2019 State Legislative Update
The following is proactive legislation, introduced in the 2019 state legislative session, that would improve the health & safety and advance the economic empowerment of women and girls in Georgia. To receive real time alerts so that you can take action on these and other important issues join our email list and select “Action Alerts”. Also, read our Policy Agenda.
HB 62 – (Rep. Cooper, 43rd) “Margie’s Law” would require that a patient be notified if her mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue, so that she can consider seeking further screening. This bill has passed in the House and the Senate.
HB 227 – (Rep. Frye, 118th) would ensure that insurance companies cannot deny coverage or raise rates for a woman because she has been a victim of sexual assault. The same protection already exists for victims of family violence. This bill passed in the House and is before the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 228 – (Rep. Welch, 110th) would prevent child marriage by raising the legal age of marriage to 17 and requiring the other party to a marriage with a minor to be no more than 4 years older. This bill passed in the House and is before the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 234 – (Rep. Efstration, 104th) would protect victims of sex trafficking who are under the age of 18 in Georgia by ensuring a coordinated, trauma-informed response by law enforcement and child serving organizations. This bill passed the House and is before the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 158 – (Sen. Strickland, 17th) is a companion bill that passed the Senate and is before the House Rules Committee.
HB 282 – (Rep. Holcomb, 81st) would increase the amount of time that rape kit evidence must be preserved by law enforcement to aid in prosecuting sexual assault cases. This bill passed in the House and is before the Senate Rules Committee.
HB 345 – (Rep. Cooper, 43rd) would provide protections for incarcerated women who are pregnant, including preventing them from being shackled before, during and immediately after labor and delivery. This bill passed in the House and is before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
HB 426 – (Rep. Efstration, 104th) would enhance penalties for hate crimes, or crimes motivated by perception of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender. This bill passed in the House and is before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 16 – (Sen. Kirkpatrick, 32nd) would authorize Georgia to participate in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act, which allows states to share disciplinary actions that have been taken against licensees, as well as improve patient safety by requiring criminal background checks as a condition of licensure for doctors in Georgia. This bill has passed in the Senate and the House.
SB 106 – (Sen. Tillery, 19th) would authorize the Governor to apply for federal “waivers” to increase the number of Georgians with access to health insurance. The bill has passed in the Senate and is before the House Rules Committee. Advocates are working to ensure the final legislation provides coverage to all Georgians in the coverage gap.
The following bills did not meet the deadline to ‘crossover’ to the other chamber this year, but they are eligible for passage in the next legislative session:
HB 5 (Rep. Cannon, 58th) and SB 49 (Sen. Orrock, 36th) would help close the pay gap for women workers, by preventing a job applicant’s previous salary from determining her pay. The House bill is before the House Industry and Labor Committee, and the Senate bill is before the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
HB 8 – (Rep. Bucker, 137th) would eliminate the state sales tax on feminine hygiene products. This bill is before the House Ways and Means Committee. *Under the leadership of Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones, an appropriation was added to the proposed state budget to provide supplies in public schools in low-income areas, to help prevent girls from leaving school during the day or missing school due to lack of necessary products.
HB 331 – (Rep. Ballinger, 23rd) would allow someone who is in an abusive dating relationship to ask for a temporary protective order, regardless of whether they are married or have lived together. This bill is before the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
HB 359 – (Rep. Holcomb, 81st) would clarify that law enforcement should arrest the dominant aggressor when responding to family violence calls, to reduce instances of unnecessary dual arrests. This bill is before the House Juvenile Justice Committee.
HB 438 – (Rep. Ballinger, 23rd) would prevent the indiscriminate shackling of children in juvenile court, to ensure a trauma-informed approach for girls in our juvenile justice system. The bill is before the House Juvenile Justice Committee.
SB 4 – (Sen. Jordan, 6th) would establish a lactation room to be open to the public visiting the Capitol Building or the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. This bill passed out of the Senate State Institutions and Property Committee.
SB 41 (Sen. Parent, 42nd) would enact a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit, family-friendly tax reform that can empower more women to move into the middle class. This bill is before the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 150 – (Sen. Jordan, 6th) would align state law with existing federal law to prohibit those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of family violence from receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm. This bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SR 55 (Sen. Orrock, 36th) and SR 66 (Sen. Unterman, 45th) would make Georgia the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution, providing equal protection of the law to all women and men. These bills are before the Senate Judiciary Committee.