March 16, 2018  

Five Legislative Days Remaining in 2018 General Assembly Session
The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, completing the 35th day of their 40-day session. Legislators will be in session Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.
Floor Action This Week
Three bills we’ve been monitoring saw floor action this week:
Rural Healthcare Initiatives. This is one of the recommendations from the House Rural Development Council we’ve been supporting. The Senate passed HB 769 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) that, among other things, calls for 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; establishes the Rural Center for Healthcare Innovation and Sustainability; and creates a new entity called a micro hospital. The bill now goes back to the House where they will either accept the Senate-passed bill or request a conference to resolve differences in this version and the one the House passed earlier.
Self-settled Trusts. The Senate amended and passed HB 441 by Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem). The bill creates a new type of trust in Georgia that allows the creator of the trust to also be the beneficiary of the trust. The House is expected to further amend the bill.
FAST Act: Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency. SB 2 by Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) sets a process for local and state governmental bodies to establish timelines for an application approval process and penalties mostly in the form of reduced fees for not adhering to the timeline. The House passed a substantially different bill that creates a voluntary process. The Senate disagreed with the House version this week, and the House will consider their next step.
Committees Considered Bills of Interest
Committees in the House and Senate were holding among their last meetings of the session and it’s becoming clear which bills are likely to receive final action this session.
Department Housekeeping Bill. The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee held a hearing and reported HB 780 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). This is the Banking Department’s housekeeping bill that we mentioned last week had generated some questions from a couple of committee members in a previous hearing. Our thanks to Banking Department counsel Bo Fears, who worked with the senators to address their concerns without affecting the underlying goals of the bill. The legislation continues to build on the good work done by the GBA Code Review Task Force in two primary 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. Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) will be handling the bill on the Senate floor once it is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Rules Committee.
Boat Titling. The Senate Finance Committee amended and reported a substitute to HB 357 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Garden City). The bill creates a process by which boats and other watercraft will be titled.
Abandoned Mobile Homes. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 381 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) that establishes a new procedure for the disposal of abandoned mobile homes. The Department of Revenue asked the committee to consider moving the effective date into 2019 in order to have time to develop new software. Our thanks to Rep. Corbett for working with us to perfect the bill.
Trust Code Revisions. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 121 that had previously been amended to include the provisions of HB 122 both by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula). The legislation is the result of the work of the Trust Code Revision Committee of the State Bar’s Fiduciary Law Section. The legislation 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; changes provisions relating to modification or termination of uneconomic trusts and adopts provisions of 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. Our thanks to Blake Melton, senior wealth strategist with Synovus, who has helped shepherd the bill through the Bar’s Fiduciary Law Section and been active throughout the session working with various stakeholders. Melton serves in a volunteer capacity as chair-elect of the Bar’s section.
Healthcare Provider Choice of Payment. The Senate Insurance Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 818 by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville). The bill originally capped certain card transaction fees while allowing health care providers to choose the form of payment for services paid by health insurers. Our thanks to Rep. Hawkins for working with us to remove some problematic language in the House.
Motor Vehicle Titles. The Senate Public Safety Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 761 by Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth). The bill removes the requirement that motor vehicle titles transferred to and from dealers must be handled electronically.
Unauthorized Computer Access. A House Non-civil Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on and reported to the full committee SB 315 by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White). The bill creates a new crime of Unauthorized Computer Access to apply to those instances when someone gains access to a computer or network without authority.
Banking Improvement Zone. The House Banks and Banking Committee reported SB 358 by Sen. Michael "Doc" Rhett (D-Marietta). The bill provides an incentive for financial institutions to operate in an underserved area designated as a Banking Improvement Zone by the Department of Community Affairs by allowing the local governmental entity to place deposits with such financial institution at a favorable rate.
Consumer Credit Reporting Bureau Fees. The House Banks and Banking Committee reported SB 376 by Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth). The bill 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 is similar to HB 866 by Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) that was reported by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee this week.
Business Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HR 993 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Duluth) that proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution so as to establish a business court with state-wide jurisdiction. A state-wide business court would provide specialized resolution of complex business litigation matters.
Real Estate Recordings. HB 1036 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) is a local bill that allows the Fulton County Clerk of Superior Court to adopt a requirement that recordings related to certain real estate filings contain tax parcel identifying numbers. Our thanks to Mo Thrash with the Mortgage Bankers Association, Lori Godfrey with the Community Bankers Association and the attorneys at James-Bates-Brannan-Groover, LLP for providing some helpful language ensuring the change would not invalidate or create additional unintended consequences with the recording from the new requirement. Local bills are handled quite differently from other legislation. In the Senate, the bills are considered by the State and Local Government Operations Committee. Hearings are not necessarily held as the bills ordinarily move forward after a majority of the local delegation signs off on the legislation. The bill then goes on what’s called the Local Consent Calendar. These calendars are presented as a whole on the floor and the calendars may include one or more bills. Agreement on the calendar completes action on the bill or bills by the body. How about that for a civics lesson? You might not have known that before.
Homeowner/Condo Association Fees. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 410 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell). The bill outlines the procedures to be followed and limits the fees a homeowner or condo association may charge to provide documentation related to amounts owed to the association.
Administrative Procedures. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on and reported an amended version of SB 338 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick). The bill amends the Administrative Procedures Act to include a mechanism for the General Assembly to object and potentially override rules promulgated by agencies covered by the Act.
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.