Advocacy Update 2023 - Legislative Days 28-31

Posted By: Lori Godfrey Advocacy Update,
Session Moves into Final Phase
March 6 was the critical Crossover Day milestone.  The legislature remained in session past 11:30pm and voted on more than 100 individual measures on Monday.  Bills that have not been adopted remain in legislative purgatory; they are lost as standalone measures but can be tacked onto other active bills in a last-ditch effort to make it to the Governor’s desk.  Vigilance and engagement become even more important as the session moves into this final 9-day phase before adjournment.
Bills that did not make the Crossover Day deadline appear in an abbreviated form throughout the report and will be removed entirely in subsequent issues.

New Legislation of Interest
Listing Rights Purchase Act (HB 669)                                                      Rep. Tyler Paul Smith, R-Bremen
Assigned to the House Judiciary Cmte on Mar-6
Provides for future real estate listing right purchase contracts, defined as "a contractual right to obligate a consumer to enter into a real estate listing agreement with a particular individual or entity relating to the future sale of a residential home, townhouse, or condominium."  While this bill did not crossover, it will remain eligible for consideration next session.
Expanding Georgia’s Workforce Study Committee (SR 275)                          Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell
Assigned to the Senate Rules Cmte on Mar-9
Creates the Senate Study Committee on Expanding Georgia's Workforce.

Bill Highlights:  H.B. 55 Department of Banking’s Housekeeping Bill
H.B. 55 was introduced in the House by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R), Monroe.  This is the Department of Banking and Finance’s Housekeeping bill.  On Mar-9, the Senate passed the bill with a vote of 52-0.  Since no changes were made to the bill in the Senate, the bill will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.   
The bill contains the following general clean-up provisions for supervision: a) revising references to the allowance of loan and lease losses to the allowances for credit losses to align with a change in terminology for GAAP (O.C.G.A. §§ 7-1-4(35); 7-1-659); b) updating the rules of construction that any references to laws or rules in the Financial Institutions Code will be to the laws as they existed on January 1, 2023 (O.C.G.A. § 7-1-10);  c) providing that a bank or trust company can change its name without shareholder approval to align with O.C.G.A. § 14-2-1002(8) (O.C.G.A. § 7-1-551); d) providing that credit unions have the power to enter into agency relationships which aligns with the powers for banks found in O.C.G.A. § 7-1-261(d) (O.C.G.A. § 7-1-650(16)); e) providing that credit unions can have fiscal years that do not align with a calendar year so long as expressly set forth in the credit union’s bylaws (O.C.G.A. § 7-1-661); and f) renaming “central credit union” to “corporate credit union” as that is the phrase used nationally to refer to credit unions that provide services to other credit unions (O.C.G.A. § 7-1-669).
For a summary of substantive changes to the Housekeeping bill, click here.

Other Active Measures
Disclosure Statement for Sale of Energy Systems (HB 73)                      Rep. Joseph Gullett, R-Acworth
Heard in Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Cmte on Mar-7
Requires that the seller provide a written disclosure statement with any agreement for the sale of distributed energy generation systems or for the financing of such systems through leases or solar energy procurement agreements.
Internal Revenue Code Conforming Changes (HB 95)                                    Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin
Passed out of the Senate with a vote of 48-4 on Mar-7.  Bill now goes to Governor for signature.
Incorporates certain provisions of the federal law into Georgia law.
Income Tax Definitions (HB 101)                                                          Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe
Passed out of the House by substitute with a vote of 102-73 on Mar-6.  Assigned to Senate Finance Cmte.
Changes certain definitions regarding taxes.
Expand TANF to Pregnant Women (HB 129)                                           Rep. Soo Hong, R-Lawrenceville
Passed out of the Senate with a vote of 50-1 on Mar-7.  Bill now goes to Governor for signature.
Expands temporary assistance for needy families eligibility criteria to pregnant women.
One-Time Tax Credit (HB 162)                                                           Rep. Lauren McDonald, R-Cumming
Passed out of the Senate Finance Cmte on Mar-8
Governor’s Bill.  Provides for a one-time tax credit for individual taxpayers who filed income tax returns for both the 2021 and 2022 taxable years.
Access to Medical Cannabis Committee (HB 196)                                        Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell
Passed out of the House with a vote of 170-2 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities.
Provides that the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission shall be subject to the Administrative Procedure Act and laws governing open meetings and open records.
C-PACER Program (HB 206)                                                                       Rep. Steven Sainz, R-Woodbine
Passed out of House with a vote of 134-38 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Cmte.
Commercial Property Assessed Conservation, Energy, and Resiliency (C-PACER) is a public-private partnership that is intended to enable commercial building owners to invest in their property.  Under these programs, a private lender finances energy-saving building upgrades.  The property owner uses generated savings to repay the lender via a special assessment added to their property tax bill.
Offense of Money Laundering (HB 219)                                       Rep. Scott Hilton, R-Peachtree Corners
Passed out of the House with a vote of 172-1 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate Judiciary Cmte.
Provides for venue for the offense of money laundering; provides for venue for the offense of theft of money held in a financial institution.
Criminal Interference with Critical Infrastructure (HB 227)                       Rep. Rob Leverett, R-Elberton
Assigned to the Senate Judiciary Cmte on Mar-6
Provides for the offense of criminal interference with critical infrastructure, defined as a "publicly or privately owned facilities, systems, functions, or assets, whether physical or virtual, providing or distributing services for the benefit of the public, including, but not limited to, energy, fuel, water, agriculture, health care, finance, or communication."
First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit (HB 283)                                                  Rep. Beth Camp, R-Concord
Passed out of the House by substitute with a vote of 174-1 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate Finance Cmte.
Sec 1-1.  Provides for a first-time homebuyer tax credit for the purchase of a single-family home.  Sec 2.  Revises and expends a sales tax exemption for manufactured homes.
Projects of Regional Significance (HB 408)                                          Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe
Assigned to the Senate Finance Cmte on Mar-6.
Changes the sunset provision for the exemption for competitive projects of regional significance.
Income Taxes Paid at the Entity Level (HB 412)                                  Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe
Passed out of the House with a vote 175-0 of Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate Finance Cmte.
Repeals a limitation on the types of partnerships that may elect to pay income taxes at the entity level.
IRC Update (HB 454)                                                                                 Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire
Passed out of the House with a vote of 175-0 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate Finance Cmte.
Sec 1. IRC update.  Sec 2. Automatic annual individual income tax rates.  Sec 3. Dependent income tax deduction.  Sec 4. Standard deduction.  Sec 5. Eligible itemizers.  Sec 6. Expand definition of 'force majeure' as it relates to large-scale projects.  Sec 7. Effective dates.
Georgia Online Automatic Renewal Transparency Act (HB 528)             Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens
Passed out of the House with a vote of 173-0 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Cmte.
Provides for regulation of certain acts and practices of businesses that offer paid subscriptions or purchasing agreements online subject to automatic renewal or continuous service.  Provides for online cancellation.  Provides that certain automatic online renewal offers and online continuous service offers shall be unlawful. Provides that terms shall be clear and conspicuous. Provides that online businesses shall obtain customers' consent prior to authorizing a charge to any debit card, credit card, or consumer's account with a third party. 
Apex Doctrine (HB 530)                                                                         Rep. James Burchett, R-MIllwood
Assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities on Mar-6
'*See also SB 200*
Provides for protective orders for certain high-ranking officers
Local Government Investment Policy (HB 531)                                       Rep. Carter Barrett, R-Cumming
Passed out of the House with a vote of 170-3 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Cmte.
Provides for local government investment policies.  Authorizes additional investment options for school funds.  CBA is working with the author of this bill along with other proponents to tweak pledging language and eliminate negotiable CDs as a permissive investment.  Meetings have also been held with the State Treasurer to hear his concerns with the bill.
Rate Reeducation for Sale or Harvest of Timber (HR 96)                           Rep. Noel Williams, R-Cordele
Assigned to the Senate Finance Cmte on Mar-6
Proposes an amendment to the Constitution to reduce the rate of the ad valorem tax assessment of timber at sale or harvest; requires state appropriations to each county, municipality, or school district affected by the tax rate reduction.
Homelessness (SB 62)                                                                             Sen. Carden Summers, R-Cordele
Assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Cmte on Mar-6
Prohibits certain local ordinances or policies related to public camping or sleeping.  Provides for a performance audit by the state auditor on public spending on homeless programs.
Spam Telephone Solicitations (SB 73)                                                             Sen. Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia
Heard in the House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Cmte on Mar-7
Provides for class action suits and for damages against certain persons for violating provisions related to telephone solicitations; provides for and prohibits certain defenses in such actions.
Legal Services (SB 74)                                                                                       Sen. Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia
Passed out the Senate with a vote of 54-1 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the House Judiciary Cmte.
Requires the disclosure of the nature and practices of businesses that provide legal services.  Prohibits misrepresentations in advertising.  Prohibits false advertising related to legal services.  Prohibits persons ineligible to provide legal services from holding themselves out as attorneys.  Provides liability for the misrepresentation of the practice of law.
Financial Protections for Elder and Disabled Adults (SB 84)                     Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome
On the agenda for the House Banks & Banking Cmte on Mar-13
*Specific to Retirement Accounts*  Provides for financial protections for elder and disabled adults who may be victims of financial exploitation.  Provides for reporting and notice requirements.  Provides for the delay of disbursements or transactions that may result in such financial exploitation.  Provides for civil and administrative liability protections.  Provides for certain disclosures and access to records.
Commercial Financing Disclosures (SB 90)                                                        Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford
On the agenda for the House Banks & Banking Cmte on Mar-13
Provides for commercial financing disclosures and requires certain persons who provide commercial financing transactions to make certain disclosures.
Disposition of Unclaimed Property (SB 103)                                       Sen. Russ Goodman, R-Homerville
Passed out of the Senate with a vote of 54-0 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the House Judiciary Cmte.
*See also HB 1352 from 21/22*
Relates to the disposition of unclaimed property and provides for the handling of certain wills, specifically as it relates to instances when a will or trust instrument is included in a safe-deposit box.
Nonprofit Corporation (SB 148)                                                                    Sen. John Kennedy, R-Macon
On the agenda for the House Judiciary Cmte on Mar-14.
Provides for the comprehensive revision of the statute related to nonprofit corporations.
Chiropractic Lien (SB 168)                                                                     Sen. Rick Williams, R-Milledgeville
Passed out of the Senate with a vote of 52-4 on Mar-6.  Assigned to the House Judiciary Cmte.
*See also HB 641 from 21/22*
Adds chiropractors to the entities that can file hospital liens.
Requirements for Earned Wage Access Services (SB 254)                             Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan
Passed out of the Senate with a vote of 30-24 on Mar-6.  On the agenda for the House Banks & Banking Cmte on Mar-13.
Provides requirements for earned wage access services.  Provides for fees that may be charged for such services.  Provides that earned wage access payments are nonrecourse and are not loans.  Provides that permitted fees are not interest.

Bills that Did NOT Crossover
Income Tax Credit for Employers (HB 14)                                          Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia
Investment Property for Manufacturing and Telecommunications (HB 34)   Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe
Qualified Education Income Tax Credit (HB 54)                                          Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta
Natural Persons do not include Unborn Children (HB 75)                Rep. Shea Roberts, D-Sandy Springs
Paid Sick Leave (HB 78)                                                                        Rep. Kimberly Alexander, D-Hiram
Work and Family Credit Act (HB 79)                                                   Rep. Samuel Park, D-Lawrenceville
Taxable Value of Property (HB 90)                                                          Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah
Revenue and Taxation Definitions (HB 96)                                             Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah
Revenue and Taxation Definitions (HB 97)                                             Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah
Ad Valorem Tax Definitions (HB 98)                                                               Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin
Motor Vehicle Ad Valorem Tax Definitions (HB 99)                                       Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin
Tax Credit Omnibus (HB 100)                                                               Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe
Sales Tax Definitions (HB 102)                                                                Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta
Sales Tax Definitions (HB 103)                                                                Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta
Excise Tax Definitions (HB 104)                                                              Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta
Excise Tax Definitions (HB 105)                                                              Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta
Innocent Georgian Process Improvement Act (HB 106)                                     Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex
Uniform Civil Forfeiture Procedure Act (HB 109)                                                Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex
Uniform Civil Forfeiture Procedure Act (HB 110)                                                Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex
Lien for Unpaid HOA Assessments (HB 145)                              Rep. Regina Lewis-Ward, D-McDonough
Cash Overpayments by Merchants (HB 149)                                             Rep. Mesha Mainor, D-Atlanta
Authorize For-Profit Credit Repair (HB 187)                                               Rep. Rob Leverett, R-Elberton
Increase Minimum Wage (HB 241)                                                Rep. Dewey McClain, D-Lawrenceville
Minimum Wage Law (HB 245)                                                                      Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Atlanta
Prohibit Certain Countries from Acquiring Property (HB 246)             Rep. Martin Momtahan, R-Dallas
Military Service Members (HB 247)                                                         Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville
Prohibit Censorship by Social Media Platforms (HB 250)                        Rep. Steven Sainz, R-Woodbine
Prohibit Age Discrimination (HB 256)                                                          Rep. Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta
Require Certain Documents for Compensating Employees (HB 261) Rep. Regina Lewis-Ward, D-McDonough                                                                                                                                                                       
Tax Credit for Remote Work Expenses (HB 263)                                 Rep. Mandisha Thomas, D-Atlanta
Cause of Action for Revenue Provisions (HB 267)                                  Rep. Tyler Paul Smith, R-Bremen
Nonjudicial Foreclosure of Time-Share Estates (HB 292)                              Rep. Matt Reeves, R-Duluth
Second Amendment Infringement Protections (HB 293)                     Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock
Motor Vehicle Title Loan Act (HB 342)                                               Rep. Josh Bonner, R-Peachtree City
Probate of Wills Removed to Superior Court (HB 346)                               Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Rome
Rural Hospital Tax Credit (HB 363)                                                              Rep. John Lahood, R-Valdosta
Clearing Title to Coastal Marshland (HB 370)                                            Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah
Georgia Veterans Work Opportunity Tax Credit (HB 372)         Rep. Karen Bennett, D-Stone Mountain
Workplace Harassment (HB 381)                                                               Rep. Teri Anulewicz, D-Smyrna
Salary Information for Applicants (HB 411)                                        Rep. Debra Bazemore, D-Riverdale
Prohibit Discrimination Based on Hairstyles (HB 432)                               Rep. Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta
Equity Impact Statement (HB 433)                                                              Rep. Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta
Prohibit Interest in Land by Certain Nonresident Aliens (HB 452)                Rep. Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn
Income Tax Rate (HB 464)                                                                        Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire
Unsolicited Home Sales (HB 471)                                                                    Rep. Clint Crowe, R-Jackson
American Dream Workforce Housing Tax Credit (HB 488)                            Rep. Matt Reeves, R-Duluth
Property Ownership Constitutes Doing Business (HB 494)                         Rep. Lydia Glaize, D-Fairburn
Age Discrimination & Employment Certificate Requirements (HB 501) Rep. Deborah Silcox, D-Sandy Springs
Pregnancy Protection Act (HB 556)                                                        Rep. Tyler Paul Smith, R-Bremen
Property Owner Responsibility for Safety (HB 568)                                      Rep. Beth Camp, R-Concord
Life from the Moment of Conception (HB 604)                                     Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock
Debtor’s Aggregate Interest in Real or Personal Property (HB 628)             Rep. Matt Reeves, R-Duluth
Cybersecurity Education, Training, and Workforce Development (HR 68) Rep. Mesha Mainor, D-Atlanta
Exemption from Local Ad Valorem Taxation (HR 98)                              Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton
Joint Study Committee on Censorship by Social Media Platforms (HR 119) Rep. Steven Sainz, R-Woodbine
Immunities from Liability Claims regarding COVID-19 (SB 2)                 Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Alpharetta
Admission or Exclusion of Evidence (SB 14)                                                    Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell
Natural Persons do not include Unborn Children (SB 15)                             Sen. Sally Harrell, D-Atlanta
Indexed Minimum Wage (SB 25)                                                    Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain
Lien for Unpaid HOA Assessments (SB 29)                                               Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta
Second Amendment Preservation Act (SB 67)                                           Sen. Colton Moore, R-Trenton
Homestead Exemption for Two Residences (SB 80)                                 Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur
Interchange Fees (SB 126)                                                                       Sen. Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 180)                                                    Sen. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth
Premises Liability (SB 186)                                                                        Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Alpharetta
Apex Doctrine (SB 200)                                                                                     Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens
Repair of Digital Electronic Product (SB 243)                                            Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur
Electronic Notarizations (SB 265)                                                                    Sen. Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia
Notarial Acts (SB 271)                                                                                      Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell
Prohibit Retaliatory Action Against Employees (SB 282)                Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough
Pregnancy Protection Act 283 (SB 283)                                            Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough