March 3, 2023  

General Assembly’s Crossover Day is Monday

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Thursday this week completing Day 27 of their 40-day session. Legislators are using today as a Committee Work Day to perfect and report the last few bills that will be eligible for a vote on Crossover Day on Monday. Crossover Day is theoretically the last day a bill must pass one Chamber to be considered by the other Chamber before the end of the session. Monday’s session is expected to last well into the evening.

Senate Committee Holds Interchange Bill

The Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee chaired by Sen. Carden Summers (R-Cordele) held a second hearing Tuesday to consider SB 126 by Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro). The bill prohibits interchange fees from being assessed on the sales tax portion of debit or credit card transactions. Those testifying represented the national convenience store association and a Georgia based fuel company, RaceTrac. The witnesses downplayed the complexity of splitting out sales and other taxes from transactions and repeated talking points in opposition to interchange fees in general that we’ve often heard on the congressional level. At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Summers said the issue was too confusing and complex and chose not to call for a vote. That decision was likely the end of the retailers’ chance to get their bill passed this session. However, the retailers have vowed to work hard between now and next session to sway legislators to their side. We are part of a coalition that also includes the credit union association, the processor associations, and individual companies opposing the bill. We will continue meeting with legislators to help them understand how bad this bill is, not just for the revenue loss for our members, but for the negative message it sends to businesses thinking of relocating or expanding to Georgia. “I’ve seen the General Assembly do a lot of things in the 40 plus years I’ve represented the industry at the State Capitol. One thing I haven’t seen is legislators take money from one business and give it to another when the two parties are in a contract for services provided. That’s essentially what the bill does, and it would be a terrible precedent and a black eye on the State of Georgia,” said GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen.
Carden Summers
Billy Hickman

GBA’s Priority Bill Advances

The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance’s annual housekeeping bill, HB 55 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) was explained at the Senate Banking Committee hearing. The committee voted to send the bill to the Senate Rules Committee where it will be scheduled for a floor vote soon. The Senate President Pro Tem, Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) will be handling the bill from here in the Senate. 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 in concert with GBA’s Bank Counsel Section Board of Directors chaired by United Community Bank’s General Counsel, Melinda Davis Lux. Our thanks to Department Counsel Bo Fears for his work on the bill and helping present the bill to legislators.
Bruce Williamson
John Kennedy
Melinda Davis Lux
Bo Fears

House Banking Committee Reports Bill for Local Governments

The House Banks and Banking Committee chaired by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele) held a hearing this week on two bills. HB 342 by Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville) creates a regulatory structure for the title pawn industry. The Department of Banking and Finance would be the state regulator and the bill ends the industry’s ability to operate under the state’s pawn code and requires the firms’ products to operate like more traditional loans, subject to the state’s 60% usury limits. After hearing testimony from the proponents and representatives from the current title pawn companies opposing the bill, the committee did not vote so the bill remains in the committee. The committee reported another bill that’s now eligible for being scheduled for a House floor vote. That bill, 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 the State of Georgia may invest in. 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 is pending in the House Rules Committee and could be scheduled for a floor vote Monday.
Noel Williams
Josh Bonner
Carter Barrett

Other Bills GBA is Monitoring Received Action This Week

Legislative workdays always get longer this time each session and this week was no exception. With over 120 bills being tracked, it was another busy week for GBA’s advocacy team as committees were often meeting simultaneously. Following are bills GBA is monitoring that were subject to committee hearings or received floor votes 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 House passed the bill and it is pending in the Senate Finance 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. A subcommittee of the House Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on the bill but took no further action. 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. Our thanks to Rep. Gaines for amending the bill to clarify an exemption for the banking industry. The bill was reported by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Buckhead City. SB 113 by Sen. Randy Roberts (R-Cataula) provides for the transition of services and facilities from an existing municipality to a newly incorporated municipality. The bill was reported from the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee, scheduled for a floor vote, but is tabled in the Senate. GBA is monitoring.
Buckhead City. SB 114 by Sen. Randy Roberts (R-Cataula) provides a charter, boundaries, and powers of the City of Buckhead City. The bill was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 23 yeas to 33 nays. GBA is monitoring.
Lynn Smith
Sandra Scott
Houston Gaines
Randy Roberts
Commercial Financial Transactions. HB 84 by Rep. Trey Rhodes (R-Greensboro) relates to selling and other trade practices similar to factoring to provide for financing disclosures. The bill contains GBA-requested language adding holding companies to the exemption of banks from the provisions of the bill. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Conservation Easement. 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 was reported by the Senate Finance Committee and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee.
Credit Repair. HB 187 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) proposes to allow for-profit credit repair services. The bill was scheduled to be considered by the House but was recommitted to Rules Committee and subsequently recommitted to the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs where it is pending. 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. The bill was reported by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Trey Rhodes
Russ Goodman
Rob Leverett
Tyler Paul Smith
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 substitute version of the bill was reported from the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and it is pending in the Senate 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 development impact fees included in municipal or county development impact fee ordinances. The bill was scheduled for a Senate floor vote but is tabled. 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 was reported by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
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. GBA is monitoring.
Max Burns
Mike Dugan
Matt Brass
Clint Crowe
Hemp. HB 458 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn) relates to offenses against public health and morals to prohibit the purchase of, sale of, and the offering of samples of hemp products by or to any individual under the age of 21 years old. The bill was amended and reported by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee and scheduled by the House Rules Committee for a floor vote Monday. GBA is monitoring.
Higher Education Savings Plan; ABLE. HB 122 by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) relates to the state’s higher education savings plan and Georgia Achieving A Better Life Experience (ABLE), respectively, to provide for the governance of the Georgia ABLE program by the board of directors of the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan and among other things, removes the maximum amount of contributions currently allowed per beneficiary. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate Higher Education 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 was reported by the House Ways & Means Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landlord Tenant. HB 404 by Rep. Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton) provides for a duty of habitability for certain rental agreements, notice, maximum security deposit amounts, and expedited evictions for certain criminal activity. The bill passed the House and is awaiting being assigned to a Senate Committee. 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 and passed by the Senate and is awaiting being assigned to a House committee. GBA is monitoring.
Clay Pirkle
Lee Hawkins
Kasey Carpenter
Brandon Beach
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. The bill was reported from the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee and is pending in the Senate Rules 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. The bill was amended, reported from the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee and is pending in the House Rules 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 bill also slightly raises the cost of publishing legal notices. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. GBA is monitoring.
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 is pending in the Senate Judiciary 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 was amended, reported out of the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee, and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
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. The bill was reported by the House Judiciary Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Greg Dolezal
David Jenkins
Matt Reeves
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 is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Rural Economic Development. HB 413 by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele) provides for a second round of funding for the "Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act." The bill was reported by the House Ways & Means Committee and is pending in the House Rules 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 passed the Senate and is pending in the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
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 was reported by the Senate Retirement 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, reported by the Senate Finance Committee, and is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. 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 was reported by the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
John Albers
Marty Harbin
David Knight
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 was reported by the House Ways & Means 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 passed the House and is awaiting being assigned to a Senate committee. GBA is monitoring.
Time-shares. HB 292 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) revises procedures regarding nonjudicial 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. GBA is monitoring.
Tort – Hospitals & Nursing Homes/Chiropractic Practice. SB 168 by Sen. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) relates to liens of hospitals and nursing homes, to allow 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 was reported out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and is pending is the Senate Rules 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 data base 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 was reported out of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, and it is pending in the Senate Rules 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 was reported by the House Judiciary Non-civil Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Steven Sainz
Rick Williams
Scott Hilton

New Bills Added to our Tracking List

Ordinarily bills introduced this late in the session would be carried over to the 2024 session. However, a few bills mentioned above were introduced this week and already saw actions. The bills below were added to our tracking list and assigned to committees.
Access to Criminal Records. HB 588 by Rep. Tyler Paul Smith (R-Bremen) authorizes restriction to access certain minor offenses such as shoplifting and allows individuals to petition the court to block access to other offenses such as those for which the offender was not arrested, pled nolle, or the charges were reduced to violations of a local ordinance, among others. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Bankruptcy Exemptions. HB 628 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) relates to exemptions for purposes of bankruptcy and intestate insolvent estates to raise the exemptions for a debtor's aggregate interest in real property or personal property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, in a cooperative that owns property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, or in a burial plot. The exemptions would be raised from $21,500 to $50,000 for individuals and $43,000 to $100,000 for property held by two spouses. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary 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 pending in the House Government Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Landlord Tenant. HB 627 by Rep. Rhonda Taylor (D-Conyers) repeals Code Section 44-7-19 relating to restrictions on rent regulation by local governments. The bill is pending in the House Government Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Notaries Public – Electronic Notarization. SB 271 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) authorizes notaries public to electronically execute notarial certificates in person in conformance with technical standards to be issued by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Notaries Public. SB 265 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) provides for electronic notarization of certain notarial acts using real time audio-video communication technology. Exempted from electronic notarization are conveyances of real estate, wills, codicils and testamentary trusts. A notary public, a mortgage lender or its affiliates, employees, agents, and attorneys or the attorney's employee or agent violating provisions of the Act are subject to criminal penalties and civil liability, including compensatory and punitive damages and for class action lawsuits. The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Real Property Reporting. HB 630 by Rep. Marvin Lim (D-Norcross) among other things, requires each state-chartered bank to report to the Department of Banking and Finance every 24 months regarding loans made for the creation, acquisition, or rehabilitation of housing units, adds a requirement to list all real property owned and addresses on any corporate registration with the Secretary of State and prohibits bundling of real properties in foreclosure sales. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Todd Jones
Rhonda Taylor
Blake Tillery
Marvin Lim

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.