Other GBA-monitored Bills Saw Final Action this Session
If you’ve been following our Legislative Updates, you’ve noticed that we get involved with a range of issues that either have a direct or indirect effect on the banking industry. We’re pleased to serve as a go-to resource for legislators as they weigh options to address issues. Oftentimes good ideas create unintended consequences and we’re constantly working with legislators to avoid that. Many bills never get much further than being introduced. Others get committee hearings and begin to move through the process. The committee structure is designed to perfect legislation and many bills often stall when it becomes obvious the legislation cannot be effectively corrected or sufficient support doesn’t materialize for the author to move forward. GBA was involved with over 75 bills this session. Take a look at the State Issues page
on our website to see them all. Following are bills that received final passage and are awaiting the Governor’s decision.
Garnishment. SB 255
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro) addresses the reasons a federal judge ruled portions of Georgia’s garnishment statute unconstitutional. Our thanks to House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Wendell Willard
(R-Sandy Springs) for appointing a study committee to develop the initial legislation. Serving on the committee at GBA’s request was Ellen Fleming
, First Vice President & Senior Counsel SunTrust Banks, Inc. Also active on the committee representing creditors’ interests was Adam Cleveland
from associate member law firm Thompson, O'Brien, Kemp & Nasuti, P.C., Norcross. GBA will be hosting a webinar April 14 where Cleveland will review the changes. Click here to register
. Of special interest is the five-day period to consider whether funds are in an account and the 10-day response time (after days one through five). The bill responds to the Court’s unconstitutionality ruling and balances a number of significant procedural changes for banks with some added protections.
Banks Serving Firearms Dealers. SB 282
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro), the Georgia Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act, was amended onto another firearms bill, HB 1060
, and awaits the Governor’s signature. GBA opposed the concept throughout the session and successfully supported helpful amendments, 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. GBA’s efforts helped to remove that provision. Thanks mostly to the Banking Department, parity language was added, which 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. Although watered down, the bill 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.
Water Liens. SB 206
by Sen. William Ligon
(R-Brunswick) 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 was able to work with the author and others to improve the bill.
Rural Hospitals. HB 919
by Rep. Geoff Duncan
(R-Cumming) was introduced to help save access to hospital care for many rural Georgians. The bill was amended onto SB 258
and authorizes individual and corporate tax credits up to $100 million.
Real Estate Broker Paperwork. HB 869
by Rep. Alan Powell
(R-Hartwell) removes the requirement for mortgage brokers to retain indefinitely copies of certain paperwork related to real estate sales transactions.
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 registry.
Property Redemption. HB 51
by Rep. Tommy Benton
(R-Jefferson) changes the provisions about the amount of taxes payable upon redemption of a property sold for taxes, as well as establishes timeframes for when the purchaser of a property is required to join a homeowners association and pay association dues.
Public Retirement Funds – Permissible Investments. SB 335
by Sen. Ellis Black
(R-Valdosta) adds as eligible public retirement system investments comingled funds and collective investment funds managed by state-chartered banks and state-chartered trust companies.
Savings Accounts for the Disabled. HB 768
by Rep. Lee Hawkins
(R-Gainesville) 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.
Notice / Citation for Code Enforcement Violation. HB 1025
by Rep. Tom Taylor
(R-Dunwoody) adds procedures for notification of accusations or citation for a county code enforcement violation related to real property.
Financial Technologies and Payment Processing Industry Incentives. SR 883
by Sen. Brandon Beach
(R-Alpharetta) creates a joint committee among the Senate and House 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 will monitor the work of the study committee as they complete their work later this year.
Purchasing Cards. HB 949
by Rep. Alan Powell
(R-Hartwell) prohibits certain county officials from issuing purchasing cards without enacting regulations regarding their use.
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 awaits the Governor’s signature.
Unauthorized Practice of Law. HB 759
by Rep. Wendell Willard
(R-Sandy Springs) clarifies that credit unions have parity with other financial institutions so that loan closings may be done without the use of an attorney in limited situations. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.