Georgia Legislative Report | House District 160
February 16, 2015

Following the President's Day holiday, lawmakers will return to the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 17, for the 16th legislative day of the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly. 

 

Please feel free to contact me throughout the session with your thoughts on pending issues, or whenever I can be of service. My legislative office is located at 401-B State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334; phone 404-656-7855 or email jan.tankersley@house.ga.gov.

 

For more information, please visit my new website at www.jantankersley.com.  

 

Jan Tankersley
State Representative

Scenes from the State Capitol
Rep. Tankersley and Rep. Lynn Smith in front of the new Liberty Plaza at the Georgia State Capitol.
 
Rep. Tankersley with Gerald Kogon and Sloane Jenkins, who led the Pledge of Allegiance to open the House of Representatives session on Feb. 10.

Rep. Tankersley and Rep. Patty Bentley Association of County Commissioners of Georgia Past Presidents O.D. Netter and Clinton Perry.

Rep. Tankersley reviews legislation at her desk on the House floor, along with Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver and Rep. Mike Jacobs.   

Georgia State Capitol

House approves legislation to remove high school diploma barrier

 

The House of Representatives voted Feb. 12 to approve legislation that would retroactively provide former students who did not pass the Georgia High School Graduation Test with the opportunity to earn a high school diploma.

 

The graduation test was phased out three years ago, but it remains a barrier for some students who attended high school when graduation was partly contingent on passing the exam. HB 91 would allow students who had failed the test but met all other graduation requirements to petition their local school board to obtain a diploma from their high school.

 

This legislation would help these students in pursuing postsecondary education and in entering the job market. HB 91 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

 

Legislation addresses issues of aging population

 

On Feb. 11, the House voted to approve legislation that would establish the Georgia Adult and Aging Services Agency to be responsible for ensuring that state services are properly and effectively administered to meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities, along with making improvements to those services when necessary.

 

HB 86 moves the current Division of Aging Services out of the massive Department of Human Services, allowing state officials to better focus on individuals dealing with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, which affects many families across the state. The legislation now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

 

House approves solar power financing legislation

 

House members voted unanimously Feb. 9 to approve legislation that would allow homeowners and small businesses to finance the purchase of solar panels to generate electricity. The Solar Power Free Market Financing Act (HB 57) is the result of nine months of careful negotiations between the solar industry, Georgia Power, the electric membership corporations and members of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. It is designed to enable residential and business customers to use leases or output-based financing agreements to install solar technology on their property and connect it to the grid.

 

Georgia has had strong growth in utility or large-scale solar but only a small amount of small-scale solar. This legislation does not contain any tax breaks or credits, nor does it change regulations for existing solar installations or cash purchases. Likewise, existing requirements dealing with the sale back to the utility of any excess solar-generated electricity are not changed.

 

Based on the size of the installations, utilities can enforce appropriate safety and power reliability requirements on the solar provider. Georgia Power, the EMCs and MEAG members are able to engage in solar financing if desired, but they have to remain in their own territory, and existing legal protections for consumers would remain in place. HB 57 does not alter the zoning rights of city or county governments. The legislation now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

 

Governor unveils Opportunity School District proposal

 

Legislation proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal is being introduced to create an Opportunity School District that will allow the state to temporarily step in to assist chronically failing schools, giving students and parents hope for a better future.

 

"While Georgia boasts many schools that achieve academic excellence every year, we still have too many schools where students have little hope of attaining the skills they need to succeed in the workforce or in higher education," said Gov. Deal. "We have a moral duty to do everything we can to help these children. Failing schools keep the cycle of poverty spinning from one generation to the next. Education provides the only chance for breaking that cycle. When we talk about helping failing schools, we're talking about rescuing children. I stand firm on the principle that every child can learn, and I stand equally firm in the belief that the status quo isn't working."

 

In the governor's proposal, persistently failing schools are defined as those scoring below 60 on the Georgia Department of Education's accountability measure, the College and Career Performance Index (CCRPI), for three consecutive years. 

 

The Opportunity School District would take in no more than 20 schools per year, meaning it would govern no more than 100 at any given time. Schools would stay in the district for no less than five years but no more than 10 years.

 

"I would like nothing more than for the need for the Opportunity School District to decline every year; that would show our reforms are working," Gov. Deal said. "But everyone - regardless of where they stand on this issue - can agree that today there is a need. We know from other states such as Louisiana and Tennessee that these programs can produce positive results for students and communities.

 

"Educational opportunity opens the door to the American dream. We can't guarantee that every child will achieve, but we must do everything in our power to make sure they at least get the chance."

 

Creating the Opportunity School District requires a constitutional amendment. Gov. Deal this session will work with legislators to put the amendment on the 2016 ballot and to pass enabling legislation that will govern how the district operates.

 

Rep. Tankersley's Legislation
Recent action on legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Rep. Jan Tankersley:

HB 312 Tobacco products; manufacturers and importers; remove certain bonding requirements (referred to House Ways & Means Committee)

HB 314 Professions and businesses; State Board of Barbers and State Board of Cosmetology; combine (referred to House Regulated Industries Committee)

HR 379 Bird, Hillary Brooke; University System of Georgia Outstanding Scholar; commend (adopted by House)

Click here for all of Rep. Tankersley's 2015-2016 legislation.

Contact Rep. Tankersley
At the Capitol: 401-B State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334

In the District:
P.O. Box 187, Brooklet, GA 30415

Phone:
404-656-7855