How did this year’s session impact women and girls in our state?
REMEMBER: The Governor now can sign into law the legislation that you support, or veto the legislation that you are concerned about – contact his office today and make your voice heard!
Contact Governor Nathan Deal: (404) 656-1776 or Send an email .
Legislation that Promotes the Health & Safety and
Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls
Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls
Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims
SB 304 (Sen. Parent, 42nd), originally HB 827 (Rep. Holcomb, 81st), creates clear protocol and transparency for the handling of sexual assault kits, to improve public safety and provide justice to survivors of sexual assault. Currently an unknown number of these kits remain untested in storage across our state.
HB 770 (Rep. Efstration, 104th), makes it a crime to traffic an individual who has a developmental disability and ensures that individuals charged with trafficking of a minor cannot use the involvement of an undercover officer in their investigation as a defense.
SB 193 (Sen. Bethel, 54th) ensures that a second family violence battery conviction against any household member would be punished as a felony.
HB 962 (Rep. Abrams, 89th) creates the position of kinship care enforcement administrator within the Department of Human Services to facilitate the provision of programs, subsidies and benefits to kinship caregivers. This bill, packaged with a number of other related bills, supports the family members – often women – who assume responsibility for raising a child when the child’s parents cannot.
HB 649 (Rep. Cooper, 43rd) requires state licensure for lactation consultants to increase access to clinically trained, credentialed and licensed consultants for women who want support in breastfeeding.
HB 801 (Rep. Jones, 47th) provides additional weight for grades in college courses in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), in order to help students taking these challenging courses maintain the GPA required for the HOPE scholarship. This bill helps support female college students and students of color, who currently are underrepresented in STEM fields.
Addressing the School to Prison Pipeline
SB 367 (Sen. Kennedy, 18th) enacts the Governor’s Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommendations. The bill seeks to close the school-to-prison pipeline by requiring training of school officials about fairness in school disciplinary proceedings, and by supporting educational approaches for the handling of disciplinary problems in school instead of making referrals to juvenile court. This bill is important to girls’ education, because girls of color experience racial disparities in school discipline in our state. The bill also ends the ban on food stamps for people with past felony drug-related convictions, a ban which disproportionately impacted women.
Police Shootings Proceedings
HB 941 (Golick, 40th) brings our state’s procedures more in line with national standards regarding the review of a police officer’s use of deadly force. Georgia is the only state that allows an accused law enforcement officer to sit in on grand jury testimony and address that jury without cross-examination. This bill is important to women, because women of color – not just men – experience racial profiling.
Legislation of Concern Impacting:
The Safety of Young Women on Campus
HB 859 (Rep. Jasperse, 11th) would allow anyone 21 or older with a license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses and at athletic events. Supporters of the legislation cite an increase in sexual assault on campuses as one reason to support the bill, but most sexual assaults on campus are committed by someone known to the victim. Access to firearms actually increases the risk of dating violence. Also, people must be 21 to carry a concealed gun. A female student who is 18, 19 and 20 will not have the option, while an acquaintance or someone she is dating who is 21 would.
STATUS: Governor Deal must decide whether to veto or sign the bill. He has expressed concerns about some aspects of the legislation, including the fact that guns will be allowed in daycare centers on campuses.
SB 308 (Unterman, 45th) would provide state grants to pregnancy resource centers in Georgia. Many of these organizations openly use false advertising and misleading health information as a strategy to persuade women to not consider abortion as an option.
HB 555 (Chandler, 105th) creates new reporting requirements for when juveniles seek to bypass parental notification requirements for abortion through the court system. This could create a chilling effect on judges who are reviewing the cases of minors.
Discrimination against Women
HB 757 (Rep. Tanner, 9th), would legalize discrimination against LGBT men and women and also could have led to women being denied critical services at a broad array of non-profit social service providers, hospitals, and domestic violence shelters.
STATUS: Governor Deal has vetoed this bill.