Jan. 12, 2024

General Assembly Convenes for 2024 Session

The Georgia General Assembly began the second session of its biennial when it was gaveled to order Monday of this week by House Speaker Jon Burns (R-Newington) and Lt. Gov. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) in his role as Senate President. Any bills not receiving final action in the 2023 session are automatically carried over and eligible for consideration. In addition to having various organizational meetings, legislators heard Gov. Brian Kemp’s State of the State address. The General Assembly will be in recess next week for Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday and will hold budget hearings the rest of the week. Legislators will reconvene on Monday, Jan. 22, for the sixth day of their 40-day session. An adjournment resolution, HR 779, by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula), was passed, setting the session to end on Thursday, March 28, 2024.
Jon Burns
Burt Jones
Brian Kemp

Economic & Legislative Forum and Legislative Reception on Tap

Speaking of Rep. Efstation, he’s the House Majority Leader and the latest speaker to be confirmed for the Legislative & Economic Forum and Reception slated for Jan. 24. This is one of our most popular events and we were able to add a few more rooms to our hotel block at the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta. However, today is the deadline to reserve a room at our discounted rate. Call Marriott Reservations directly at 1-800-570-1382 and reference Georgia Bankers Association Legislative Forum & Reception Jan2024 or click here to access our room block through the Reslink. The forum program will feature national political expert John Ashford for an overview of election-year possibilities, Georgia’s Commissioner of Economic Development Pat Wilson, Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler and other guests from the General Assembly. Get details and register here for the Forum & Reception, the Forum Only, or the Reception Only. The Forum will be from 3-6 p.m., followed by the Reception from 6-7:30 p.m.
Chuck Efstration
John Ashford
Pat Wilson
Kevin Hagler
A big thank-you to our event sponsors: BDS Yarmouth & Choate; BHG Financial; EBS Strategies; FHLBank Atlanta; Olsen Palmer, LLC; Point to Point Environmental; and ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.

Interchange News

One of the first acts by the Senate was the unanimous approval of the request by Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro) to withdraw his bill, SB 126, that prohibits the charging of interchange on the sales tax portion of debit and credit card transactions. Before that, a stakeholder meeting had been called by Senate Banking and Financial Institutions chairman, Sen. Carden Summers (R-Cordele), and the meeting went forward Thursday. Retailer interests representing Home Depot and RaceTrac spoke for the concept, and GBA Chairman Rhodes McLanahan, First American Bank & Trust, and GBA’s Joe Brannen spoke in opposition. So did representatives from the credit unions and CBA. Members of the House and Senate attended and asked good questions of both sides and left clearly understanding there was no compromise forthcoming. Our bottom-line message is that it is not the role of the General Assembly to take money from one private sector participant and put it in the pockets of another when the two are operating under contracts they freely entered. The retailers are looking for a sponsor to introduce another version of their bill, so stay tuned for future updates.
Billy Hickman
Carden Summers
Rhodes McLanahan

Banking Department Housekeeping Bill Introduced

Our thanks to Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) for introducing HB 876, the annual update to the language within Title 7 of the Official Code of Georgia related to all the entities regulated by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. Of interest to bankers are the provisions in this year’s bill related to bank formation, filings with the Secretary of State, the definition of subsidiaries, and updates to the Merchant Acquirer Limited Purpose Bank charter. Also, our thanks to GBA’s Bank Counsel Section Board of Directors, chaired by Colony Bank’s Lee Bagwell, which worked with the Department on the bill that GBA supports. The bill is pending in the House Banks and Banking Committee chaired again this year by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele).
Bruce Williamson
Lee Bagwell
Noel Williams

Legislation GBA is Tracking

Be sure to bookmark the State Issues page on the GBA website to track details about specific bills during the session. We add bills as they are introduced, so be sure and check frequently for updates. Clicking on a bill number link will give you the text of the bill and its latest status as the bill moves through the process. In addition to dozens of bills we’re tracking from the 2023 session and the department housekeeping bill mentioned above, this week we added the following:
Property Owners Associations. HB 885 by Rep. Kimberly Alexander (D-Hiram) establishes protections for condo owners, homeowners, and property owners by placing requirements, such as reserve funds and budgets, on community associations. Entitled the Community Association Transparency and Protection Act, the bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.
Deeds. HB 888 by Rep. Mandisha Thomas (D-South Fulton) relates to recording deeds and other real estate transactions. The bill allows the clerks of the superior court to ask for identification before recording and authorizes the clerk to refuse to record if a government-issued ID is not furnished. Rulemaking authority is given to the Superior Court Clerks Authority. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.
Wills, Trusts and Estates. HB 901 by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex), among other things, provides for electronic wills and the execution of such wills. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.
Kimberly Alexander
Mandisha Thomas
Sandra Scott

GBA Represented at the Capitol

The association’s advocacy team is already hard at work representing the interests of banking at the State Capitol. Reach out to any of them if you need information about a bill, contact information for your representatives, or tips on where to park if you’re coming for a visit. Here’s their contact information:
We will publish future editions of the Legislative Update after the General Assembly adjourns each week. Please let us know if you have questions or comments on issues of interest to you.