Feb. 4, 2022

General Assembly Completes Day 11

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Tuesday through Thursday this week, completing Day 11 of their 40-Day session. Legislators will be in session Monday through Friday next week with Wednesday being reserved as a committee workday.

GBA Priority and Supported Bills Set for Floor Vote

This week House Banks and Banking Committee Chairman Noel Williams (R-Cordele) presided over his first committee meeting as chairman, and GBA’s two priority bills were the focus. The bills, HB 891 and HB 899, were presented by the author Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), who was assisted with questions from committee members by Banking Department counsel Bo Fears. HB 899 authorizes fallback rate replacement language for LIBOR cessation. HB 891 contains several changes related to acquisitions and changes in control involving banks and bank holding companies and the related application processes. The House Rules Committee chaired by Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) has scheduled both bills for floor action Monday.
Also scheduled for floor action Monday is GBA-supported legislation HB 961, by House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) related to apportionment of damages. The legislation addresses a recent Georgia Supreme Court decision holding that apportionment of damages does not apply when there is only one named defendant. The legislation tracks the solution the Court suggested to fix the original Act adopted in 2005 that replaced the state’s joint and several liability rules with a fairer comparative fault rule where damages were apportioned among all responsible parties.

Committees Considered Other Bills of Interest to Bankers

The early weeks of each session are when most of the work on legislation takes place at the subcommittee or full committee levels. Legislators work hard to perfect their bills to avoid having to amend them on the floor. The House and Senate take the necessary time to consider bills originated by the other body and bills are often amended throughout the process. Here at GBA, we stay on top of legislation of interest to bankers, and our advocacy team serves as a resource to legislators who sponsor bills and to those who have questions about them. Following are examples of bills we’re following that saw committee action this week.
Deed Filing. A House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 974 by Rep. Joseph Gullett (R-Acworth). 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. GBA is monitoring.
Solicitations. The Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee held hearings and reported two bills sponsored by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia). SB 363 relates to written solicitations for corporate filings to add employment or labor posters or notices to the items that must be identified as solicitations and specifically allows class action lawsuits for a violation of these provisions. SB 364 allows class action lawsuits for damages against certain persons violating provisions relating to telephone solicitations. GBA is monitoring.
GAP Insurance. The House Insurance Committee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 733 by Rep. Tyler Smith (R-Bremen). The bill revises the definition of a guaranteed asset protection waiver to allow a waiver contract to be issued with or without a fee. The waiver may also provide, with or without a separate charge, a benefit that waives an amount, or provides a borrower with a credit, toward the purchase of a replacement vehicle. GBA is monitoring.
Credit Repair. The Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing but took no further action on SB 371 by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry). The bill authorizes for-profit credit repair organizations to operate in Georgia. GBA is monitoring.
Joint Development Authorities. The House Economic Development Committee held a hearing, amended, and reported HB 1044 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn). The bill creates joint development authorities and allows for job tax credits within certain parameters. GBA is monitoring.
Time-Share Foreclosures. A House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 1088 by Rep. Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville). The bill provides for a nonjudicial foreclosure process of time-share estates. GBA is monitoring.
Criminal History Records. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing, amended, and reported 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. GBA is monitoring.

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:
Residential Rentals. HB 1093 by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) prohibits local governments from restricting residential dwellings from being rented. The bill is pending in House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Corporate Income Tax Filings. HB 1058 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) 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. The bill is pending in the House Ways & Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Legal Tender. HB 1152 by Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta) requires a merchant to accept cash as legal tender for payment for goods and services and prohibits discrimination against a cash buyer by requiring the buyer to use credit to make a purchase. The bill is pending in the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Dispossessory Proceedings. HB 1149 by Rep. Rhonda Burnough (D-Riverdale) would enact the Georgia Evictions Records Restriction Act to provide for certain records of dispossessory actions be sealed from the public, including a onetime sealing of such records during a public health emergency when nonpayment was caused by uncontrolled loss of income. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring. SB 439 by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) would allow owners of property that is in dispossessory proceedings to be represented at such proceedings by an agent, by an attorney in fact, or by an attorney at law, in addition to representing themselves. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Manufactured Housing. SB 445 by Sen. Max Burns (R-Sylvania) revises civil penalties that may be assessed for violations of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 by removing a cap on the civil penalties. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Impact Fees. HB 1130 by Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) authorizes development impact fees for education to be imposed by local school boards in high growth local school systems. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Employment Practices. HB 1177 by Rep. Debra Bazemore (D-South Fulton) prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information in the hiring process; requires employers to post hourly or compensation pay ranges and the general benefits to be offered for all open positions; and requires employers to announce all promotion opportunities to all employees before such promotion is completed. The bill is pending in the House Industry and Labor Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Authority Governance. HB 1181 by Rep. Derrick Jackson (D-Tyrone) prohibits the directors of development authorities appointed by the governing authority of a county or municipality from serving as Chairperson or CEO of the development authority; and requires county development authorities of “massively municipalized counties” (any county where two or more municipalities cover 95% or more of the land area in the county) to obtain the approval to acquire properties, undertake projects or grant tax abatements from the school systems and municipalities in which any portion of the property is located. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Exemptions – Data Center Equipment. HB 1187 by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele) extends the sales and use tax exemption for certain high technology data center equipment until the year 2038. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credits – Qualified Investment Property. HB 1189 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) expands state income tax credits currently allowable for the purchase and acquisition of qualified investment property by manufacturing and telecommunications facilities to include mining facilities. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Ad Valorem Tax – Timber. HR 686 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) proposes a constitutional amendment to reduce the rate of ad valorem tax assessment of timber sales or harvest and requires the Georgia General Assembly to appropriate monies, per a formula, to each county, municipality, and school district that experienced an ad valorem tax reduction in the preceding year due to the change in the manner of assessment for timber. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.

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.