March 1, 2024

General Assembly Day 28, Crossover Day Becomes Crossover Night

The Georgia General Assembly was in session late into the night on Thursday, completing day 28 of the 40-day session also known as Crossover Day. This is the day when bills typically need to pass their chamber of origin to realistically make it all the way through the other chamber and be signed into law. Legislators on both sides were busy on the floor, and we saw action on several items of interest to the banking industry. Read more about those bills below. The mad sprint to the session’s adjournment, also known as Sine Die, scheduled for March 28, begins Monday morning. The General Assembly will be in session four days next week, with Wednesday scheduled as a committee workday.

Bills to Highlight

While we saw action on numerous pieces of legislation this week, a few stood out to us to highlight. These will be of particular interest to most bankers, so please let us know if you have any questions about any of them.
Personal Privacy. SB 473 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) is intended to protect the privacy of consumers’ personal data. The bill passed the Senate by substitute. GBA is monitoring with concern.
Criminal Records. HB 909 by Rep. Leesa Hagan (R-Lyons) provides for the restriction and seal of First Offender Act sentences until such status is revoked. GBA is helping with an amendment to the bill to be added in the Senate to ensure that financial institutions are not restricted from access to information that the bill would otherwise restrict. The bill passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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 sporting goods 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 passed the House.
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 passed the House and has been assigned to Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
Sen. John Albers
Rep. Leesa Hagan
Rep. Jason Ridley
Rep. Scott Hilton
Central Bank Digital Currency. HB 1053 by Rep. Carter Barrett (R-Cumming) prohibits state government agencies from accepting a central bank digital currency as payment. The bill passed the House.
Notary Public. SB 425 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) provides for electronic notarization of certain notarial acts using real time audio-video communication technology for some notarial acts, including real estate closing for property in Georgia under certain conditions. GBA is monitoring with concern.
HB 1075 by Rep. Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners) provides that state agencies shall accept notary acts, including electronic notarizations, performed in other states when the manner of notarization is authorized in that state. The bill passed the House.
Elder Abuse. HB 1123 by Rep. Carter Barrett (R-Cumming) requires the establishment of an Adult Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Multidisciplinary Team in each judicial circuit of the state. The bill also creates an elder justice coalition for the State of Georgia, which will include a representative of the GBA. The bill passed the House.
Uniform Commercial Code. HB 1240 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) updates and modernizes various statutes in the commercial code relating to commercial transactions to maintain uniformity in Georgia’s statutes governing commercial transactions as recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Includes the establishment of commercial law for transactions involving digital assets. The bill passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Deeds. HB 1292 by Rep. Gabe Okoye (D-Lawrenceville) is intended to combat fraudulent real property deed transfers, but takes a different approach than SB 474. Various changes were made to the original bill. The substitute bill places greater restrictions and requirements on "self-filers" of deeds or other instruments and makes some changes to the notarization requirements for deeds. The bill passed the House.
Torts. HB 1371 by Rep. James Burchett (R-Waycross) relates to the liability of owners and occupiers of land regarding third-party criminal activity and civil cause of action arising from criminal activity. The bill passed the House by substitute. GBA is monitoring with concern.
Rep. Carter Barrett
Sen. Blake Tillery
Rep. Matt Reeves
Rep. Gabe Okoye
Rep. James Burchett

Action on Other Legislation GBA is Tracking

A number of bills we’re monitoring this session were considered this week. Below is more information about the bills and what happened.
Property Taxes, Delinquent – Waive for Returning Property to Effective Utilization Status. SR 82 by Sen. Carden Summers (R-Cordele) proposes an amendment to the state constitution to authorize the tax commissioner, subject to local governing authority approval, to waive certain delinquent ad valorem property taxes, penalties, and interest for the purpose of placing non-revenue generating and tax delinquent property back to effective utilization status. The resolution was passed by substitute by the Senate.
State Retirement Fund Investing - Social Political Ideological. HB 481 by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) 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 not be limited to, the furtherance of any social, political, or ideological interests. The bill passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Retirement Committee.
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 $1 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 was reported by the Senate Finance Committee.
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. The bill was passed by substitute by the Senate.
Development Impact Fees. SB 208 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) provides for development impact fees for education to be approved by local boards of education of a high growth school system to pay for a share of the cost of additional educational facilities. The bill passed the Senate. SR 189, the companion resolution, calling for a constitutional amendment to authorize development impact fees for education, also passed the Senate.
Sen. Carden Summers
Rep. John Carson
Rep. Clint Crowe
Sen. Max Burns
Sen. Greg Dolezal
Condominiums – Unit Insurance Deductibles. HB 389 by Rep. Martin Momtahan (R-Dallas) revises the maximum amount of insurance deductibles payable by unit owners to be not more than the association’s master policy deductible per casualty loss. The bill was reported by substitute by the House Insurance Committee.
Ad Valorem. SB 403 by Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) relating to ad valorem taxation of property, so as to revise the language required to be included in the notices of current assessment. The bill was reported this week by the Senate Finance Committee.
Personal Privacy. SB 414 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) prohibits nonprofit organizations from releasing personal information to public agencies. The bill passed the Senate by substitute.
Land Ownership. SB 420 by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas) prohibits the acquisition of possessory interest in certain land by certain foreign persons and entities. The bill passed the Senate by substitute.
Rep. Martin Momtahan
Sen. Frank Ginn
Sen. John Kennedy
Sen. Jason Anavitarte
Small Business. SB 429 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) allows for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor or any member of the legislature to request a small business impact analysis from the Office of Planning and Budget and the Department of Audits for any bill introduced during a legislative session. The bill was reported this week by the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. The bill passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee.
Hemp. SB 437 by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) 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 passed by substitute by the Senate.
Wills, Trusts & Estates. SB 450 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) relates to appeal and error, courts, property, and wills, trusts, and administration of estates, respectively, so as to clarify that neither superior court nor a state court shall have appellate jurisdiction pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title 5 over any nonappealable order of a probate court and other related matters. The bill passed the Senate by substitute.
Veteran’s Benefits. The original bill SB 451 by Rep. Nabilah Islam-Parkes (D-Duluth) would have created a voluntary low-interest loan program for financial institutions to assist veterans to be overseen and administered by The Department of Banking and Finance and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Substitute bill adopted by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee establishes standards, restrictions and disclosure requirements applicable to any parties providing, for compensation, assistance to veterans in applying for benefits and/or applying for increased benefits.
Business and Occupation Tax – Regulatory Fees. HB 461 by Rep. Brad Thomas (R-Holly Springs) relates to general provisions regarding specific, business, and occupation taxes to require that the proceeds of local government regulatory fees be used to pay for regulatory activity and not general operations and removes certain provisions authorizing calculation of regulatory fees for renovation and other construction projects and provide for refunds in certain circumstances. The bill passed the House and was reported by substitute by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro).
Sen. Randy Robertson
Rep. Nabilah Islam-Parkes
Rep. Brad Thomas
Sen. Billy Hickman
Online Marketplace. SB 472 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) revises certain definitions related to third-party sellers that utilize online marketplaces. The bill passed the Senate.
Hemp. SB 494 by Sen. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) relates to the 'Georgia Hemp Farming Act' to regulate hemp products. Prohibits persons from performing certain activities without licenses, revises disqualifications for hemp grower licenses and hemp processor permits and other provisions. The bill was passed by substitute by the Senate.
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 loans. The resolution passed the House and has been reported by Senate Finance Committee.
Ad Valorum Tax. HB 808 by Rep. Mike Cheokas (R-Americus) increases the statewide ad valorem tax exemption for tangible personal property from $7,500 to $20,000. The bill passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee.
Squatters. HB 1017 by Rep. Devan Seabaugh (R-Marietta) provides for the offense of unlawful squatting violations where a person enters a land or premises for purposes of residing on such land or premises. The bill passed the House.
Sen. Sam Watson
Rep. Chuck Martin
Rep. Mike Cheokas
Rep. Devan Seabaugh
Ad Valorem Tax. HR 1021 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) proposes an amendment to the state constitution providing local governments the option to offer a state-wide homestead exemption from ad valorem taxes in an amount equal to any amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the base year value of such homestead. The enabling legislation is HB 1177. The bill and resolution passed the House.
Ad Valorem Tax. HR 1022 by Rep. Beth Camp (R-Concord) proposes an amendment to the state constitution providing local governments the option to offer a state-wide homestead exemption from ad valorem taxes in an amount equal to any amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead exceeds the inflation rate from the adjusted base year value of such homestead. The enabling legislation is HB 1185. The resolution and bill passed the House.
Appraisals. HR 1041 by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) provides that the governing authority of any county or consolidated government shall be authorized to adopt an alternative method of appraisal and assessment of real property located within such county for taxation. The resolution was reported by House Ways & Means Committee.
Leased Property. HB 1052 by. Rep. Chas Cannon (R-Moultrie) revises the eligibility requirements for conservation use valuation assessments (CUVA). The bill passed the House.
Rep. Ron Stephens
Rep. Beth Camp
Rep. Dale Washburn
Rep. Chas Cannon
Farmland Sales. HB 1093 by Rep. David Clark (R-Buford) prohibits certain nonresident aliens from buying agricultural land within 10 miles of a military base. The bill was reported by substitute this week by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. It was withdrawn from consideration by the full House and recommitted back to the Rules Committee. A Rules Committee Substitute was adopted and the bill was placed on a Supplemental Rules Calendar, but was never called up for a vote.
Personal Privacy. HB 1113 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) prohibits nonprofit organizations from releasing personal information to public agencies. The bill was reported by substitute by the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
Torts. HB 1114 by Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville) authorizes the collection of data by the Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire for the purposes of future tort reform legislation. The bill was passed by the House this week and has been assigned to Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
Ad Valorem Tax – Low Income Building. HR 1115 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) proposes an amendment to the Constitution to provide that qualified low-income building projects may be classified as a separate class of property for ad valorem property tax purposes, and different rates, methods, and assessment dates may be provided for such building projects. The bill passed the House.
Historic Home Tax Credit. HB 1116 by Rep. Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City) extends the sunset date from 2025 to 2035 for the historic home portion of the tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic structures. The bill passed the House.
Rep. David Clark
Rep. Will Wade
Rep. Shaw Blackmon
Rep. Debbie Buckner
Hemp. HB 1127 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 passed the House.
Squatters. HB 1153 by Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth) allows any person who owns property to file a written affidavit with the clerk of the superior court of the county where such property resides stating the intention to not subject such property to rental agreement. The bill was reported by the House Judiciary Committee.
Tax Code. HB 1162 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 was reported by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro).
Tax Credit – Carry Forward. HB 1181 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) limits the carry-forward periods of certain income tax credits. The bill passed the House.
Tax Credit – Low Income Housing. HB 1182 by Rep. Clint Crowe (R-Jackson) provides that low income housing tax credits shall be called Georgia affordable housing tax credits, reduces the amount of these credits available for certain projects and authorizes the credits in an amount equal to the federal credit for certain projects. The bill passed the House.
Tax Credit – Historic Structures. HB 1197 by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) expands revitalization zone tax credits to include rehabilitation of historic residential structures. The bill passed the House.
Rep. Clay Pirkle
Rep. Todd Jones
Rep. David Knight
Rep. Penny Houston
Electronic Signatures. HB 1206 by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) provides that failure of a business or entity to provide or offer to provide a written copy of any form which a consumer or client executes via electronic signature is declared to be unlawful as an unfair or deceptive practice. The bill was reported by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee.
Wills, Trusts & Estates. HB 1218 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) establishes a provision of notice to beneficiaries of a testate estate. The bill passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Dispute Financing. HB 1244 by Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth) establishes dispute financing provisions including conflicts of interest in certain circumstances, financier limitations, disclosures with certain foreign entities and for other purposes. The bill was heard this week by the House Judiciary Committee. A motion of "Do Not Pass" was successful, so the bill did not advance.
Transfer on Death Deeds. HB 1247 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) provides for transfer-on-death deeds, the execution and recording of such deeds and necessary forms. The bill provides that such deeds shall not be revoked by wills. The bill passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Regional Commissions. HB 1253 by Rep. Victor Anderson (R-Clarkesville) revises the composition of the governing council for regional commissions; to provide for the training of members thereof; to provide for terms of office, filling of vacancies, and appointment of successors. The bill passed the House.
Hemp. HB 1286 by Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) relates to the ‘Georgia Hemp Farming Act’ to regulate hemp products. Prohibits persons from performing certain activities without licenses, revises disqualifications for hemp grower licenses and hemp processor permits and other provisions. The bill was reported Feb. 23 by the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee.
Property Owners Associations. HB 1321 by Rep. Eric Bell (D-Jonesboro) prohibits condominium associations, property owners' associations, and homeowners' associations from preventing property owners from installing solar energy devices on common roofs or roof structures. The bill has been assigned to the House Utilities & Telecommunications Committee.
Hemp. HB 1322 by Rep. Chas Cannon (R-Moultrie) regulates consumable hemp products, provides for the establishment of delta-9-THC concentration, requires such products be packaged in certain containers and outlines other restrictions. The bill passed the House.
Rep. Eddie Lumsden
Rep. Rob Leverett
Rep. Victor Anderson
Rep. John Corbett
Rep. Eric Bell

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:
Legal Organ. HB 1404 by Rep. Lehman Franklin (R- Statesboro) relating to advertisement regarding judicial sales, so as to provide for an online publication to serve as an interim legal organ. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
Rent Control. HB 1429 by Rep. Solomon Adesanya (D-Marietta) provides for limitations on rent increases for seniors and veterans. The bill has been assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
Rep. Lehman Franklin
Rep. Solomon Adesanya

GBA Represented at the Capitol

The association’s advocacy team is 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.