Home I GBA University I Member Services I Volunteers I Government Relations I Calendar of Events       February 14, 2014


Weather Delays State Legislative Action this Week

It's been another weather-disrupted week in many parts of Georgia. To ensure the safety of our citizens and allow the focus to be solely on efforts to deal with the ice and snow storm, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency that's been extended through Sunday evening. Following their meetings Tuesday morning, the General Assembly canceled all committee meetings as well as their scheduled legislative days Wednesday and Thursday. The General Assembly will return Monday for what will be the 22nd day of their 40-day session. An adjournment resolution was adopted calling for the last day of the 2014 session to be March 20. GBA's two priority bills dealing with certain bank fees and patent trolls were slated for a vote in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. That meeting has been rescheduled for next Tuesday. A bill GBA opposes setting up a guaranteed payment mechanism for certain non-bank customers will also be heard that day. Below is more information about those bills as well as some new bills we've added to our tracking list this week.


GBA Priority Bills Up for Committee Vote

The "Fees are Not Interest" bill, H.B. 824, will be presented to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee by its House author Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus). In his presentation to the House committee and on the House floor, he focused mostly on the bill being needed to ensure parity between state-chartered and nationally-chartered banks. The bill has been carefully drawn to support the Department of Banking and Finance Declaratory Order last year related to overdraft fees. This bill confirms and clarifies that those and other common bank fees should not be considered interest. Click here to read an Issue Brief about the bill.

Patent Troll Bill Draws Additional Support

We've been pleased to have a number of business groups, organizations and companies join GBA in supporting the patent troll bill, H.B. 809 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, the Technology Association of Georgia, AT&T, Oracle, Dell and others have publicly come out in support of the bill. The bill adds bad faith assertions of patent infringement to the list of violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. Rep. Williamson will present the bill to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee on Tuesday. Click here to read an Issue Brief about the patent troll bill. 

GBA Has Serious Concerns about Contractor Bill

In last week's Legislative Update we told you about S.B. 363 introduced by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) that creates a guaranteed payment mechanism and cause of action for any contractor involved in the improvement and development of property from raw land to construction ready building sites. The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee has the bill on the agenda for their meeting this coming Tuesday. The bill requires a lender and its borrower (property owner or real estate developer) to develop a schedule of disbursements showing total funds set aside for each facet of services contracted for by the borrower and his or her contractors. Upon request to the lender by the borrower's contractor, the schedule will be made available by the lender directly to the contractor. Upon receiving verification from the borrower or the contractor of the satisfactory completion of the work, the lender is required to follow the schedule of disbursements and make payment to the borrower. The borrower is required to make payment to the contractor within seven days. Failure to adhere to the schedule of disbursements creates a cause of action right by the contractor against the lender. Sen. Tippins has been generous with his time in meeting with us so we can learn more about his concerns and see if there are other ways to address them. He feels that by creating this schedule of disbursements and requiring it be made available to contractors doing work for the lender's customer, the contractor will at least know that money is set aside for the work they have successfully bid on. Unfortunately the explicit procedures and remedies outlined in the bill go much further. Sen. Tippins was successful in getting around 40 of the 56 members in the Senate to cosponsor his bill, so there is significant support for his underlying concerns as he describes them. He has been generally supportive of our issues over the years; we just have a disagreement on this particular concept that's he's introduced in one form or another several times. He has asked us to continue working with him to find a workable solution to his concerns and we will do that.



New Foreclosure Confirmation Proposal Set for Subcommittee Hearing

A House Judiciary Committee subcommittee has scheduled a hearing Monday on H.B. 917 by Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) that extensively revises the current foreclosure confirmation process and extends that confirmation process to post-judgment foreclosures. The bill also introduces the term "fair market value" replacing "true market value" in the current code. For the last couple of years, we've worked with various legislators who want to change the confirmation process on foreclosure sales when the lender intends to pursue a deficiency. All that focus has been on adding a confirmation process to foreclosures following the lender being granted a judgment on a note. Here is a bullet point summary of what the new bill requires:  

  • Lender must file a detailed report including last known address of the borrower, copies of the note/security deed, the foreclosure sale price and copies of the foreclosure documents with the court within 30 days of the foreclosure sale and request a confirmation hearing. 

  • Lender must send a copy of the report to the borrower within 5 days of the court filing.   

  • The court sends the borrower a notice of the confirmation hearing 30 days before the hearing occurs.  

  • Borrower is a party to the confirmation hearing and can present evidence. Limited discovery is allowed.  

  • At the hearing the court decides the adequacy of the foreclosure, the "fair market value" of the property and the regularity of the sale. 

  • Fair market value replaces the undefined "true market value" in current law and is defined as the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm's length, bona fide sale. 

  • The court will not confirm the sale if a preponderance of the evidence does not support it.   

  • If a lender fails to obtain a confirmation order, the lender is barred from obtaining a deficiency judgment against the borrower or enforcing any prior judgment debts against the borrower. 

  • Borrower will also obtain the right to request a confirmation hearing in the event a lender decides to pursue a deficiency on a judgment debt obtained prior to a foreclosure sale.

Please share with us any concerns you have with this proposed change and we will incorporate them in our remarks.



New Bills We're Following

We've added four new bills this week to our tracking list to monitor. Obviously not all bills will be passed, but we monitor all bills related to our interests to keep an eye on the process. Be sure and check out GBA's State Issues Page on our website where you'll see all the bills we're following.

  • Brownfields. H.B. 957 by Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville) renames the Georgia Hazardous Site Reuse and Redevelopment Act to the Georgia Brownfield Act while expanding the limitation of liability to certain purchasers of properties covered by the Act.

  • Ad valorem Taxation of Property. H.B. 954 by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) requires a tax assessor when determining fair market value of property to consider decreased value of the property based on rent limitations and any other restrictions imposed upon the property in connection with the property being eligible for certain income tax credits or receiving any other state or federal subsidies provided with respect to the use of the property as residential rental property.

  • Check Cashers/Money Transmitters. H.B. 982 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) was introduced at the request of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance to update and revise the current statutes related to non-bank check cashers and money transmitters and to require these entities to register with the Nationwide Multi-State Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). NMLS is a collaborative effort among state regulators to bring greater efficiencies and accountability to the supervision of the financial services industries.

  • False Liens. H.B. 985 by Rep. Tom Kirby (R-Loganville) expands to all citizens the current prohibition on filing false liens or encumbrances against public employees.





Behind the Scenes

Members of the Georgia General Assembly elect their leaders within the democrat and republican caucuses. The four caucus chairs, two in the House and two in the Senate, spend many hours with their colleagues discussing priority issues, legislative strategy and trying to work out differences among members to present a cohesive message. The House Majority Caucus Chairman is Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) and the House Democratic Caucus Chairman is Rep. Virgil Fludd (D-Tyrone). In the Senate, the Majority Caucus Chairman is Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) and the Democratic Caucus Chairman is Sen. Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta). We thought you'd like to know a little more about them.

  • Rep. Hatchett began his first term in the House in 2011. He serves on the House Appropriations; Economic Development & Tourism; Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications; and Health & Human Services Committees. He served as one of Governor Deal's Floor Leaders from June 2011 until September 2013 when he was elected to serve as House Majority Caucus Chair. Hatchett graduated from Presbyterian College with a BS Degree in Applied Mathematics with an Economic Emphasis. He has a varied business background from having worked with Delta Air Lines, Inc., starting and later selling a local dry cleaning establishment, owning with his wife a ladies clothing store, the local Bruster's Real Ice Cream and Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs franchise. He is a member of the Dublin Rotary Club and has served on the board of the Dublin/Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and as the Chairman of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Laurens County as well as the Heart of Georgia United Way. He is a member of the board of Communities in Schools of Laurens County. Rep. Hatchett served as a Dublin City Councilman for 10 years and served on the Downtown Development Authority. He's a past participant in Leadership Georgia and once served as Chairman of the Dublin/Laurens County's month long St. Patrick's Festival. Rep. Hatchett has served as the Chairman of the Theatre Dublin Nutcracker since its inception in 2004 and serves on the Advisory Board of the Citizens Bank of Laurens County. He and his wife, Kim have two daughters.


  • Rep. Fludd began his service in House in 2003 representing parts of Fayette and Fulton Counties in south metro Atlanta. He serves on the Ways and Means, Regulated Industries, Small Business Development, and Banks and Banking Committees. He is Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and was previously Vice-Chair of the NCSL Revenue and Budget Committee. Rep. Fludd has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Davidson College. He has won recognition by the Center for Policy Alternatives, AARP, Georgia Association of Personnel Services, Georgia Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Georgia Equality, United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union 1985, Georgia State AFL-CIO and Georgia Association of Educators. Rep. Fludd has over 20 years of sales, marketing, management and consulting experience. He is currently the President and CEO of the Carvir Group, an executive recruiting and management consulting firm. He has recruited for positions in general management, finance, sales and marketing, information systems, human resources and operations. Prior to his present role, Rep. Fludd worked for Bank of America as a Vice President and Sales Manager. He also worked for Xerox Corporation in various sales and management positions. He is a member of the Board of Visitors at Davidson College and the 100 Black Men of South Metro. Rep. Fludd is also Flemming Fellow and a graduate of the Georgia Legislative Leadership Institute, Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Fayette. He has also served on the boards of the Atlanta Chapter of the Urban Financial Services Coalition, Davidson College Alumni Association, Clayton State University Foundation and the Fayette Community Foundation. He and his wife Carolyn are the parents of a young adult daughter and son.


  • Sen. Miller was elected to the Senate in 2010, to represent Hall County and portions of Jackson County.  Sen. Miller serves as Vice-Chairman to the Transportation Committee and as Secretary to the Banking and Financial Institutions. He is also a member of the Appropriations, Education and Youth, and Ethics Committees, as well as an Ex-Officio member of the Rules Committee.  Sen. Miller earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology at North Georgia College and State University. He is former chairman of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association Board of Directors and of the National Automobile Dealers Association 20 Group. He is also past chair of the board of directors for the North Georgia Honda Dealers and the Georgia Baptist Children's Home and has served on the advisory board to the American Honda Motor Company National Dealers. In addition, he previously served on the board of directors to the Challenged Child and Friends, Hall County Parks and Leisure, Field of Dreams, and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.  He also participated in the Gainesville Rotary, Meals on Wheels, Relay for Life, Eagle Ranch, Hall County YMCA, Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation, United Way, and he served on a school council board and as partners in education with numerous schools.  During his involvement in these organizations, he was recognized as Georgia Automobile Dealers Association Distinguished Director, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Silver Shovel Award, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year, Georgia Rotary Four-Way Test Award, Georgia Rotary Student Program Will Watt Fellow, and North Georgia College and State University Young Alumnus Award. He is currently an automobile dealer with Milton Martin Honda in Gainesville. Sen. Miller and his wife, Teresa, have three children including Charlie, Carey and the late Coleman Miller.


  • Sen. Tate was first elected to the Senate in 1998 representing portions of Fulton County and Cobb County. Sen. Tate serves on the Rules, Appropriations, Education and Youth, State and Local Governmental Operations, Reapportionment and Redistricting; and Urban Affairs. Dr. Tate is the Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman.  Sen. Tate obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Georgia, received a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Atlanta University, and earned an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from Clark Atlanta University. Sen. Tate began her professional career as an employee in the Georgia Department of Labor, and was once a volunteer in the office of former Governor Jimmy Carter.  Dr. Tate has been the computer literacy advisor for the Butler Street YMCA; served as a volunteer software instructor for local churches; has been a delegate representing Clark Atlanta University at the International Community Education Conference in Trinidad; and a speaker for several metro public schools' functions, as well as Women's Equality Day for the Navy Recruiting District/Atlanta. She has served as vice president of Rosalie Wright Community Council and currently serves on the Board of the Carrie Steele-Pitts Home. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha National Sorority where she has held a leadership role as corresponding secretary for the sorority's Kappa Omega chapter. Dr. Tate served as a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic Convention and was a member of the Platform Committee for the 2012 Democratic Committee.  Sen. Tate has received numerous awards and recognition over the years, including the Top 100 Women of Vision Award from the Atlanta Business League, Public Servant Award from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Merchant Association, Legislator of the Year Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Women of Achievement, and the Unity Award from the Atlanta Job Corps.


Let Us Know if You Have Questions

Throughout the session, GBA will be represented by our Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, and President and CEO, Joe Brannen, 404.402.2026. Contact either of them with questions about legislation, information about how your legislator voted on a particular issue or to request any other information related to the Georgia General Assembly.

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