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This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 6

Posted on February 22, 2016

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Six

This week was a busy one for the Georgia General Assembly.  With just a few legislative days remaining, every single day brings us closer to reaching decisions that impact the community. Continue reading below to see what Rep. Frye accomplished during week six.

Cutting the Cost

HB 910, a bill sponsored by Rep. Spencer Frye, was favorably reported by its house committee this week and will be voted on today.  This bill addresses medical record costs associated with copying and mailing patient records in relation to psychiatric, psychological and other mental health records, and it will solve this problem by closing existing loopholes. The bill is designed to ensure that Georgians are not being charged unreasonably for their medical records.

One-Year Tuition Freeze

Parents and college students rejoiced this week when Georgia Board of Regents announced that there would be no tuition increase for the 2016-2017 academic year.  This one-year freeze comes as a response to lawmakers who have sponsored a bill which will cap tuition increases at the rate of inflation.  Presently, the state constitution does not regulate annual tuition costs.  If the state constitution is changed, tuition increases will not be able to exceed the inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The CPI for 2015 had a 0.7 percent inflation rate. However, tuition at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Atlanta Metropolitan College and Middle Georgia State College increased by 9 percent (the highest percent increase of all schools).  The Board of Regents states that tuition increases help support the retention of nationally recognized faculty, keep classes small and maintain quality programming.  The legislation is currently in the House Rules Committee where it could be quickly voted on before the full House soon.

Campus Carry

This week a vote is expected in the House on a bill to allow guns on the state’s public college campuses. Last week, the bill was favorably reported from its committee by committee substitute.  HB 859 would allow anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for inside dorms, fraternity/sorority houses and at athletic events.  Firearms would also be required to be concealed.  Currently, eight states allow campus carry and nearly two dozen others allow individual schools to decide.  In Georgia, allowing guns on campus has been opposed by the University System of Georgia over concerns about students’ maturity and safety on campus.  In 2014, the House voted 119-56 to allow firearms to be carried in more public venues such as bars, churches and government buildings.  The provision to allow guns on college campuses was not successfully passed.  During a session in which he is trying to accomplish real progress for Georgians, Rep. Frye does not see this as a measure that will promote the safety of students on campus in any meaningful way. “I’m here to solve problems,” Rep. Frye said, “and I don’t think this [House Bill 859] solves any problems.”

Thank you for staying in the loop of the happenings under the Gold Dome as well as the news from around the state.  We will continue to keep you informed; see you next week for our session recap!