General Assembly OKs Paid Parental Leave for Georgia State Workers

A follow-up attempt by lawmakers to implement paid parental leave for Georgia state employees is on its way to Gov. Brian Kemp.

The measure allows state employees in Georgia to take three weeks of paid parental leave. The House agreed Monday, 153-8, to the Senate’s changes to House Bill 146 after it unanimously passed the Senate last week. A similar measure cleared the House in 2020.

Under HB 146, state or local school board employees who worked at least 700 hours over the six months preceding the requested paid leave date can qualify for the paid time off after the birth of a child, adoption of a child or taking in of a foster child. Paid parental leave would be granted only once a calendar year. State agencies and school boards are able to dictate the policy rules.

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Georgia Senate Passes Measure Blocking Local Efforts to Reduce Police Funding

A bill that bans counties and municipalities in Georgia from reducing their police department budgets by more than 5% has passed the Georgia Senate and will be sent back to the House.

Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, a law enforcement veteran, said the legislation, House Bill 286, is a response to local efforts to “defund the police.”

“I think everyone sees the things that are going on around our country right now related to law enforcement, and what this does is just guarantee the citizens of any community that they’re not caught up in the politics that revolves around policing and offers protection,” said Robertson, who sponsored the bill.

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Georgia House Passes on Effort to Study State’s Tax, Revenue Structure

The Georgia House has rejected a bill that would have launched a review of the state’s revenue and tax structure.

Senate Bill 148 would have created two panels to study and make recommendations for the state’s coffers. It would have re-established the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians and create the Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure.

The House voted, 139-20, against the bill Thursday. It had 39 sponsors. 

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Michigan House Unanimously Expands FOIA to Include Governor and Legislature

The Michigan House unanimously passed a flurry of bipartisan bills seeking to reform the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by including the governor and legislature under the new Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).

The House passed the package during “Sunshine Week,” which celebrates government transparency, and after reporters used FOIA to expose Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration gifting $253,000 in secret, taxpayer-funded  severance packages.

The bill package is virtually identical to bills introduced in the 2015-16, 2017-8, and the 2019-20 legislative session other than technical changes and effective dates.

Those packages all failed.

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Legal Sports Betting Clears First Hurdle in Georgia General Assembly

Legislation legalizing sports betting in Georgia has cleared the Georgia Senate and will be considered in the House.

Senate Resolution 135 would amend Georgia’s Constitution to legalize sports betting as a game played through the state lottery, which already is a legal form of gambling in the state.

The resolution cleared the Senate, 41-10, last week. If SR 135 passes the House, Georgians would vote on the constitutional amendment in the 2022 general election. Sports betting would then be legal by January 2023.

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Virginia Budget Agreement Includes Five Percent Teacher Pay Raise, Tax Relief for Businesses

A Virginia budget compromise will include a 5% pay raise for teachers and tax relief for businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic after several weeks of debate among lawmakers.

The budget legislation still needs to pass both chambers of the General Assembly, which is expected. Then, the bills will head to Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk at which time he can choose to sign the legislation or propose changes to it and send it back to the legislature.

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Few Signs of Breakthrough as U.K.’s Prime Minister May Set to Unveil ‘Brexit Plan B’

Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May was set to unveil her new plan to break Britain’s Brexit deadlock on Monday — one expected to look a lot like the old plan that was decisively rejected by Parliament last week. May was scheduled to brief the House of Commons on how she intends…

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