empty classroom with desks

The Georgia Senate Education Committee considered two bills Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.

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While a major health care proposal was unveiled today by House Speaker David Ralston, education issues were also being discussed at the Georgia state Capitol on Wednesday. The Senate Education Committee considered two bills that could impact the future of students in the state.  

Senate Bill 231 would provide a pathway for students who dropped out of high school to receive their diploma through charter schools. Adults between the ages of 21 and 35 would be eligible for the program — and tutoring, free transportation, and child care would be provided for them. 

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), said the program “meets people exactly where they are and addresses any obstacles they might be facing.”  

Anavitarte said funding for the program would come from the State Charter School Commission. Proposed facilities for the program are in Savannah, Macon, and possibly LaGrange.  

The bill passed the committee.  

The committee also considered a bill that would allow children of military families to go to school in districts adjacent to the military base they live on. The bill, SB 357, was not voted on.  

The House Higher Education Committee considered a bill on “free speech zones” on college campuses. 

HB 1, sponsored by Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville) and which was first introduced and withdrawn in 2021, would disallow campuses from creating designated “free speech zones” and allow college organizations to express themselves campuswide. The bill also adds that a college cannot prevent a religious or political student organization from expressing themselves freely. However, HB 1 states that colleges can still prohibit harassment. The committee did not vote on the bill.