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Update Posted July 01, 2011

Final Report for 2011

Update on USG-related Legislation from the 2011 Legislative Session

Fiscal Year 2012 begins today, July 1, 2011. Here is a report on USG-related legislation.

House Bill 192 –State Education Finance Study Commission
House Bill 192, passed by the House and Senate, creates and authorizes the Education Finance Commission to conduct a comprehensive study of K-12 funding formulation. The Commission will provide final recommendations and proposed legislation by 2012. The Commission will be composed of 20 members from various areas in education, including the University System of Georgia. Chancellor Hank Huckaby will serve as the representative from the System.

House Bill 186 – College Readiness
House Bill 186, passed by the House and Senate, seeks to expand “expand career pathway options for high school students to ensure their career and college readiness; to provide for legislative findings” and the coordination among the state Board of Education, the Board of Regents and the Board of the Technical College System to ensure that high school students graduate with the knowledge that leads to completion of post-secondary education.

House Bill 326 – HOPE Scholarship
House Bill 326 was passed by the House and Senate and enacted in March 2011. This bill changed HOPE eligibility criteria. For more information on how these changes affect students in the University System of Georgia, please visit: http://www.usg.edu/student_affairs/students/how_hope_changes_will_affect_usg_students/.

Senate Bill 140 GHEFA - Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority
Senate Bill 140 was passed by conference committee on sine die but was vetoed due to an amendment that was not acceptable. The System will seek to reintroduce this legislation during the 2012 legislative session.

Senate Bill 220 – Multi-year Leasing and Senate Resolution 84 – Constitutional Amendment for Multi-year Leasing
Both bills currently rest in the House State Intuitions and Property committee for study during the interim. The Georgia State Finance & Investing Commission (GSFIC) wishes to add some technical language to the legislation regarding the University System. The University System Office of Facilities is discussing this language with its Public-Private Ventures (PPV) partners to understand the potential impact. In the House committee, the Board of Regents was removed from the Constitutional Amendment. During the interim, the System will work to educate legislators on why the System should be added back into the Amendment’s language during the 2012 legislative session.

Senate Bill 190 – State History Museum Transfer
Senate Bill 190 was passed by conference committee on sine die and was signed by Governor Nathan Deal. The legislation moved the function of the State History Museum from the Secretary of State’s Office to the Board of Regents.

House Resolution 8 and House Resolution 383 are constitutional amendments that were proposed to remove the constitutional authority over the lump sum appropriation and tuition, respectively, from the Board of Regents. Both rest in the House Appropriations committee.

Gun Carrying Laws
After crossover day occurred, legislation relating to allowing guns on college campuses did not have any committee action. The University System will continue to work during the interim to educate legislators as to why the System does not want guns on the campuses.

Higher Education Funding Study Committee
During the interim, there will be a study committee that examines the way higher education in Georgia is funded. Currently, Representative Tom Rice has a resolution (HR 495) that would provide for a joint study committee; however, it did not pass. There is a possibility that an executive order could be signed to appoint this study committee.

Immigration
House Bill 59, by Rep. Tom Rice, that would have declared post-secondary education a public benefit and prohibit admission to undocumented students, currently rests in the House Rules committee. The House and Senate focused more on the “Arizona” type law, House Bill 87, by working on a compromise between the House and Senate bill and passed sine die evening. Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 87 into law.

Retirement
Representative Hank Huckaby and Senator Frank Ginn introduced legislation that would allow for a one-time option for Optional Retirement Plan members to switch retirement plans. House Bill 593 or Senate Bill 287 will not be given an actuarial study during the interim as a joint meeting of the House and Senate Retirement committees did not move the measures forward. Without the study, these bills cannot be considered during the 2012 legislative session.

Special Legislative Session
On the last day of the 2011 legislative session, Governor Nathan Deal indicated that a special session would be called on August 15th for the general assembly to take up the issue of state and congressional reapportionment.

All legislation that did not pass during the 2011 session is active for consideration in the second year of the term in 2012.

Posted by Sonja Roberts
Published in: Legislation