Recent GCCA  Legislative Successes

2015 Legislative Success

GCCA’s Primary Legislative Initiative for 2015:  Clean Up Legislation to the Fingerprint Law Enacted in 2014:

HB 401 (the fingerprint clean-up bill) sponsored by Representative Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) passed the legislature on the last day.  The clean up legislation addresses several unanticipated circumstances that have been discovered since the law became effective on January 1, 2014.  It eliminates the notary requirement, which expedites the process (a large percentage of applications are rejected for failure to get notary signatory).  It protects children from dangerous allowing for imprisonment of up to 12 months and a $10,000 fine for those running unlicensed centers.  It also adds some currently exempt programs by requiring that anyone providing care through CAPS be fingerprinted.  It protects children by authorizing “support centers” to submit records checks to DECAL so that, among others, child care staffing agencies may obtain a satisfactory fingerprint check before sending them to child care centers to work.  It allows student teachers to submit evidence of a satisfactory check obtained in the last 2 years, giving student teachers an expanded 2 year portability window and allows them to obtain background checks while in school. Parents and legal guardians who don’t have unsupervised access of children will no longer be considered employees (no need for background checks). 

 The bill protects the secrecy of a pending sale for both buyers and sellers by allowing the buyer to submit satisfactory fingerprint records check within the last 5 years, which drastically reduces the costs for a buyer.  And, the bill requires any contractor performing duties on behalf of DECAL having any reason to be in a licensed center to obtain background checks.  

Click For a List of All 2015 Session Work Impacting Child Care

2014 GCCA Regulatory and Legislative Impact

2014 Session Work

HB 714--GCCA worked closely with bill sponsor (R) Mark Hamilton, Cumming on HB 714. This legislation prevents Georgia Pre-K teachers from obtaining unemployment benefits during holiday and summer breaks as long as they have reasonable assurance they will have work upon their return.

Erroneous unemployment claims drive up total payroll expenses by impacting their unemployment insurance experience rating.  This bill becomes a law in January 2015 and will save Pre-K providers thousands and our state millions. This bill creates parity between teachers in the public and private Pre-K programs.

This bill became extremely controversial during the session due to cafeteria workers and bus drivers who were caught up in the bill. Many of their employers were using the unemployment system to subsidize their summer pay and deplete the state’s unemployment fund.  GCCA embarked upon a vigorous grassroots effort, arduous lobbying and committee testimony to help enable this bill to pass. 

This victory was the result of a four year battle that began with successfully amending the Department of Labor’s rules two years prior. Unfortunately, the Obama administration threatened to withhold all federal unemployment dollars to Georgia unless benefits resumed until this legislation passed.

Regulatory Work

GCCA worked with DECAL to ensure transparent and consistent refutation processes were communicated to providers for citation disagreements.  DECAL now includes these steps on all licensing and monitoring visit paperwork and has conducted Webinars on the process. 

GCCA initiated DECAL workgroups that resulted in amending existing transportation rules to simplify checklists and have rules that reflect best practices to keep children safe. 

GCCA was instrumental in working with DECAL to revise burdensome transportation regulations. Over a year’s worth of efforts to simplify transportation regulations and accompanying forms was approved by DECAL in February 2014.   GCCA worked with DECAL to host the first transportation training as required by the new regulation.  The required passenger checklists were dramatically simplified, placing emphasis back on supervising children and not form completion.

GCCA has worked with DECAL on a case by case basis to discuss the need for consistent penalties associated with each regulatory infraction, especially as it relates to transportation.  Increased penalties by the agency and unpredictable enforcement actions have left providers with much uncertainty.   DECAL has convened an Enforcement Action Task Force to evaluate the policies and procedures for issuing citations, fines, closures, etc.  Once this system is implemented, centers with similar infractions should receive similar penalties.  In addition, the system will be redesigned using a center’s past history for specific citations as the basis for enforcement actions.   DECAL has taken a positive step in treating transportation rules the same as other regulations.

GCCA has worked closely with the DECAL to ensure a smooth transition as new fingerprint regulations were implemented and intervened for providers who encountered issues.  GCCA identified areas of concern and solutions including adding additional categories of employees to the application.  Additional categories of “temporary employee” and “student in training” help to reduce the perception of liability for that employee’s action as they are not truly employed by center until fingerprint checks are cleared.

On behalf of providers behind the scenes, GCCA was able to prevent DECAL from misinterpreting a federal manufacturing playground guideline which would have required all playgrounds to be retro-fitted or upgraded to 2013 ASTM standards.   GCCA brought industry experts to speak with DECAL to explain the complexity of design and worked through the details with DECAL.  Had GCCA not intervened, this would have resulted in millions of dollars of costly repairs and hundreds of playgrounds being deemed unsafe.


GCCA has worked on the DECAL CAPS task force to bring to the agency over 13 pages of improvements covering topics such as eligibility and family requirements, improved communication and customer service and family fees.  The work of this year long task force is under way and will take 18 months to complete.

Due to increased issues with the CAPS program and the migration away from caseworkers to an 800 number, GCCA has conducted a survey for providers to report concerns.  The surveys, along with suggested improvements, are being shared with Commissioner Jacobs in an effort to provide a short term solution for providers and families.

GCCA Executive Director is currently working with GEEARS, the Blank Foundation and other advocacy organizations on a cost model for centers to demonstrate for higher reimbursement rates. This work will carry over into the 2015 legislative session. 

 2013 Updates 

 2012 Updates 

2011 Updates

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