Committees Consider Bills of Interest
In addition to the Banking Department’s housekeeping bill mentioned above, several bills we’ve been following were the subject of hearings this week:
Electronic and Remote Online Notarization.
A House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing on HB 785
by Rep. Joseph Gullett
(R-Dallas) that creates additional ways to notarize documents by electronic means. The Georgia Superior Courts Clerks Authority would be empowered to develop and maintain rules and standards. The bill is a unanimous recommendation of the Georgians First Commission and GBA supports the concept. At the hearing, closing attorneys opposed the legislation and title attorneys recommended significant changes to the bill. As this was the first hearing on the bill, subcommittee chairman Andy Welch
(R-McDonough) asked the parties to try and work out a compromise, and the author is continuing to work on options.
The House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing and reported HB 897
by Rep. James Burchett
(R-Waycross). The bill requires the State Forestry Commission to develop a website to provide a state-wide notification platform for persons or firms harvesting standing timber to utilize as a uniform system of notification to local governing authorities. GBA is monitoring.
Income Tax - Hurricane Michael Relief.
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing and reported HB 105
by Rep. Sam Watson
(R-Moultrie). The bill exempts certain federal disaster relief payments to victims of Hurricane Michael from state income taxes. GBA is monitoring.
The House Special Rules Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HR 875
by Rep. Dar’Shun Kendrick
(D-Lithonia). The resolution would create the House Study Committee on Financing Options for Cannabis-based Businesses. GBA is monitoring
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on SB 329
by Sen. Randy Robertson
(R-Cataula). The bill provides for the regulation of the title pawn industry and places oversight in the Department of Banking and Finance. The lenders are being authorized to make loans up to $3,000 for three years or less with an APR not to exceed 36%. The Department is authorized to charge fees to cover the cost of supervision. Banks are specifically exempted. The committee has scheduled another hearing on the bill this coming Monday. GBA is monitoring.
Homeowner Association Study Committee.
The House Special Rules Committee held a hearing and reported HR 933
by Rep. William Boddie
(D-East Point). The resolution creates a committee to study how homeowners’, condominium owners’ and similar community associations could be better organized to implement requirements and procedures for turnover and transition from declarants, developers or management companies. GBA is monitoring.
Stored Value Cards.
The House Judiciary Non-civil Subcommittee held a hearing and reported to the full committee HB 488
by Rep. Martin Momtahan
(R-Dallas). The bill establishes a process intended to prevent the use of stored value cards to commit organized retail crime. GBA is monitoring.
Cybersecurity Study Committee.
The House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Committee held a hearing and reported HR 1093
by Rep. Don Parsons
(R-Marietta), a resolution to create a committee to better understand whether additional security requirements for privacy protection and increased investments in better internet-of-things related security measures should be considered. GBA is monitoring.
The Senate Rules Committee reported SR 793
by Sen. Brandon Beach
(R-Alpharetta) that creates a joint House-Senate Study Committee on private financing of infrastructure projects.
Tort Reform. A subcommittee of the Senate Insurance Committee held a hearing on SB 415 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), and in a subsequent meeting reported the bill to the full committee. This is a comprehensive bill to streamline the process of litigation and reduce costs for Georgia's industries, small businesses and citizens. Bill Custer, a partner with our associate member law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, testified giving the committee examples of litigation that the bill is intended to address. GBA supports.