The Georgia General Assembly’s 40-day legislative session for 2020 began on Monday, January 13. The first 29 days included lots of action – budget debates, legislative introductions, committee meetings, and the regular excitement involved with passing hundreds of state bills and resolutions.
Thursday, March 12, was a particularly busy day at the State Capitol, as it marked the session’s “Crossover Day” – the day by which a bill must pass through at least one chamber (the House or the Senate) to be considered for passage by the end of the session. Because this is the final year of the two-year session, any bill not passed by “Crossover Day” is effectively “dead” unless reintroduced during a future legislative session. For this reason, and with the specter of a global pandemic on the horizon, there was a particular urgency and soberness to the day’s proceedings. During “Crossover Day,” Speaker Ralston of the Georgia House of Representatives announced that, after Friday, March 13, the legislative session would recess indefinitely due to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Though it is currently unclear when the 2020 legislative session will resume, we are so proud of the successes our current GWPI fellows have achieved thus far. We at the YWCA of Greater Atlanta remain hopeful that we will be able to bring our efforts to improve the lives of Georgia’s women and girls to a successful conclusion soon.
Below are some of the bills our team and the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute fellows have supported throughout the session, which have successfully passed through either the House or the Senate.
HB 1090: Requires employers to provide break time and private space for employees to express breast milk
HB 1094: Provides paid parental leave for state employees for 3 weeks
HB 1114: Extends Medicaid coverage up to 6 months postpartum; funding for this extension has been included in the House Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal (GWPI policy project)
HB 1125: “Lacee’s Law” expands breast cancer screening for high-risk individuals age 30 and over through the state employee health insurance plan
SB 327: Requires employers to provide reasonable break time and private space to an employee who needs to express breast milk
SB 349: Requires local school boards to provide feminine hygiene products for students in grades 6-12
SB 408: Repeals the sunset provision relating to use of sick leave for care of immediate family members
SB 477: Clarifies that law enforcement should arrest the “predominant” aggressor in family violence situations (GWPI policy project)