March 3, 2016      

General Assembly Sees the End in Sight

The Legislature was in session Monday and Wednesday this week completing day 31 of the 40-day session. Monday was Crossover Day, and both the House and Senate sent dozens of bills to the other chamber for consideration during the waning days of the session. The General Assembly will be in session Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week. March 24 is the day currently scheduled for final adjournment.

Update on GBA’s Priority Bills

GBA is involved with over 70 bills this session. Two are on our “must pass” list:
Multibank Pledging Pool. The House Rules Committee chaired by Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun) has scheduled the GBA-requested multibank public deposit collateralization pool bill, SB 283, for a floor vote in the House on Monday. The bill establishes a third collateralization option for banks doing business with public depositors. This option will be a contingent liability pool comprised of all the banks with over $50 billion in assets doing business in Georgia and optional for other banks qualified as state depositories and approved by the State Depository Board. In return for the cross-guarantee, banks may be eligible for a lowered collateralization percentage from the current 110 percent of the public deposit. Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) authored the bill and Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) will be handling the bill on the House floor.
Banking Department Housekeeping Bill. Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), author of the Banking Department’s annual housekeeping bill, HB 811, has requested the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), to schedule the bill for a Senate floor vote. Among the issues covered by the bill: 1) recognizes the preemption of the DBF’s role in approving branches of out-of-state institutions, 2) removes prohibitions for state-chartered banks to charge a fee to cash “on us” checks; 3) removes the reserve requirements referenced in Federal Reserve Regulation D so that the provisions will only be applicable to institutions whose deposits are not federally insured; 4) removes the authority of the DBF to present a case directly to a grand jury; 5) reduces the violation of an institution’s charter or bylaws to a misdemeanor from a felony; 6) authorizes banks to participate in cross-guaranty state-level collateral pools; 7) clarifies that interactive ATMs are not branches; and 8) establishes a regulatory structure for virtual currencies. Other sections of the bill apply only to credit unions or non-bank entities registered with or supervised by the DBF. Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) will be handling the bill when it’s scheduled for a floor vote.

Other GBA-monitored Bills Saw Action this Week

Water Liens. The Senate passed SB 206 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick). The bill gives certain individuals and entities, specifically including lenders, the right to file a written request with a public or private water providing authority inquiring about the existence of unpaid bills attributable to the property for which the water provider has lien rights. GBA has worked with the author on amendments that improved the bill and we will continue to monitor it.
Electronic Real Estate Filings. The House passed HB 1004 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) that 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. GBA is monitoring.
Financial Technologies and Payment Processing Industry Incentives. The House assigned SR 883 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) to the Special Rules Committee chaired by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper). The resolution 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.
Notaries. After the House Rules Committee amended the bill, the House passed HB 381 by Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough). The bill makes significant revisions to the Georgia code dealing with notaries public. GBA is monitoring.
Benefit Cards. The Senate passed 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 bill also would require benefit card issuers or ATM operators to disallow benefits when used when the card is presented in a range of establishments such as tattoo parlors and aboard cruise ships. GBA is monitoring.

Other Bills Introduced This Week

We add bills daily to our tracking list as they’re introduced throughout the session. Be sure and watch the State Issues page on our website for updates. This week we added two bills:
Housing Study Committee. HR 1553 by Rep. Jimmy Pruett (R-Eastman) would create the House Study Committee on Homes for Georgia's Families to look into homelessness and affordable housing and recommend solutions. The resolution was assigned to the House Special Rules Committee. GBA monitoring.
Vacant Structures Study Committee. SR 1084 by Sen. JaNice VanNess (R-Conyers) would create the Senate Study Committee on Vacant Structures to look into any changes needed in the laws already existing related to vacant structures. The resolution calls for a member of the Georgia Bankers Association to be appointed to the committee. The resolution was assigned to the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. GBA monitoring.

GBA’s Advocacy Team at the Capitol

Led by GBA’s Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler, GBA is at the Capitol every day advocating on behalf of our members. Also at the Capitol are GBA’s government relations consultant Steve Bridges and GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen. If you’re going to be around the Capitol with your local chamber, a leadership group, or bringing someone to page, be sure and let us know as we’d love to visit with you and let you know what’s happening that day. Legislators also like to see their hometown constituents taking an interest in their work and we’ll help you get connected. With questions about GBA legislation, other issues of interest, or anything related to the legislative process, contact Elizabeth at 404.420.2027, Steve at 404.420.2037, or Joe at 404.420.2026.