Medicaid Expansion Update, Citizen’s Arrest Repeal, Clean Energy, and School Vouchers

Update on Medicaid Expansion in Georgia
Last year the Center for Medicaid Services approved a work requirement stipulation to an already narrow expansion of Medicaid in Georgia. The Biden administration has pulled back that approval to pending. This is good news for Georgia consumers and Georgia taxpayers. Work requirements are a substantial and sometimes impossible reporting burden for the recipient and expensive for the state to implement. More information is forthcoming from the federal government.

Repeal of Citizen’s Arrest Law
Governor Kemp announced proposed legislation that would repeal Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest statute. The bill would eliminate the ability for a private citizen (with some exceptions) to conduct arrests of other private citizens in the state of Georgia.

The Georgia NAACP and Southern Center for Human Rights commend Governor Kemp for maintaining his commitment to being the first state in the nation to repeal its Citizen’s Arrest statute, a practice that is rooted in a history of racism and dehumanization.

Citizen’s Arrest laws date back to medieval England and the United States’ colonial period, when it could take days for law enforcement to arrive at a crime scene, and it was necessary for private citizens to help detain suspects while law enforcement traveled long distances. Now, 911 is widely available and police/first responders generally respond within minutes. The racist implications of the law also cannot be ignored – read more here.

Tell Your Legislators to Vote NO on HB 150 and SB 102

HB 150 and SB 102 takes away the rights of local governments to decide on how our buildings are powered. Essentially, HB 150 would mandate continued reliance on fossil fuels even where local governments have committed to transitioning to more clean energy, making any commitment to 100% clean energy impossible. Learn more about this bill here. If you are on Facebook, please share this post on your timeline and encourage others to take action with the Georgia Sierra Club.

No to School Vouchers Bill HB 60
As we’ve said before, if the Georgia Legislature is in session there will be a school voucher bill or two on the table. If passed, HB 60 will shift $448 million in taxpayer funding away from public schools to private schools.

We’ve shared below information from the Georgia Association of Educators and the Georgia Policy and Budget Institute for calls to action and an analysis of what this bill will do to our public schools. The bill also takes advantage of the needed break in face to face learning during the Covid 19 pandemic. To pull out this bill at this time is a cynical attack on our schools and our teachers and will cripple our already beleaguered schools. Long a ploy of the opponents of publicly funded education, vouchers pit one group of students against another insuring that few win while many pay a steep price.

Additionally HB 60 prevents taxpayers from discovering which private schools receive their tax dollars. This is a red flag.

From the Georgia Association of Educators Given the $383 million in recent budget cuts to K-12 education due to Covid-19 (on top of decades of austerity cuts totaling $10.2 billion since 2003), Georgia’s public schools cannot afford to lose any more funding. Take action here.

More information on HB 60 from Georgia Policy and Budget Institute. HB 60 resembles legislation from previous sessions, where students in select groups are eligible for the voucher based on income or disability status. One major difference is the added provision that parents are eligible to receive the voucher if their local school is not open for “100 percent of instruction in person.”[3] Many schools have opted for virtual or hybrid instruction to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Targeting these school systems for decisions to protect students, teachers and the greater community puts school leaders in an impossible situation. Further, students who take advantage of this voucher would forfeit federal protections against discrimination, local funding and certain state assurances provided in public schools. Contact your legislator with this action from GPBI.

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