Other GBA-monitored Bills Saw Action this Week
Banks Serving Firearms Dealers. SB 282
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro), the Georgia Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act that GBA opposes, was amended onto another firearms bill, HB 1060
, at Sen. Stone’s request by the Senate Judiciary Committee. New parity language in the amendment will cause the bill to not be applicable to state chartered banks if the OCC or federal courts rule it inapplicable to federally chartered banks. As originally 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. That provision was taken out in an amendment on the Senate floor, but the bill passed. Although watered down even further with the parity language, 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 bill was reported out of committee and next goes to the Senate Rules Committee chaired by Sen. Jeff Mullis
(R-Chicamauga) where they will decide whether to schedule the bill for a floor vote.
The House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Wendell Willard
(R-Sandy Springs) amended and reported SB 255
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro). The bill is intended to address the reasons a federal judge ruled portions of Georgia’s garnishment statute unconstitutional. The committee amendments change the period to consider whether funds are in an account from 24 hours to five days. The 10-day response time (after days one through five) remains the same. The bill is scheduled for a House vote Tuesday. GBA supports.
The House passed an amended 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. GBA has successfully worked with the author and others to improve the bill. The bill now goes back to the Senate for their consideration of the House amendments.
License and Surety Requirements of Livestock Dealers and Market Operators.
The Senate amended and passed HB 876
by Rep. Clay Pirkle
(R-Ashburn). The bill would update license and surety requirements of livestock dealers and livestock market operators. The bill adds letters of credit, certificates of deposit, or other written instruments issued or executed by lending institutions as acceptable surety instruments required for a license. The House must now decide whether to accept the Senate amendments. GBA supports.
Personal Income Tax Rate/Mortgage Interest Deduction. HB 238
from the 2015 session was amended to replace the content with another bill, HB 260
, by Sen. Judson Hill
(R-Marietta). The bill reduces personal income tax rates and caps the mortgage interest deduction. GBA is monitoring.
The House Health and Human Services Committee amended and reported SB 389
by Sen. Hunter Hill
(R-Atlanta). The bill adds compliance rules for certain public benefit recipients to follow to continue receiving the benefits. The amendment removed troublesome language related to ATMs and restricted the bill’s applicability to SNAP benefits. GBA is monitoring.
Public Retirement Funds – Permissible Investments.
The House passed SB 335
by Sen. Ellis Black
(R-Valdosta). The bill would add as eligible public retirement system investments comingled funds and collective investment funds managed by state-chartered banks and state-chartered trust companies. The House action clears the bill for the Governor’s signature. GBA supports.
Savings Accounts for the Disabled.
The Senate 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 Senate action cleared the bill for the Governor’s signature. GBA is monitoring.