March 4, 2022

Pace Quickens as Crossover Day Looms

The General Assembly has completed Day 24 of their 40-Day session. Committee and floor activity on legislation has quickened as the House and Senate move as many bills as possible through their respective chambers leading up to Day 28 known as Crossover Day. There are exceptions, but most bills must have passed the body of origin by that day to be considered by the other body. This year Crossover Day is set for March 15. Legislators will reconvene next week for legislative sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday with Thursday reserved as a committee workday.

House and Senate Banking Committees Schedule Meetings

Although most bills we monitor go through other committees, we’ll be representing our members at meetings of the House and Senate banking committees next week. The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee chaired by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) is meeting Monday to consider a new bill, SB 491 by Sen. Gail Davenport (D-Atlanta) authorizing the creation of a down payment assistance program to be administered by banks and credit unions. The committee will also consider HB 1008 by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) that reconstitutes the Georgia Achieving A Better Life Experience (ABLE) higher education savings plan. This bill has already passed the House. The House Banks and Banking Committee, chaired by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele), is meeting Wednesday for an educational meeting intended to help legislators understand the important role of the payment processing industry in Georgia. The GBA led the legislative effort in the late 1980s that eliminated artificial controls on credit card rates and fees that paved the way for Georgia to lead the nation as the hub for payment processing. That effort attracted card issuers and processors from around the country that were fleeing states with more restrictive laws. Today, more than 70 out of 100 card transactions are processed over rails here in Georgia and thousands of Georgians are employed in the industry.
Brass
Davenport
Hawkins
Williams

Banking Industry Bills of Interest Received Action

Following are bills GBA is monitoring that received action this week.
Apportionment of Damages. The House passed HB 961 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula). The bill 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, more just comparative fault rule where damages were apportioned among all responsible parties. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA supports.
Freedom to Farm. The House passed HB 1150 by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella). The bill seeks to provide protection to farmers from frivolous and nuisance lawsuits. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA supports.
Deed Filing. The House passed 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. The amended version allows for in-person delivery of a deed to a Clerk’s’ office. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Unclaimed Property. The House passed 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.
Mobile Homes – Derelict Notices. The House passed 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. The bill is pending in the Senate Special Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Corporate Income Tax Filings. The House unanimously passed 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. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credits for Individual Taxpayers. The House passed 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. The bill is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Efstration
Dickey
Gullett
Smith
Corbett
Williamson
Bonner
Time-share Foreclosures. The Senate passed SB 493 by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga). The bill provides for a nonjudicial foreclosure process of time-share estates. A similar bill, HB 1088 by Rep. Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville), has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Our thanks to the authors for incorporating GBA recommended language in both bills to recognize the position of the lienholder. GBA is monitoring.
Withholding – Right of Action. The House passed 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.
Timber Ad Valorem Taxation. The House was to consider a floor vote on HB 997 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie). However, the House voted to send the bill back to the House Ways and Means Committee for further work. The bill would exempt timber equipment and timber products held by timber producers from ad valorem taxes. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credits – Rural Hospitals. A House Ways and Means subcommittee held a hearing but took no further action on HB 1041 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn). The bill would increase the limit for contributions to rural hospitals subject to state tax credits. GBA is monitoring.
GAP Insurance. A subcommittee of 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.
Legal Tender - Cash. The House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing and is continuing to consider amendments to HB 1152 by Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta). The bill amends the Fair Business Practices Act to require a merchant to accept cash as legal tender for payment for goods and services. Further, the bill prohibits discrimination against a cash buyer by requiring the buyer to use credit to make a purchase. GBA is monitoring.
Mullis
Gunter
Burchett
Watson
Pirkle
Smith
Mainor

New Bills Added to GBA’s Tracking List

It’s getting late in the session for new bills introduced to get through the committee process and have a floor vote prior to Crossover Day, but we’ve continued to add bills all week to our tracking list. All the bills we’re monitoring can be found on the State Issues page of the GBA website. Here are those that have some connection to the banking industry added this week.
Down Payment Assistance Savings Plan. SB 491 by Sen. Gail Davenport (D-Atlanta) calls upon the Department of Revenue to create a down payment savings program to be administered by banks and credit unions. The bill is pending in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and a hearing will be held on the bill Monday. GBA is monitoring.
Motor Vehicle Titling. HB 1478 by Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth) makes voluntary the current mandatory requirement that motor vehicle titles be handled electronically. The bill is pending in the House Motor Vehicles Committee. GBA is monitoring with concern.
Fair Housing. HB 1458 by Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens), amends the Fair Housing Act adding new categories for protection including age, gender identity, and source of income. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Title Pawn Lenders. SB 593 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Columbus) creates a regulatory scheme within the Department of Banking and Finance for title pawn lender supervision. The bill is pending in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Fair Tax Act. HB 1459 by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gillsville) repeals the state’s income tax and replaces the structure with one based on sales and use taxes. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Cybersecurity Education. HR 877 by Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta) encourages the Department of Education to dedicate personnel, funds and other resources to statewide outreach efforts to promote and improve cybersecurity education, training and workforce development. The bill is pending in the House Education Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Real Estate – Offer to Purchase. SB 582 by Sen. Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta) amends the Fair Business Practices Act to require certain disclosure on an unsolicited offer to buy real estate and provides for a class action remedy for damages. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Real Estate – Telephone Solicitations. SB 585 by Sen. Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta) adds the solicitation for the sale of real property to the current statutory telephone solicitation prohibitions and provides for a class action remedy for damages. The bill is pending in the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Semiconductor Supply Chain. HR 879 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) urges the Georgia Congressional delegation to support the United States Innovation and Competition Act and the America COMPETES Act of 2022, two bills to show a strong initiative by Congress to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain, the American economy and national security. The resolution mentions Georgia’s financial processing and payments industry as depending on the substantial use of semiconductors. The bill is pending in the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee which Rep. Stephens chairs. GBA is monitoring.
Ridley
Frye
Robertson
Dunahoo
Tate
Stephens

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.