Home I GBA University I Member Services I Volunteers I Government Relations I Calendar of Events       January 17, 2014

 

Leadership Predicts Quick Session for 2014

The Georgia General Assembly convened this week for a session promised to be filled with significant issues for all Georgians, and efficiently managed in order to end by mid- to late March. Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), Lt. Governor Casey Cagle (R-Oakwood) and Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Gainesville) have consistently said they would work together to get both the supplemental 2014 budget and the 2015 budget put to bed as soon as possible. We'll all hear a lot about key issues for the state such as more funding for education, further funding to deepen the Savannah Harbor, and continued support for a tax structure that allows job creators to do just that. "We look forward to working with our state's elected leadership as well as rank-and-file legislators to help Georgia continue our economic recovery. We are blessed to have practical, hard working and inspired leadership under the Gold Dome. They consistently keep their focus on the right issues to move our state forward," said GBA president and CEO, Joe Brannen.
 

 

Bankers Gather to Honor Elected Officials
Continuing a decades-long tradition, more than 300 GBA members gathered the Wednesday of the first week of the General Assembly session to host the 180 House members, 56 Senate members, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and all the other statewide officers from the Governor to the Public Service Commission. "It's important for us to recognize the hard work and personal sacrifices our elected officials make to serve the interests of Georgians. And to see so many of our members turn out in support of both our elected officials and the Georgia Bankers Association was a true testament to importance of grassroots involvement," said GBA Chairman-elect Remer Brinson, president and CEO of First Bank of Georgia in Augusta who also chairs GBA's Public Affairs Committee. Prior to the Legislative Reception, GBA hosted an Economic and Legislative Forum for GBA members. They got an upbeat economic update from Mercer University's Roger Tutterow, an all-things politics and federal election predictions from the Hawthorn Group's political expert John Ashford, and a good report from Banking Department Commissioner Kevin Hagler. Tutterow highlighted the improvement in the housing sector and unemployment and how Georgia is now above the national average in several leading indicators. Ashford said taking the back the U.S. Senate was the Republicans to lose, but confessed he had also said that about presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Hagler mentioned the increasing number of regulatory orders being lifted with an improving banking climate, and reminded bankers to stay focused on interest rate risk, loan concentration levels, and new federal rules like the CFPB's customer ability-to-repay capabilities in a rising rate environment. Keynoting the session was Gov. Nathan Deal who talked about the importance of the banking industry in helping with his focus on bringing jobs and economic prosperity to the state. "I recognize that a strong banking industry is a sign Georgia is a premier state and one to be reckoned with," the Governor said in concluding his remarks.


 


Gov. Deal speaks at GBA Forum: "...a strong banking industry is a sign Georgia is a premier state..."


Speaker Ralston makes a point to Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D-Atlanta) at the Legislative Reception


House Banks and Banking Chairman Greg Morris (R-Vidalia, second from left) surrounded by up-and-coming representatives. L-R Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) and Dustin Hightower (R-Carrollton)


Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Hugh Thompson (L) with House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal and his wife Kathy


Minority Caucus Chair Virgil Flood (D-Tyrone) surrounded by Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway)


Senate Majority Caucus Chair Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) with GBA's Joe Brannen


SunTrust's Kirby Thompson (L) and Ameris Bank CEO Ed Hortman (C) hear from House Banks and Banking Committee Chairman Greg Morris

 


Sen. Burt Jones (C, R-Jackson) with constituents, Leadership GBA President Walker Jordan, Bank of Monticello (L) and Zach Sowell, United Bank, Jackson


GBA Chairman Stan Kryder, Midtown Bank & Trust, Atlanta, welcomes Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler to the Legislative and Economic Forum

Bankers Hope for Quiet Session
In the spirit of the leadership's call for focusing only on essential issues during the 2014 session, we do not expect to see many controversial issues getting much time on the debate calendars. There are 33 bills on GBA's watch list carried over from the 2013 legislative session that are still eligible for consideration this year. Five are the most significant. Two would create a new post-judgment foreclosure process involving the courts which we have serious concerns about (H.B. 344, S.B. 126), while the other three we outright oppose as they would give super-priority lien rights to subcontractors (S.B. 269) and homeowner associations (S.B. 56, H.B. 502).

 

GBA May Ask Legislature to Consider Two Bills
There are two important issues our members have asked GBA to discuss with the leadership and individual legislators for possible introduction in the current session. One would clarify that certain account fees such as return check charges, overdraft fees, stop-payment charges, ATM fees and others will not be considered interest and therefore not subject to Georgia's civil or criminal usury statutes. The other issue relates to patent trolls and the abusive and threatening behavior these trolls are inflicting on banks and other businesses in Georgia. The Council of State Governments has adopted a model bill to address patent trolls and we've begun discussions with the legislative leadership and the Governor's office about their appetite to move forward with that model bill here in Georgia. Stay tuned.

 

Senate Banking and Finance Committee Chairman Announces Retirement

One of the Senate's most respected members, John (Dicky) Crosby (R-Tifton), chairs the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. Chairman Crosby has announced he will not seek another term in the state Senate. Sen. Crosby was first elected in 2009 to the Georgia State Senate representing Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Lee, Turner, Wilcox, Worth and portions of Sumter and Tift counties. Sen. Crosby also serves as Vice Chairman of the Ethics and Judiciary committees, and is a member of the Appropriations and Judiciary Non-Civil committees. Prior to his election to the Senate, Sen. Crosby practiced law from 1963 until he was elected to the Tift Superior Court bench in 1980. He spent 20 years in that position until his retirement in 2000. He has also served as a Tifton city commissioner and a State Court judge from 1971-1978. Sen. Crosby continued to serve as a senior judge in various courtrooms around the state until his election to the Senate. "We will greatly miss Sen. Crosby's strong, steady hand leading the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He has always had an open door to anyone wanting to talk about issues before his committee. His years on the bench have served him well as he's had to mediate sometimes controversial issues to a successful conclusion," said GBA's Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler. "We wish him and his wife, Rose, all the best as they embark on their well-deserved retirement years."


Chairman Crosby (R) with Dale McGriff, South Georgia Bank, Tifton

Sen. Crosby with Past GBA Chairman, Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville)

 

Three New Bills Introduced this Week of Interest to our Members
Each week during the session, we will be telling you about new legislation introduced that could have an effect on the banking industry. We've added three bills this week:

  • Flood Insurance. H.R. 1055 by Rep. Alex Atwood (R-Brunswick) and S.R. 747 by Sen. William Ligon Jr. (R-Brunswick) are identical bills that encourage repeal of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, citing resulting high increases in premiums, inaccurate mapping and devalued home and property values.
     

  • Mortgage Originator Licensing. H.B. 750 by Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) would exempt employees of certain affordable-housing related nonprofit corporations who originate mortgage loans from having to obtain mortgage loan originator licenses.

Atwood

Ligon

Frye


Committee Membership Announced for the 2014 Session

Both the House and Senate leadership ask their respective committees to perfect legislation as much as possible before referring it to either the Rules Committees or the floor for a vote. The committees we work most closely with are the House and Senate judiciary and banking committees. Here are the members of those committees for 2014. If your representative or senator is on one of these committees, please make an effort to get to know them as they most likely will be calling on you for answers to questions about banking legislation. We may also ask you to contact them proactively in support or opposition to legislation, so don't let that be the first call you make. The representative form of government envisions a healthy ongoing dialogue between those elected and their constituency. Make sure you're doing your part to be involved in the process.

 

House Banks and Banking Committee
The committee has jurisdiction of financial institutions, real property finance, and corporate securities law.

 

Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee
The role of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee includes the jurisdictions of financial institutions, real property finance, and corporate securities law.

Committee Members

Crosby, John

Chairman

Stone, Jesse

Vice Chairman

Miller, Butch

Secretary

Balfour, Don

Ex-Officio

Shafer, David

Ex-Officio

Harbison, Ed

Member

Jones, Emanuel

Member

Mullis, Jeff

Member

Staton, Cecil

Member

Thompson, Steve

Member

House Judiciary Committee
The House Judiciary Committee considers a wide variety of measures relating to law, courts and judges, and constitutional amendments. Any legislation that carries a possibility for civil penalties can be referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Committee Members

Willard, Wendel

Chairman

Fleming, Barry

Vice Chairman

Allison, Stephen

Secretary

Bruce, Roger

Member

Caldwell, Jr., Johnnie

Member

Evans, Stacey

Member

Jacobs, Mike

Member

Jones, LaDawn

Member

Kelley, Trey

Member

Lindsey, Edward

Member

Mabra, Ronnie

Member

O`Neal, Larry

Member

Oliver, Mary Margaret

Member

Powell, Jay

Member

Rutledge, Dale

Member

Stephenson, Pam

Member

Welch, Andrew J.

Member

Weldon, Tom

Member

Golick, Rich

Ex-Officio

Wilkinson, Joe

Ex-Officio

 

Senate Judiciary Committee
The Judiciary Committee acts on all legislation affecting judicial proceedings dealing with civil procedure and practice. Its jurisdiction also includes civil liberties as well as governmental information and constitutional amendments.

Committee Members

 
McKoon, Joshua Chairman
Crosby, John Vice Chairman
Bethel, Charlie Secretary
Carter, Jason Member
Cowsert, Bill Member
Fort, Vincent Member
Ligon, Jr., William T. Member
Stone, Jesse Member
Tippins, Lindsey Member

 

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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