Legislative Days 5 – 8
January 26, 2021, to January 29, 2021
After a week of Appropriation meetings, Session resumed Tuesday the 26th in a roaring fashion. The switch has been thrown, and the horse race took off. The House set the Legislative Adjournment Schedule for the next eight days (H.R.31).Telling us that the two-week increments will continue until further notice. At this point, it is unclear as to when Crossover will occur. Lori and I had the opportunity to go to the Capitol for some introductions and meetings since this is my first Session at the Capitol. I got to see firsthand the new protocols and procedures with all its yellow tape this year in person. Bi-weekly Covid test per Member and Staff every week administered by GA-Tech looks to be very robust. It was good to see firsthand how seriously this was being taken for the safety of every member, the staff, and our friends at the Capitol. As for the numerous bills being dropped for first reads and committee meetings starting up, it has shown that this Session will be as unique as they come. For this week, all eyes were on the Budget and getting Committee meetings lined up and rolling.
The real highlight of this week was seeing the Appropriation General Budget Bill move so quickly to come to a vote just yesterday in the House with only an hour and half of the whole House Committee deliberation. The House voted a “Do Pass” and Immediate transfer to the Senate’s Appropriations Committee. This usually doesn’t happen as quickly as this occurred, but with all eyes aimed at the National Pandemic, the Vaccine, and Georgia’s Health and Economic wellbeing, keeping everything moving is a priority.
Last week, the House announced the new House Committee Assignments. With 24 new Representatives after the last election , it was not surprising that there was quite a bit of change over. Looking at Banks and Banking, Rep. Greg Morris was reappointed as Chairman for Banks and Banking. Another committee that we often follow is the House Judiciary. Rep. Chuck Efstration was appointed Chairman for Judiciary.
Please see below the announced committee membership for Banks and Banking and House Judiciary:
- Banks and Banking –
- Judiciary -
As part of our advocacy efforts, we will be reaching out to new Committee members for the committees that we closely follow in the Session’s coming weeks. We encourage you as bankers to introduce yourselves to new Banks and Banking Committee members, especially if you live in their districts.
After battling schedules and coordinating members’ preferences for remote versus in person meetings, we successfully arranged many meetings with the Senators who sit on Banking and Financial Institutions and Senate Judiciary Committee members this week. These meetings allowed me to introduce myself with Lori, CBA, and Community Banking to our new members just coming in, and each meeting went great, and it was nice to put faces to names.
For your reference, we have a tracking document that can be accessed at any time on our website that will show the bills we are tracking/monitoring. They are highlighted in different colors of importance for your convenience and are sorted from the top of the sheet by bill/resolution number. We are keeping everything as up to date as much as possible, given the circumstances surrounding the pandemic.
We have seen drafts of a Remote Online Notary bill that will be coming soon; however, the sponsor of the bill is still working to make changes to accommodate all interested parties. Once the bill drops, we will keep everyone updated on how this bill may impact community banks.
H.B. 19 was introduced in the House by Rep. Sandra Scott (D), Rex. The bill relates to the Georgia Uniform Civil Forfeiture Procedure Act to change the procedure of civil forfeiture proceedings the burden of proof for the government and allow public defenders to represent the party involved depending on certain criminal cases. The bill was assigned to the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
H.B. 90 was introduced in the House by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R), Monroe. The bill relates to the exemptions and limits of certain liabilities related to the buyers of property for damages related to the conversion of timber. The bill was assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
H.B. 104 was introduced in the House by Rep. Ron Stephens (R), Savannah. The bill relates to ad valorem tax to the county regarding entering into a rental agreement for renting equipment for use. The rental company will collect the county tax, and the tax collected will be used against the equipment’s overall tax. The bill was assigned to the Ways & Means Committee.
H.B. 111 was introduced in the House by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R), Monroe. This is the annual GA. Dept. of Banking and Finance’s Housekeeping bill. We will be highlighting this bill in the article below. Briefly, this bill relates to cleaning up language for internal processes for the Dept. The bill was assigned to the Banks and Banking Committee.
H.B. 112 was introduced in the House by Rep. Trey Kelley (R), Cedartown. The bill relates to COVID-19 and the liability and immunities for businesses and employers. The bill was assigned to the Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System.
H.B. 116 was introduced in the House by Rep. Dewey McCain (D), Lawrenceville. The bill relates to the minimum wage for employees. It will allow for an increase in the minimum wage and provide a credit to employers who participate in the wage increase. The bill was assigned to the Industry & Labor Committee.
H.B. 137 was introduced in the House by Rep. Mitchell Scoggins (R), Cartersville. The bill relates to the taxable income for a taxpayer’s property to be exempt if the government decided to condemn the property. The bill was assigned to Ways & Means Committee.
H.B. 138 was introduced in the House by Rep. Mesha Mainor (D), Atlanta. The bill relates to the notices a landlord of leased property will be required to send to any leased property tenants related to crimes that have occurred on the leased property. The bill was assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
H.B. 142 was introduced in the House by Rep. Kasey Carpenter (R), Dalton. The bill relates to state income tax rate, computation, and exemptions for use against tax liability an insurance company has for certain qualified education tax credits that are used in LLC’s, S-Corps and Partnerships. The bill was assigned to Ways & Means Committee.
H.B. 149 was introduced in the House by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R), Monroe. The bill relates to allowing income taxes for S-Corps and partnerships to file tax returns for certain elections. The bill was assigned to Ways & Means committee.
H.B. 181 was introduced in the House by Rep. Marvin Lim (D), Norcross. The bill relates to employers and their requirements for posting and the delivery of notices to employees. The bill was assigned to Industry and Labor committee.
H.B. 184 was introduced in the House by Rep. Marvin Lim (D), Norcross. The bill relates to unfair or deceptive practices in consumer transactions regarding the use of a rental property and real property to be used as a dwelling. The bill was assigned to Agriculture and Consumer Affairs committee.
H.R. 53 was introduced in the House by Rep. Kim Schofield (D), Atlanta. The resolution relates to Congress putting a hold on any credit downgrades for the three main credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax. The resolution was assigned to Heath and Human Services committee.
S.B. 14 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tonya Anderson (D), Lithonia. The bill relates to employee rights to their entire employee file when a former employer contests a claim on the applicant’s employee benefits. It also seeks to change the Dept. of Labor employer separation requirements and procedure in these cases. The bill was assigned to the Insurance and Labor committee.
S.B. 24 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Gloria Butler (D), Stone Mountain. The bill relates to the minimum wage for employees. It will allow for an increase in the minimum wage and provide a credit to employers who participate in the wage increase. The bill was assigned to the Insurance and Labor committee.
S.B. 45 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R), White. The bill relates to persons who move to Georgia and establish residency to get a professional practicing license for certain professions and occupations. The bill was assigned to the Regulated Industries and Utilities committee.
S.B. 49 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Clint Dixon (R), Buford. The bill relates to standards and requirements for building construction and alterations. Allows for use of a private professional provider to handle planning review, permitting, and inspection of the construction and alterations. The bill was assigned to the State and Local Government Operations committee.
The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance has Released their annual Housekeeping bill (H.B. 111). H.B. 111 was introduced in the House by Rep. Bruce Williams (R), Monroe. Lori and I are very much involved in actively tracking this bill as it moves through the committee.
We have received a section by section breakdown of H.B. 111 from Deputy Commissioner Bo Fears with the Department of Banking and Finance that is provided below:
Section by Section Breakdown of the bill
Lines 28-37– (7-1-131) – Typically, a name reservation with the Secretary of State’s office is good for just one month. This language provides that a name reservation for a financial institution is valid for a period of 6 months as the process to convert a charter or merge institutions typically takes substantially more than one month. The proposed revisions are acceptable to the Secretary of State’s office.
Lines 41-59– (7-1-234) – Last session, the General Assembly enacted legislation permitting the Department to conduct a criminal background check of the directors and officers of an institution that seeks to acquire a state-chartered trust company. The revised language seeks to address concerns expressed by the FBI by limiting the scope of the background authority to individuals when there is an actual change in controlling influence of the institution.
Lines 63-79– (7-1-243) – This language clarifies that an out-of-state bank can use “bank” in its name and an out-of-state credit union can use “credit union” in its name so long as the out-of-state entity has federal deposit insurance.
Lines 83-94– (7-1-293) – In 2016, we amended the Code to strike the references to building and loan associations as these entities are no longer a legally recognized charter (HB811). This revision eliminates a surviving reference.
Section 5 and Section 30
Lines 98-122 & 494-516 (7-1-432 & 7-1-651.1) – Outside of the Governor’s current Executive Orders, shareholder meetings for banks and member meetings for credit unions must be held in person. The proposed revision permits banks and credit unions to hold hybrid shareholder and member meetings where there is an option for individuals to participate either in person or remotely. Safeguards must be in place to permit shareholders and members to participate concurrently, vote electronically, and confirm that participants are shareholders or members. The revision also permits a bank or credit union to hold a remote only meeting in the event of a declared state of emergency and with the approval of the Department.
Section 6 and Section 32
Lines 127 – 143 & 546-549– (7-1-483 & 7-1-656) – The proposed language mirrors language in the corporate code and the non-profit code permitting the boards of banks and credit unions to meet remotely.
Section 7, Section 8, and Section 12 through 22
Lines 148-155; 161-164; 221-413– (7-1-530; 7-1-531; 7-1-550 through 7-1-557, 7-1-571, 7-1-628, 7-1-628.2) – Georgia law currently addresses intrastate mergers involving state-chartered banks in Part 14 of the Code but intrastate mergers involving a state bank with a national bank are addressed in Part 15 of the Code. There are a lot of redundancies in these two provisions. The revisions collapse these two provisions so that intrastate mergers, whether or not involving a national bank, are solely addressed in Part 14 of the Code.
Section 9, Section 11, Section 13 through 15, and Section 18
Lines 169-214, 248-303, 356-377– (7-1-532, 7-1-535, 7-1-534, 7-1-551, 7, 1-552, 7-1-553, 7-1-556) – As part of its review of mergers and conversions, the Department has identified a number of revisions to the intrastate merger and conversion laws. The change are as follows: The proposed language eliminates the requirement that the Department approve a merger or conversion if the surviving entity will not be an entity regulated by the Department but, instead, that certain notification and documents must be provided to the Department before the state bank charter is extinguished. In addition, the proposed change provides that if a merger or conversion requires the approval of a federal regulator, the Department can elect to not act on the application until the federal regulator makes a determination. Also, the proposed language provides that the articles of merger or conversion must contain the county of residence instead of the street address of the Board members. In addition, the provision removes the requirement that the Department consider the convenience and need of the community in evaluating a merger application as both banks are already in the location and, thus, are being supported by the community. Finally, the proposed amendment eliminates the publication requirement for conversion from a national bank to a state-chartered bank as there is no meaningful consequences to consumers as a result of the conversion and eliminates language providing the merger publication must be paid with a specific instrument.
Section 23 through 29
Lines 417-490– (7-1-628.3, 7-1-628.7, 7-1-628.8, 7-1-628.9, 7-1-628.10, 7-1-628.12, & 7-1-628.13) – As part of its review of merger and conversion laws, the Department has also identified a number of revisions to the interstate merger laws. The changes are as follows: The amendment expressly provide that an out-of-state bank can open a de novo branch or acquire an existing branch so long as the out-of-state bank has FDIC insurance and the action has been approved by the regulator of the out-of-state bank. In addition, the proposed language strikes language indicating that the Department can conduct a safety and soundness examination of an out-of-state bank since the Department does not have regulatory authority over out-of-state banks. Also, the amendment eliminates language suggesting that only an out-of-state bank without a branch in Georgia can merge with a Georgia state bank. In addition, the amendment eliminates the requirement that out-of-state banks operating inside of the State provide the Department with their quarterly call reports. Finally, the amendment strikes the requirement that an out-of-state bank with a location in Georgia notify the Department that it is merging with a bank not regulated by the Department.
Lines 521-540 - (7-1-653) – The amendment provides that the Board of a credit union, by a 2/3 vote, can establish a policy to expel members for certain types of behavior detrimental to the credit union. If a credit union adopts such policy, then the member can be expelled immediately as opposed to waiting for the Board to have an individual vote on the member. This language is modelled on the NCUA’s expulsion provision for federal credit unions.
Section 33 and Section 34
Lines 553-639 - (7-1-667 & 7-1-668) – Historically, the Department has utilized review processes for credit union mergers and conversions that were taken from the bank provisions. This amendment would codify those practices. Specifically, for mergers, the amendment sets forth what must be contained in the articles of merger as well as the factors the Department must consider in acting upon a merger application. For conversions, the amendment sets forth what must be contained in the articles of conversion, the materials that must be submitted to the Department as part of the application, the factors the Department must consider in acting upon a conversion application, and the timeframe in which the Department must act on the application. This amendment will provide some certainty to credit unions related to the Department’s expectations and the standards that will be applied.
Lines 643-649 - (7-1-682) – The proposed amendment clarifies that in order for a financial institution to be exempt from obtaining a money transmitter or seller of payment instrument license it must have deposits that are federally insured.
Lines 654-665 – (7-1-1001) – The proposed amendment clarifies that the exemption from obtaining a mortgage license applies to federal, state, or municipal governments but does not apply to other independent sovereigns such as a foreign government.
Lines 670-731 – (7-3-11) – The installment loan act provides that payments must be made in equal installments and that the term of a loan cannot exceed 36 months and 15 days. These provisions are a significant obstacle to borrowers and lenders entering into a deferment agreement. The proposed amendment provides that borrowers and lenders have the discretion to enter into 2 types of deferment agreements. The parties can agree to a “hardship deferment” which can be for however long the parties agree and in which no fees and charges are imposed or incurred during the deferment period. Alternatively, the parties can agree to a “convenience deferment” which permits the licensee to charge a deferment fee, which can’t exceed the amount of interest owed on the outstanding loan amount, but no other charges or fees can be imposed or accrue during the deferment period. A convenience deferral can only be for a maximum term of 4 months. The amendment provides a number of situations where the convenience deferral fee must be refunded or credited to the borrower. Finally, the amendment provides the terms and conditions that must be contained in a deferment agreement
Lines 627-711 – (7-6A-2) – The changes reflect the changes in the citation numbers to certain federal laws and regulations.
Join us Wednesday-Sunday, June 2-6, 2021 at the Beautiful Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida for CBA's 53rd Annual Convention & Mini-Trade Show. Click here for more information.
Legislative Days 1 – 4
January 11, 2021 to January 14, 2021
Weekly updates will change a little this year as there will be a team of two down at the dome. Tyler Eck recently joined our team as CBA of GA's new Government and Regulatory Relations Associate. Tyler came highly recommended from previously working at Congressman Drew Ferguson's office and will be a great addition to our team. I couldn't be more excited to have Tyler join me in advocating for Community Banks with our elected officials.
This session will go down as another notorious historic year. The pandemic still looms over everyone's heads, and new procedures and protocols are in place to keep everyone safe under the dome. Meaning there are already several challenges to overcome that we are happy to take on. There are quite a few new faces around the Capital this session; 24 new House representatives and 11 new Senators this new cycle took their oath and were sworn in. The House and Senate remain under a Republican majority at 103-77 in the House and 34-22 in the Senate. Please see below the list of new Representatives and Senators and who they replaced:
-Freshman Representatives and Senators-
Rep. Mike Cameron (R) Dist. 1 Replaced Colton Moore
Rep. Stan Gunter (R) Dist. 8 Replaced Matt Gurtler
Rep. Will Wade (R) Dist. 9 Replaced Kevin Tanner
Rep. Victor Anderson (R) Dist. 10 Replaced Terry Rogers
Rep. Charlice Byrd (R) Dist. 20 Replaced Michael Caldwell
Rep. Brad Thomas (R) Dist. 21 Replaced Scot Turner
Rep. Lauren McDonald (R) Dist. 26 Replaced Marc Morris
Rep. Rob Leverett (R) Dist. 33 Replaced Tom McCall
Rep. Shea Roberts (D) Dist. 52 Replaced Deborah Silcox
Rep. Mesha Mainor (D) Dist. 56 Replaced Able Marble Thomas
Rep. Mandisha Thomas (D) Dist. 65 Replaced Sharon Beasley-Teague
Rep. Yasmin Neal (D) Dist. 74 Replaced Valencia Stovall
Rep. Zulma Lopez (D) Dist. 86 Replaced Michele Henson
Rep. Rhonda Taylor (D) Dist. 91 Replaced Vernon Jones
Rep. Marvin Lim (D) Dist. 99 Replaced Brenda Lopez-Romero
Rep. Rebecca Mitchell (D) Dist. 106 Replaced Brett Harrell
Rep. Regina Lewis-Ward (D) Dist. 109 Replaced Dale Rutledge
Rep. Clint Crowe (R) Dist. 110 Replaced Dale Rutledge
Rep. Sharon Henderson (D) Dist. 113 Replaced Pam Dickerson
Rep. Beth Camp (R) Dist. 131 Replaced Ken Pullin
Rep. David Jenkins (R) Dist. 132 Replaced Bob Trammell
Rep. Robert Pruitt (R) Dist. 149 Replaced Jimmy Pruett
Rep. Derek Mallow (D) Dist. 163 Replaced Craig Gordon
Rep. Buddy Deloach (R) Dist. 167 Replaced Jeff Jones
Sen. Shelia McNeil (R) Dist. 3 Replaced William Ligon
Sen. Billy Hickman (R) Dist. 4 Replaced Jack Hill
Sen. Russ Goodman (R) Dist. 8 Replaced Ellis Black
Sen. Nikki Merrit (D) Dist. 9 Replaced PK Martin
Sen. Max Burns (R) Dist. 23 Replaced Jesse Stone
Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R) Dist. 31 Replaced Bill Heath
Sen. Sonya Halpern (D) Dist. 39 Replaced Nikema Williams
Sen. Kim Jackson (D) Dist. 41 Replaced Steve Henson
Sen. Clint Dixon (R) Dist. 45 Replaced Renee Unterman
Sen. Michelle Au (D) Dist. 48 Replaced Zahra Karinshak
Sen. Bo Hatchett (R) Dist. 50 Replaced John Wilkerson
The session began with all the formalities and resolutions to open and start both chambers. House Resolution 10 (H.R. 10) was introduced and outlines the adjournment schedule for legislative days for the first five days of the 40-day session. Next week, the Legislature will use the days for Joint Appropriation (budget) hearings and will not convene formally for a legislative day. Day 5 of the session will be January 26, 2021, so there will be no blog updates next week. On Day 4 of the session, the chambers combined (remotely) for a Joint session for the Governor's State of the State address.
This week, the Senate formally announced new Committee membership for the 2021 Legislative Session. We are still awaiting Committee assignments for the House. All Senate Committee membership can be found here. Two of the committees that we closely follow during session in the Senate are the Banking & Financial Institutions and Judiciary Committee. Both Committees had notable changes to their membership, which are outlined below.
As part of our advocacy efforts, we will be reaching out to new Committee members for the committees that we closely follow in the coming weeks of the session. We encourage you as bankers to introduce yourselves to new Banking Committee members, especially if you live in their districts.
The new banking committee Chairman is Senator Matt Brass. Senator Brass is Tyler’s Senator as he lives in that district and Tyler has known him for years. Another notable announcement was the appointment of Senator Brain Strickland as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Strickland takes the helm from Senator Jesse Stone, who did not run for re-election.
- Banking and Financial Institutions-
Each week, we will outline new bills that have been introduced in either the House or the Senate that we are tracking that may impact community banks in Georgia. As the bills proceed through the process, we will provide updates to you and outline any important changes that are made to the bill as they occur. For your reference, we have a tracking document that can be accessed at anytime on our website that will show ALL legislation that is moving through the legislative process with bills we are tracking/monitoring highlighted for your convenience.
H.B. 63 was introduced in the House by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R), Bonaire. The bill relates to
alternative ad valorem tax on motor vehicles and revises the definition of fair market value of the motor vehicle to exclude certain interest and financing charges for leased motor vehicles. The bill was assigned to the Ways & Means Committee.
H.B. 29 was introduced in the House by Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick (D), Lithonia. The bill looks to require the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) to prepare and publish an annual report on Georgia’s wealth. The bill as assigned to the Appropriations Committee. We will be monitoring this bill to determine where OPB would gather this information from and if this would place any undue burden on our banks.
H.B. 74 was introduced in the House by Rep. Dale Washburn (R), Macon. The bill looks to add language related to the unlawful transfer of deed or title of a property from one person to another without the property owner's knowledge or consent. The bill was assigned to the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
S.B. 1 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dean Burke (R), Bainbridge. The bill relates to the review of tax credits filed by any entity. The bill was assigned to the Finance Committee. The bill outlines a long list of Code Sections that could potentially be impacted. Given the scope of this legislation, we will be monitoring the bill to make sure there is no material impact to our community banks or their small business customers.
S.B. 6 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Albers (R), Roswell. The bill provides for an economic analysis for exemption, exclusion, or deduction from the base of a tax; credit against a tax; deferral of a tax; a rebate of taxes paid; tax abatement; or, preferential tax rate. The bill was assigned to the Finance Committee.
Lastly, we would like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated to our PAC/PR Funds. Without those contributions, we couldn't do what needs to be done at the Capital without your support. Your contributions allow us to be as effective as possible as we interact with legislators and legislation. From the bottom of the CBA of GA's team & family, we thank you. For 2021, we are starting the year off fresh and working to build our PAC/PR balance for the year. If you have not made a contribution in 2021 thus far, then we encourage you to do so. For more information, visit our website for information on how to contribute. Be on the lookout in our weekly eNewsletter for a shout out to those that have made a PAC/PR contribution as a means of saying thanks publicly!
EVP, Chief of Staff, Government & Regulatory Relations