Jan. 26, 2024  

General Assembly One-Fourth Through 2024 Session

The Georgia General Assembly was in session each day this week, completing Day 10 of its 40-day session. Committees actively worked on bills held over from last year and considered bills newly introduced in this session. Below is a report on GBA’s biggest advocacy event of the year and information about bills affecting the industry that saw action this week. The Legislature will reconvene Monday and is slated to be in session through Thursday of next week. The 2024 session is scheduled to end on March 28.

2024 Economic & Legislative Forum and Legislative Reception

Thanks to the tremendous crowd of GBA members, legislators and other elected officials for making our economic and legislative programs a resounding success on Wednesday. The official hosts are GBA’s Board of Directors, Public Affairs Committee and BankPAC Board. Attendees heard from Georgia Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler, John Ashford of the Hawthorn Group, Georgia Commissioner of Economic Development Pat Wilson, House Majority Leader Rep. Chuck Eftsration (R-Auburn) and Senate President Pro Tem Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon). The reception afterward provided members the opportunity to talk about important issues with the many legislators and other state leaders who attended. Check out the comprehensive rundown of the event. 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.
(From left) Fears and Williamson present the bill

House Banks & Banking Committee Reports GBA Priority Bill

Our thanks to Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) for presenting HB 876 to the House Banks & Banking Committee this week. That committee is chaired again this year by Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele). Rep. Williamson was joined during his presentation by Bo Fears, Deputy Commissioner of Consumer and Legal Affairs at the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. Known by many as the Banking Department’s Annual Housekeeping Bill, the GBA priority legislation updates 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 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 (MALPB). The bill was passed unanimously out of the committee and now heads to the House Rules Committee. Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) will again sponsor the legislation this year in the Senate.

New Bills Being Tracked

Be sure and set a web browser bookmark for the State Issues page on the GBA website to track details about specific bills during the session. This week, we added the following:
Property Owners’ Associations. SB 356 by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) prevents condominium associations and property owners’ associations from foreclosing liens due to past due assessments. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Temporary Loans for Local Governments. HR 804 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) changes the date by which temporary loans for counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions of the state are payable in full from the end of the calendar year to within 12 months of the initial funding date of the loan. The resolution has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Cash Acceptance. HB 940 by Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth) requires retail stores to accept cash for purchases. The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation. HB 985 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) aims to abolish the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation. The bill passed the House last session as HB 319 and would return money back to the state for other higher education purposes. The bill was reported by the House Higher Education Committee and now moves to the House Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Donzella James
Chuck Martin
Todd Jones
Georgia Firearms Industry Nondiscrimination Act. HB 1018 by Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth) prohibits financial institutions from requiring the use of a firearms code for purchases that distinguishes firearms retailers from other retailers, prohibits discrimination against firearms retailers by financial institutions through the use of a firearms code, prohibits the disclosure of certain financial records by financial institutions, provides for petitions to the Attorney General to investigate alleged violations and prohibits persons or government entities from keeping registries of firearms or owners of firearms. The bill has been assigned to the House Banks & Banking Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Property Owners' Associations. HB 1032 by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) prevents condominium associations and property owners’ associations from foreclosing liens because of past due assessments. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Trigger Leads. HB 1040 by Rep. Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners) prohibits unfair or deceptive practices in consumer transactions related to mortgage trigger leads sold by credit reporting agencies. These leads contain contact details of individuals applying for credit, gathered when their credit reports are pulled. The bill has been assigned to the House Banks & Banking Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Virtual Currency Mining. HB 1043 by Rep. Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners) provides protections relating to the generation and use of virtual currency, excludes virtual currency mining activities from money transmission licensure requirements, provides liability protections for persons engaged in such activities, excludes such activities from the definitions of a security, prohibits local governments from imposing certain restrictions on such activities, prohibits discriminatory electricity rates, excludes from taxation net capital gains or losses derived from certain transactions involving virtual currency and excludes from taxation the sale or lease of certain equipment to be used by virtual currency mining businesses. The bill has been assigned to the House Banks & Banking Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Jason Ridley
Sandra Scott
Scott Hilton

Action on Other Legislation GBA is Tracking

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. In the 2023 session, the House passed the bill. It was reported by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee, scheduled for a floor vote by the Senate Rules Committee, but was tabled in the Senate. This week, an amendment was offered to change the dates in the legislation from 2024 to 2025, and it was favorably reported as amended by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. The bill is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula). 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 was favorably reported by the House Judiciary Committee this week and now heads to the House Rules Committee. GBA monitoring.
Matthew Gambill
Randy Robertson
Matt Reeves

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.