March 17, 2023  

Noel Williams

Legislature Nearing Sine Die

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Thursday this week completing Day 35 of its 40-Day Session. Committee action and floor votes are being taken in the House and Senate on bills passed by the chamber where the bill originated. Now is also the time each session when committees combine two or more bills into one and that happened this week with several we’re monitoring. Committees are continuing long held traditions of committee dinners and GBA was among those sponsoring a dinner this week for the House Banks and Banking Committee chaired by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele). Legislators will be in session next week Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with Wednesday reserved as a committee work day. Sine Die is the common term used to designate the end of each year of the biennial. This year Sine Die is scheduled for March 29.
Joe Brannen testifying

GBA Testifies on Public Depositor Investment Alternatives Bill

We’ve been reporting on HB 531 by Rep. Carter Barrett (R-Cumming). The bill 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 the local governments that take advantage of the new authority to adopt an investment policy statement which outlines the authorized investments and contains other operational requirements. The bill passed the House, and a hearing was held by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. The committee considered a substitute to the House-passed bill containing GBA-requested amendments related to negotiable CDs and the single bank pledging pool. GBA President Joe Brannen was asked by Chairman Carden Summers (R-Cordele) to testify explaining the collateralization process for public deposits. Brannen thanked Rep. Barrett for accepting GBA’s amendments and recognized Senate Pro-Tem Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) for sponsoring legislation in 2016 creating the multibank pledging pool, operating as the Secure Deposit Program (SDP). GBA administers the SDP and the single bank pledging pool under contract with the Office of the State Treasurer. Brannen reported as of Jan. 31, 2023, the SDP covers 3,083 public depositors. There are 13 mandatory banks and 31 voluntary banks participating in the SDP that guarantees $24.3 billion in public deposits. The single bank pledging pool covers 140 public depositors holding $387 million in eight participating banks that are collateralizing those deposits. Brannen also explained the direct pledging method and the reciprocal method which allows collateralization to be avoided. Testifying in support of the bill were representatives from three firms interested in creating private pools as authorized by the statute and State Treasurer Steve McCoy who urged caution. The committee did not take action on the bill.
Carter Barrett
Carden Summers
John Kennedy
Gov. Brian Kemp signing HB 162 into law

Governor Brian Kemp Signs Bills

Two bills GBA is monitoring were signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp this week.
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 and Senate and Gov. Kemp signed the bill March 16. Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) sponsored the bill in the Senate. GBA monitored.
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 Senate and Governor Kemp signed the bill March 13. Sen. Mike Hodges (R-Brunswick) sponsored the bill in the Senate. GBA monitored.
Lynn Smith
Matt Brass
Lauren McDonald
Mike Hodges

Many Bills GBA is Monitoring Received Action This Week

Following are bills GBA is monitoring that were subject to committee hearings or received floor votes this week. You will note that GBA successfully requested amendments on several bills ensuring the industry was either exempt from coverage or improved the industry’s position.
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, was amended and reported by the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. The amendment added the text of SB 34 by Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) that prohibits a third-party food delivery service from committing unfair, unsafe, and unhealthy practices in this state. Sen. Parent is the Senate sponsor of the amended HB 528. 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 was amended and reported by the House Banks and Banking Committee. The amendment contained the text of HB 471 by Rep. Clint Crowe (R-Jackson) which adds an example of an unfair or deceptive practice regarding brokerage engagements and options to enter into brokerage engagements to the "Fair Business Practices Act". Rep. Crowe is the House sponsor for the amended SB 90. The bill was scheduled for a floor vote March 16 but was withdrawn and recommitted to the House Rules Committee where it is pending. GBA is monitoring.
Houston Gaines
Elena Parent
Clint Dixon
Clint Crowe
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 was reported by the House Ways & Means Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Deed Attestation. HB 182 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) relates to recording of deeds and other real property transactions, to revise provisions for curing defective deeds and other instruments and comport with the legislative correction recommended by the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Pingora Loan Servicing, LLC, v. Scarver (In Re: Lindstrom) regarding attestations. The bill passed the House and was amended and reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The amendment added the text of HB 292 also by Rep. Reeves that revises procedures regarding nonjudicial and judicial foreclosure of time-share estates and relates to notice, interests of mortgagees, trustees, recording of time-share interests, sales of encumbered time-share estates and proceeds, and transfer of title. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough). GBA supports.
Development Authorities – Governance. SB 26 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) authorizes meetings and public hearings of development authorities and community improvement districts to be held by teleconference. The Senate passed the bill and was reported by the House Governmental Affairs Committee. The House sponsor is Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth). GBA supports.​
Russ Goodman
Matt Reeves
Brian Strickland
Greg Dolezal
Todd Jones
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, a hearing was held by the House Banks and Banking Committee which took no further action. GBA is monitoring.
Elder/Disabled Adult Financial Exploitation. SB 84 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) amends the Georgia Uniform Securities Act of 2008 to provide for financial protections for elder and disabled adults who may be victims of financial exploitation. The bill passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. Rep. Carter Barrett (R-Cumming) sponsored the bill in the House. GBA monitored.
Fair Business Practices Act – Brokerage Engagements. HB 471 by Rep. Clint Crowe (R-Jackson) adds an example of an unfair or deceptive practice regarding brokerage engagements and options to enter into brokerage engagements to the "Fair Business Practices Act", and relating to telephone solicitations to residential, mobile, or wireless subscribers, requires the Public Service Commission to establish and maintain a list of certain subscribers and develop a schedule of fees. The bill was reported by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. Text of the bill was added to SB 90 by Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford) related to commercial financial transaction disclosures. Rep. Crowe is sponsoring the amended SB 90 in the House. 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, was amended and reported by the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Income Tax – Partnerships. HB 412 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) repeals a limitation on certain types of partnerships that may elect to pay income taxes at the entity level. The bill passed the House and was reported by the Senate Finance Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Chuck Hufstetler
Dale Washburn
Bruce Williamson
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 was reported by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula). 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 was reported by the House Insurance Committee. The House sponsor is Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Cartersville). GBA is monitoring.
Land Ownership. SB 132 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) prohibits the acquisition of possessory interest in certain land by nonresident aliens from a country designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” by the U. S. Secretary of State. The bill was amended, passed by the Senate and a hearing has been held by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. However, no further action has been taken. 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 bill also raises the cost to publish legal advertisements. The bill passed the House and was reported by the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown). GBA is monitoring.
Matthew Gambill
Randy Robertson
Brandon Beach
David Jenkins
Lee Anderson
Lis Pendens. HB 444 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) revises when an action may operate as a lis pendens. The bill passed the House and was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough). 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 was reported by the House Governmental Affairs Committee. The House sponsor is Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon). GBA is monitoring.
Probate. HB 91 by Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville) requires personal representatives to send notices to beneficiaries regarding the issuance of letters testamentary or letters of administration. The bill includes GBA-requested language to revise a definition to include financial institutions within the Uniform Transfer on Death Security Registration. The bill passed the House and was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Bo Hatchett (R-Cornelia). GBA supports.
Property Owners’ Associations. HB 220 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) provides for means of enforcement of condominium and property owners' association instruments, rules, and regulations and for compliance with, and means of enforcement of, covenants and instruments for certain planned subdivisions. The bill passed the House and was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Max Burns
Will Wade
Bo Hatchett
Rob Leverett
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 reported by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee with a GBA-requested amendment exempting banks and bank holding companies. The bill was scheduled for a floor vote March 16, but is postponed. The House sponsor is Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella). GBA is monitoring.
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 and Senate clearing the legislation for the Governor’s signature. Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) sponsored the bill in the Senate. GBA monitored.
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 a subcommittee of the House Energies, Utilities, & Telecommunications Committee. The subcommittee added the text of HB 92 by Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) which modifies the percentage limitation as to the amount of the investments an electric membership corporation may make and maintain in a gas affiliate. GBA is monitoring.
John Albers
Robert Dickey
Steven Sainz
Blake Tillery
Time-shares. HB 292 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) revises procedures regarding nonjudicial and judicial foreclosure of time-share estates and relates to notice, interests of mortgagees, trustees, recording of time-share interests, sales of encumbered time-share estates and proceeds, and transfer of title. The bill was reported by the House Judiciary Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. Text of the bill was added to HB 182 also by Rep. Reeves that relates to recording of deeds and other real property transactions, to revise provisions for curing defective deeds and other instruments and comport with the legislative correction recommended by the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Pingora Loan Servicing, LLC, v. Scarver (In Re: Lindstrom) regarding attestations. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough). GBA is monitoring.
Ungraded Lumber. HB 132 by Rep. David Jenkins (R-Grantville) amends the Georgia state minimum standard codes to include provisions authorizing the use of ungraded lumber in the construction or repair of any accessory structure not containing habitable space on property zoned or primarily used for residential or agricultural purposes. The bill passed the House and was reported by the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown). 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 was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon). GBA is monitoring.

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. The two bills below were added to our tracking list this week.
Landlord Tenant. HB 719 by Rep. Yasmin Neal (D-Jonesboro) repeals the current code section in Georgia statutes relating to restrictions on rent regulation by local governments. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Rural Economic Development. HR 488 by Rep. Steven Meeks (R-Screven) reauthorizes the rural development council. The bill is pending in the House Economic Tourism & Tourism Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Yasmin Neal
Steven Meeks

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.