Other GBA-monitored Bills Saw Action this Week
E-Discovery. HB 1017
by Rep. Barry Fleming
(R-Harlem) substantially revises the electronic records discoverable in a court proceeding. The bill was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee this week. The GBA joined a coalition of business interests opposing the bill as introduced as it failed to follow federal standards most states have adopted. Here’s a link to a one-page explanation
of why many in the business community are concerned about the bill.
The House Rules Committee returned SB 255
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro), to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), that had earlier reported the bill. Efforts are continuing 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. GBA is continuing to work with all parties to ensure a workable bill is enacted soon.
The Senate Judiciary Committee reported a revised version of SB 206
by Sen. William Ligon
(R-Brunswick). The bill as currently written gives certain individuals and entities, specifically including lenders, the right to file a written request with a public or private water supplier inquiring about the existence of unpaid bills attributable to the property. The water provider is presumed to have received the request three business days after the request is mailed or one business day after the request is electronically filed. The water provider has five business days to reply. The amount due in any reply may be paid in full within 30 days to extinguish the lien. If no reply is received from the water provider within the specified time limit, any existing lien rights will be extinguished. GBA appreciates Sen. Ligon’s efforts to continue to improve the bill and we 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. He tells us he will wait until next year to pursue the legislation. A similar bill, SB 397
, was introduced by Sen. Judson Hill
(R-Marietta). That bill is pending in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee where no action has been scheduled.
Public Retirement Funds – Permissible Investments.
The Senate passed SB 335
by Sen. Ellis Black
(R-Valdosta). The bill would add as eligible public retirement system investments comingled funds and collected investment funds managed by state-chartered banks and state-chartered trust companies. GBA supports.
Electronic Court Filings.
The House Judiciary Committee reported HB 1027
by Rep. Barry Fleming
(R-Harlem) that provides for the electronic filing of documents with the clerks of superior court. GBA is monitoring.
Property Owner Associations.
The House Judiciary Committee reported HB 685
by Rep. Brian Strickland
(R-McDonough) that establishes a new procedure whereby a property owners association may take over the assets and be given rights to manage the property. GBA is monitoring.
Electronic Real Estate Filings. HB 1004
by Rep. Rick Jasperse
(R-Jasper) provides for the addition of electronic images of maps,
plats and plans to be filed with the Clerk of Superior Court and into the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority. GBA is monitoring.
Fair Business Practices – Solicitation of Real Estate Conveyance Instruments.
The House Judiciary Committee reported HB 914
by Rep. Sam Teasley
(R-Marietta) that would require any mail solicitations for services to obtain a copy of an instrument conveying real estate to be in large type and contain specific language indicating the mailing is a solicitation, not a bill. GBA is monitoring.
Taxes – Property Maintenance.
A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee reported HB 938
by Rep. Brian Prince
(D-Augusta) that would establish that the purchaser of property at a tax sale is responsible for proper maintenance of the property during the period from the sale through the foreclosure of the right of redemption. If the property is redeemed by the original owner, the owner would pay reasonable costs incurred for maintenance during that period to the purchaser. The bill was scheduled for a hearing before the full Judiciary Committee, but was pulled when information was reported that case law in Georgia does give a tax lien holder property rights. GBA is monitoring.
Financial Technologies and Payment Processing Industry Incentives.
The Senate concurred with SR 883
by Sen. Brandon Beach
(R-Alpharetta) that will create a joint committee to study the financial technology and payment processing industries to determine if additional incentives would be helpful to these companies to expand their businesses in Georgia. GBA is monitoring.
The House Rules Committee scheduled HB 381
by Rep. Andy Welch
(R-McDonough) for a vote on the floor this week, however, the bill was taken off the calendar and sent back to the Rules Committee. The bill makes significant revisions to the Georgia code dealing with notaries public. GBA is monitoring.
The House passed HB 949
by Rep. Alan Powell
(R-Hartwell) that would prohibit certain county officials from issuing purchasing cards without enacting regulations regarding their use. GBA is monitoring.
Savings Accounts for the Disabled.
The House passed 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 state program will be structured in compliance with federal rules so that contributions to the account may be eligible for a federal tax deduction. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
529 Savings Account Tax Deduction Increase.
The House passed HB 802
by rep. Sam Teasley
(R-Marietta) would increase the tax deduction for joint return filers for annual contributions to 529 college savings plans from $2,000 to $4,000. GBA is monitoring.
Property – Vacant Structure Maintenance.
The Senate Public Safety Committee, chaired by Sen. Tyler Harper
(R-Ocilla), held a hearing on SB 422
by Sen. Janice VanNess
(R-Conyers). The bill would make it unlawful for a property owner to neglect reasonable maintenance of a vacant structure or property. If a property is not properly maintained or cleaned up upon defined notice by local government, a lien would be placed on the property to cover cleanup costs. No action was taken. GBA is monitoring.
The Senate passed SB 356
by Sen. Michael William.
(R-Cumming), The bill revises the lien statute applying to impounded animals and establishes a procedure for foreclosing on such liens. The bill is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Identity Theft – Free Credit Report Security Freeze.
The Senate Science and Technology Committee, chaired by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), held a hearing on SB 306
by Sen. P.K. Martin IV
(R-Lawrenceville). The bill would prohibit credit bureaus from charging a fee for placement of or removal of credit freezes by those notified of compromised information and would remove telephone notification as a permissible means of informing someone of a data breach involving personal information. No action was taken. GBA is monitoring.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB 1052
by Rep. Scott Holcombe
(D-Atlanta). The bill would establish benefit corporations as a new entity type in Georgia. Such a corporation will be designed to have a beneficial purpose other than maximizing shareholder value. No action was taken. GBA is monitoring.