Other GBA-monitored Bills Saw Action this Week
Banks Serving Firearms Dealers.
Largely along party line votes, the Senate voted 39-16 to pass SB 282
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro), the Georgia Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act. Although we didn’t muster enough votes to defeat the bill, we extend our thanks to our members who asked your senator to vote against it. As introduced, the bill essentially said that if a bank chose not to do business with someone who has a federal license to sell firearms, the seller could sue the bank. The bank would then have to prove that the bank’s decision was for a reason other than the seller was related to the firearms industry. Our thanks to Sen. John Kennedy
(R-Macon), who worked with Sen. Stone to successfully amend the bill to remove the private right of action provision. That amendment obviously improves the bill as it addresses our concerns about banks defending against frivolous lawsuits from disgruntled former customers. Another amendment was offered by Sen. Steve Henson
(D-Tucker) that would have extended the firearms industry anti-discrimination language to also include race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, but that amendment failed. The bill now moves to the House Banks and Banking Committee for further consideration. Although watered down, we still oppose the bill as the remaining language gives the Attorney General the right to bring an action against a bank if he believes the bank is about to violate, is violating, or has violated the act. No other industry has such a carve-out as is being given the firearms industry, and we believe this sets a bad precedent.
The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Wendell Willard
(R-Sandy Springs), held hearings on SB 255
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro), and efforts are underway to improve the senate-passed version. The bill is intended to address the reasons a federal judge ruled portions of Georgia’s garnishment statute unconstitutional.
E-Discovery. HB 1017
by Rep. Barry Fleming
(R-Harlem) substantially revises the electronic records discoverable in a court proceeding. A subcommittee held a hearing on the bill, but did not take action. GBA joined a coalition of business interests in opposing the bill as introduced as it failed to follow federal standards most states have adopted.
Motor Boat Titling.
A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held hearings this week and reported to the full committee HB 356
by Rep. Ron Stephens
(R-Savannah). The bill would establish a boat and boat motor titling program using the same Electronic Lien Titling process currently used for motor vehicles. GBA supports the concept.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 206
by Sen. William Ligon
(R-Brunswick). The bill would establish a process for liens on properties for nonpayment of water service to be appropriately filed as a public record so they can be identified and known at the time of a real estate closing. As drafted, those liens would be placed ahead of mortgages, which was not the intent. We appreciate Sen. Ligon’s efforts to work with us to delete all reference to water bill liens being governed the same as liens under OCGA 48-2-56 (trumping bank mortgages). The liens will be in the county's general execution document which would be checked in a title search. The water providers are resisting the recording of liens and are expected to offer a substitute bill offering a different approach at the next committee meeting Tuesday. GBA will continue to weigh in as needed.
Powers of Attorney. HB 918
by Rep. Chuck Efstration
(R-Dacula) would apply uniform terms, conditions and requirements relating to powers of attorney to various code sections. The bill was introduced at the request of the Alzheimer’s Association and AARP. There were a number of problems with the bill, and we appreciate Rep. Efstration working with us this week to improve the bill. GBA is monitoring. Sen. Judson Hill
(R-Marietta) introduced another bill, SB 397
, this week relating to Powers of Attorney. We are currently reviewing the bill.
Tax Execution Registry.
A Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on HB 912
by Rep. Bruce Williamson
(R-Monroe). The bill, introduced at the request of the Department of Revenue, would create a new statewide Tax Execution Registry to record tax liens. No action was taken and indications are that the bill will be held over. GBA is monitoring.
The House Judiciary Committee reported HB 381
by Rep. Andy Welch
(R-McDonough). The bill makes significant revisions to the Georgia code dealing with notaries public. GBA is monitoring.
Savings Accounts for the Disabled.
A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing and reported a revised version of HB 768
by Rep. Lee Hawkins
(R-Gainesville). The bill establishes a qualified ABLE program in Georgia so people can contribute to accounts to pay for qualified expenses such as education, housing and transportation, of eligible individuals with disabilities. The subcommittee changed the bill to allow the State of Georgia to join with a consortium of other states to save administrative costs. GBA is monitoring.
Real Estate Broker Paperwork. HB 869
by Rep. Alan Powell
(R-Hartwell) was passed by the House this week. The bill removes the requirement for mortgage brokers to retain indefinitely copies of certain paperwork related to real estate sales transactions. GBA is monitoring.
Animal Liens. SB 356
by Sen. Michael Williams
(R-Cumming) revises the lien statute applying to impounded animals and establishes a procedure for foreclosing on such liens. The bill was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.