Abortion once again at the forefront

Published 5:39 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

Randy Nix
Represents District 69 in the Georgia House

The House worked many long hours this week, debating and voting on legislation regarding a wide variety of issues, with Crossover Day on March 7. The bills that passed have crossed over to the Senate for consideration, and we are now deliberating the bills that passed the Senate. With just 11 legislative days before we adjourn, the remainder of the session will continue to be productive as we strive toward a better Georgia that’s poised for the future. With many bills passing and limited space in which to report them, I’ll highlight legislation that may be of interest to our community.

After much intense and often contentious debate, the Georgia House passed house Bill 481, the “Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act.” This bill would ban abortion once the unborn child’s heartbeat is detected, with the exception if the mother’s life is at risk or in the instance of rape or incest.

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In an effort to clearly validate that an unborn child is a valuable life, this bill states that an unborn child at any stage of development, would be included in state population-based determinations and recognizes the unborn child for state income tax deductions. In addition, in the case of a medically-futile exception, abortion will not be authorized after the first trimester unless the abortion is performed in a licensed hospital or health facility. I know this is a controversial issue, but I’m pleased with the passage of this bill as I believe in the sanctity of life.

Several bills passed regarding education. House Bill 444 renames the ‘Move on When Ready Act’ as the ‘Dual Enrollment Act.’ This bill limits the number of credit hours the dual enrollment program will fund to 30 hours taken during fall and spring semesters, with additional hours funded and counted toward the students’ HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship and HOPE Grant maximum hours. This legislation was made necessary by the explosive growth of the dual enrollment program and skyrocketing budgetary requirements.  While this will impose some restrictions on the program, it is necessary to preserve the true purpose of dual enrollment as stated in the legislation: the purpose of the dual enrollment program shall be to provide qualified high school students with access to rigorous career and academic courses at higher education institutions in order to increase high school graduation rates, prepare a skilled workforce and to decrease postsecondary students’ time to degree completion. 

Due to some very tragic situations, which have been discovered in our state recently regarding children who had been removed from school supposedly to be home schooled, we passed HB 530.  HB 530 prohibits parents or guardians from withdrawing or removing a child from a public school for the purpose of avoiding compliance with laws relating to mandatory attendance, school discipline, parental involvement, or parental responsibilities.  This legislation sets in motion a process to monitor the health and well-being of children withdrawn from public schools.