Feb. 25, 2022

General Assembly Marks Halfway Point

Legislators gathered at the State Capitol this week for two legislative days and devoted another day to committee work. At the close of Thursday’s session, the Legislature had completed 20 days of the 40-day session. The pace of activity is quickening as there are only seven legislative days left on their calendar before Crossover Day slated for March 15. While there are exceptions related to the amendment process, most bills that do not pass the body where they were originally introduced by Crossover Day are usually considered to be ineligible for consideration by the other body. The General Assembly will be in session Monday through Friday next week with Wednesday reserved as a committee workday.

GBA Monitored Bills Get Attention

The list of bills we’re monitoring continues to grow and a number we’re tracking received attention this week.
Remote Online Notary. HB 334 by Rep. Joseph Gullett (R-Dallas) creates additional ways to notarize documents by electronic means, and GBA is working with a coalition of interested parties who also support the bill. The House and Senate passed different versions of the bill in the 2021 session and this week, the House insisted on their language. Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) appointed Rep. Gullett, Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and Rep. Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville) as the House conferees. Next up will be the Senate decision on whether and whom to appoint as conferees.
Agriculture & Rural Jobs. The House passed HB 500 by Rep. James Burchett (R-Waycross). The bill extends the state’s Agriculture and Rural Jobs Act and provides for a second round of funding. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Statute of Frauds. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing but took no further action on SB 485 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Alpharetta). The bill relates to the Statute of Frauds and provides that agreements with value in excess of $10,000 shall be in writing. GBA is monitoring.
Unclaimed Property. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing and reported HB 1352 by Rep. Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain). The bill relates to the disposition of unclaimed property making significant additions and rewriting existing unclaimed property laws, including how wills found in safe deposit boxes are to be handled. GBA is monitoring.
Time-share Foreclosures. The House passed HB 1088 by Rep. Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville). The bill provides for a nonjudicial foreclosure process of time-share estates. Our thanks to Rep. Gunter for incorporating GBA recommended language in his bill to recognize the position of the lienholder. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 493 by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA will continue to monitor.
Gullett
Ralston
Efstration
Gunter
Burchett
Dolezal
Smith
Mullis
Mobile Homes – Derelict Notices. The House Rules Committee has scheduled a floor vote Monday on HB 1294 by John Corbett (R-Lake Park). The bill provides for the timing of sending the notice by a landowner when a mobile home has been determined to be derelict. GBA is monitoring.
Timber Ad Valorem Taxation. The House Ways and Means Committee reported HB 997 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie). The bill would exempt timber equipment and timber products held by timber producers from ad valorem taxes. GBA is monitoring.
Timber Ad Valorem Taxation – Timing. The House Ways and Means Committee reported HR 686 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie). The bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would provide for standing timber ad valorem tax assessment to occur after harvest. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credits for Individual Taxpayers. The House Ways and Means Committee reported HB 1302 by Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville). The bill provides for a one-time tax credit for individual taxpayers who filed income tax returns for the 2020 and 2021 taxable years. Rep. Bonner is one of Gov. Kemp’s floor leaders and introduced the bill at the Governor’s request. GBA is monitoring.
Annual IRS Update. The House passed HB 1320 by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin). The bill is the annual update to sync the state’s tax codes with tax changes made at the federal level. The bill is expected to be assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Levy Sales. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported SB 471 by Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) that authorizes online public sales under tax levies and executions. GBA is monitoring.
Corporate Income Tax Filings. The House Ways and Means Committee reported HB 1058 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). The bill removes the requirement that affiliated corporations file separate state income tax returns unless the Department of Revenue has requested or preapproved the filing of consolidated returns. GBA is monitoring.
Credit Repair Organizations. The Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing and reported SB 371 by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry). The bill allows for-profit credit repair organizations to operate in Georgia. GBA is monitoring.
Legal Notices. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 1388 by Rep. James Burchett (R-Waycross). The bill provides an alternative procedure for the designation of the official legal organ for various notices. GBA is monitoring.
Property Owner Assessments. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing but took no further action on SB 154 by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta). The bill would place a cap on property owner's association assessments. GBA is monitoring.
Withholding – Right of Action. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing and reported HB 1377 by Rep. James Burchett (R-Waycross). The bill grants a private right of action to any employee when the employer is not properly withholding on their wages. GBA is monitoring.
Ad Valorem Tax – Income Building Projects. A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HR 756 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton). The bill proposes a Constitutional Amendment to allow low-income building projects to be classified as a separate class of property for ad valorem tax purposes. GBA is monitoring.

Freedom to Farm. The House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing and reported HB 1150 by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella). The bill seeks to provide protection to farmers from frivolous and nuisance lawsuits. GBA is monitoring.

Corbett
Watson
Bonner
Knight
Robertson
Williamson
Walker
James
Leverett

New Bills GBA is Monitoring

Each day we add new bills affecting banking to our tracking list. All the bills we’re monitoring can be found on the State Issues page of the GBA website. Following are the bills added this week.
PACE Loans. HB 1413 by Rep. Trey Rhodes (R-Greensboro) authorizes local governments to establish and adopt commercial property assessed clean energy and storm resiliency (C-PACER) programs. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. Because these loans would be given lien priority over existing loans in a foreclosure, GBA has opposed similar legislation in previous sessions. GBA has met with Rep. Rhodes to express our concerns.
Appraisal Standards - Insurance. HB 1310 by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gillsville) requires an appraisal provision in residential and commercial fire and extended coverage insurance policies and provides guidelines for appraising the amount of loss. The bill is pending in the House Insurance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Mobile Homes. HB 1334 by Rep. Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville) includes tiny homes on wheels in the definition of mobile homes and provides that mobile homes shall be returned for taxation primarily in the county where they are functionally located. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Utility Bonds. SB 421 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) creates the Georgia Utility Rate Reduction Act (GURRA) that, among other things, allows utility companies to issue GURRA bonds that would be repaid by a charge added to utility customers’ bills. The bill authorizes such bonds as legal investments for banks and trust companies and is pending in the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committees. GBA is monitoring with concern related to lien priority language in the bill.
Trusts & Estates – Forfeiture of Interest. SB 543 by Sen. Sonya Halpern (R-Atlanta) relates to wills, trusts and administration of estates and among other things, provides for the forfeiture of an intestate share of an estate under certain circumstances. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Eminent Domain. SB 531 by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) relates to eminent domain and provides for an alternative process for counties, municipalities, or consolidated government to condemn certain blighted properties. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Income Tax Credits – Revitalization Zones. HB 1380 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) revises various provisions related to the sunset and automatic repeal of income tax credits for revitalization zones. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Sex Discrimination. HB 1389 by Rep. Teri Anulewicz (R-Smyrna) would enact the “Georgia Safe Workplaces Act” relating to sex discrimination in employment. The bill is pending in the House Industry and Labor Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Rhodes
Dunahoo
Hufstetler
Halpern
Jackson
Anulewicz

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.