Jan. 28, 2022

General Assembly Returns From Budget Hearings

The Georgia General Assembly gaveled back into session Monday following several days in recess for budget hearings. Floor action in the House and Senate is scant this early in the session as bills are just being considered in the various committees. There were several new chairs, vice chairs and members of committees named for the current session, so click here for the 2022 House Committees and here for the 2022 Senate Committees. Legislators adjourned Thursday and will return this coming Tuesday which will be the ninth day of their 40-day session. A resolution, SR 382, was adopted setting the schedule for the remainder of the session. As currently planned, this second year of the biennial will conclude Monday, April 4.

GBA Priority Bills Set for Committee Hearing Next Week

House Banks and Banking Committee Chairman Noel Williams (R-Cordele) has set a hearing next Wednesday for our two priority bills, HB 891 and HB 899, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). Introduced upon the request of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, GBA’s Bank Counsel Section provided input as the legislation was being crafted. The purpose of HB 899 is to provide a LIBOR fix patterned after New York State legislation passed in 2021 authorizing fallback rate replacement language for LIBOR cessation. HB 891 streamlines and simplifies 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.

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:
Apportionment of Damages. Our thanks to Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) for sponsoring HB 961, legislation designed to address a recent Georgia Supreme Court decision that held 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 by the Georgia Legislature that replaced the state’s joint and several liability rules with a fairer, more just comparative fault rule where damages were apportioned amongst all responsible parties. A hearing was held by the House Judiciary Committee, and it was favorably reported. GBA was one of many prominent trade and business groups signing a letter of support for the bill to Rep. Efstration. Read the letter here.
Computer Data Privacy. SB 394 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) contains numerous 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. Banks may be exempt. GBA is monitoring.
Development Authority Governance. HB 923 by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) caps the per diem allowance for development authority board members at no more than the per diem allowed for the General Assembly members and adds the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission to those who may enforce an existing prohibition against a director of a development authority providing legal services to the authority. The bill has been assigned to the House Government Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Wage and Compensation. HB 926 by Rep. Regina Lewis-Ward (D-McDonough) requires employers who make wage, salary or other compensation payments to contemporaneously provide a pay stub or other documentation with certain minimum information, including tax withholdings, to an employee. The bill has been assigned to the House Industry and Labor Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Wills and Estates. HB 940 by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) amends the code sections relating to wills, trusts, and administration of estates to provide for the execution of electronic wills. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landlord Tenant. HB 965 by Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta) requires landlords of an apartment building or complex with 50 or more residential units to obtain various crime information from the law enforcement agencies in the area of the property and furnish such listing or summary of crimes to the residents at least every six months and requires such crime information to be furnished to prospective tenants. Additionally, the bill makes it a violation of the Fair Business Practices Act, i.e., an unfair and deceptive practice, to fail to provide such crime information. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Deed Filing. HB 974 by Rep. Joseph Gullett (R-Acworth) 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 bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Lottery Game for Small Business Loans. HR 581 by Rep. Yasmin Neal (D-Jonesboro) proposes a Constitutional Amendment to authorize the General Assembly to provide the net proceeds of one or more lottery games to support economic development by providing loans to support small businesses located in Georgia. The businesses must be independently owned and operated by Georgia residents who are current students at a Georgia school of higher education. The bill has been assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Solicitations. SB 363 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) amends the Code relating 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. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Solicitations. SB 364 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) allows class action lawsuits for damages against certain persons violating law provisions relating to telephone solicitations. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Disabled Minors. SB 360 by Sen. Sheila McNeill (R-Brunswick) creates a new law called Cotton’s Law; adds “disabled minor” to disabled adults and elder persons who may be subject to exploitation or intimidation. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Timber Ad Valorem Taxation. HB 997 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie), if passed by the voters, would exempt timber equipment and timber products held by timber producers from ad valorem taxes. The bill has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Credit Repair Organizations. SB 371 by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) allows for-profit credit repair organizations to operate in Georgia. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs 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.