Jan. 27, 2023   

General Assembly Off to Fast Start

The Georgia General Assembly returned from budget hearings last week and was in session Monday through Thursday this week. Committee appointments have been finalized and many committees have had their organizational meetings. Click these links for lists of all House Committees and Senate Committees. Legislators will return Monday for Day 9 of their 40-Day Session.

Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee Under New Leadership

Cordele Senator Carden Summers was named chairman of the Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee and held the organizational meeting of the committee Thursday. He is new to the committee, and we are looking forward to working with him in his role. Other officers of the committee are vice chair Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) and secretary Sen. Mike Hodges (R-Brunswick). Kennedy is also President Pro-tem of the Senate, the second highest position after the Lt. Governor. Hodges is market president for Ameris Bank. Other committee members are:
  • Tonya Anderson (D-Lithonia)
  • Clint Dixon (R-Buford)
  • Sonya Halpern (D-Atlanta)
  • Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur)
  • Brian Strickland (R-McDonough)
  • Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta)
Carden Summers
John Kennedy
Mike Hodges

GBA Priority Bill Introduced

Each year, our Bank Counsel Section Board of Directors works with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance to review provisions to be included in the annual department housekeeping bill. The 2022-2023 Board is chaired by United Community Bank’s general counsel, Melinda Davis Lux. The Board met last fall and received a briefing from department counsel Bo Fears. The bill was vetted through the Governor’s office and was introduced as HB 55 this week by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). This year the bill contains general clean-up provisions for supervision in the following areas: a) revising references to the allowance of loan and lease losses to the allowances for credit losses to align with a change in terminology for GAAP (O.C.G.A. §§ 7-1-4(35); 7-1-659); b) updating the rules of construction that any references to laws or rules in the Financial Institutions Code will be to the laws as they existed on Jan. 1, 2023 (O.C.G.A. § 7-1-10); and c) providing that a bank or trust company can change its name without shareholder approval to align with O.C.G.A. § 14-2-1002(8) (O.C.G.A. § 7-1-551). The other provisions of the bill related to other entities regulated by the Department. The bill is slated to be considered by the House Banks and Banking Committee, chaired by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele), on Feb. 1. GBA supports the bill as introduced. Click here to review a summary of the major provisions prepared by the department.
Melinda Davis Lux
Bo Fears
Bruce Williamson
Noel Williams

New Bills Being Tracked

Throughout the session we will add bills that affect the industry to our State Issues page on the GBA website. This week we added the following:
Foreclosure. SB 13 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) authorizes online public sales under tax levies and executions. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.

Homeowner Associations. SR 37 by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) creates a committee to study Property Owners' Associations, Homeowners' Associations and Condominium Associations. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.

Torts. SB 2 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Alpharetta) would permanently extend immunities from certain liability claims related to Covid-19. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA supports.
John Albers
Donzella James
Greg Dolezal

The Hopper

Those inside the Capitol know to monitor what’s called the “hopper” throughout the day. It’s essentially a basket in the House and Senate clerk’s offices where new bills are dropped once the author is prepared to have the bills begin the process through the legislature. The House hopper looks very much like what's pictured here. Several bills affecting the industry were in the hopper this week or had their first reading Thursday. We'll add more details about those in next week’s Legislative Update. One bill was introduced at our request dealing with the Uniform Transfer on Death Security Registration. Others we’ll be tracking deal with topics ranging from commercial financing disclosures, hemp farming, health insurance coverage for biomarker testing, and mandated sick leave policies for companies with 25 or more employees.

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 and 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 and update status as they move through the process. As this is the first session of a 2-year legislative cycle, we don’t have any specific bills listed at this time. Any bills that don’t 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.