January 26, 2018 

General Assembly Completes Day 10 of 40
The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Thursday this week, completing the 10th day of their 40-day session. The General Assembly will convene again Monday and will be in session through Thursday. An adjournment resolution was adopted calling on the General Assembly to adjourn sine die on March 29.
Floor Action This Week
The Senate passed SB 194 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro). The bill 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. The legislation is essentially a cleanup of some unintended consequences realized from the extensive garnishment reform legislation adopted in a prior legislative session.
New Bills Added to our Tracking List
We added the following bills to our tracking list this week:
  • Funeral Expenses. HB 689 by Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) removes the 90-day waiting period for a financial institution to pay up to $10,000 out of an intestate depositor’s account for funeral expenses and requires funeral expenses to be paid before any other expenses. In certain circumstances, an insurer may pay up to $10,000 of an insured’s life insurance proceeds directly to a funeral home. The bill was assigned to the House Insurance Committee.

  • Administrative Procedures. SB 338 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) amends the Administrative Procedures Act to include a mechanism for the General Assembly to object and potentially stop rules promulgated by agencies covered by the Act. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • Condo/HOA Fee Disclosure. HB 649 by Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) requires any condo or property owner’s association maintaining a website to have a page that discloses fees required of purchasers. The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

  • Unauthorized Computer Access. SB 315 by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) creates a new crime of Unauthorized Computer Access to apply to those instances when someone gains access to a computer or network without authority and upon conviction, the individual will be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. The bill was assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.

  • Consumer Credit Reporting Bureau Fees. SB 345 by Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta) 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.

  • Insurance Information Sharing Notices. SB 350 by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) removes the requirement of an insurance company or agent to send an annual privacy notice to consumers if no information has changed relative to the company’s information sharing policy. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Insurance Committee.

  • Ad Valorem Tax – Fair Market Value. HB 741 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) 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. The bill has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

  • Banking Improvement Zone. SB 358 by Sen. Michael “Doc” Rhett (D-Marietta) authorizes a local government to petition the Department of Community Affairs to conduct a study of an area to determine if the area is underserved by financial institutions and creates an incentive for financial institutions to become the designated depository for the local government. The bill is similar to S.B. 213 introduced late in the 2017 session. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
Coalitions are part of the Process
We often work with other industry groups, companies and associations on issues where our members may be directly or peripherally affected. The Real Estate Trade Group is one of those coalitions. GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler is serving her second year as chair of the organization this session. As the name suggests, the group has members representing anyone with interest in real estate: bankers, home builders, road builders, architects, Realtors, general contractors and interior designers just to name a few. The group meets weekly while the General Assembly is in session. Chandler is shown chairing this week’s meeting with Vice Chair Austin Hackney, Director of Government Relations for the Home Builders Association of Georgia. “It’s important that we have organizations like this to keep the communication channels open among various interests who often approach issues from different perspectives. We are usually of one accord, but sometimes find ourselves on opposite sides of issues. Groups like this let us talk through our reasoning in an open and candid way. While that often results in a better legislative result; even when we can’t agree, we all know there will be more times in the future where we can work together. This is an important part of the legislative process,” said Chandler.
Education Plays a Role
Another way GBA advocates on behalf of the industry is by helping educate legislators on all things banking even when there may not be a specific issue on the docket. This week we were pleased to help sponsor a trip for the freshmen GOP members for a session with Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president Raphael Bostic. In addition to giving the members an economic update on Georgia and the other states in the Sixth Federal Reserve District, Bostic talked about his interest in working with the legislators to ensure all of Georgia benefits as the economy blossoms. He especially mentioned his interest in working on policies that would foster jobs creation in areas where new jobs have been scarce. He said one way to do that is through more enlightened discussion of a regional approach to economic development. GBA had briefed Bostic earlier on the work of the House Rural Development Council and shared our testimony to the Council last summer that showed where economic activity was occurring by tracking deposit and loan growth in each county. Our thanks to Majority Caucus Chair Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) and Majority Caucus Secretary/Treasurer Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe),pictured here with the participants, for allowing our participation in the briefing. Our thanks, too, to the bank’s Director of Government Relations, Marc Fordham, for coordinating the briefing.
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 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.