January 27, 2017

Georgia General Assembly Back to Full Throttle

After a weeklong recess to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and hold budget hearings, the Georgia General Assembly came back to work Monday ready to get down to business. In a joint session, legislators heard the annual State of the Judiciary address, and the House passed its version of the budget finalizing expenditures from last fiscal year. We saw the introduction of legislation long in the works through task forces and planning committees and other bills came from legislators responding to specific constituent input. GBA has been involved directly with many of the task forces and study groups and we appreciate the opportunity to share real-world experiences as legislators perfect their ideas. The Legislature was in session Monday through Thursday this week, completing Day 8 of the 40-Day session.

Senate Banking Committee Organizes

The new chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), held an organizational meeting of the committee this week. Chairman Ligon thanked committee members in advance for what he knew would be their active participation and told them how much he was looking forward to working with them for a productive session. The committee adopted the rules by which it will be conducting business this session.

FHLB-Atlanta Hosts Legislative Briefing

Our thanks to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta in coordination with Rep. Bruce Williamson for hosting a lunch-and-learn session this week for the newly elected House Republican members, the House Republican Caucus leadership and key House staff. The session gave members the opportunity to hear how the FHLB system interplays with the financial institutions in their districts and highlighted the important role the FHLB-Atlanta plays in providing liquidity, products and other services allowing financial institutions to serve those communities. GBA helped co-host the meeting, and we shared how some helpful legislation pending in Congress will give banks regulatory relief that will result in more loans being made throughout Georgia.

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:

Department Housekeeping Bill. HB 143 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) is mostly the result of the public-private Code Review Task Force coordinated jointly by GBA and the Department of Banking and Finance. Among the issues of importance to bankers in the bill are: Out of state and in state trust companies, Legal Lending Limit, Third-party service providers, Conducting business on Sunday, Minor accounts, Department Subpoena Powers, Convenience Fees, Removal of Directors from Board, and Subordinated Securities. The bill has been assigned to the House Banks and Banking Committee. GBA supports.

Foreclosure Confirmation Waiver Prohibition. S.B. 86 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) adds judgments and levys to the real estate sales subject to a mandatory confirmation process in order to pursue a deficiency. The bill also prohibits contracts from including language to waive the requirement. GBA opposes.

Wire Transfer Fee. H.B. 66 by Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) would mandate a $10 fee for certain wire transfers and allow those paying the fee to recoup the fee when filing their next annual tax return. GBA has serious concerns with the bill and we appreciate Rep. Jones listening and making changes to the bill. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA has asked for modifications.

Trust Code Revisions. H.B. 121 and H.B. 122 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) are the result of the work of the Trust Code Revision Committee of the State Bar's Fiduciary Law Section, and we appreciate David Miraldi of SunTrust Bank, who represented GBA in their deliberations. H.B. 121 deals with minor or unborn beneficiaries; changes provisions relating to nonjudicial settlement agreements, the modification and termination of noncharitable trusts, and distribution to another trust; and changes provisions relating to modification or termination of uneconomic trusts. H.B. 122 deals with the Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities, so as to change provisions relating to the validity of nonvested property interest or power of appointment; and changes provisions relating to reform of disposition by court to approximate transferor's plan of distribution among other things. The bills are pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA supports.

Notaries Public. H.B. 120 by Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough) makes substantial revisions to the Georgia Notary Public code similar to legislation introduced in prior sessions. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.

Maps, Plats, Plan Filings. H.B. 76 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) makes several changes to legislation passed in the 2016 session creating a more user-friendly system for the filing of maps, plats and plans for real estate. This bill mostly deals with condominium projects and land surveyors. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.

Bankruptcy Exemptions HSAs, MSAs. S.B. 71 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) would add Health Savings Accounts and Medical Savings Accounts to the list of property that is exempt from bankruptcy. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.

Tax Credits Rural Georgia Revitalization. H.B. 73 by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) provides tax credit incentives to promote the revitalization of vacant rural Georgia downtowns by encouraging investment, job creation, and economic growth in long-established business districts. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.

Corporate Registrations. H.B. 87 by Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek) would make the current annual corporate registration requirement good for three years. GBA is 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.