News from Rep. Pam Dickerson | Georgia House District 113
March 4, 2015
Rep. Pam Dickerson

On Monday, my "End to Cyberbullying" legislation, HB 131, was approved by the House Education Committee and is now in the Rules Committee, under consideration for a vote by the full House of Representatives.

Wednesday, March 4, was the 26th legislative day of the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly.

Please feel free to contact me with your views on the issues facing our state, or whenever I can be of service. Thank you for allowing me to continue to serve you in the Georgia General Assembly.

Rep. Pam Dickerson 

Rep. Dickerson and Speaker David Ralston thank Adrianna McLeod for her service as a page in the House of Representatives.

Georgia State Capitol
Georgia has nation's second-highest uninsured population percentage


According to a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Survey, Georgia has the nation's second-highest percentage of residents without health insurance coverage.


The study found that while Georgia's uninsured percentage actually came down by 2.3 percent in 2014, the state's 19.9 percent of residents without health coverage trailed only Texas at 24.4 percent among all states.


According to Gallup, the national uninsured rate dropped 3.5 percent last year to 13.8 percent, down from 17.3 percent in 2013. The drop was attributed largely to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which requires Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.


A major factor in the state-by-state uninsured rates was whether the state had expanded its Medicaid program with federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Of the 11 states with the greatest reductions, 10 expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state/federal partnership.


Meanwhile, nine of the 10 states with the highest rates of uninsured residents, including Georgia, have not expanded Medicaid and do not operate state-run health insurance exchanges - a major factor in the financial struggles of many hospitals across the state which are not being reimbursed for indigent care.


House approves $21.8 billion state budget for next fiscal year


On Feb. 26, House members voted to approve an annual state budget totaling $21.8 billion for fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1.


The House version of HB 76 includes Gov. Nathan Deal's recommendation of $280 million additional funding to local school systems. House members also voted to continue health insurance coverage for approximately 22,000 part-time school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and their families, with local school systems making the $103 million in payments needed to continue the coverage.


The plan also includes $210 million in bond funding for the Department of Transportation, with approximately half of that amount allocated for bridge repair and replacement and the other half designated for transit projects.


Other appropriations inserted by the House include $7 million in bond funds for the impoundment of reservoirs, $6.5 million in bonds to demolish the old state archives building near the Capitol to make way for a new state judicial building and $3 million for a pilot program to financially assist rural hospitals.


The new budget reflects a 4.5 percent increase over the current year's budget. HB 76 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.


House calls for enhanced academic study of aging and dementia


The House voted Feb. 25 to adopt a resolution calling for more academic study of dementia and other health issues related to aging.


Georgia's elderly population is increasing four times faster than the younger population. The number of residents over 60 years old in our state is expected to increase by 65.8 percent between 2010 and 2030. Our healthcare professionals need to be prepared to deal with more and more patients with dementia and other age-related conditions.


HR 304 encourages the expansion of gerontology and dementia education and training at Georgia's technical schools, colleges and universities. Gerontology is the study of the social, psychological, cognitive and biological aspects of aging. The legislation is intended to put Georgia at the forefront of gerontology care.


The resolution is now under consideration in the Senate Higher Education Committee.


Other legislation approved by the House and sent to the Senate this week includes:

  • HB 59, which would provide for a waiver of sovereign immunity for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief in state tort claims.
  • HB 63, which would provide a tax credit to employers who assist employees with obtaining their GED high school diploma.
  • HB 70, which would designate the white-tailed deer as the official state mammal.
  • HB 73, which would authorize counties and cities to determine residency requirements by local law for determining eligibility to hold public office.
  • HB 85, which would delete certain provisions of state law relating to the possession or sale of alcoholic beverages to patients or inmates of Central State Hospital in Milledgeville.
  • HB 121, which would require notices of write-in candidacy filings to include authorization by the candidate if not filed by the candidate.
  • HB 177, which would require that school personnel who are required to report child abuse be notified by the child protective agency upon receipt of the report and completion of the investigation.
  • HB 199, which would require notice of timber harvesting only in an approved form.
  • HB 206, which would provide a uniform rules of the road procedure for passing sanitation vehicles.
  • HB 211, which would change certain provisions related to Schedule I, III and IV controlled substances and the definition of "dangerous drugs."
  • HB 217, which would authorize public retirement systems to invest in mutual funds, commingled funds, collective investment funds, common trusts and group trusts.
  • HB 261, which would provide for the sale of alcoholic beverages during certain times on Sunday in commercial service airports owned or operated by a municipal governing authority.

The House also voted to give final approval to SB 53, which would authorize licensed professional counselors to perform certain actions related to mental health and extend the law's sunset date to June 30, 2018. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.


Rep. Dickerson's Legislation
Recent action on legislation sponsored or co-sponsored by Rep. Pam Dickerson:

HB 103 Kelsey's Law; enact (recommitted to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee)

HB 481 Core curriculum; study and teaching of prescribed aspects of United States and world history; require (referred to House Education Committee)

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

Contact Rep. Dickerson
At the Capitol:
611-E Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone 404-656-0314
In the District:
P.O. Box 1016, Conyers, GA 30013
Phone 678-207-6043