Several Bills We’re Monitoring Received Committee or Floor Votes This Week
Committees are quickly completing work on bills moving through the process for the legislation to be scheduled for consideration by the full House or Senate. Several bills we’re monitoring received action this week.
Industrial Loan Supervision.
The House Banks and Banking Committee held hearings and reported SB 462
by Sen. John Kennedy
The bill transfers duties, powers, responsibilities and other authority
relative to industrial loans from the Industrial Loan Commissioner (who is
also the State Insurance Commissioner) to the Department of Banking and
Finance. The name of industrial loans is also being changed to installment
loans. The bill passed the House Rules Committee and the full House today.
It will need one more agreement in the Senate and then will be cleared for
the Governor’s signature.
The House passed SB 315
by Sen. Lindsey Tippins
(R-Marietta), a bill that intends to address Court of Appeals decisions involving waivers of liens and notices of nonpayment in contractor-subcontractor relationships. As background, the Courts reversed the customary belief that not perfecting a lien waiver waived a contractor’s lien rights but did not affect the contractor’s right to bring a subsequent breach of contract action. The proposed bill reverses the Court of Appeals decisions and codifies the industry’s prior understanding. If passed, contractors may bring a breach of contract action (usually for non-payment) even if they do not perfect their lien rights. The bill also adds an additional 30 days for the contractor to perfect their lien to bring the time to 90 days. The House vote clears the bill for the Governor’s signature.
The Senate Insurance Committee used a House-passed bill, HB 167
by Rep. Darlene Taylor
(R-Bainbridge), to substitute language providing businesses a range of protections as they reopen. Sen. John Kennedy
is handling the bill in the Senate and GBA supports this effort. The bill was reported out of committee and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate Public Safety Committee also used a House-passed bill to add COVID immunity language. That bill, HB 216
by Rep. Teri Anulewicz
(D-Smyrna) as now amended, is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. John Albers
(R-Roswell) and is also pending in the Senate Rules Committee.
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings and reported SB 443
by Sen. Jesse Stone
(R-Waynesboro). The bill is a substantial revision to the current garnishment statute with one of the more significant provisions being to extend Georgia’s continuing garnishments from six months to three years. The bill is pending in the House Rules Committee.
Income Tax - Hurricane Michael Relief.
The Senate agreed to a House amendment to 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. The Senate vote clears the bill for the Governor’s signature. The bill now goes back to the House to consider an amendment made in the Senate.
The Senate 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.
The Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing and reported HB 847
by Rep. John Corbett
(R-Lake Park). The legislation builds off a bill passed in 2019 setting up a regulatory structure for growing and processing hemp. The legislation is necessary so that the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s policies and procedures will comply with federal law and regulations.
Right to Farm.
The Senate passed HB 545
by Rep. Tom McCall
(R-Elberton), a bill that seeks to strengthen and protect farmers from loopholes in the existing right to farm statute. Prior to passage, the Sen. Jesse Stone
successfully offered an amendment that removed the two-year window from the farm’s establishment date for nuisance suits to be brought. The amendment significantly weakened the bill from the farmer’s perspective and those advocating for the bill are considering their options going forward. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. John Wilkinson
Criminal Record Restriction.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing and reported SB 288
by Sen. Tonya Anderson
(D-Lithonia), a bill that allows certain criminal history to be restricted in limited circumstances. Commonly called the “second chances act, the bill contains provisions allowing financial institutions to retain the ability to access records as authorized by federal laws. The bill is pending in the House Rules Committee.
Property Owners’ Association.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing, amended and reported SB 442
by Rep. William Ligon
(R-Brunswick). The bill prohibits amendments to property owners' association instruments and covenants that restrict rental of residential lots and plots. The bill is pending in the House Rules Committee.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing and reported HB 865
by Rep. Mitchell Scoggins
(R-Cartersville). The bill is a substantial rewrite of the Probate Code that was last revised in 1999. The House had previously added the language from HB 1047
by Rep. Matt Hatchett
(R-Dublin) related to modifying or terminating a noncharitable irrevocable trust. The bill is now pending in the Senate Rules Committee.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing and reported HB 968
by Sen. John Kennedy
. The bill would overturn Court of Appeals decisions that ensure existing warranties in contracts would remain in effect. The bill is now pending in the House Rules Committee.
Factory Built Buildings and Residential Units.
The Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a hearing and reported HB 1008
by Rep. Joe Campbell
(R-Camilla). The bill removes the requirement that factory-built buildings be permanently attached to a metal chassis. The bill is now pending in the Senate Rules Committee.
Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions.
A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee considered but took no further action on SB 302
by Sen. John Albers
(R-Roswell). The bill provides for independent economic analyses to be procured by the Office of Planning and Budget for certain tax benefits upon request by the chairpersons of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee. As most of the conversation in committee has been around various state tax credits, GBA has provided Sen. Albers an analysis of the Bank Tax Credit developed by GBA’s Tax Advisory Committee explaining the background of the credit and that it is neither an incentive nor transferable credit. We also added to our tracking list this week, HB 1035
by Rep. Chuck Martin
(R-Alpharetta) that related to certain tax exemptions for food banks and other credits. The Senate Finance Committee used that bill to substitute a range of tax credits for possible elimination. While the Bank Tax Credit was not among the list of the credits affected, we will follow the bill closely. The committee reported the bill which is now pending in the Senate Rules Committee.
Cyberbreach Safe Harbor.
The House Judiciary Committee considered but took no action on SB 493
by Sen. Bruce Thompson
(R- White). The bill establishes a legal safe harbor which may be pled as an affirmative defense to a cause of action sounding in tort that alleges or relates to the failure to implement reasonable cybersecurity controls, resulting in a data breach of private information covering entities that implement a cybersecurity program that substantially complies with requirements outlined in the bill or that implement a cybersecurity program through the use of an appropriately credentialed independent security professional.