CAMPAIGN UPDATE AND SUMMARY OF ONGOING WORK
Get your yard sign today! Sign up at our website or email me your address at email@example.com. A few voter plan important dates--- Voter registration ends October 11th. You may request a vote-by-mail ballot now, and it will be mailed to you beginning Monday, October 10th. All vote-by-mail ballots must be received by 7:00pm on November 8th – election day!
What issues are most important to you? Although up for re-election, I have not stopped working diligently for the interests of all those in Georgia House District 82.
SIERRA CLUB ENDORSEMENT
I am delighted to receive an endorsement from the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club. I have worked with Sierra Club on many issues, including my co-sponsorship of the coal ash bill, and I respect their expertise. I am also on the board of the Altamaha Riverkeepers, and this association helps me follow and understand water issues across the state. Below are photographs of some of my favorite places in Georgia.
SENATE STUDY COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES
The Senate Study Committee on Development Authorities, formed to find ways of requiring more accountability and transparency from local development authorities, met again on August 25th at the State Capitol. I am thrilled that Republican Chair Max Burns is leading this effort and asking the same questions I have been asking for years: what is in the tax incentive deals offered to developers, who is entitled to know the details, and when may the taxpayers or impacted school systems know? There are over 1600 development authorities in Georgia. This is an important issue in my district and throughout the state.
The committee next meets on September 13th in Savannah at the Georgia Economic Development Conference and plans to make a full report to the State Senate by December 1st. For more information on the importance of the Senate study committee and my involvement from its conception, read this August 8th article from the Henry Herald.
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY ACT PART II
We are aggressively continuing our work on implementation of HB 1013. The Behavioral Health, Reform and Innovation Commission (BHRIC) met on June 9th and identified several key priorities for next year’s legislative session. These include data collection and data sharing, parity enforcement, reimbursement rates for mental health, workforce shortages, helping those with mental illness steer clear of the prison system, and coordination of care. This week's disaster of the closing of Atlanta Medical Center, a 460-bed Wellstar facility with 65,000 emergency room visits per year, intensifies our focus.
I am chairing the subcommittee on Behavioral Health Reform on Workforce and System Development. We met on July 7and you can watch that session in its entirety below. We will meet again on Wednesday, September 15th via zoom at 3 pm. The session will be live-streamed through the House Media Services webpage. Furthermore, I am leading the discussion on recreation of the MATCH committee, an interagency group that would assist with the placement of children in psychiatric crisis in Georgia.
I am tremendously grateful for all the energy given by so many people to implement HB 1013 and look forward to passing more reforms in the next legislative session.
Below is the Behavioral Health Reform & Innovation Workforce & System Development Subcommittee video.
GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS LOCAL SERVICE DELIVERY SUBCOMMITTEE
I met with the Governmental Affairs Local Service Delivery Subcommittee, chaired by Darlene Taylor, on July 20th and 21st. These meetings focus in part on the tensions of annexation and new cities in DeKalb County. You can watch both of those sessions below. The next session takes place on September 12th.
You can find below Part 1 and Part 2 of the Governmental Affairs Local Service Delivery Subcommittee meeting.
ISSUES FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
UPDATES ON DYSLEXIA EVALUATIONS FROM 2019 STATUTE AND WIC PROCEDURES - Last week the State Board of Education unanimously approved rules for implementing a law passed in 2019 which mandates annual universal screenings for dyslexia. These screenings begin in the 2024-25 school year. My question is this: why did this measure take so long to pass, and why must it take so long to implement? Up to now, five percent of students have been formally identified with the learning disability which affects both math and reading skills. Research indicates that dyslexia could impact between 10 or as high as 20 percent of students now undiagnosed and untreated.
WIC (Women, Infants and Children) debit card availability is a related and important issue impacting many poor Georgia families. Georgia was the last of 50 states to give parents a debit card to obtain WIC benefits rather than the confusing and cumbersome paper vouchers. WIC provides high nutrition foods to pregnant women and infants and is recognized as an essential program to assist poor families.
GEORGIA NAMI AWARD
Congratulations to NAMI on its 40th anniversary, and thank you for your recognition of our 1013 team!
OUT AND ABOUT
I appreciate your interest and advocacy. Please reach out to me by email or phone to let me know your thoughts about proposed legislation or community concerns.
QUICK LINKS FOR YOU
You can search for and track bills, watch the House (or Senate) in Session, watch committee hearings, monitor legislation by committee, and find contact information —- all on the revamped General Assembly website. Here are quick links:
Make your views known. Write to the leaders:
Coverdell Legislative Office Building
18 Capitol Square, Suite 604
Atlanta, GA 30334