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VanNess: Senate approves Van Ness sponsored bill
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This week the Georgia General Assembly hit an important deadline, Crossover Day. All of the bills which originated in either the House or the Senate are now seeking the approval of the opposite chamber. The Senate voted and approved almost 50 different bills to send to the House on legislative days 29 and 30. There is much more work to be done in the remaining nine legislative days and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we debate and vote on important legislation.

On Monday, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to support the rights of children by passing Senate Bill 409. A bill which I authored and brought before the Chamber, SB 409 instructs all Georgia public schools to post a sign containing the toll-free number for the Department of Family and Child Services to report child abuse and neglect. The sign is to be posted in a clearly visible location for students and is intended to give students the information needed to report abuse and neglect.

I authored Senate Bill 409 because oftentimes, we forget the lives some children return to each and every day they leave school. While Georgia has always been a state to take the necessary steps to protect our children and encourage them to come forward with cases of abuse and neglect at home, this bill provides an additional resource for these victims to seek comfort directly from those who can offer the help they need.

Here are some quick summaries of what the Senate voted on and passed on day 29 and day 30:

• Senate Bill 364: This bill would change how public school teachers and leadership are evaluated during their end of semester assessments. SB 364 would make student growth account for 30 percent of the evaluation, down from the original 50 percent. The bill also provides for multiple in-classroom observations during the teacher evaluation process and addresses how end of grade assessments will rate into teacher’s and leadership’s evaluations.

• Senate Bill 346: This bill amends the “Environmental Policy Act”. SB 346 would exempt a public road improvement and construction project costing less than $100 million from additional environmental reporting if the project is using exclusively using state or local funds.

• Senate Bill 357: This bill would revise the state defined objectives of local school board members to ensure each student receives an education enabling the student to fulfill his or her God-given potential and equipping them for full citizenship in our constitutional republic. SB 357 also requires local school boards to establish codes of conduct and conflict of interest policies.

• Senate Bill 269: This bill would require that every state agency providing funding to a county or city must certify that the local government is not operating a sanctuary for illegal immigrants as a condition of funding.

• Senate Bill 333: This bill would establish a process for nonprofit organizations to efficiently change the location of their incorporation. SB 333 provides definitions for how companies can change from a foreign to domestic corporation without dissolving or vice versa.

• Senate Bill 310: Otherwise known as the Transparency in Education Act, would require schools and agencies applying for education grants over $20 million to submit a written analysis of the costs and effects of the grant to the General Assembly before application.


Senator JaNice VanNess represents the 43rd Senate District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties. She may be reached at 404.463.2598 or by email at