March 22, 2024

Only Two Days Remain in 2024 General Assembly Session – Adjournment Scheduled for March 28

Floor votes and committee meetings went well into the evening a few nights this week as the 2024 Georgia General Assembly session nears the end. Adjournment ‘Sine Die’ is scheduled for March 28. Lawmakers have now completed day 38 out of 40, and there are still a number of issues to address before the final gavels fall. Legislators will make their way back to the Capitol on Monday for their last committee workday before convening Tuesday and Thursday. We expect the action to go right up to midnight on Thursday, so be sure to stay tuned to our updates for all the latest information.

Bills to Highlight

Telephone Solicitations. SB 73 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) provides for class action suits and damages against certain persons and entities for violating provisions relating to telephone solicitations. House and Senate Conference Committees have been appointed. The House sponsor is Rep. Tyler Paul Smith (R-Bremen).
Earned Wage Access. HB 84 by Rep. Trey Rhodes (R-Greensboro) The original bill, introduced in the 2023 session, required persons who provide commercial financing transactions to make certain disclosures. This week, that language was removed and replaced with language that imposes specific requirements and limitations on earned wage access service providers. It sets the cap for permissible fees for these services at $5.00, and establishes that the fees are not interest. Additionally, it specifies that earned wage access services are not considered lending activities or money transmission, that providers must offer a free option to access wages, and that any gratuity amount be set at $0. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford).
Sen. Blake Tillery
Rep. Tyler Paul Smith
Rep. Trey Rhodes
Sen. Clint Dixon
C-PACE. HB 206 by Rep. Steven Sainz (R-St. Marys) provides for the creation of Commercial Property Assessed Conservation, Energy, and Resiliency projects to be considered by development authorities in counties and municipalities that have adopted implementing ordinances. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Special Rules Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville).
Notaries Public. SB 425 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) provides for electronic notarization of certain notarial acts using real-time audio-video communication technology, including real estate closing for property in Georgia under certain conditions. The bill has been recommitted back to the House Judiciary Committee, and we expect another hearing early next week. The House sponsor is Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth).
Sen. Steven Sainz
Sen. Frank Ginn
Rep. Matt Reeves
Personal Data Privacy. SB 473 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) is intended to protect the privacy of consumers' personal data. The bill now includes the GBA-requested GLBA exemption that was in the original bill, but subsequently deleted as the bill was being amended along the way. The bill was reported by substitute by the House Technology and Infrastructure Innovation Committee. The House sponsor is Rep. Brad Thomas (R-Holly Springs).
We also saw identical language from SB 473 inserted to replace the original language contained in HB 498 by Rep. Danny Mathis (R-Cochran) this week. The original bill dealt with the process of reinstatement for a lapsed funeral director’s license. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Public Safety Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville).
Sen. John Albers
Rep. Brad Thomas
Rep. Danny Mathis
Sen. Rick Williams
Criminal Records Sealing. 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 helped with an amendment to the bill in the Senate to ensure that financial institutions are not restricted from access to information that the bill would otherwise restrict. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Harold Jones (D-Augusta).
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 Senate, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. The Senate sponsor was Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming).
Rep. Leesa Hagan
Sen. Harold Jones
Rep. Carter Barrett
Sen. Greg Dolezal
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, authorizes the credits in an amount equal to the federal credit for other projects and reduces the number of counties that would be eligible for these projects, but only 50% of the federal credit for other projects. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome).
Deeds. HB 1292 by Rep. Gabe Okoye (D-Lawrenceville) is intended to combat fraudulent real property deed transfers. 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 was reported by committee substitute by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Russ Goodman (R-Cogdell).
Rep. Clint Crowe
Sen. Chuck Hufstetler
Rep. Gabe Okoye
Sen. Russ Goodman
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. A Rules Committee substitute was passed by the House. The bill was reported by committee substitute by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough). GBA is monitoring with concern.
Rep. James Burchett
Sen. Brian Strickland

Action on Other Legislation GBA is Tracking


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 resolution was reported by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia).
Tax Credit – Rural Hospitals. HB 101 by Rep. Clint Crowe (R-Jackson) revises eligibility requirements for contributions made to a rural hospital organization for tax credit. Language from other bills relating to ad valorem taxation on historic properties and a two-year suspension of tax exemptions for high-technology data centers was added in the Senate Finance Committee this week. The bill was reported by substitute. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome).
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. SR 189 is the companion resolution, calling for a constitutional amendment to authorize development impact fees for education. The bills are currently awaiting action by the full House where the sponsor is Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth).
Rep. Noel Williams
Rep. J Collins
Rep. Todd Jones
Sales and Use Tax – Mobile Homes; Tax Credit – First Time Homebuyers. HB 283 by Rep. Beth Camp (R-Concord) raises the sales tax exemption to 60% for the first sale of newly manufactured single-family homes and provides a sunset date of June 30, 2029. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula).
Ad Valorem Tax. SB 349 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) revises provisions related to the setting of millage rates. The bill was reported by substitute by the House Ways & Means Committee. The House sponsor is Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire).
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 Senate by substitute and must go back for agreement in the House. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) GBA monitoring.
Rep. Beth Camp
Sen. Randy Robertson
Rep. Shaw Blackmon
Rep. Kasey Carpenter
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. The bill was reported by substitute by the House Judiciary Committee. The House sponsor is Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth).
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 House by substitute and must go back to the Senate for agreement. The House sponsor is Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn).
Tort - Motor Vehicles. SB 426 by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) revises the circumstances in which a motor carrier and insurance carrier can be joined in the same lawsuit action following an accident. The bill passed the House, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. The House sponsor was Rep. James Burchett (R-Waycross).
Small Business Protection. 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 by substitute by the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee. The House sponsor is Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth).
Wills, Trusts & Estates. SB 450 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) relates to appeal and error, courts, property, wills, trusts, and administration of estates, respectively, to clarify that neither a superior court nor a state court shall have appellate jurisdiction pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title 5 over any non-appealable order of a probate court and other related matters. The bill passed the House by substitute and the Senate agreed, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. The House sponsor was Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton).
Sen. John Kennedy
Sen. Jason Anavitarte
Rep. Clay Pirkle
Rep. Rob Leverett
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 Senate by substitute and must go back for agreement in the House. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro).
A.I. Study Committee. SR 476 by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) creates a study committee on Artificial Intelligence and its utilization in fields such as financial services, healthcare, education, housing and transportation. The resolution was reported by substitute by the Senate Science and Technology Committee.
Administrative Hearing Officers. HB 563 by Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) amends the Fair Employment Practices Act, making several changes to appointing administrative hearing officers who appear before the administrative law judges. The bill passed the Senate by substitute and the Senate agreed, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. The Senate sponsor was Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas).
Tax Credit – Analysis. HB 581 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) requires the Department of Audits and Accounts to analyze a prioritized list of various tax credits annually. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome).
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. A Senate floor vote on the bill failed this week; however, a motion to reconsider by the Senate sponsor was confirmed by unanimous consent, and the bill will be back on the rules calendar next week. The Senate sponsor is Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell).
Homestead Exemption. HB 1019 by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth) the original bill would have doubled the state homestead exemption from $2,000 to $4,000. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Finance Committee, which raised the exemption to $10,000. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro).
Corporate Income Tax Parity. HB 1023 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) aims to reduce the state's flat corporate income tax rate from 5.75% to match the personal income tax rate. The bill was passed by the Senate, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. The Senate sponsor was Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome).
Sen. Billy Hickman
Rep. Mike Cheokas
Rep. Bruce Williamson
Notary Public. HB 1075 by Rep. Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners) provides that state agencies shall accept notarial acts, including electronic notarizations, performed in other states when the manner of notarization is authorized in that state. The bill was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Reported. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth).
Data Gathering for Tort Reform. HB 1114 by Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville) authorizes data collection by the Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire for future tort reform legislation. A Senate floor vote on the bill failed this week; however, a motion to reconsider by the Senate sponsor was confirmed by unanimous consent, and the bill will be back on the rules calendar next week. The Senate sponsor is Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon).
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 was reported by the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome).
Rep. Scott Hilton
Sen. Ed Setzler
Rep. Will Wade
Rep. Debbie Buckner
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 GBA representative. The bill is currently tabled in the Senate. The Senate sponsor is Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon).
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. The update includes the establishment of commercial law for transactions involving digital assets. The bill passed the Senate, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. The Senate sponsor was Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon).
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 language of the bill was added to SB 420 by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas) this week, which passed the House.
Regional Commissions. HB 1253 by Rep. Victor Anderson (R-Clarkesville) revises the composition of the governing council for regional commissions, provides for the training of members thereof, terms of office, filling of vacancies, and appointment of successors. The bill was reported by substitute by the Senate Government Oversight Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown).
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 was heard by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. No further action was taken.
Local Government Services. HB 1407 by Rep. John LaHood (R-Valdosta) relates to planning and service delivery by counties and municipalities. Financial Institution taxes are mentioned. The bill has been reported by the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville).
Rep. Victor Anderson
Sen. Lee Anderson
Rep. Chas Cannon
Rep. John LaHood

New Bills We’re Tracking

Peach State Savings Plan. SR 807 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) creates the Senate Peach State Saves Program Study Committee. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Special Rules Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Affordable Housing. HR 1419 by Rep. Phil Olaleye (D-Atlanta) creates a House Study Committee on the Use of Local Fees to Support Affordable Housing. The resolution has been assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Committee. GBA is monitoring.
Credit Card Fees. HB 1505 by Rep. Terry Cummings (D-Mableton) would limit the surcharges merchants charge for purchasers' use of credit cards. The bill is awaiting committee assignment. GBA is monitoring.
Rep. Phil Olaleye
Rep. Terry Cummings

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.