February 2, 2018 

General Assembly Completes Day 14 of 40
The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Thursday this week, completing the 14th day of their 40-day session. The General Assembly will convene again Monday and will be in session through Thursday. It was the busiest week so far this session as more bills were being reported out of committee and the respective Rules Committees of the two bodies began scheduling legislation for floor votes.
GBA Priority Bill Introduced
Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) introduced HB 780, the Banking Department’s housekeeping bill. The bill follows months of work by the Department, primarily Bo Fears, the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs. The legislation continues to build on the good work done by the GBA Code Review Task Force in two principal areas: allowing shareholders to give boards of directors additional liability protection and expanding the existing parity provisions to ensure state chartered banks remain in a competitively equal position with nationally chartered banks. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for next Tuesday by the House Banks and Banking Committee chaired by Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia). Also that day, the committee will hear testimony on HB 676 by Rep. Paulette Rakestraw (R-Hiram) that would create a state-level protection in the event of foreclosure for military service members on active duty. The bill is intended to provide similar protections to those already in place at the Federal level and a few other states. We’ve met with Rep. Rakestraw to suggest a few minor modifications to better track the Federal code. See below the list of other bills introduced this week we’ve added to our tracking list.
Floor Action This Week
Statewide Lien Registry. The House unanimously passed HB 661 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) and immediately transmitted the bill to the Senate for consideration. The bill reworks the statewide tax lien registry passed last year to correct some unintended consequences. The bill essentially retains local county filing requirements and eliminates a problematic certification process related to outstanding tax liens that would have complicated the closing of real estate transactions.
Committees Considered Bills of Interest
This is the time of the session when we see lots of bills introduced and committees are tasked with the tough job of deciding which ones will move forward. The committees work hard to perfect those bills before reporting them to the Rules Committee where there is a second look before full floor action is scheduled. This was a busy week for committees reviewing bills of interest to our members. Here are some of the highlights:
Banking Improvement Zone. The Senate Banking Committee chaired by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) held a hearing on SB 358 by Sen. Michael "Doc" Rhett (D-Marietta), which is intended to provide an incentive for financial institutions to operate in underserved areas After much discussion, the committee voted to table the bill.
Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets. The Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) held a hearing but took no further action on SB 301 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon). The bill is recommended by the Uniform Law Commissioners and relates to the fiduciary access to digital assets. The bill is the result of several years of work by the Commissioners and has been adopted by most other states including all those that surround Georgia.
Trust Code Revisions. A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 121 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula), which 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. The bill is scheduled for a full committee hearing next week. This is one of the bills resulting from 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.
Ad Valorem Tax - Fair Market Value. A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 741 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park). The bill amends the income approach to establishing fair market value for ad valorem tax purposes so as to allow the approach to be considered rather than utilized.
Homeowner Association – Fees. A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on HB 410 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) that 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. There are competing versions now of the bill between the Realtors and HOA groups.
Higher Education Savings Accounts. A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 664 by Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta). The bill doubles the income tax deduction for contributions to higher education savings trust accounts for individual filers to $4,000 per beneficiary and to $8,000 per beneficiary for joint filers.
New Bills Added to our Tracking List
We added the following bills to our tracking list this week:
Consumer Credit Reporting Bureau Fees. SB 376 by Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) is similar to SB 345 introduced last week by Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta) and removes the statutory authorization for a consumer credit reporting agency to charge a fee to a consumer who chooses to place or remove a security freeze on the consumer’s account. The bill was assigned to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
Abandoned Motor Vehicles. HB 773 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) revises the process by which abandoned motor vehicles are sold, including a process to foreclose outstanding liens. The bill has been assigned to the House Motor Vehicles Committee.
Appraisal Management Companies. HB 775 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) is a substantial revision to the existing statutes related to appraisal management companies. The bill has been assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
Homeowner, Community and Condo Associations. HB 748 by Rep. William Boddie (D-East Point) creates the Community Association Transparency and Protection Act requiring certain documentation be provided as projects are completed and turned over to homeowner-run associations and ongoing requirements for those entities. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. A companion bill, SB 374 by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rental Agreement Terminations. HB 745 by Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) authorizes an individual to terminate a rental agreement in certain circumstances related to family violence. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
Rural Development Council Recommendations. After hearings throughout the state this past summer and fall, the Council has made a number of recommendations for legislation to address identified needs in rural Georgia. Two bills were introduced this week:
  • HB 769 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) contains the healthcare recommendations. Among those are the elimination of the requirement for a pharmacist to be present at all times in a hospital pharmacy; expediting the credentialing process for access to state medical plans; the establishment of the Rural Center for Healthcare Innovation and Sustainability; and the creation of a new entity called a micro hospital. The bill has been assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee.

  • HB 735 by Rep. Patty Bentley (D-Butler) creates a state tax credit for short-line railroads similar to the federal tax credit. The bill has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Stay Current on Banking Issues This Year
We publish the Legislative Update each week the General Assembly is in session, so be on the lookout for that email. You can always see a list of bills we’re monitoring on the
State Issues Page of our website that we update daily.

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. 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.