Rep. Deffenbaugh: Week 13 Georgia Legislative Report

Saturday, March 17, 2018

On Thursday, March 15, my House colleagues and I completed Legislative Day 35 and our tenth week of the 2018 legislative session, and we now only have five working days remaining until Legislative Day 40, or sine die. Legislative Day 40 is the last day the House will take up business for the year, and since we only have a few days left to wrap up our legislative work, this week was extremely busy in committees, and our agendas were very full as we reviewed and passed Senate measures in the House Chamber.  

This week, the House passed a critical measure that seeks to better coordinate state health care policies in an effort to address the unique health challenges facing our state. Senate Bill 357, also known as “The Health Act,” would establish the Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia under the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget to streamline and coordinate all components of our state’s health care system.  

My House colleagues and I unanimously passed a measure this week that would ensure children with autism in Georgia have access to vital treatments and therapies needed to lead full and healthy lives. Senate Bill 118 would increase the age of coverage for autism spectrum disorder treatments from six-years-old to 20-years-old and would increase the coverage limit from $30,000 to $35,000 per year. Additionally, SB 118 would require insurers to provide coverage for applied behavior analysis, which is recognized as a necessary medical treatment for autism. More of Georgia’s children who are on the autism spectrum could receive the therapies, treatments and care they need to thrive. 

Elder abuse cases have risen significantly across the state in recent years, and on Thursday, March 15, the House passed a measure to address this alarming trend. Senate Bill 406 would create the Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program, which would require elder care providers in personal care homes or other assisted living facilities to undergo comprehensive, fingerprint-based criminal background checks. This provision would apply to owners, applicants for employment and employees of personal care homes, assisted living communities, private home care providers, home health agencies, hospice care, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities or adult day cares. SB 406 is based on the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform’s recommendations, and this significant measure seeks to protect our state’s senior citizens and decrease cases of elder abuse. 

The House passed a bill to assist our service men and women on Thursday, March 15. Senate Bill 82 would allow members of the Georgia National Guard or a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces located in Georgia to be classified as a legal residents under eligibility requirements for HOPE scholarships and grants. This expansion would only apply to Georgia National Guard or reserve members who are stationed in Georgia or who list Georgia as his or her home of record. Currently, only active-duty military service members, their spouses and their dependent children are eligible to receive Georgia’s HOPE scholarships and grants, and SB 82 would allow the brave men and women who serve in the Georgia National Guard and the reserves to reap the same educational benefits as their active-duty military counterparts. 

With five legislative days remaining until we adjourn, it is more important than ever that you reach out to me to express any concerns or share any input you have regarding pending legislation. I highly value your thoughts and opinions, and I want to know what you, your family and our neighbors think about legislative matters that impact our community and our state. Please visit my Capitol office anytime. I can also be reached by phone at 404-656-0202, or by email at john.deffenbaugh@house.ga.gov.  

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative.
Rep. John Deffenbaugh




Elizabeth Baker Has Been Fighting For Us

My fellow Republicans of District 2, I have good news for you. We have a citizen who has been working for us at local and state levels to protect our county assets (fighting the Gardenhire bill), to ensure our children have opportunities of public education  (fighting for the rights of the students on Waldens Ridge to not be excluded from their county school in Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Fortunate To Have Greg Martin

The residences of the third district in Hamilton are fortunate to have had Greg Martin as our county commissioner since 2016.  Greg Martin served District 3 as the representative on the Hamilton County School Board from March of 2012 to November of 2016. Greg and his family have attended the schools in third district of Hamilton County and Martin’s wife, Sheila, is a teacher ... (click for more)

Juvenile Girl Shot On Doolittle Street Early Sunday Morning

A juvenile girl was shot early Sunday morning on Doolittle Street. Chattanooga Police responded at approximately 12:55 a.m. on to a person shot on the 2500 block of Doolittle Street.   Police were able to make contact with the victim at a local hospital where she was suffering from a critical, but non-life threatening gunshot wound. The victim was transported to a ... (click for more)

A Jury For 2nd Time Convicts Randall Reed Of Murdering 70-Year-Old Woman In 2011

A jury for the second time has convicted Randall Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes in East Ridge. The verdict was returned in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz’s on Friday. The earlier verdict had been thrown out by an appeals court. Reed testified in his own behalf. The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011. ... (click for more)

Mongar Succeeds Massey As Lady Owls Softball Coach

In an absolute twist of fate, Kerilyn Mongar has taken over the Ooltewah High School girls’ softball program following the resignation of Jon Massey shortly after the 2018 state tournament. Massey has since been named boys’ baseball coach at Silverdale Baptist Academy and Mongar, who coached at East Ridge for three years, now has the task of continuing the Lady Owls’ highly ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger Resigns

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton announced the resignation of wrestling head coach Heath Eslinger today.  Eslinger, who spent nine seasons as head coach of his alma mater, informed Wharton of his decision this morning.  "It was always my hope that Heath Eslinger spend the rest of his career leading our wrestling ... (click for more)