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Senator Jack Hill's "Notes from the Senate"
Monday, 27 April 2009

April 27--  "Notes From the Senate" is provided by Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville.

The top legislative issues that passed were widely covered in the press--Transportation bill, tax cut bills, property tax bills, DHR reorganization, just to name a few.  But beyond that, hundreds of bills passed this session that affect everyone's lives.  Some have been signed by the Governor but most await his signature or veto action.  The forty days the Governor has to sign or veto expires May 13, 2009.




Agriculture and Consumer Affairs


SB 80 - Strengthens Food Safety Testing in response to the peanut butter contamination in SW Georgia.  Tightens reporting and recordkeeping.

HB 529 - Provides limited liability for landowners who allow visitors to hunt, fish or tour their land.  The bill also includes provisions from another bill prohibiting local governments from regulating farming or animal husbandry practices.


Banking and Business


HB 126 - Uniform Electronic Transactions Act - Defines and allows for electronic documents to be allowed to replace paper and allows for electronic signatures.




SB 14 - Amazingly tightens a loophole that would not have prevented a registered sex offender from serving on a local school board.

SB 210 - Allows home-schooled children to be eligible for the Governor's Honors Program.

HB 149 - "Move On When Ready"--Provides a program for 11th and 12th graders that allows eligible post-secondary courses  to count towards high school course credit.

HB 193 - Changes the 180 day school requirement so that it can be accomplished with a higher number of hours in less days.

HB 229 - Requires schools to conduct a physical fitness test on each student in grades one through twelve and a report sent to parents.

HB 243 – Continues present National Board Certified Teachers for a ten percent pay increase but makes funding subject to appropriation.

HB 251 - Public School Choice--Within the system where they live, parents may enroll their child in any school where there is unused space.  Parents would be responsible for transportation.


Also includes provisions from SB 84 which established new ethics standards for local boards.  These include prohibiting private school employees or trustees from serving on school boards.  Prohibits state department of education employees or state board members from serving on local boards as well.

                Prohibits immediate family members of local board members from serving as a principal, assistant principal, or local administrative staff .  Applies to board members elected after July 1, 2009.  Does not prohibit family members already in those positions when relatives are elected to local boards.

Gives the  Professional Standards Commission the responsibility of certifying  the eligibility of a person who is hired to be local school superintendent.

Prohibits the employment of a superintendent who has an immediate family member serving on the local school board or an immediate family member who is a principal, assistant principal or system administrative staff member.  Applies on July 1, 2009.

HB 280 - Starting in school year 2010-2011, increases compensation for math and science teachers by starting at the 6th year step on the salary schedule and adds a year to the schedule for each year served for 5 years and beyond if the teacher meets or exceeds student achievement criteria of the Office of Student Achievement.


A kindergarten or elementary school teacher receiving a PSC endorsement in math or science will receive a stipend of $1000 per year for up to 5 years.  After 5 years they are eligible to continue receiving the stipend as long as they meet student achievement criteria.

HB 455 - Extends the period a local system has to issue contracts for 2009-2010 school years to  May 15.  Restricts an educator who earns a leadership preparation degree after July 1, 2010 from receiving extra pay for the degree unless the educator is actually serving in a leadership position.


Ethics and Elections

SB 86 - Requires proof of citizenship for registering to vote.

SB 168 - Removes the requirement for candidates filing electronically with the Ethics Commission to file a paper copy with the local elections office.


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