February 17, 2017 

General Assembly Passes Halfway Point

It seems like just yesterday the Georgia General Assembly was gaveled to order to begin the 2017 legislative session last month. Today marked Day 20 of the 40-day session and the Leadership continues to keep up a brisk and efficient pace. Legislators will return Tuesday and be in session through Friday next week.

GBA Priority Bill Passes House

Our thanks to Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) for ably handling HB 143 on the House floor this week. This is the Banking Department's annual housekeeping bill, most of which was the result of the public-private GBA Code Review Task Force. The bill passed overwhelmingly and is now awaiting a hearing in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. Major provisions of note in the bill are a streamlined calculation for legal lending limits, the ability of the Department to directly examine third party service providers, gives state chartered institutions the ability to conduct business on Sundays to give them parity with national banks, adds the option of providing minors electronic access to accounts, streamlines the Department's subpoena process, authorizes pay-by-phone fees, expands the circumstances for board member removal by the financial institution and modernizes the process for the issuance of subordinated debt.

Important Hearing Monday on GBA's Other Priority Bill

For the second time, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony Monday on why it's important to pass HB 192 by Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta). The bill was introduced in response to the Supreme Court's ruling from a couple of years ago in the FDIC v. Loudermilk case and created different standards of care for business decisions and the process leading up to those decisions by which directors and officers will be held accountable. The decisions themselves are subject to a gross negligence standard; the process is subject to an ordinary negligence standard. Our view is that since decisions are made all along the process, the two are one and the same and a gross negligence standard should apply.
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Ligon Shaffer

Senate Banking Committee Reports Save, Earn, Win Bill

The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee chaired by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) met this week and reported SB 134, by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth). The bill encourages savings by allowing financial institutions to incent saving by creating accounts that have a lottery winnings type component. GBA supports the bill.

Other Committee and Floor Action This Week

Committees were busy meeting to perfect legislation before bills are scheduled for floor vote. Here's a recap of the bills receiving action we're monitoring.
Bankruptcy – Extinguish Liens. The Senate passed SB 87 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro). The bill creates a new process to extinguish certain liens against property after the debtor has been discharged from his debts in a bankruptcy proceeding.
FAST Act – Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency. The Senate Economic and Tourism Committee out SB 2 by Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton). The bill sets a process in place for local and state governmental bodies to establish time lines for an application approval process and penalties mostly in the form of reduced fees for not adhering to the timeline. The bill is intended to help businesses navigate a sometimes complex and time consuming maze of state and local permitting, licensing, zoning and other requirements in order to do business. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is among those behind the legislation. GBA supports.

New Bills Added to our Tracking List This Week

We add bills almost daily to our tracking list that can be found on the State Issues Page of our website. Bookmark that page if you're interested in following all the goings on at the State Capitol. Here are the bills we added this week:
Statewide Tax Lien Registry. HB 337 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) creates a new process by which state tax liens will be registered at the state level. The bill is a priority of the Department of Revenue. GBA monitoring.
Boat Titling. HB 357 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Garden City) creates a process by which boats and other watercraft will be titled. GBA monitoring.
Installment Loan Pawn Transactions. HB 353 by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) creates a new opportunity for pawn transactions to be handled as installment loans. GBA monitoring.
Motor Vehicle Fair Market Value. HB 327 by Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) changes the method by which the fair market value of certain motor vehicles is determined. GBA monitoring.
Abandoned Mobile Homes. HB 381 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) establishes a new procedure for the disposal of abandoned mobile homes. GBA monitoring.
Homeowner Association Lien Rights. SB 187 by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) changes procedures by which homeowner associations foreclosure their lien rights for certain outstanding debts. GBA monitoring.
Garnishment. SB 194 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) makes several changes to the garnishment code among which are the earnings subject to garnishment, service of garnishments, the time a garnishment may be outstanding and the evidence that may be presented to the court. GBA monitoring.
Industrial Loan Act – Contracts. SB 198 by Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) prohibits Georgia Industrial Loan Act licensees from using instruments like checks to create contracts under certain circumstances. GBA monitoring.
Homeowner Association – Fees. HB 410 by Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) restricts the initial assessments of new purchasers of lots within a homeowner association to one month of dues and limits the fees that an HOA can charge to provide documentation related to amounts owed to the HOA. GBA monitoring.

GBA's Advocacy Team at the Capitol

Led by GBA's Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler, GBA was 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. 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.