Georgia Commission on Civics Education
A pair of companion bills have been introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate, entitled the Georgia Civics Renewal Act.
Senate Bill 220
Sponsored by Sen. Chuck Payne, Sen. Jason Anavitarte, Sen. Jeff Mullis, Sen. Carden Summers, Sen. Mike Dugan, Sen. John Albers, Sen. Sheila McNeill, Sen. Steve Gooch, Sen. Bo Hatchett, Sen. John Kennedy, Sen. Butch Miller, Sen. Lee Anderson, Sen. Brian Strickland, Sen. Bill Cowsert, Sen. Billy Hickman, Sen. Frank Ginn, Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, Sen. Bruce Thompson, Sen. Larry Walker, III.
House Bill 589
Sponsored by Rep. Matthew Gambill, Rep. Chris Erwin, Rep. Mike Glanton, Rep. Will Wade, and Rep. Bonnie Rich.
Unfortunately, HB 589 did not make it to the House Floor by Crossover Day and is therefore lost. SB 220 passed in the Senate by a good bi-partisan vote (45-4) and will make its way to the House.
In one word: no. While the Commission is comprised of individuals who are appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House, the legislation calls for the members representing the Senate and House of Representatives to consist of those from both the minority and majority parties.
Additional Commission members, as named by the legislation, such as those from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Center for Civic Engagement, and the Georgia Supreme Court provide input on behalf of their organizations and not as political entities.
The legislation specifies:
It is the intent of the General Assembly that the commission shall
1) promote and enhance the education of students on the importance of civic involvement in a constitutional republic,
2) [promote and enhance the education of students on the importance of] the study of state and local government among the state's citizenry, the importance of civic engagement and public service, and
3) [facilitate] communication and collaboration among organizations in the state that conduct civics education
4) The commission shall periodically review the conditions, needs, issues, and problems related to civics education in Georgia schools,
5) issue annually a report on the same to the General Assembly,
6) recommend any action or legislation which the commission deems necessary or appropriate.
7) The commission may conduct such meetings at such places and at such times as it may deem necessary or convenient to enable it to exercise fully and effectively its powers, perform its duties, and accomplish the objectives and purposes of this Code section. The commission shall meet upon the call of the chairperson. The commission shall meet not less than two nor more than four times annually.
8) The head of the social studies program of the Department of Education shall report annually to the commission regarding the conditions, needs, issues, and problems of the program.
The legislation specifies the Commission be composed of fifteen (15) members. Once appointed, the names will be updated below.
- Two (2) current or former government or civics teachers
- One (1) representative from the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement.
- One (1) other member as determined by the Governor
House of Representative Appointees:
- One (1) member of the House of Representatives majority (Republican) caucus
- One (1) member from the House of Representatives minority (Democratic) caucus
- One (1) other member as determined by the Speaker of the House of Representatives
- One (1) member of the Senate majority (Republican) caucus
- One (1) member from the Senate minority (Democratic) caucus
- One (1) other member as determined by the President of the Senate
- One (1) Justice of the Supreme Court
- The Attorney General
- One (1) designee from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce
- One (1) designee from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
- The State School Superintendent (or his or her designee)