March 2, 2018     

General Assembly Gets Through Crossover Day
The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, completing the 29th day of their 40-day session. Wednesday was designated as Crossover Day, which means that legislation that did not pass its body of origin is unlikely to be considered further this session. Crossover Day ran late into the evening as legislators scrambled to get their priority legislation passed. The General Assembly will convene again Monday and will also be in session Wednesday and Friday with Tuesday and Thursday set aside for committee work days next week.
Charlie Curry with his wife Lorraine and son Scott at GBA's 125th anniversary celebration in Perry on Aug. 29, 2017
Cuthbert's Charlie Curry Honored by General Assembly
Legislators spend their days at the Capitol pouring over complex legislation, meeting with advocates and opponents, moving bills through committee and voting on the floor. They also get to introduce resolutions honoring Georgians who have made a difference in their communities. We were happy to see a big contingent of lawmakers this week, led by Rep. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert), get a resolution passed honoring the late Charlie Curry, former president and CEO of the First State Bank of Randolph County in Cuthbert. Charlie passed away unexpectedly recently and is greatly missed by his family, banking colleagues and the vast array of friends in banking throughout Georgia. A longtime member of GBA’s Agriculture Committee, we are dedicating the upcoming Agriculture Conference to his memory. Charlie also was his Group’s member on the GBA BankPAC Board. Be sure and click here to read the nice tribute.
Floor Action This Week
A number of bills we’ve been monitoring were passed on the floor clearing the bills for consideration by the other body:
Healthcare Provider Choice of Payment. The House unanimously passed HB 818 by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville). The bill was amended in committee to remove language outside the intent of the bill and our thanks to Rep. Hawkins for working with us on the issue. As passed, health care providers will continue to be able to decide the type of payments they receive for services.
Financial Institution Tax Credit. The Senate passed SB 432 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell). Originally introduced to eliminate the tax credit, but the bill was amended and as passed, the state auditor will conduct an economic analysis of the financial institution tax credit including the change in state revenue, the cost to the state to administer the credit, the net changes in economic activity and net change in public benefit resulting from the credit. The report is due Dec. 1, 2022.
Power of Attorney. The House passed HB 897 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) that continues the significant work accomplished last session revising the state’s Power of Attorney statute. The revisions this year contain additional provisions as well as corrections and amendments to certain provisions previously enacted.
Business Court. The House passed HR 993 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Duluth). The resolution proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would establish a business court with state-wide jurisdiction. A state-wide business court would provide specialized resolution of complex business litigation matters. The concept was developed from years of work by interested business interests who felt establishing a business court would create a reliable and effective forum for litigants throughout the state. By removing complex, time-consuming business cases from the general docket, non-business cases should be resolved more efficiently
Consumer Credit Reporting Bureau Fees. The House passed HB 866 by Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) that 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 Senate passed SB 376 by Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) that contains similar provisions.
Banking Improvement Zone. The Senate passed SB 358 by Sen. Michael "Doc" Rhett (D-Marietta) that 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.
Trust Code Revisions. The House passed HB 121 that had previously been amended to include the provisions of HB 122 both by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and that are 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.
Agriculture Machinery/Equipment Sales and Use Tax Exemption. The House passed HB 886 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) that doubles the sales and use tax exemption from $2,500 to $5,000 for machinery and equipment used in the production of certain agriculture products and livestock.
Motor Vehicle Titles. The House passed 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.
Appraisal Management Companies. The House passed HB 775 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) that substantially revises the code as it relates to the regulation of appraisal management companies.
Homeowner/Condo Association – Fees. The House passed an amended version of 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.
Limited Credit Insurance Agency. The House passed HB 938 by Rep. Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville). The bill authorizes the creation of a new entity called a Limited Credit Insurance Agency designed to provide a licensing alternative to covered entities such as banks so that the agency will be licensed, negating the need for individuals to hold a limited credit insurance license from the Insurance Department.
Insurance Information Sharing Notices. The Senate passed SB 350 by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) that 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.
Broadband Access. Three bills were passed coming from recommendations made by special House and Senate committees charged with focusing on rural Georgia. GBA participated in hearings last summer supporting the committees’ work. The House passed HB 887 by Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) that would simplify state and local taxes and local franchise fees to make it easier to finance broadband projects. The Senate passed SB 232 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dawsonville) that, among other things, authorizes electric membership corporations to provide broadband access. The Senate also passed SB 426 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dawsonville) that outlines the rules local governments may enact related to restricting right-of-way access to broadband infrastructure.
A. Powell
J. Powell
Committees Considered Bills of Interest
With the passing of Crossover Day, the House and Senate are no longer under a time deadline to consider and report bills originated in their own body. Committees are now considering bills passed by the other body and two we are following were already the subject of hearings.
Self-settled Trusts. The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee amended with language requested by our members and reported HB 441 by Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem). The bill creates a new trust in Georgia that allows the creator of the trust to also be the beneficiary of the trust.
Administrative Procedures. A House Judiciary Subcommittee passed 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 stop rules promulgated by agencies covered by the Act.
New Bills Added to our Tracking List
We added the following bills to our tracking list this week:
Real Property Taxation. HR 1317 by Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough) would create a study committee on real property taxation.
Cyber Security. SR 929 by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) creates a study committee on cyber security.
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.