State employees and teachers paid parental leave passes General Assembly

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ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and State Representative Houston Gaines (R-Athens) announced that House Bill 146 received final passage in the General Assembly today. House Bill 146 provides three weeks of paid parental leave as a new benefit to full-time state employees and teachers. This is the Georgia’s first paid parental leave benefit for state employees and teachers.

“This paid parental leave benefit speaks to our hardworking state employees and teachers and tells them that we value their contributions and the sacrifices they make to serve our citizens,” said Speaker David Ralston. “I commend Representative Gaines for taking the lead on this important initiative which demonstrates our unyielding commitment to families and giving children the best possible start in Georgia.”

This new paid parental leave benefit would provide some 245,000 state employees and teachers with three weeks of paid leave upon the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. It applies to all employees with six months of creditable service regardless of the employee’s gender. It is limited to once in any 12-month period. This benefit does not impact the employee’s accrued leave or rights under any family medical leave policy.

“I am proud that this legislation received such overwhelming bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” said Rep. Houston Gaines. “We know this benefit will make a difference in the lives of young families across our state. This is a pro-family, pro-jobs bill that will set the right example in the nation’s #1 state for business.”

Co-sponsors of House Bill 146 included Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton), Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville), Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee), and Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn). House Bill 146 was carried in the State Senate by President Pro Tempore Butch Miller (R-Gainesville).

Speaker David Ralston announced a paid parental leave benefit for employees of the Georgia House of Representatives in July 2019. That benefit went into effect in January 2020. The State Senate implemented a similar policy at that time.

House Bill 146 now goes to Governor Brian Kemp for his consideration. More information about House Bill 146 may be found here.

General Assembly suspends the 2020 legislative session

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ATLANTA, Ga – Shortly after Governor Brian Kemp’s announcement concerning new protocols for Coronavirus, the Georgia General Assembly moved to suspend it’s legislative session, after tomorrow.

From the press release:

The Georgia General Assembly will suspend the 2020 legislative session indefinitely after Friday, March 13, the 29th Legislative Day. The suspension is out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of health and safety of members, staff and the public given the prevalence of the coronavirus. Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston have mutually agreed to suspend the session and resume at a future date to be determined.

“We continue to urge calm and appropriate responses to the coronavirus situation. However, the current environment demands that we take additional preventative action,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Speaker Ralston and I are working diligently to ensure that, at the appropriate time, the General Assembly resumes its critically important work.”

“We do not take this action lightly, but after discussions with Governor Kemp, we feel this is a prudent measure which will ensure an orderly legislative session,” said Speaker David Ralston. “I appreciate very much the cooperation of Lt. Governor Duncan, and working together, our House and Senate stand ready to support the state’s response to the coronavirus. We look forward to resuming the legislative session and returning to the people’s business.”

The House and Senate will reconvene for the 30th Legislative Day at a future date and time to be set by Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston under the terms of the joint adjournment resolution adopted by both chambers.

Earlier today, both the House and Senate adopted the Amended Fiscal Year 2020 state budget. That budget includes $100 million in funding to address any coronavirus-related needs which may arise.

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