March 10, 2023   

GBA’s Priority Bill Awaiting Governor’s Signature

One of the first bills passed by both chambers of the General Assembly this session was the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance’s annual housekeeping bill, HB 55. Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) handled the bill in the House, and Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) carried it in the Senate. On Thursday, the bill passed the Senate unanimously, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. That was the fourth unanimous vote – House Committee, House Floor, Senate Committee, and Senate Floor. The bill contains general clean-up provisions for supervision by 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; 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; and providing that a bank or trust company can change its name without shareholder approval if allowed by their incorporating documents. Other provisions of the bill relate to additional entities regulated by the Department. The bill was developed by the Department in concert with GBA’s Bank Counsel Section Board of Directors. Our thanks to Department Counsel Bo Fears for his work on the bill and helping present it to legislators. This annual revision to the banking code is necessary to keep our statutes among the best in the country and is always one of GBA’s priority bills each session.
Bruce Williamson
John Kennedy
Bo Fears
Richard Smith

Crossover Day

Monday of this week was Crossover Day, the deadline for bills to pass their originating chamber in order to have a chance of being enacted into law this year. Legislators met well into the evening, passing a long list of bills GBA has been monitoring. With only a couple of weeks left in the session, legislators went right back to work Tuesday and were in session through Thursday, completing Day 31 of the 40-Day session. Committee dinners and other events honoring those who keep our Capitol functioning are a long tradition at the Capitol, and GBA is happy to help cosponsor these events. This week, we were among those sponsoring a dinner for the House Rules Committee chaired by Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus), and a lunch honoring the Georgia State Patrol troopers who keep the Capitol safe and open to the public. Events like these are ways for us to show our appreciation for all the hard work these folks put into their jobs on behalf of us all.
Tish Naghise

Leaders Mourn Loss of Rep. Naghise

Our condolences to the family and friends of freshman legislator Tish Naghise (D-Fayetteville) who died this week following a short illness. Several who knew her quickly issued statements. Gov. Brian Kemp said, “Though her time in the Legislature was brief, we know she cared deeply for the people of Fayetteville and the surrounding area.” House Minority Leader James Beverly (D-Macon) said, “She was deeply passionate about fighting for the greater good, which led her to a lifetime of public service and organizing.” Prior to being elected to the House, Rep. Naghise worked on a campaign for U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff who said, “I always knew Tish to be a kind, caring, hardworking, and committed community leader and public servant.” A special election will be called by the Governor to fill the vacancy created by Rep. Naghise’s untimely death.

Many Bills GBA is Monitoring Received Action This Week

This is the time each session when members of the House and Senate begin presenting their bills passed by Crossover Day to their colleagues in the other chamber. Following are bills GBA is monitoring that were subject to committee hearings or received floor votes this week.
Ad Valorem Tax – Breach of Covenant. HB 449 by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin) repeals an exception to the breach of a covenant for bona fide conservation use related to the solar generation of energy. The bill was reported by the House Ways & Means Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
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 passed the House, was reported by the Senate Finance Committee, and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Ad Valorem Taxation. HB 322 by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) provides that property tax bills shall not include any nontax related fees or assessments. The bill was reported by the House Ways & Means Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Administrative Hearing Officers. HB 563 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) amends the Fair Employment Practices Act making several changes with the process of appointing administrative hearing officers who appear before the administrative law judges. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. GBA is monitoring.
David Knight
Lynn Smith
Sandra Scott
Rob Leverett
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 passed the House and is pending in the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Computer Software - Sales Tax Exemption. HB 170 by Rep. Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton) provides a sales tax exemption for certain digital products and pre-written software. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.​
Conservation Easements. SB 220 by Sen. Russ Goodman (R-Cogdell) enacts the Georgia Farmland Conservation Act allowing the creation of an agricultural conservation easement, a non-possessory interest in real property that runs with the land and is of perpetual duration. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Ways & Means Committee, where a subcommittee held a hearing this week. No further action was taken. GBA is monitoring.
C-PACE. HB 206 by Rep. Steven Sainz (R-St. Marys) provides for the creation of Commercial Property Assessed Conservation, Energy, and Resiliency Development Authorities in counties and municipalities that have adopted implementing ordinances. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Houston Gaines
Kasey Carpenter
Russ Goodman
Steven Sainz
Cyber Command. SB 97 by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas) creates the Georgia Cyber Command Division under the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. This Division will handle the duties formerly held by the Georgia Technology Authority regarding cyber security for the state and state agencies. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security 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 was reported by the House Governmental Affairs Committee and is pending in the House Rules 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 was reported by the House Governmental Affairs Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Development Impact Fees. SB 136 by Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) relates to calculation of development impact fees to add workforce housing to the list of projects that may be excluded from such fees included in municipal or county development impact fee ordinances. The bill passed the Senate and has been reported by the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Earned Wage Access. SB 254 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) establishes parameters for earned wage access services, provides such services are non-recourse and not loans, and provides for fees that are not defined as interest. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Banks and Banking Committee, where a hearing is scheduled next week. GBA is monitoring.
Jason Anavitarte
Todd Jones
Mike Dugan
Matt Brass
Hemp. HB 458 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn) relates to offenses against public health and morals to prohibit the purchase, sale, and offering of sample hemp products by or to any individual under the age of 21 years old. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities 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 passed the House and is pending in the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. 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. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. 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, was reported by the Senate Finance Committee, and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
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 passed the Senate and is pending in the House Insurance Committee, where a subcommittee held a hearing and reported the bill to the full committee. GBA is monitoring.
Clay Pirkle
Dale Washburn
Lauren McDonald
Randy Robertson
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 passed the House and is pending in the Senate Ethics Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Local Government Investment Policies. HB 531 by Rep. Carter Barrett (R-Cumming) expands the types of investments available to local governments such that those investments would more closely track the kinds of instruments and products in which the State of Georgia may invest. The bill also requires local governments that take advantage of the new authority to adopt an investment policy which outlines the authorized investments and contains other operational requirements. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions 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 passed the Senate and is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Sales and Use Tax – Mobile Homes; Tax Credit – First Time Homebuyers. HB 283 by Rep. Beth Camp (R-Concord) changes the computation of sales and use tax on the purchase of a new manufactured home from 50% to 60% of the sales price and creates a new tax credit for first time homebuyers. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Matt Reeves
Carter Barrett
Max Burns
Beth Camp
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 passed the Senate and a hearing was held by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. A substitute is being drawn to include GBA-requested language ensuring financial institutions are not covered by the bill. GBA is monitoring with concerns.
State Retirement Fund Investing - Social Political Ideological. SB 266 by Sen. Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone) would require those who invest state retirement assets to take into account only fund historic, current, and potential future returns and not subordinate the interests of the participants and their beneficiaries or sacrifice investment returns or accept increased investment risks in the promotion of any nonpecuniary interests. Such nonpecuniary interests shall include, but shall not be limited to, the furtherance of any social, political, or ideological interests. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Retirement Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Code. HB 454 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) incorporates changes to the state tax code from federal tax code changes passed in prior years becoming effective in the current year and adds a pandemic definition to the current force majeure clauses affecting construction of large-scale projects. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Code. HB 95 by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin) is the annual bill incorporating various new provisions in the federal tax code into the Georgia tax code. The bill passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credit – Analysis. HB 581 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) requires the Department of Audits and Accounts to annually analyze a prioritized list of various tax credits. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
John Albers
Marty Harbin
Shaw Blackmon
Tax Credit – Quality Jobs. HB 482 by Rep. Steven Sainz (R-St. Marys) amends the current income tax credit for establishing or relocating quality jobs such that eligibility for the credit shall be based only on the projects and investments, which are related primarily to such trade or business, and the jobs that qualify solely based on such trade or business. The bill passed the House, was reported by the Senate Finance Committee, and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credit – Rural Hospitals, Student Scholarship Organizations, Home Ownership. HB 101 by Rep. Clint Crowe (R-Jackson) adds free-standing emergency departments to organizations eligible for the Rural Hospital Tax Credit, requires the primary campus of the organization to be in a rural county, and raises the total appropriation for the credit to $80 million; increases the appropriation for the Student Scholarship Organization Tax Credit to $120 million in 2023 and $130 million for subsequent years; and creates a new tax credit for contributions made to a not-for-profit organization that makes mortgage loans to individuals to promote home ownership or improvements for the disadvantaged. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Tax Credits – Rural Physician. HB 82 by Rep. Mack Jackson (D-Sandersville) limits eligibility for the existing rural physician tax credit to persons qualifying as a rural physician on or before December 31, 2023. The bill creates a new tax credit for rural physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance 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 passed the Senate, and a hearing was held by the House Energy, Utilities, & Telecommunications Committee which assigned the bill to a subcommittee. GBA is monitoring.
Clint Crowe
Mack Jackson
Blake Tillery
Tort – Hospitals & Nursing Homes/Chiropractic Practice. SB 168 by Sen. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) relates to liens of hospitals and nursing homes and allows a chiropractic practice to have a lien on a cause of action accruing to an injured person for the costs of care and treatment of injuries arising out of the cause of action. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Unclaimed Property. SB 103 by Sen. Russ Goodman (R-Cogdel) relates to unclaimed property and sets requirements for wills found in safety deposit boxes that are turned over to the state. Among other things, the Revenue Commissioner is required to develop a searchable database of unclaimed property and sets certain requirements for individuals serving as another party’s representative in claiming unclaimed property. A substitute version of the bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Venue - Money Laundering/Theft of Money. HB 219 by Rep. Scott Hilton (R-Johns Creek) relates to records and reports of currency transactions to provide for venue for the offense of money laundering. The legislation also relates to theft to provide for venue for the offense of theft of money held in a financial institution. The venue would be the county or counties of the victim. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Rick Williams
Scott Hilton

New Bills Added to our Tracking List

Bills introduced this late in the session are usually intended to create study committees that will meet between sessions and report findings in the 2024 session. Other bills are introduced to put those affected on alert the bill could be considered in the 2024 session, and the author is seeking feedback. The three bills below were added to our tracking list this week.
Civil Rights. HB 679 by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) creates a comprehensive state civil rights law protecting individuals from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Jobs Tax Credit. HR 324 by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) proposes to create a committee to study the Jobs Tax Credit Tier System. The bill is pending in the House Ways & Means Committee, where a subcommittee held a hearing but took no further action. GBA is monitoring.
Regulatory Impact Analysis. HB 697 by Rep. James Beverly (D-Macon) requires the preparation and distribution of a regulatory impact analysis by state agencies prior to such agency adopting, amending, or repealing any regulatory rule. The bill is pending in the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Penny Houston
James Beverly

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.