Feb. 11, 2022

GBA Priority Bills Pass House

GBA’s Bank Counsel Section Board of Directors worked closely with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance crafting the two bills that became the Department’s legislative package for the 2022 session described more fully below. Both bills passed the House this past Monday. Today, legislators completed Day 15 of their 40-day session. The General Assembly will be in session all next week with Wednesday reserved for committee meetings.
DBF Housekeeping. HB 891 was introduced by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) at the request of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. He did a nice job presenting the bill on the floor and it passed unanimously. The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee chaired by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newman) is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill next Thursday. The bill contains provisions to streamline and simplify existing statutes to make the Department’s regulations more efficient and ease the regulatory burden on financial institutions. The bill contains several changes related to acquisitions and changes in control involving banks and bank holding companies and the related application processes. GBA supports the bill as one of our two priority bills for the session.
LIBOR Fix. Rep. Williamson also introduced HB 899 at the request of the Department of Banking and Finance to address potential issues as LIBOR is phased out. The bill is patterned after legislation passed last year by the New York state legislature to authorize fall back rate language for legacy contracts referencing LIBOR. It would be preferable for Congress to act creating a national fallback regime, and Members of Congress are working on a federal approach. In an interview with a banking trade publication this week, Rep. Williamson captured well the reasons we are moving forward with our own legislation should the federal legislation stall. He said the Georgia bill is “a fallback for the fallback in case the [federal] government doesn’t get its act together. Nobody wants to have the potential for a disaster clogging the courts and hurting borrowers and lenders alike.” The bill passed the House unanimously and Rep. Williamson will present the bill to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee next Thursday. GBA supports the legislation as one of our two priority bills for the session.
Williamson
Brass

Other Action This Week

Committees continue to work on legislation as it makes its way to the floor. Following are few of the bills we engaged on this week that are of interest to banking.
Computer Data Privacy. We had several members raise concerns about language contained in a computer data privacy bill we mentioned in last week’s Legislative Update. SB 394 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) contains numerous protections and provisions intended to protect the privacy of the personal information of consumers. There are a variety of restrictions on collecting and selling various personal information. We have joined a chorus of others expressing opposition to the bill in its current form.

Criminal History Records. The Senate passed SB 257 by Sen. Tonya Anderson (D-Lithonia). The bill relates to the Georgia Crime Information Center and expands the criminal history records restrictions for certain persons cited with or convicted of certain criminal offenses. We are working with the author on language to exempt financial institutions subject to the FDI Act’s requirement under Section 19 to conduct background checks on potential employees. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

Time-Share Foreclosures. We also mentioned last week that a time-share foreclosure bill, HB 1088, had been introduced by Rep. Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville). The bill provides for a nonjudicial foreclosure process of time-share estates. Our thanks to Rep. Gunter for accepting some language we offered to help perfect the bill as it moves through the House Judiciary Committee.
Deed Filings. HB 974 by Rep. Joseph Gullett (R-Acworth) was amended and reported out of the House Judiciary Committee. The bill requires the electronic filing of deeds, states that the inclusion of an incorrect tax parcel I.D. number or the absence of such number does not invalidate a deed if otherwise properly filed, and requires certain information to be included on the first page of security deed. The amendment changes the original intent of the bill and allows for mailed/paper deeds. The legislation was introduced at the request of the clerks of court association, and the clerks are assessing the effect of the amendment. GBA is monitoring.
Computer Equipment Tax Exemption. HB 1223 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) extends the sunset date for a sales tax exemption for the sale or lease of computer equipment to be incorporated into facilities of high technology companies to Dec. 31, 2023. The bill was reported from the House Ways & Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Dolezal
Gunter
Gullett
Martin

New Legislation Being Tracked This Week

The State Issues page of GBA’s website is updated daily while the Legislature is in session. This week we added the following bills to our tracking list:
Lien Filings. HB 1221 by Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Cartersville) requires lien filings of $10,000 and less to include certain additional documentation. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Political Subdivision Loans. HR 732 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) proposes a constitutional amendment providing that temporary loans for counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions are payable by the end of the borrowing local government’s fiscal year, rather than by the end of the calendar year. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Mortgage Broker/Lender Licensing. SB 470 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) relates to the licensing of mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers to, among other things, provide for different categories of felony convictions for purposes of investigations of mortgage loan originator applicants. The bill is pending in the Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee.
Tax Levy Sales. SB 471 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) authorizes online public sales under tax levies and executions. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Low-Income Building Projects. HR 756 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) proposes a constitutional amendment to allow qualified low-income building projects to be classified as a separate class of property for ad valorem tax purposes allowing such property to be assessed at different rates, by different methods and on different assessment dates. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Computer Equipment Sales Tax Exemption. HB 1291 by Rep. Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain) revises the spending threshold and extends the sunset date for a sales tax exemption for the sale or lease of computer equipment to be incorporated into the facilities of high-technology companies. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Mobile Homes – Derelict Notices. HB 1294 by John Corbett (R-Lake Park) provides for the timing of sending the notice by a landowner when a mobile home has been determined to be derelict. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Trusts and Estates – Abandoned Spouse. HB 1296 by Rep. Gregg Kennard (D-Lawrenceville) relates to wills, trusts and administration of estates and prohibits inheritance by an abandoning spouse; provides that an abandoning spouse shall be treated as having predeceased the descendent for purposes of distribution of the decedent’s property and in regard to appointment as a personal representative or trustee. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.

Freedom to Farm. HB 1150 by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella) seeks to provide protection to farmers from frivolous and nuisance lawsuits. The bill is pending in the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.

Gambill
Robertson
Leverett
Smith
Corbett
Kennard

GBA’s Advocacy Team at the Capitol

Led by GBA’s Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler, GBA is at the Capitol advocating on behalf of our members. Also, on the advocacy team 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.