,500 reduction for teacher and district training.
    • Technology/Career Education
      • $48,399 reduction for travel.
    • Testing
      • $355,616 reduction for three vacant positions.
      • $300,000 reduction  for training and outreach on formative instructive practice.
         
  • Department of Human Services
    Originally budgeted $1,945,428,793 ($1,084,254,894 in State Funds) in FY 2020, the Amended FY 2020 proposal includes cuts totaling $46,415,882 ($21,012,360 in State Funds) for DHS. Notable amendments proposed include:
    • Adoption Services
      • Reduction of $40,095 in personal services to reflect projected expenditures.
    • After School Care - NO change
    • Child Support Services
      • Reduction of $1,200,009 to reduce funds for 67 vacant child support services agent positions (total of more than $3.5 million).
      • Reduction of $19,930 for travel expenses.
    • Child Welfare Services
      • Reduction of $76,500 for contracted legal assistance costs to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Reduction of $249,000 to replace state general funds with one-time federal funds to provide for kinship care.
      • Reduction of $250,000 for foster parent recruitment marketing and research.
      • Reduction of $456,307 for six vacant supervisor-mentor positions (total funds of more than $536,000).
      • Reduction of $2,163,078 in funds for 30 vacant positions (total funds of more than $2.4 million).
      • Reduction of $226,780 for six vacant foster care support services positions (total of $266,799).
      • Reduction of $2,400,000 to transfer $2.4 million in TANF funds from the DHS Administration program for child protective caseworker positions.
      • Reduction of $970,000 so as to replace $970,000 in state funds with existing TANF Block grant funds for child protective caseworker positions.
      • Reduction of $96,038 in funds for travel expenses.
    • Departmental Administration
      • Reduction of $880,339 for information technology contractual services.
      • Reduction of $1.2 million to realize savings from vacant positions.
      • Reduction of $164,800 for Georgia Memory Net.
      • Reduction of $160,000 to utilize existing Social Services Block Grant funds for contractual services.
      • Reduction of $22,456 for travel expenses.
      • Language: Transfer $2.4 million in TANF funds to the Child Welfare program to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Elder Abuse Investigations and Prevention
      • Reduction of $956,253 for personal services based on actual start dates of caseworkers.
      • Reduction of $1,322 for travel and conference expenses.
    • Elder Community Living Services
      • Reduction of $75,000 to utilize existing Social Services Block Grant funds for contractual services.
    • Elder Support Services
      • Reduction of $195,000 to utilize existing Social Services Block Grant funds for contractual services.
    • Federal Eligibility Benefit Services
      • Reduction of $4.9 million in funding for information technology to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Language: Utilize $2.54 million in existing funds to transfer the Right from the Start Medical Assistance Group from the Department of Community Health.
    • Out-of-Home Care
      • Reduction of $6,695,134 to realize savings from a decrease in Out-of-Home Care utilization due to a decline in average monthly placements (total of more than $7.4 million).
    • Residential Child Care Licensing
      • Reduction of $5,741 in funding for personal services to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Support for Needy Families - Basic Assistance
      • Reduction of $30,000 in funds to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Attached Agencies:
      • Council on Aging
        • Reduction of $12,451 to reduce funds to reflect savings from a vacant position.
      • Family Connection
        • Reduction of $56,006 for funds to Georgia Family Connection Partnership technical assistance to the counties.
        • Reduction of $318,000 to reflect an adjustment in each county’s allocation from $50,000 to $48,000.
      • Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency: Business Enterprise Program
        • Reduction of $11,738 in funds to reflect savings from a vacant position.
      • Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency: Departmental Administration
        • Reduction of $31,950 in funds for contractual services.
        • Reduction of $91,747 in funds for travel.
        • Reduction of $320,358 in funds to realize savings from program reorganization and personnel restructuring initiatives (total of more than $1.3 million).
        • Reduction of $11,620 in funds for telecommunications to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency: Vocational Rehabilitation Program
        • Reduction of $899,399 for reduction of funds to realize savings from vacant positions (total of more than $4.2 million)
        • Reduction of $211,263 to reflect savings from fleet reorganization and reductions in travel
        • Reduction of $13,817 in funds for telecommunication expenditures
           
  • Department of Public Health
    Originally budgeted at $698,359,291 (292,249,670 in State Funds) in FY 2020, the Amended FY 2020 proposal includes cuts totalling $6,278,884 (all in state funds) for DPH. Notable proposed amendments include:
    • Adolescent and Adult Health Promotion
      • Reduction of $275,000 for five Coverdell-Murphy remote stroke readiness grants.
      • Reduction of $265,000 for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia
      • Reduction of $300,000 for the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (CORE).
    • Epidemiology
      • Reduction of $89,000 for the Georgia Poison Center.
      • Reduction of $40,000 for Hepatitis-C testing kits.
    • Infant and Child Essential Health Treatment Services
      • Reduction of $275,000 for legal services to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Reduction of $55,000 for contractual services.
      • Reduction of $81,583 to reflect the utilization of existing Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant funds for Children’s Medical Services.
    • Infectious Disease Control
      • Reduction of $275,000 to reflect the utilization of existing federal funds for supplies for sexually transmitted disease treatments.
      • Reduction of $326,220 for personal services to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Inspections and Environmental Hazard Control
      • Reduction of $114,344 for three vacant positions.
    • Office for Children and Families
      • Elimination of $428,423 for the Office for Children and Families program and recognize efficiencies through the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to continue providing early childhood brain development services.
    • Public Health Formula Grants to Counties
      • Reduction of $6,368,723 for county boards of health.
      • Transfer of $978,865 to Departmental Administration program for the Fulton County Board of Health.
    • Vital Records
      • Reduction of $129,598 for one vacant position.
    • Administratively Attached Agencies
      • Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission
        • $368, 709 increase to reflect fireworks excise tax revenue collections
        • $5,016,127 increase to reflect 2019 Super Speeder collections and reinstatement fees
        • $670,052 reduction for contractual services

Conversely, the FY21 proposal contains both major additions and cuts across Georgia’s state agencies. Notably, full-time State employees earning $40,000 or less are proposed to receive $1,000 pay raises.

  • Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
    The FY21 proposal budgets $1,383,176,033 ($1,206,505,713 in State Funds) in spending for DBHDD, a decrease of $25,392,564 ($24,304,878 in State Funds) from the original FY20 spending plan. Notable changes proposed from the original FY20 budget include:
    • Adult Addictive Disease Services
      • $4,939,920 reduction to maintain prior year funding levels for residential treatment of addictive diseases.
    • Adult Developmental Disabilities Services
      • $1,000,000 reduction to for assistive technology assessments and research.
      • $1,000,000 reduction for intensive family support services to reflect projected expenditures.
      • $1,357,309 reduction for personal services.
      • $2,127,829 increase to reflect a reduction in the Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP) from 67.30% to 67.03%.
      • $2,749,798 increase to annualize the cost of 125 New Options Waiver (NOW) and Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP) slots for the intellectually and developmentally disabled.
    • Adult Forensic Services
      • $1,414,351 reduction for personal services.
      • $6,637,388 increase for the 40-bed forensic unit at West Central Regional Hospital in Columbus to begin October 2020.
    • Adult Mental Health Services
      • $994,376 reduction for personal services.
      • $1,219,593 reduction for provider support and training.
      • $2,452,885 reduction for for supported employment services to reflect utilization rates.
      • $8,341,192 reduction for behavioral health services.
      • $461,019 increase to reflect a reduction in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) from 67.30% to 67.03%.
    • Child and Adolescent Developmental Disabilities
      • $1,087,686 reduction to reflect contractual savings associated with Medicaid eligible services.
    • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
      • $234,000 reduction for one-time funds for crisis and telehealth services.
      • $456,174 reduction for community innovation programs.
      • $542,255 reduction to reflect savings from a shift to fee-for-service reimbursements of high fidelity wraparound services.
      • $1,395,841 reduction for System of Care to reflect projected expenditures.
      • $1,974,566 reduction for enhanced staffing at crisis stabilization units to reflect projected expenditures.
      • $3,542,709 reduction for supported employment and education services.
      • $5,923,288 reduction for four crisis respite homes due to non-implementation.
    • Departmental Administration
      • $2,329,534 reduction for personal services.
    • Direct Care Support Services
      • $847,616 reduction for regular operating expenses.
      • $4,875,797 reduction for personal services.
         
  • Department of Community Health
    Originally proposed to be budgeted at $16,097,815,832 ($3,799,360,737 in State Funds). The changes from the FY 2020 budget are more than $448 million more in total funds. Across many of the program areas, there are reductions in funding for the Georgia Technology Authority administrative fee for the GETS-contract management. Notable amendments proposed include:
    • Departmental Administration
      • Reduction of $1.38 million for contractual services to reflect projected expenditures (total of more than $2.91 million).
      • Addition of $3.35 million to increase funds to reflect a reduction in the enhanced FMAP from 88.61 percent to 76.92 percent.
      • Addition of more than $3.73 million to transfer funds from the Medicaid Low-Income Medicaid program for enrollment-based growth (total funds of more than $7.46 million).
      • Reduction of more than $3.71 million to transfer the Right from the Start Medical Assistance Group to the Department of Human Services effective November 1, 2019 (a total of more than $14.8 million).
    • Georgia Board of Dentistry
      • Addition of $4,857 to increase funding to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
    • Georgia State Board of Pharmacy
      • Reduction of $46,722 to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Addition of $8,094 to increase funding to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
    • Healthcare Access and Improvement
      • Addition of $4,857 to increase funding to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Reduction of $463,000 in one time funds for the Rural Health Systems Innovation Center.
    • Health Care Facility Regulations
      • Addition of $22,952 to increase funding to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
    • Indigent Care Trust Fund - NO Change
    • Aged, Blind and Disabled Medicaid
      • Language:
        • Replace $160,662 in nursing home provider fee funds with state general funds
        • Replace $2,042,672 in state general funds with hospital provider payment funds
      • Addition of $1.58 million to increase funds for additional residents in the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) to support hospitals with graduate medical education programs (total funds of more than $4.8 million).
      • Addition of more than $14.5 million to increase funding to reflect a reduction in the FMAP from 67.30 percent to 67.03 percent.
      • Addition of $5,229,225 to reflect increase in the Medicare Part D Clawback payment.
      • Addition of $18.89 million  for funding for hold harmless provision in Medicare Part B premiums (total of more than $57.44 million).
      • Addition of $101.50 million to increase funds for “growth” in ABD based on projected need (total of more than $308.51 million).
    • Low-Income Medicaid
      • Language:
        • Replace $17.9 million in state general funds with hospital provider payment fnds
        • Replace $10.3 million in state general funds with tobacco settlement funds
      • Addition of more than $21.6 million to reflect a reduction in the FMAP from 88.61 percent to 76.92 percent.
      • Addition of $38.8 million to provide funds for the Health Insurer Provider Fee (total of more than $118 million).
      • Addition of $1.35 million for additional residents in the IPPS to support hospitals with graduate medical education programs.
      • Addition of $1.9 million to increase funding to reflect a reduction in the FMAP from 67.30 percent to 67.03 percent.
      • Reduction of more than $3.73 million to transfer funds to the Departmental Administration program for enrollment-based growth.
      • Reduction of $18.26 million to reduce funds for growth based on projected need (total of more than $55.5 million).
    • PeachCare
      • Addition of $38.3 million to increase funding to reflect a reduction in the enhanced FMAP from 88.61 percent to 76.92 percent.
      • Addition of $6,346,519 for growth in PeachCare based on projected need (total of funds of more than $31.48 million).
    • State Health Benefit Plan - NO changes
    • Administratively Attached Agencies
      • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce - Board Administration
        • Reduction of $80,000 for personal services to reflect projected expenditures.
        • Reduction of $20,000 for telecommunications funding.
        • Addition of $4,857 to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
        • Language instructing “reflect a change in the program name to Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Board Administration (per SB 207 - 2019 Session).
      • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Graduate Medical Education
        • Addition of $2.5 million to increase funds for 13 new residency slots in primary care medicine.
        • Reduction of $399,684 for the Accelerated Track program at Memorial Health.
        • Reduction of $40,000 for statewide residency recruitment fair to reflect utilization rates.
        • Reduction of $14,603 for contractual services.
        • Reduction of $14,603 for contractual services.
        • Reduction of $125,000 for fellowships at Augusta University.
        • Reduction of $30,000 for the start-up grant for South Georgia Medical Center residency program provided for in FY 2020.
        • Reduction of $58,372 for Augusta University in each of these areas: rural surgery initiative, child and adolescent psychiatry, and primary care three-year track.
        • Language instructing a change in the program name based on SB 207.
      • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Mercer School of Medicine Grant
        • Addition of $841,192 to increase funds for operations at Mercer University School of Medicine’s four-year medical school campus in Columbus.
        • Reduction of $1,442,395 in Mercer School of Medicine Operating Grant.
      • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Morehouse School of Medicine Grant
        • Reduction of $1,735,903 to Morehouse School of Medicine Operating Grant.
      • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Physicians for Rural Areas
        • Reduction of $500,000 for loan repayment awards for rural advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, physicians assistants and physicians.
        • Reduction of $130,000 for malpractice insurance premium assistance for physicians with a practice in underserved counties that currently have one or less physicians.
      • Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce: Undergraduate Medical Education
        • Reduction of $318,150 for one-time marketing and outreach in the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine South Georgia Campus.
        • Reduction of $284,500 in funds for medical student capitation payments to Emory University School of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
      • Georgia Composite Medical Board
        • Addition of $19,426 to increase funds to provide a $1,000 pay raise to full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
        • Reduction of $150,000 to eliminate one medical director position (HB 31 language considered non-binding by the Governor)
        • Reduction of $5,000 for travel.
        • Reduction of $25,000 so as to eliminate one contracted assistant medical director position.
        • Reduction of $120,471 to reflect efficiencies gained through the implementation of System Automation licensure software.
      • Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency
        • Addition of$1,619 to increase funds to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
        • Reduction of $184,940 to eliminate funding for a data management system.
        • Reduction of $56,288 for regular operating expenses.
        • Reduction of $29,015 for telecommunications funding.
        • Reduction of $61,024 in funding for personal services.
           
  • Department of Education
    The FY21 proposal budgets $13,040,840,680 ($10,916,440,146 in State Funds) in spending for DOE, an increase of $271,612,522 (all State Funds) from the original FY20 spending plan. Notable changes proposed from the original FY20 budget include:
    • Agricultural Education
      • $286,370 increase to adjust the state base salary schedule to increase salaries for certified personnel by $2,000 effective July 1, 2020.
    • Business and Finance Administration
      • $257,355 reduction for three vacant positions.
    • Charter Schools
      • $204,000 reduction for facilities grants.
    • Chief Turnaround Officer
      • $1,206,897 transferred to School Improvement to support continued improvements in student achievement.
      • $420,760 reduction for operating expenses.
      • $203,056 reduction for two vacant positions.
    • Curriculum Development
      • $108,049 reduction for one vacant position.
    • Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support
      • $3,775,824 reduction for enrollment and training and experience decline.
    • Grants for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education and Technology
      • $2,000,000 reduction for the Grants for Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, and Technology program.
    • Information Technology Services
      • $1,327,040 reduction for contracted information technology personnel.
      • $141,193 reduction for computer purchases.
      • $142,104 reduction for one vacant position.
    • Non-Quality Basic Education Formula Grants
      • $1,001,455 increase for Sparsity Grants based on enrollment decline.
      • $1,150,777 decrease for Residential Treatment Facilities based on attendance.
      • $279,810 increase to adjust the state base salary schedule to increase salaries for certified personnel in residential treatment facilities by $2,000 effective July 1, 2020.
    • School Nutrition
      • $1,056,905 increase to provide a 5% increase to the salary supplement for local school system food service employees.
    • Pupil Transportation
      • $4,386,707 increase to provide a 5% increase to the state base salary for local school system transportation employees.
    • Quality Basic Education Equalization
      • $32,090,770 increase for equalization grants.
    • Quality Basic Education
      • $144,354,065 increase for enrollment growth and training and experience. 
      • $50,458,558 increase for the State Commission Charter School supplement.
      • $9,742,283 increase for the Special Needs Scholarship.
      • $223,459 increase for a midterm adjustment to the charter system grant.
      • $6,039,014 reduction for training and experience and health insurance for Atlanta Public Schools ($3,169,646) and health insurance for Glynn County ($2,869,368) to reflect corrected data.
    • Regional Education Service Agencies
      • $220,949 increase for RESAs based on enrollment growth.
      • $600,000 reduction for consulting services. 
      • $274,081 reduction for grants to RESAs.
    • School Improvement
      • $352,297 reduction for three vacant positions.
      • $150,021 reduction for travel.
      • $139,500 reduction for teacher and district training.
    • Technology/Career Education
      • $622,926 increase to adjust the state base salary schedule to increase salaries for certified personnel by $2,000 effective July 1, 2020.
      • $48,399 reduction for travel.
    • Testing
      • $405,334 reduction for three vacant positions.
      • $400,000 reduction for training and outreach on formative instructive practice.
         
  • Department of Human Services
    Budgeted proposed at $1,888,401,024 ($1,056,098,099 in State Funds) for FY 2021, this is a change from the proposed Amended FY 2020 $31,609,065 for DHS. Notable amendments proposed include:
    • Adoption Services
      • Addition of $9,712 to increase funds to provide for a $1000 pay raise to full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Addition of $151,443 to reflect a reduction in the FMAP from 67.30 percent to 67.03 percent.
    • Child Support Services
      • Addition of $400,694 to increase funds to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Reduction of $1.79 million to reduce funds for 101 vacant child support services agent positions (total of more than $5.29 million).
      • Reduction of $30,044 for travel expenses.
    • Child Welfare Services
      • Addition of $1.64 million to increase funds to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Reduction of $76,500 for contracted legal assistance costs to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Reduction of $250,000 for foster parent recruitment marketing and research.
      • Reduction of $456,307 for six vacant supervisor-mentor positions (total funds of more than $536,000).
      • Reduction of $5.8 million in funds for 127 vacant positions (total funds of more than $6.7 million).
      • Reduction of $226,780 for six vacant foster care support services positions (total of $266,799).
      • Reduction of $2,400,000 to transfer $2.4 million in TANF funds from the DHS Administration program for child protective caseworker positions.
      • Replace $1,470,000 in state funds with existing TANF Block grant funds for child protective caseworker positions.
      • Reduction of $287,136 in funds for travel expenses.
    • Departmental Administration
      • Addition of $178,866 to increase funds to provide a $1000 pay raise for full-time, regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Reduction of $213,036 so as to transfer funds to Residential Care Licensing program for two position.
      • Reduction of $1.32 million for information technology contractual services.
      • Addition of $1.4 million to reflect a reduction in the enhanced FMAP rate from 88.61 percent to 76.92 percent.
      • Reduction of $1.9 million to realize savings from vacant positions.
      • Reduction of $247,200 for Georgia Memory Net.
      • Reduction of $160,000 to utilize existing Social Services Block Grant funds for contractual services.
      • Reductio nof $20,759 for travel expenses.
      • Language: Transfer $2.4 million in TANF funds to the Child Welfare program to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Elder Abuse Investigations and Prevention
      • Addition of $318,912 for funds to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Reduction of $1,983 for travel and conference expenses.
    • Elder Community Living Services
      • Reduction of $75,000 to utilize existing Social Services Block Grant funds for contractual services.
      • Addition of $4.35 million so as to transfer funds and 15 positions from the Elder Support Services program to consolidate program budgets and expenditures.
    • Elder Support Services
      • Reduction of $195,000 to utilize existing Social Services Block Grant funds for contractual services.
      • Addition of $3,238 for funds to provide a  $1000 pay raise to full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Reduction for $94,920 in marketing funds for the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC).
      • Reduction of $745 in travel and conference expenses.
      • Reduction of more than $4.35 million to transfer funds and 15 positions to the Elder Community Living Services program to consolidate program budgets and expenditures.
    • Federal Eligibility Benefit Services
      • Addition of more than $1.75 million to provide a $1000 pay raise to full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Reduction of $4.9 million in funding for information technology to reflect projected expenditures.
      • Reduction of $2.245 million in funds for 105 vacant eligibility caseworker positions.
      • Reduction of $20,801 in travel expenses.
      • Language: Utilize $3.71 million in existing state funds to transfer the Right from the Start Medical Assistance Group from the Department of Community Health.
    • Out-of-Home Care
      • Reduction of $6,695,134 to realize savings from a decrease in Out-of-Home Care utilization due to a decline in average monthly placements (total of more than $7.4 million).
    • Residential Child Care Licensing
      • Addition of $213,036 to transfer funds from the DHS program for two positions.
      • Addition of $12,951 to increase funds to provide a $1000 pay raise for full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
    • Support for Needy Families - Basic Assistance
      • Reduction of $30,000 in funds to reflect projected expenditures.
    • Attached Agencies:
      • Council on Aging
        • Addition of $71,391 to transfer funds from the Departmental Administration program for one position.
        • Elimination of $4,298 in funds for one council meeting.
        • Elimination of $11,000 in funds for a media contract.
      • Family Connection
        • Reduction of $84,009 for funds to Georgia Family Connection Partnership technical assistance to the counties.
        • Reduction of $477,000 to reflect an adjustment in each county’s allocation from $50,000 to $47,000.
      • Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency: Business Enterprise Program
        • Addition of $3,488 to increase funds to provide a $1000 pay raise for full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000.
      • Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency: Departmental Administration
        • Reduction of $39,795 in funds for contractual services.
        • Reduction of $91,747 in funds for travel.
        • Reduction of $427,245 in funds to realize savings from program reorganization and personnel restructuring initiatives (total of more than $1.3 million).
        • Reduction of $11,620 in funds for telecommunications to reflect projected expenditures.
        • Addition of $18,131 to provide a $1000 pay raise for full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
      • Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency: Vocational Rehabilitation Program
        • Reduction of $1,199,198 for reduction of funds to realize savings from vacant positions (total of more than $4.33 million).
        • Reduction of $240,487 to reflect savings from fleet reorganization and reductions in travel.
        • Reduction of $138,174 in funds for consulting services.
        • Reduction of $41,452 to reflect savings associated with a relocation.
        • Reduction of $325,172 in funds for telecommunication expenditures.
        • Addition of $198,706 in funds for the provision of a $1000 pay raise to full-time regular employees with current salaries of $40,000 or less.
           
  • Department of Public Health
    The FY21 proposal budgets $684,776,822 ($278,667,201 in State Funds) in spending for DPH, a decrease of $13,582,469 (all State Funds) from the original FY20 spending plan. Notable changes proposed from the original FY20 budget include:
    • Adolescent and Adult Health Promotion
      • $275,000 reduction for five Coverdell-Murphy remote stroke readiness grants.
      • $265,000 reduction for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.
      • $270,625 reduction for contractual services.
      • $743,750 reduction for the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (CORE).
      • $197,792 reduction to reflect the utilization of existing maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant funds to screen, refer, and treat maternal depression in rural and underserved areas of the state.
      • $124,709 reduction for one vacant position.
    • Departmental Administration
      • $146,808 reduction for the Georgia Technology Authority administrative fee for GETS contract management.
      • $40,000 reduction for contractual services.
      • $1,695,075 reduction for 14 vacant positions.
      • $323,768 reduction to reflect consolidation of two District Health Director positions.
      • $978,865 transfer from the Public Health Formula Grants to Counties program for the Fulton County Board of Health.
    • Epidemiology
      • $40,000 reduction for Hepatitis-C testing kits.
      • $153,590 reduction for the Georgia Poison Center.
    • Immunization
      • $109,600 reduction to reflect utilization of existing federal funds for one position.
    • Infant and Child Essential Health Treatment Services
      • $43,196 to reflect a reduction in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) from 67.30% to 67.03%.
      • $81,583 reduction to reflect utilization of existing Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant funds for Children’s Medical Services.
      • $275,000 reduction for legal services to reflect projected expenditures.
      • $55,000 reduction for contracted services.
    • Infant and Child Health Promotion
      • $40,000 reduction for contractual services.
      • $130,000 reduction for one vacant position.
    • Infectious Disease Control
      • $275,000 reduction to reflect utilization of existing federal funds for sexually transmitted disease treatments.
      • $269,938 reduction for four vacant positions.
    • Inspections and Environmental Hazard Control
      • $114,344 reduction for three vacant positions.
    • Office for Children and Families
      • $428,423 reduction to eliminate funds for the Office for Children and Families program and recognize efficiencies to through the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program to continue providing early childhood brain development services.
    • Public Health Formula Grants to Counties
      • $9,240,194 reduction of funds for county boards of health.
      • $987,865 transfer of funds to the Departmental Administration program for the Fulton County Board of Health.
    • Vital Records
      • $129,598 reduction for one vacant position.
    • Administratively Attached Agencies
      • Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund
        • $22,196 increase to reflect FY 2019 collections.
      • Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission
        • $1,005,078 reduction for contractual services.

Senate Higher Education Committee Takes Action on Dual Enrollment

After a lengthy meeting early Wednesday afternoon in which Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta) presented HB 444, the compromise Dual Enrollment bill, the committee met again on Thursday to take action on the bill.

Chairman Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) allowed Rep. Reeves to make an introduction to the bill. Rep. Reeves noted that there are no changes to the bill as presented on Wednesday.

Sen. Sally Harrell (D-Dunwoody) informed the committee of her intention to vote against the measure, citing the high cost of higher education. She also spoke about her children’s Dual Enrollment experience. She concluded by insisting the state give more funds to school counselors as a way to improve successful utilization of the Dual Enrollment program.

Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) echoed her colleague’s comments and further stressed the importance of state funds being used to improve access to affordable higher education options.

Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) thanked stakeholders for their work on the compromise bill. He noted that comments in opposition to the bill focus on issues beyond the purview of the bill.

The committee recommended the bill DO PASS by a vote of 7-2.

New Legislation

The following legislation of interest was introduced in the House on Thursday:

  • HB 781, authored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), is the annual omnibus banking omnibus revision bill. Included in the bill’s revisions are the addition of night depositories to the list of expansions not requiring approval, the elimination of the notification requirement for a change in ultimate equitable owner owner of mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders, and to update citations to federal regulations. This bill was referred to the House Banks and Banking Committee
     
  • HB 782, authored by Rep. Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), amends O.C.G.A § 1-4-1 (a) and (b) to make Election Day in November of each year a state holiday. This bill was referred to the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
     
  • HB 783, authored by Rep. Erica Thomas (D-Austell), amends Title 20 in multiple Code Sections to raise the age of mandatory education from 16 years old to 17 years old. This change in O.C.G.A. § 20-2-690.1 applies to all public school, private school, and home school programs This bill was referred to the House Education Committee.
     
  • HB 784, authored by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee), amends O.C.G.A. § 50-14-3 to allow local boards of education to discuss, vote upon, review, or assess school safety plans in executive session; thus exempting this subject from the state’s open meetings law. This bill was referred to the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
     
  • HB 785, authored by Rep. Joseph Gullett (R-Dallas), amends multiple Code Sections in Title 45 to provide for the practice of electronic notarizing. The bill requires the State Superior Courts Clerks’ Authority to develop and maintain standards for remote notarization no later than January 1, 2021. The bill also outlines the specific record keeping practices and guidelines for remote notaries public. The bill specifically carves out notarial acts pursuant to laws governing the creation and execution of wills, codicils, or express trusts as precluded from remote notarization. This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. 

The following legislation of interest was introduced in the Senate on Thursday:

  • SB 298, authored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), amends Titles 16 and 20 to provide updates to the state’s enforcement and education efforts on vaping. The bill begins by updating definitions of vaping products to encompass both “vapor cartridges” and “vapor devices” to mean the vapor substance and the vapor delivery system, respectively. The bill also raises the minimum purchasing age for all tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. The bill creates a tiered punishment system for individuals who distribute vapor devices and/or vapor cartridges to minors. The first offense results in a misdemeanor, the second: a high and aggravated misdemeanor, and the third: a felony. The bill sets forth labeling requirements for all vaping products in the state; requiring a list of ingredients. The bill also sets forth other prohibited marketing practices including any material that could be construed as marketing the products to children. The bill requires all sellers of vapor products to register with the Department of Revenue.

The bill also requires local boards of education add vaping and smoking instruction to every grade level k-12. The State Board of Education is required to prescribe a minimum course of study concerning vaping and smoking to be included in health education courses. These curriculum additions from the State Board of Education must be ready for implementation by September 1, 2020; local boards of education must implement the additions by December 31, 2020. This bill was referred to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

  • SB 299, authored by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), amends Title 33 by adding at O.C.G.A. § 31-1-27 a requirement for all disability income insurance insurer to provide monthly confirmations of premium payments or an annual disclosure of premiums received and coverage provided. This bill was referred to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
     
  • SB 300, authored by Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur), creates a new Code Section, O.C.G.A. § 50-8-8.1, to establish a grant program for voting rights awareness and education. This bill was referred to the Senate Government Oversight Committee.
     
  • SR 548, authored by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), recognizes and commends Laura Ross, the American School Counselor Association’s 2020 School Counselor of the Year. This resolution was read and adopted by the Senate.
     
  • SR 551, authored by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), recognizes February 12, 2020 as Dyslexia Day at the state capitol and urges schools, local educational agencies, and the state educational agency to address the profound educational impact of dyslexia. This resolution was tabled in the Senate.