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March 29, 2019

Legislators Have One Day Remaining for 2019 Session

The Georgia General Assembly was in session this week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday used as a committee workday. Today legislators completed day 39 of their 40-day session and are planning to complete the first year of their biennial on April 2. See below for information about GBA’s two remaining priority bills that are on the way to the Governor for signature. GBA’s third priority bill was the Banking Department's annual Housekeeping bill, and it passed last week and is already awaiting the Governor’s signature. After the General Assembly adjourns next week, we’ll prepare a summary edition of the Legislative Update recapping all the action this session.

GBA Priority Bills Ready for Governor’s Signature

Kennedy and Washburn
Shared Deposits. We were delighted to see the House give final passage to one of GBA’s priority bills this week. The vote was unanimous and their action clears the bill for the Governor Brian Kemp’s signature. The bill, SB 157 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon), authorizes banks to participate in an optional shared deposit program as a way to avoid collateralizing deposits. Our thanks to Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Milledgeville) for ably handling the bill on the floor as the House sponsor.
Ligon and Rich
Statute of Frauds. The House passed another of GBA’s priority bills this week and the Senate unanimously agreed to slight amendments made by the House Judiciary Committee thereby clearing the legislation for the Governor's consideration. The bill, SB 37 by Senate Banking and Financial Institutions chairman William Ligon (R-Brunswick), clarifies that an agreement to modify, alter, cancel, repeal, revoke, release, or rescind a promise, agreement, contract, or commitment that is subject to the statute of frauds shall itself be in writing and subject to the statute of frauds. Our thanks to Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) who ably handled the bill on the floor as the House sponsor.

Committee and Floor Action on Other Legislation We’re Monitoring

A number of other bills we’re monitoring received consideration this week. Among those of most interest to bankers are:
  • Business Court. The House passed an amended version of SB 110 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro). The bill implements the statewide Business Court authorized by a constitutional amendment that passed in 2018 which GBA supported. The bill is now in a conference committee and awaiting further action.

  • Bank Tax Credit. The House Ways passed a substantially amended SB 120 Sen. John Albers (R-Alpharetta). The bill was originally designed to study each of Georgia’s tax credits including the bank tax credit. As amended, tax credits will be studied upon the request of the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. GBA’s Tax Advisory Committee has prepared a white paper explaining the need for the bank tax credit and we are monitoring.

  • Boat Titling. The Senate passed a slightly amended version of HB 314 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah). The bill creates a process by which boats and other watercraft will be titled. The bill is awaiting final action. GBA supports.

  • Prized Linked Savings Accounts. The Senate passed HB 193 by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville). The bill authorizes banks and credit unions to offer a deposit account with a raffle component to encourage savings. The bill is eligible for consideration by the Governor. GBA supports.

  • Rural Development – Broadband. The House passed SB 2 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega). The bill allows Electric Membership Corporations and their affiliates and any other existing electric easements to be used to provide or expand broadband services. The bill is awaiting final action. GBA supports as part of the package of bills introduced to help rural Georgia.

  • 529 Savings Trust Accounts. The Senate passed HB 266 by Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville). The bill doubles the state income tax deduction for contributions to Georgia’s 529 educational savings trust accounts. The bill is eligible for consideration by the Governor. GBA monitored.

  • Recording Fees. The Senate passed HB 288 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell). Among other things, the bill 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 is eligible for consideration by the Governor. GBA monitored.

  • Hemp Farming. The Senate and House passed HB 213 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park). The bill establishes the framework for research, development, growing, licensing and regulating hemp production in Georgia as prescribed by the Federal Farm Bill that was enacted in 2018. The bill is eligible for consideration by the Governor. GBA monitored.

  • Timber Tax Credits. The Senate amended and passed HB 446 by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin) relating to income tax credits for timber producers incurring losses from Hurricane Michael, so as to clarify that certain income tax credits that have been transferred shall not be refundable to the transferee and shall not be eligible for transfer. The bill is awaiting final action. GBA is monitoring.

  • Short-term Rentals. The House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee amended SB 162 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) to strip the language related to PACE loans and the bill now states that a local government may regulate the occupancy or rental of residences when any such occupancy or rental is for a fee and is for less than 30 consecutive days; provided, however, that such regulations shall not completely prohibit all such occupancies or rentals within the local government's jurisdiction. GBA is monitoring.

  • Low THC Oil. The Senate passed an amended version of HB 324 by Rep. Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville). The bill provides for the production, manufacturing and dispensing of low THC oil. The bill is now in a conference committee awaiting further action. GBA is monitoring.

  • Payroll Methods. The House Industry and Labor Committee added the language from HB 110 by Rep. Tom Kirby (R-Loganville) to another bill, HB 373, which passed the Senate this week and is awaiting further action by the House. The bill would give employers the discretion to issue payroll for wages in the manner chosen by the employer. GBA is monitoring.

Bills on GBA’s Tracking List

We added bills throughout the session that we are tracking to the State Issues page on our website. We’ve added a couple new bills to our tracking list this week.
  • Property Tax ID Numbers. HB 694 by Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) requires certain real estate transaction recordings contain property tax identifying numbers. The bill was introduced and passed the House this week.

  • Gross Receipts. HB 715 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) removes certain references to gross receipts in the tax code.

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..