(Media release from the Georgia House of Representatives Press Office):
State Representative Katie Dempsey (R-Rome), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Resources, commends Governor Brian Kemp for signing Senate Bill 45, A.J.’s Law, on Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Savannah. Sponsored in the House by Rep. Dempsey, SB 45 seeks to provide better care to students who have a seizure at school through personalized seizure action plans.
“I want to commend Governor Brian Kemp for signing this legislation that will benefit nearly 17,000 Georgia children who are currently living with epilepsy,” said Rep. Dempsey. “There are 40 different forms of epilepsy and 25 different kinds of seizures – some are easy to recognize, but some are not. This new law will ensure school nurses and staff know exactly how to treat a student’s seizures, giving parents much needed peace of mind when they drop their child off at school.”
Senate Bill 45 will provide for the care of students diagnosed with epilepsy or a seizure disorder by training school nurses and other school employees on proper treatment protocols. No later than August 1, 2023, the Georgia Department of Education will also develop a model seizure action plan for schools without nurses to have a plan in place for their students with seizure disorders. Under SB 45, a parent or guardian will be required to provide the school with an annual seizure action plan for their child with specific instructions on what to do in emergency situations. The Georgia House of Representatives gave final passage to SB 45 on March 23. This legislation was originally sponsored by State Senator Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas).
On Thursday, April 13, Gov. Kemp held a bill signing ceremony for various education-related bills, including SB 45, at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront. Rep. Dempsey attended the ceremony with A.J. Taylor, known as the “Epilepsy Warrior.”
During committee hearings on SB 45, Taylor shared his personal testimony regarding living with epilepsy. Taylor had his first seizure at 14 years old in 2008. During a committee hearing, Taylor highlighted that he had to teach people how to take care of him. Taylor also expressed his desire to ensure that students with seizure disorders or epilepsy feel safe when walking into school.
Georgia is among 20 other states that have passed “Safe Seizure Laws” to protect Georgia students actively living with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
For more information on SB 45, please click here.