Legislative Status Reports


The status reports on bills of interest are updated through the 29th Legislative Day.


After reviewing a Status Report, if you wish to read an entire bill, go to the General Assembly Website Legislation Search, http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/Search.aspx, and enter the bill or resolution number.  When the search information is returned, click on the bill number that you wish to review. 

 Click HERE to view Legislative Update PowerPoint prepared for the GSRA 2022 Annual Meeting by Legislative Liaison Chuck Freedman

June 2020:

2020 Session Ends Okay for ERS Retirees
After several years of trying, GSRA was finally able to get a bill passed to allow employees who were erroneously placed in the ERS defined contribution plan to buy into the ERS regular defined benefit plan. The defined benefit plan provides a much higher benefit than can be sustained by the defined contribution plan which is an IRA with no employer match. GSRA member Paul Medders initiated the effort with Sen. William Ligon who authored at least two bills over the years. SB 26 made it through the Senate last year and through House committee earlier this year. With a concerted last minute push from GSRA Legislative Liaison Chuck Clay and others, new Rules Committee Chair and former GSRA legislative service award recipient Richard Smith moved SB 26 through to the House floor where it passed in the session’s last few days.  Unfortunately, we had no such luck in the Senate with our HB 821 by Rep. Steven Sainz. HB 821 would have removed the prohibitions against COLAs for GSEPS, JRS and LRS retirees. We were unable to pry HB 821 loose from Senate Rules.  Somewhat surprisingly, especially since the ERS board had already voted not to grant COLAs for FY ’21, the appropriations act tracking sheet again includes language urging the board “to consider a benefit adjustment for retired state employees in accordance with sound actuary principles.” In general, the final appropriations act has less severe cuts in it than earlier versions, but it will still result in a cutback of state services.
 GSRA is delighted that we finally got a bill passed that prohibits surprise medical billing. According to Georgia Health News, “House Bill 888, which passed both chambers, addresses surprise billing that occurs after elective surgery or emergency care, when the facility itself is in the patient’s insurance network but the ER physician, anesthesiologist, radiologist or pathologist is not.” Unfortunately, HB 888 does not apply to those covered by large, self-insured employers. Other bills including SB 303 and HB 789 passed to require insurers and providers to provide more coverage and cost information to consumers so that diligent consumers could avoid surprise bills with research.  The General Assembly also approved several bills to regulate the operation of pharmaceutical benefit managers. The intent of these bills is to lower the consumers’ costs of medications. SB 313, HB 918 and HB 947 all passed to regulate various other aspects of pharmaceutical benefit management.  SB 294 passed to allow TRS to invest up to 5% of its portfolio in alternative investments, the same as for ERS. Thankfully, HB 830 which would increase the permissible investment amount to 10% did not pass.  SB 176 by Senate Retirement Committee chairman Black with bipartisan support would require agencies employing or contracting for the services of retirees to pay both the employee and employer contribution for the retires to their retirement systems. This is a bad bill for retirees needing or wanting to work. This is because by increasing agencies’ costs of employing retirees by 22%+ to 26%+ would make it less likely for agencies to hire retirees, and most probably reduce the amount of money which agencies would pay those retirees they would hire. Unfortunately, SB 176 picked up too much steam too soon for GSRA to block.




2020 Legislative Session postponed - GSRA sponsored bill advances:




GSRA has had a goal for several years of making GSEPS retirees eligible to receive COLAs should the ERS board deem conditions favorable for awarding the COLAs. This year, Representatives Steven Sainz and Debbie Buckner have introduced HB 821 to do just that as well as to provide the same eligibility for members of the Legislative Retirement System and the Judicial Retirement System. Representative Gerald Greene also signed onto the bill. They all worked hard to get the bill favorably reported by the House Retirement Committee and on to the House Rules Committee calendar for crossover day. But during the day, Rep. Sainz was approached by Rep. Chuck Martin who said he opposed the bill. Reps. Sainz and Buckner passed this information on to your GSRA legislative team who provided them with requested information to further support HB 821. As you can see from the video, (House Chamber: Day 28 - 03.12.20 (PM 2) - from House Chamber)
HERE (beginning at 38:02 and ending at 53:22) Rep. Martin made a rational argument opposing the bill. Fortunately, Rep. Buckner was ready and forcefully made a very cogent rebuttal that carried the day! Reps Mary Frances Williams and Darlene Taylor also spoke in favor of the bill. Our bill passed 92-66 and then withstood a motion to reconsider by almost the same margin. It received bipartisan support. Among those voting were Chairmen Tommy Benton and Terry England, and Minority Leader Bob Trammel.

GSRA owes a great deal to Reps. Sainz, Buckner, and Greene for carrying the bill, and to those voting in favor of the bill including Reps. Benton, England, Trammel, Williams, and Taylor. The record of votes is here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/vote.aspx…. If you are a constituent of any of those representatives who voted yes, please take the time to thank him or her for their vote.

Again, when viewing the video (House Chamber: Day 28 - 03.12.20 (PM 2) - from House Chamber), skip to 38:02 and view until 53:22.