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February 15, 2019

Legislature Moving Quickly Through Session

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Friday this week completing Day 16 of their 40-day session. Most of the activity is in committees where legislators perfect bills before reporting them for consideration on the floor. Next week the Legislature will recognize Monday as President’s Day and will return for legislative business Tuesday and be in session each day through Friday.

House Committee Reviews Housekeeping Bill

Led by Chairman Greg Morris (R-Vidalia), the House Banks and Banking Committee held a hearing Thursday on HB 185, the Banking Department’s annual housekeeping bill sponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). Of interest to bankers, the bill includes provisions to eliminate barriers to forming de novo banks, eliminate appropriated retained earnings references since they no longer affect legal lending limits, and authorize background checks for trust company directors and officers. The bill also contains provisions affecting other entities the Department regulates. GBA supports the legislation as introduced and a vote could be held in committee as early as next week.
Morris
Williamson

Other Banking-related Legislation Receiving Attention

A couple more issues we’re supporting or monitoring on behalf of our members received attention this week. Here’s an update on two:
  • Shared Deposits for Public Depositors. Negotiations continued this week among various stakeholders developing a draft bill that gives banks the ability to offer unlimited FDIC insurance to cover certain public deposits. Language is being added to give the State Depository Board the duty of approving the third parties such as StoneCastle Partners or Promontory Interfinancial Network that a number of our members already use to offer this service to private sector depositors. The legislation opens this type service to public sector depositors. Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) is introducing and GBA supports as one of our priority bills for the session.
  • SAFETY 21 Loan Program. HB 30 by Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) is the Fiscal Year 2019 Supplemental Appropriations Bill that contains an additional $10 million for the low interest loan program created to assist farmers and others suffering losses from Hurricane Michael. GBA supports.
  • Rural Development – Broadband. The House unanimously passed HB 23 by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) that allows Electric Membership Corporations and their affiliates to provide broadband services. The initiative is among the recommendations of the House Rural Development Council that GBA is supporting. The bill has been assigned in the Senate to the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
  • Rural Development – Broadband. The Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee held a hearing on and reported SB 17 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega). The bill would allow telephone cooperatives and their affiliates to provide broadband services. GBA supports.
  • Rural Development – Freight and Logistics. The Senate unanimously passed SR 19 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) would create the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics to make recommendations for a comprehensive strategic business plan to develop state-wide freight and logistics infrastructure with the intent of ensuring the state remains economically competitive. The bill has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee. GBA supports.
  • Banking Improvement Zone. The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee held a hearing and reported SB 20 by Sen. Michael Rhett (D-Marietta) that would provide an incentive for financial institutions to operate in underserved areas designated as Banking Improvement Zones by the Department of Community Affairs by allowing the local governmental entity to place deposits with a financial institution as long as the fixed rate of interest is at or below the institution’s posted two-year certificate of deposit rate. GBA is monitoring.
  • Income Tax – Hurricane Michael Relief. The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 105 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie). The bill would exempt from state income taxes federal disaster relief payments to victims of Hurricane Michael. GBA supports.
  • Payroll Methods. The House Industry and Labor Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 110 by Rep. Tom Kirby (R-Loganville). The bill would give employers the discretion to issue payroll for wages in the manner chosen by the employer. GBA is monitoring.
  • Prized Linked Savings Accounts. The House Banks and Banking Committee held a hearing on HB 193 by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) that authorizes banks and credit unions to offer a deposit account with a raffle component to encourage savings. The bill could be up for a vote in committee as early as next week. GBA supports.
  • Information Technology Employee – Covenants. A House Judiciary Subcommittee held hearings on HB 81 by Rep. Todd Jones (R-Cumming). The bill would prohibit restrictive covenants from being included in information technology employee contract agreements. GBA is monitoring.
  • Appraisal Management Companies. The House Regulated Industry Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 192 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell). The bill is a substantial revision to the code relating to the operation of Appraisal Management Companies. GBA is monitoring.
  • Electronic Filing – Courts. The Senate unanimously passed SB 38 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) that excludes certain filings such as those related to the enforcement of child support orders to be entered into the clerk of court’s electronic filing registry. GBA is monitoring.
  • Student Loan Defaults – Professional Licenses. The House Higher Education Committee held a hearing on and reported HB 42 by Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holy Springs). The bill would prohibit the state’s professional licensing boards from refusing to issue a license or suspending or revoking the license of a person who is a borrower in default under an educational loan issued through the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation or through a federal agency. Among other licensees, those for money transmitters, check cashers and mortgage brokers are included. GBA is monitoring.
Kennedy
Ralston
Houston
Gooch
Beach
Rhett
Watson
Kirby
Dunahoo
Jones
Powell
Ligon
Turner

Bills We’ve Added to our Tracking List This Week

We add bills daily that we’ll be tracking to the State Issues page on our website and include all the new bills in each week’s Legislative Update. Here’s a list of the bills we added this week:
  • Boat Titling. HB 314 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) creates a process by which boats and other watercraft will be titled. GBA supports.
  • Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry. HB 212 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn) exempts certain retailers of mobile homes and employees of residential contractors from registration under the state and national mortgage registration system. The bill has been assigned to the House Banks and Banking Committee. GBA is monitoring.
  • Hemp Farming. HB 213 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) establishes the framework for research, development, growing, licensing and regulating hemp production in Georgia. The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
  • Business Court. HB 239 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and SB 110 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) are similar bills implementing the statewide Business Court authorized by a statewide constitutional amendment passed in 2018. The bills have been assigned to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. GBA supports.
  • Recording Fees. HB 288 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), among other things, creates a flat filing fee for recording certain real estate and personal property with the clerk of superior court by raising the current base fee and eliminating the per page fee. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
  • Student Loan Defaults – Professional Licenses. SB 92, by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) prohibits the state’s professional licensing boards from refusing to issue a license or suspending or revoking the license of a person who is a borrower in default under an educational loan issued through the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation or through a federal agency. Among other licensees, those for money transmitters, check cashers and mortgage brokers are included. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee. GBA is monitoring.
  • Dedicated Taxes and Fees. HR 164 by Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) proposes an amendment to the Constitution so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by general law for the dedication of revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were imposed. The bill was assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee that held two hearings and reported the bill. GBA is monitoring.
  • Abandoned Motor Vehicles. HB 307 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) replaces the current process for disposing of abandoned motor vehicles in public rights of way with a new process that is intended to take into account any existing liens when the vehicles are sold and the proceeds escheated to the Revenue Department. GBA is monitoring
  • Rural Development Council. HR 214 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) reauthorizes the Rural Development Council for an additional two years. Recommendations from the Council’s first two years of work are being enacted into law. These next two years, all the legislators will continue looking for ways to support economic development and jobs for rural Georgia. GBA testified before the Council and supports this ongoing effort.
Stephens
Pirkle
Corbett
Efstration
Stone

Meet GBA's Bank Counsel Section Board of Directors

This talented group of lawyers gives freely of their time to help GBA review legislation, especially the annual Housekeeping bill. They also sponsor an annual conference and keep us apprised of important legal cases affecting the industry.
  • Cavan Perry, The Citizens Bank, Chair
  • Ginger Harman, McRae, Smith, Peek, Harman, & Monroe, LLP, Vice Chair
  • Jim Moore, Moore, Clarke, Duvall & Rodgers, P.C.
  • Allan Kamensky, Synovus Bank
  • Allie Armistead, United Bank
  • Jonathan Hightower, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP
  • John Willis, State Bank and Trust Company, a Division of Cadence Bank, N.A
  • Bob Berry, Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson & Davis, LLP
  • Brad Miller, United Community Bank
  • Reggie O'Shields, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
  • Mark Kanaly, Alston & Bird, LLP
  • Walt Jones, Balch & Bingham, LLP
  • Jim Wheeler, Fisher Broyles
  • James Stevens, Troutman Sanders LLP
  • Lisa Scheid, SunTrust Bank
  • Dan Brannan, James Bates Brannan Groover, LLP
  • Jon Green, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
  • Judy Newberry, Aldridge Pite, LLP
  • Nate Nolin, Bank of Early

GBA’s Advocacy Team at the Capitol

Led by GBA’s Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler, GBA will be 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..