Feb. 24, 2023

General Assembly Preparing for Crossover Day

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Tuesday through Thursday this week completing Day 23 of their 40-day session. Legislators will return Monday and be in session through Thursday of next week. Friday is designated as a Committee Work Day to prepare for Crossover Day the following Monday. Crossover Day is theoretically the last day a bill must pass one Chamber to be taken up by the other Chamber before the end of the session. There are ways around that such as amending whole bills onto other bills, but most bills that don’t pass one Chamber by Crossover Day will be held over for the 2024 session.

Senate Committee Hears Interchange Bill

The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee chaired by Sen. Carden Summers (R-Cordele) held a hearing Tuesday to consider SB 126 by Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro). Should the bill pass, it would prohibit interchange fees from being assessed on the sales tax portion of Georgia debit or credit card transactions. Our thanks to GBA Chairman Rhodes McLanahan, First American Bank & Trust, Athens, for testifying on behalf of the association. McLanahan explained how local banks serve merchants, consumers and businesses and are paid through interchange. He also pointed out that issuing banks usually cover fraud losses, not the retailers. Much of what he covered was in a joint letter GBA coordinated among the trade associations opposing the bill and can be read at this link. A Q&A about provisions in the bill is included. Also, thanks to our member David Black, Chief Risk Officer for Georgia Banking Company, for testifying on behalf of CBA. Representatives from the credit union association and Global Payments rounded out those testifying against the bill. A coalition of associations supporting the bill formed the Georgia Alliance for Inflation Reduction. Click here to read their misleading news release about the legislation. Those testifying for the bill mostly ignored the impossibility of creating a wholly new transaction processing system unique to Georgia. Nor did they state a logical reason why banks should process their debit and credit cards but not get paid for the service through interchange. Most simply made the pitch that the General Assembly should pass the bill to help the bottom lines of their members. Coalition members testifying for the bill represented the Georgia Retail Association, Georgia Association of Convenience Stores, Georgia Food Industry Association, Georgia Restaurant Association, Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, Georgia Agribusiness Council, and the National Federation of Independent Business. The committee did not vote on the bill but could at a future meeting. To watch a replay of the hearing, here's a link to committee’s video archives. Click on the Feb. 21, 2023, hearing to see the presentations that begin around 2:08 into the hearing. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.
Carden Summers
Billy Hickman
Rhodes McLanahan
David Black

Bills GBA is Monitoring Received Action This Week

It was another busy week for GBA’s advocacy team. Following are bills GBA is monitoring that were subject to committee hearings or received floor action.
Ad Valorem Taxation. HB 311 by Rep. Lynn Smith (R-Newnan) provides for optional temporary tax relief to certain properties located in nationally declared federal disaster areas. The bill was reported by the House Ways & Means Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Buckhead City. SB 113 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) provides for the transition of services and facilities from an existing municipality to a newly incorporated municipality. Hearings have been held by the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Buckhead City. SB 114 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) provides a charter, boundaries, and powers of the City of Buckhead City. Hearings have been held by the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Commercial Financial Transactions. SB 90 by Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford) relates to selling and other trade practices like factoring to provide for financing disclosures. Our thanks to Sen. Dixon for amending the bill to include GBA-requested language adding holding companies, subsidiaries and affiliates to the exemption of banks from the provisions of the bill. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Banks and Banking Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Condominiums – Unit Insurance Deductibles. HB 389 by Rep. Martin Momtahan (R-Dallas) revises the maximum amount of insurance deductibles payable by unit owners to be not more than the association’s master policy deductible per casualty loss. A hearing on the bill was held by a subcommittee of House Insurance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Lynn Smith
Randy Robertson
Clint Dixon
Martin Momtahan
Credit Repair. HB 187 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) proposes to allow for-profit credit repair services. The bill was amended, reported out of the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Criminal History Records. HB 334 by Rep. Tyler Paul Smith (R-Bremen) provides for criminal history record information restrictions for certain persons cited with or convicted of certain criminal offenses, mostly related to pardons and first offenders. A hearing was held by a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Authorities. SB 171 by Sen. Max Burns (R-Sylvania) relates to development authorities to limit the length of a director's hold-over period following expiration of term of office, requires directors to do yearly continuing education and relates to mechanics and materialmen liens to provide that such liens may attach to the usufruct interest of properties owned by or titled in a development authority or downtown development authority. A hearing was held on the bill by the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Foreclosure. SB 13 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) authorizes online public sales under tax levies and executions. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Rob Leverett
Tyler Paul Smith
Max Burns
John Albers
Hemp. SB 22 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta) amends the Hemp Farming Act to, among other things, make it illegal to sell hemp products to anyone under the age of 18. The bill passed the Senate by substitute. However, a motion to reconsider was adopted and the bill was returned to the Senate Rules Committee where it is pending. GBA is monitoring.
Income Tax – Sub S. HB 412 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) repeals a limitation on certain types of partnerships such as Subchapter S that may elect to pay income taxes at the entity level. A subcommittee of the House Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on the bill. GBA is monitoring.
Income Tax Credit. HB 162 by Rep. Lauren McDonald (R-Cumming) is Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed one-time $250 tax credit for individual taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2021 and 2022. The bill passed the House and is awaiting being assigned to a Senate committee. GBA is monitoring.
Insurance Discount – Windstorm Events. HB 279 by Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Cartersville) provides for an insurance premium discount or rate reduction for property owners who build a new residential or commercial property or who retrofit an existing residential or commercial property that better resists tornado, hurricane, or other catastrophic windstorm events. The House passed the bill, and it is pending in the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Kay Kirkpatrick
Bruce Williamson
Lauren McDonald
Matthew Gambill
Insurance Discount – Windstorm Events. SB 158 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) provides for an insurance premium discount or rate reduction for property owners who build a new residential or commercial property or who retrofit an existing residential or commercial property that better resists tornado, hurricane, or other catastrophic windstorm events. The bill was reported out of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landowner Liability. SB 186 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) limits landowner liability regarding invitees, licensees, and trespassers, provides for no landowner liability due to alleged constructive notice of prior crimes or violent nature; and provides for apportionment of fault. A hearing was held by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landownership. HB 452 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn) prohibits the acquisition of possessory interest in certain land such as that for agricultural use or within 25 miles of a military installation by certain nonresident aliens. A hearing was held by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Legal Organ. HB 254 by Rep. David Jenkins (R-Grantville) relates to the requirements for the local official legal organ and provides as an alternative to newspaper posting in certain counties with limited newspaper coverage that legal notices may be posted on county- or municipal-managed websites. The House Judiciary Committee amended the bill to slightly raise fees for legal advertisements and reported the bill which is now pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Probate. HB 346 by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) provides that certain cases concerning the probate of wills may be removed from a probate court to a superior court upon the petition of the court and agreement of all parties. A hearing on the bill was held by the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Greg Dolezal
Clay Pirkle
David Jenkins
Eddie Lumsden
Property Owner’s Associations – Natural Gas/Solar. HB 355 by Rep. Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton) prohibits property owners' associations from creating or enforcing covenants which infringe upon a lot owner's right to use natural gas or to install or use a solar energy device. A hearing was held on the bill in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Solicitation. SB 149 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) relates to commercial sales to enact the "Georgia Door-to-Door Sales Act." The Act will require sellers to furnish to buyers receipts and copies of any contracts and will require sellers to provide notice of how to cancel a sale. Some common door-to-door sales calls such as in-home or in-office brokerage calls, are potentially captured by the Act. The bill was amended, reported by the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Code. HB 95 by Rep. David Knight is the annual bill incorporating various new provisions in the federal tax code into the Georgia tax code. The bill passed the House and is awaiting being assigned to a Senate Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Telephone Solicitations. SB 73 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) provides for class action suits and for damages against certain persons for violating provisions relating to telephone solicitations. The bill was amended and reported by the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. The bill was amended and passed the Senate. The bill was reported out of the House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Timber – Ad Valorem Tax Reduction. HR 96 by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele) proposes an amendment to the Constitution to provide for a reduction in the rate of the ad valorem tax assessment of timber at sale or harvest. The bill was reported by the House Ways & Means Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Unsworn Declarations. HB 80 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) creates the Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act and provides that unsworn declarations shall have the same effect as sworn declarations in certain circumstances. The House passed the bill by substitute and it is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Kasey Carpenter
David Knight
Blake Tillery
Noel Williams

New Bills Added to our Tracking List

Legislators continued to introduce more bills this week affecting the industry and we added the following bills to our tracking list this week.
Administrative Hearing Officers. HB 563 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) amends the Fair Employment Practices Act making a number of changes with the process of appointing administrative hearing officers who appear before the administrative law judges. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Automatic Service Renewals. HB 528 by Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) is intended to stop the practice of the charging of consumer credit or debit cards or third-party payment accounts for ongoing shipments of a product or ongoing deliveries of service without the consumer's consent and without providing clear and conspicuous methods of cancellation by businesses that operate all or a portion of their business online. The bill is pending in the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Impact Fees. HB 585 by Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth) provides for development impact fees for education. The bill is awaiting be assigned to a committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Impact Fees. HR 303 by Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth) is a proposed Constitutional Amendment providing that the General Assembly may authorize local boards of education to impose, levy, and collect development impact fees and use the proceeds to pay for a share of the cost of additional educational facilities. The bill is awaiting being assigned to a committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Impact Fees. SB 208 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) provides for development impact fees for education to be approved by local boards of education of a high growth school system to pay for a share of the cost of additional educational facilities. The bill is pending in the Senate Education and Youth Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Impact Fees. SR 189 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) is a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would allow the General Assembly to authorize local boards of education to impose and collect development impact fees for education. The bill is pending in the Senate Education and Youth Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Equity Impact Statements. HB 433 by Rep. Kim Schofield (D-Atlanta) Would enact the Equity Impact Act to provide for equity impact statements regarding policy areas included, but not limited to, racial, socioeconomic, health and other similar factors to be attached to all proposed legislation that would impact such policy areas. The bill is pending in the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Foreclosure. HB 418 by Rep. Tyler Paul Smith (R-Bremen) allows internet enabled technology and digital media for sales under execution and sales made on foreclosure under power of sale and clarifies the date of sheriff’s sales. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Hair / Hairstyles Discrimination. HB 432 by Rep. Kim Schofield (D-Atlanta) adds hairstyles associated with race, color, or national origin as a protected class related to discrimination in fair housing, education, employment. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Housing Zoning and Permitting. HB 514 by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) relates to zoning procedures to provide for the length and renewal of moratoriums related to zoning decisions, procedures for the levy, collection, use, and waiver of fees related to zoning decisions and related permits, and revise notice and hearing requirements for certain zoning decisions. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Houston Gaines
Todd Jones
Kim Schofield
Dale Washburn
Housing Zoning and Permitting. HB 517 by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) enacts the "Georgia Homeowner Opportunity Act" to prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to or regulating building design elements as applied to one- or two-family dwellings. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Land Ownership. HB 494 by Rep. Lydia Glaize (D-Fairburn) provides that ownership of real property in this state by a foreign corporation or foreign limited liability company constitutes doing business in this state and provides for service of process by email. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landlord Tenant. HB 420 by Rep. Shea Roberts (D-Atlanta) provides that conditioned air is a utility and a landlord cannot suspend supplying the service until after the final disposition of any dispossessory proceeding by the landlord against the tenant. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landlord Tenant. HB 534 by Rep. Carl Gilliard (D-Savannah) requires a landlord to provide a 60-day notice prior to terminating a lease for non-payment of rent. The bill is pending in the House Government Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landlord Tenant. SB 239 by Sen. Nikki Merritt (D-Grayson) requires landlords to provide carbon monoxide detectors in rental units. The bill is awaiting being assigned to a committee. GBA is monitoring.
Lydia Glaize
Shea Roberts
Carl Gillard
Nikki Merritt
Loans to Political Candidate / Committee. HB 572 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) removes a provision related to maximum contributions to a political candidate or committee to remove a provision regarding the repayment of a loan exceeding $250,000. The bill is awaiting being assigned to a committee. GBA is monitoring.
Local Government Investment Policies. HB 531 by Rep. Carter Barrett (R-Cumming) requires local governments that are investing excess funds adopt an investment policy which outlines authorized investments and other operational requirements. The bill is pending in the House Banks and Banking Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Manufactured Housing. SB 213 by Sen. Max Burns (R-Sylvania) prohibits local governments from preventing the continuance of lawful nonconforming use of property when a preexisting manufactured home or mobile home is replaced with another. The bill is pending in the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Property Owners’ Associations. HB 522 by Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) prohibits property owners' associations from creating or enforcing covenants which infringe upon a lot owner's right to install a solar energy device or to display the United States flag. The bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Matt Reeves
Carter Barrett
Spencer Frye
Statute of Frauds. SB 242 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) provides that agreements with a value in excess of $10,000.00 shall be in writing. The bill is awaiting being assigned to a committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credit – Hemp. HB 533 Rep. Carl Gilliard (D-Savannah) provides for a tax credit for costs of doing business with Georgia Grown hemp owners and suppliers. The bill is pending in the House Ways & Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credit – Jobs. HB 512 by Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) provides for a tax credit for small businesses that employ certified work force ready graduates in high-tech full-time jobs. The bill is pending in the House Ways & Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credit – Solar. HB 536 by Rep. Mandisha Thomas (D-South Fulton) provides a tax credit for certain expenses incurred by taxpayers for installing solar energy systems at warehouses or residential dwellings. The bill is pending in the House Ways and Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Torts – Weapons. HB 568 by Rep. Beth Camp (R-Concord) relates to liability of owners and occupiers of land to provide that a person, business, or other entity that owns or legally controls a property and prohibits a lawful weapons carrier from possessing a weapon on such property shall assume absolute custodial responsibility for the safety of such lawful weapons carrier from certain threats. The bill is awaiting being assigned to a committee. GBA is monitoring.
Dar'shun Kendrick
Mandisha Thomas
Beth Camp

Two Ways to Track Key Legislation

We’re geared up to help you keep track of all the news and key bills during this year’s legislative session. The Legislative Update will arrive in your inbox on Fridays. Also make sure to set a web browser bookmark for our State Issues page on the GBA website to track details about specific bills during the session. Check in frequently as we add bills as they are introduced. Any bills that fail to pass this session will carry over to the 2024 session.

GBA’s Advocacy Team at the Capitol

Led by GBA’s Executive Vice President for Government Relations & Advocacy 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, GBA Senior Vice President, Member Services & Advocacy Bo Brannen, GBA Insurance Trust President and CEO Tripp Cofield 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, Bo at 404.420.2014, Tripp at 404.420.2016, or Joe at 404.420.2026.