Jan. 31, 2020

General Assembly in Session Five Days This Week

Legislators returned to the Capitol this week following a week-long recess to recognize the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and then huddle over the state budget proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp. Most of the work this early in the session is with committees as they perfect legislation. Today marked the ninth day of their 40-day session.

GBA Priority Bill Moves Forward

The House Banks and Banking Committee chaired by Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia) reported the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance’s annual housekeeping bill, HB 781 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). Deputy Commissioner Bo Fears assisted in the presentation of the bill to the committee. The bill was developed in concert with those regulated by the department and we appreciate GBA’s Bank Counsel Section chaired by Virginia Harman of McRae, Smith, Peek, Harman, & Monroe, LLP in Rome for helping GBA in our review and providing input. Among the major provisions are those that would allow a de novo bank to pay a dividend before becoming cumulatively profitable in certain circumstances; allow the Department to waive director residency requirements; revise the requirements to acquire a trust company; clarify that representative offices may exercise the same powers as other bank offices; and add night depositories as an extension of a bank location. The bill was slightly amended in committee to clarify that the Department may waive the residency requirements of board members, but not the percentage of board members who must be U.S. citizens (75 percent). GBA supports as a priority bill of the session.
Williamson and Fears

Legislation Introduced This Week

Several bills were introduced this week that we’ve added to our monitoring list. We update the State Issues Page on our website daily, so be sure to check that page to follow issues of interest to you. Here is more information about the bills we added this week.
Lien Waivers. SB 315 by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) 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 bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee where a hearing is expected next week. GBA is monitoring.
Local Government Infrastructure Financing Authorities. SB 309 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) creates the Georgia Municipal and Local Government Infrastructure Finance Authority and the Georgia County and Local Government Infrastructure Finance Authority to facilitate the purchase or lease of infrastructure by participating local governments. The authorities would have broad powers including the ability to issue revenue bonds to finance infrastructure. The bill has been assigned to Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. GBA is monitoring with concerns about the potential to bypass local banks that currently participate in these projects.
Military Foreclosures. HB 776 by Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) would provide protections for military service members in the event of foreclosures or other proceedings to enforce secured obligations. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring with concerns about duplication and conflict with existing federal protections.
Hemp. HB 847 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) builds off legislation passed in 2019 setting up a regulatory structure for growing and processing hemp in order for the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s policies and procedures will be in compliance with federal law and regulations. The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Title Pawn. SB 329 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) 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 bill has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Homeowner Association Study Committee. HR 933 by Rep. William Boddie (D-East Point) 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. The bill has been assigned to the Special Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Cybersecurity Task Force. HB 862 by Rep. Dar’Shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) creates a cybersecurity task force to study and make recommendations in eight areas related to the security of connected computing devices. GBA is monitoring.
Fair Housing Discrimination. SB 286 by Sen. Tonya Anderson (D-Lithonia) among other things, prohibits lenders from discriminating in the making of loans secured by residential real property on the basis of hairstyles historically associated with race. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor 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.