Thursday, May 26, 2011

Legislative Update

During the legislative session, the Center for an Educated Georgia is one source that brings us the latest in political news and bills to watch. Below is their latest update.

Governor Signing Period Complete

After the legislative session ends, the governor has forty days to sign or veto legislation passed by the General Assembly. Any bill that the governor does not sign or veto becomes law after day forty.

Today's Capitol Update will provide a recap of important education legislation signed by the Governor. This will be the final update for the year, unless the General Assembly takes up education issues during the special session for redistricting that is scheduled to take place in August.

Tax Credit Scholarship Bill Signed

On May 11th, Governor Deal signed HB 325, legislation that will improve and expand the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship program. Provisions in the bill include increasing the $50 million state-wide cap based on the consumer price index, clarifying eligibility requirements, and improving efficiency, accountability, and transparency of the program.

To learn how you can continue to be involved in advocating for improvements and an expansion of this program visit www.GATaxCreditScholarship.com.

Commission to Study School Funding in Georgia

Created by the passage and signing of HB 192, the Education Finance Study Commission will evaluate the method of funding for Georgia's school systems. The commission will focus on the Quality Basic Education Formula (QBE), the 25 year old method of calculating the funding needed for Georgia school systems.

The 20-member commission consists of ten members appointed by Governor Deal, four senators appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, four representatives named by House Speaker David Ralston, State Superintendent John Barge and Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Department of Education Scott Austenson. The commission will meet quarterly as required by the legislation, and must have the final recommendations completed by Sept. 30, 2012.

Click here to see a list of committee members.

In Other Education News...

Last week the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the Charter Schools Commission, finding that the Commission does not have the authority to approve charter schools. Now, the fate of 16 schools and approximately 15,000 students is unclear since the Commission that authorized them has been ruled illegal.

To remain open, schools must be approved by an alternative method - likely the State Board of Education or the local school board, though many of the local boards already rejected charters for these schools.

A special Senate subcommittee meeting has been called for next Friday, June 3 so that state leaders can discuss the problem. Click here to read an analysis of the ruling by Georgia Family Council, CEG's parent organization.

Bills to Watch
The following are education bills that were tracked by the CEG policy staff this legislative session, passed the General Assembly, and were signed by the governor.

The presence of a bill on this list does not necessarily denote support or opposition by CEG. You can find full versions of each by clicking on the bill number. If you are new to the political process, you can learn more about the details of how a bill becomes law with this handy guide from the Georgia General Assembly. [Great tool for teachers!]

HB 192   Sponsored by:  Rep. Brooks Coleman
Would Establish the State Education Finance Study Commission to evaluate the Quality Basic Education Formula and education funding for public schools.
Signed by Governor on 5/13/11 - Effective Date 5/13/11

HB 314  Sponsored by:  Rep. Tom Dickinson
Would enact "Jessie's Law", which would provide that foster care students are granted excused absences from school to attend court proceedings relating to such students' foster care.
Signed by Governor on 5/11/11 - Effective Date 7/1/11

HB 325  Sponsored by:  Rep. Earl Ehrhart
Would revise certain provisions of the Official Code of Georgia relating to education and revenue and taxation, so as to revise provisions relating to student scholarship organizations and revise and change certain provisions regarding the qualified education income tax credit.
Signed by Governor on 5/11/11 - Effective Date 7/1/11

SB 79  Sponsored by:  Sen. Buddy Carter
Would provide that members of local boards of education shall serve terms of no less than four years in length. Would create a two-step process for removing school board members whose district is at risk of losing accreditation.
Signed by Governor on 4/20/11 - Effective Date 4/20/11

1 comment:

atl said...

Just in the news - The New Birth Bishop settled with the young men who said he had sexual relations with him.