130th Edition

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130th EditionFebruary 10, 2022

State Affairs

Halfway to Crossover

Today marks the halfway point to Crossover Day - Legislative Day 28 - when a bill originating in one Chamber must pass to be considered in the other Chamber. Legislation is moving quickly through the legislative process and floor debates have picked up speed.

Budget Work Continues 

The House Appropriations Committee heard and passed the Amended Fiscal Year 2022 (AFY22) Budget on January 10. This budget will be on the House Floor next and then will be taken up by the Senate. While changes are expected from the Senate, differences should be minimal. A Conference Committee, made up of three members from each Chamber, will meet to sort out the differences and agree on a final version. The focus will then turn to the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget. Emory representatives continue to meet with members in both Chambers to ensure critical state funding, impacting Emory’s programs, remains intact. 

Floor Votes

On February 1, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 330 - the ‘Giving the Gift of Life Act’ - sponsored by Senator Albers (R-Roswell). The legislation would protect living donors from losing or being denied life insurance, raise the tax credit to $25,000 from $10,000 and provide a tax credit for businesses to assist their employees with organ donation. Emory supported this legislation in the Senate and will continue to monitor this legislation as it progresses through the House.

On February 7, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 338 sponsored by Senator Burke (R-Bainbridge) which would expand postpartum care for mothers to one year from the current six-month period. This legislation is critical to increasing necessary care for mothers and addressing the maternal mortality crisis in Georgia.

Upcoming Hearing: Mental Health Omnibus Legislation

House Bill 1013 sponsored by Speaker Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) is the mental health omnibus legislation for the 2022 Legislative Session. This legislation addresses access to care, mental health parity for providers and patients, workforce initiatives, transparency and accountability, and resources and tools for frontline responders and communities. HB 1013 will be up for a hearing at the House Health and Human Services Committee on February 16. The chairwoman stated that the hearing will be around three hours and some changes might be considered. Emory’s state affairs team is working with the appropriate stakeholders to ensure any concerns are addressed.

Federal Affairs

RADx and COVID-19 Tests

Scientists with Emory University, Georgia Tech, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), form the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics initiative, or RADx. The team was brought together years ago in Atlanta and is now working to ensure the accessibility and accuracy of take-home COVID-19 tests. The RADx team also studies COVID tests to determine if they are ready for use, while others are re-examined to see if they are successful in detecting variants. The group is currently operating with a $64 million grant from the NIH.

School-Based Health Clinic at Doraville United Elementary

Mr. Perrin Bostic, a representative with U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock’s office visited Doraville United Elementary School to learn more about the work being done with school based health clinics (SBHCs). These clinics are open to students, their families, and siblings and provide nearly all services a regular doctor’s office provides all within the student’s school. SBHCs have been proven to be models of healthcare that significantly increase access to healthcare and improve the overall health of children and adolescents, decrease the cost of healthcare for underserved populations, and are easily replicable. The clinic is a partnership with the district, Emory University School of Medicine, and MedCura Health.

Congressional Update

Government Funding

Current funding for the government is set to expire at midnight on February 18. Earlier this week, congressional leaders released a short-term spending patch, lasting until March 11, allowing time to come to an agreement on a bipartisan omnibus spending bill. The House is expected to vote this week on another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR). It is not clear when the Senate will take up the measure.

Telehealth

Lawmakers have unveiled a bill that would extend telehealth flexibilities and are hoping to tie the legislation to a potential spending deal. The Telehealth Extension and Evaluation Act would keep medicare payments flexible in place for two years after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The extension is a win for advocates hoping to avert a “telehealth cliff,” though the bill comes with anti-fraud provisions, rendering it a compromise of sorts. Emory’s federal affairs team will continue to monitor the legislation.

The America COMPETES Act

The House passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022, along largely partisan lines, with a final vote of 222-210 last week. The $350 billion initiative aims to boost the United States’ competitiveness with China and others in research, technology, and manufacturing. In June of 2021, the Senate passed a similar bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), meaning negotiations between the two chambers will be necessary before it can be sent to President Biden’s desk.  

Lipstadt Hearing

Six months after being named as the next special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt’s hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took place on February 8. Lipstadt is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory and is one of the nation’s foremost experts on Holocause Denial and modern anti-Semitism. This was the first step in confirming Dr. Lipstadt as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. We are awaiting her committee vote, and then her nomination will move to the Senate floor.

Other Federal Nominees

Four other Emory experts have been nominated to serve in positions under the Biden Administration. Reta Jo Lewis was nominated to lead the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 9, 2022. Gabrielle Dudley and Hank Kibanoff have been nominated to serve on the national Civil Rights Cold Case Review Board, which examines government records of racially motivated murders of Black Americans throughout the modern civil rights era and aims to make those records more accessible. Kristin Johnson was nominated for the position of commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates U.S. derivative markets. These three nominations still need to be confirmed by the Senate in order for the roles to be filled.

Community Engagement

Go Red for Women

On February 4, Rep. Doreen Carter (D-92) hosted her sixth annual “Go Red for Women'' event at the SeaQuest Aquarium located at Stonecrest Mall. This event was created to provide relevant and timely information, resources, and health screenings from the American Heart Association’s (AHA) experts. During this event, Dr. Ijeoma Isiadinso, MD, MPH, FACC, assistant professor, board-certified cardiologist, Emory Heart, and Vascular Center, shared heart health recommendations. Participants were able to attend the event in person and via Zoom. 

State of Economic Development

On February 11, the DeKalb Chamber will host the DeKalb State of Economic Development Growth Forum. This forum will focus on the areas driving economic growth in the county: Small Business, Entertainment and Healthcare. Emory panelists will include Erin Igleheart, program director at Start:ME Accelerator, Goizueta Business School and Jen Schuck, Interim CEO at Emory Decatur, Hillandale and LTAC. You may register for this upcoming forum using the link here.  

Discuss DeKalb Interview Series

Earlier this month, Betty Willis, Senior Associate Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, interviewed Rep. Becky Evans (D-83) for the DeKalb Chamber’s Discuss DeKalb interview series. Discuss DeKalb engages with leaders and experts in our community to keep us up to date with issues, trends, and events that will add value to the local business community. Watch the conversation with Rep. Becky Evans here.

Without Regard to Sex, Race, or Color Symphony

On February 6, former executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and Emory alumnus Doug Hooker (87B) hosted the world premiere of his latest symphony, Without regard to Sex, Race, or Color. The symphony celebrates the role that education has played in bringing African Americans into the promise of America and was presented by the Trey Clegg Singers. President Fenves, Carmel Fenves, Dr. Andra Gillespe, and Dr. Carol Anderson were in attendance.

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