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March 8, 2019   

General Assembly Passes Crossover Day

Thursday was a long day for legislators as they worked through long lists of bills on the House and Senate calendars getting through what’s called Crossover Day. That day is the deadline for a bill to pass its body of origin (either the House or Senate) in order to be considered by the other body as a standalone bill. GBA’s three priority bills fortunately had already passed and are set for action in committees. Next week the General Assembly will be in session Monday through Thursday.

Shared Deposit Bill Passes Senate

In a unanimous vote, the Senate passed SB 157 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon). The bill, a GBA priority for the session, authorizes banks to offer multi-millions of FDIC insurance coverage to public depositors through an optional shared deposit program. The intent of the legislation is to give banks a way to avoid tying up securities collateralizing a public deposit. The State Depository Board will establish policies and procedures related to the approval of third-party service providers offering this product through banks. The Board will also establish procedures for the ongoing monitoring of participation in deposit placement programs. That rulemaking is due by the end of this year assuming the bill passes as expected. The State Treasurer serves as the administrative officer for that Board.

Committee and Floor Action

A number of other bills we’re monitoring received consideration in committee or were subject to floor votes this week. Among those of most interest to banking are:
  • Banking Department Housekeeping Bill. HB 185, the Banking Department’s annual housekeeping bill sponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), is a GBA priority bill. The legislation is pending in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and a hearing was announced for next week. 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.

  • Statute of Frauds. SB 37 by Senate Banking and Financial Institutions chairman William Ligon (R-Brunswick) is a GBA priority bill. The legislation 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. The bill passed the Senate last week and was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Hearings will initially be held in subcommittee and our thanks to Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) who has agreed to be the House sponsor. The legislation addresses a Court of Appeals decision that allowed an oral rescission of a loan guaranty even though the document stated a rescission would be in writing.

  • P.A.C.E. Loans. The Senate amended at GBA’s recommendation SB 162 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) related to financing broadband services to remove language added in committee prohibiting lenders from accelerating loans under certain circumstances. GBA is monitoring and may ask for additional changes in the House.

  • Boat Titling. The House passed HB 314 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah). The bill creates a process by which boats and other watercraft will be titled. GBA supports.

  • Business Court. The House passed HB 239 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and the Senate passed SB 110 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro). The bills offer different approaches implementing the statewide Business Court authorized by a constitutional amendment that passed in 2018. GBA supports the overall concept.

  • Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry. The House passed HB 212 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn). The bill exempts certain retailers of mobile homes from registration under the state and national mortgage registration system. GBA is monitoring.

  • 529 Savings Trust Accounts. The House 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. GBA is monitoring.

  • Title Insurance. The Senate passed SB 202 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick). The bill allows title insurance to be procured on a lender's security interest in personal property taken by the lender as collateral for a loan. GBA is monitoring.

  • Timber Tax Credits. The House 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. GBA is monitoring.

  • Self-settled Spendthrift Trust. The Senate passed an amended version of SB 186 by Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens). The bill creates a new trust in Georgia that allows the creator of the trust to also be the beneficiary of the trust. The amendment in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee added the division of marital assets to the list of exemptions. GBA is monitoring.

  • Recording Fees. The House 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 most of the per page fees. GBA is monitoring.

  • Funeral Expenses for Intestate Depositors. The House passed HB 490 by Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth). The bill increases the amount and shortens the time financial institutions are required to release deposits upon receipt of a proper affidavit to pay claimants for funeral expenses or expenses of last illness. GBA is monitoring.

  • Homeowner/Property Owner Association Statement of Accounts. The Senate tabled SB 178 by Rep. P.K. Martin, IV (R-Lawrenceville). The bill would establish a statutory statement of accounts to be used by authorized parties representing homeowner or property owner associations to respond to requests for information needed by mortgage lenders to consider a loan request, including outstanding fees owed by property owners.

  • Student Loan Defaults – Professional Licenses. The Senate passed SB 92 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) would prohibit a professional licensing board from revoking licenses due solely to a student loan default. GBA is monitoring.

  • Writ of Possession. The House passed HB 492 by Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) requires applications for execution of a writ of possession in dispossessory proceedings be made within 30 days of the issuance of the writ unless good cause is shown. GBA is monitoring.

  • Peer-to-Peer Car-Sharing. The House passed HB 337 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire). The bill creates a regulatory structure for vehicle-sharing programs that includes a registration process, insurance mandates and outlines liability for the programs and owners of the vehicles. GBA is monitoring.

  • Low THC Oil Production. The House passed HB 324 by Rep. Micah Gravley (R-Douglasville) that provides for the production, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil. GBA is monitoring.

  • Innovation and Emerging Technologies Study Committee. The Senate passed SR 275 by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) to create a committee to undertake a study of the conditions, needs, issues, and problems of emerging technology entities in Georgia. GBA is monitoring.

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. In addition to those mentioned above, here’s a list of the bills we added this week:
  • Banking Improvement Zone. HB 552 by Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) provides 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. The bill was assigned to the House Banks and Banking Committee. GBA is monitoring.

  • Innovation and Emerging Technologies Joint Study Committee. HR 408 by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) creates a joint study committee of the House and Senate and others to undertake a study of the conditions, needs, issues, and problems of emerging technology entities in Georgia. The bill was assigned to the House Science and Technology Committee. GBA is monitoring.

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..