• Legislative Update 2019 - Week #10

    Noteworthy Items:

    The General Assembly was in session last week Monday, Thursday, and Friday for legislative days 33, 34, and 35. This week the General Assembly will be in Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for Legislative Days 36, 37, 38, and 39. The final day of session will be Tuesday, April 2.
     
    Budget & Taxes 
    The Senate Finance Committee added the content of SB 131, the “Georgia Major Airport Authority,” which would give the state the authority to control the Atlanta airport, on to HB 447. HB447 is a House bill that does 2 things: (1) extended a jet fuel tax break and (2) added a ½ cent per gallon excise tax on jet fuel in order to draw federal matching funds to pay for airport infrastructure needs at general aviation airports. In addition to adding the “airport takeover bill” to HB447, the Senate Finance Committee also raised that excise tax to 10 cents per gallon, and allowed local governments to add an additional 1 cent tax on top.
     
    The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of HB31, the FY2020 budget, last Thursday morning. The appropriations bill will now be voted on by the full Senate (expected early this week) and then go to a conference committee with the House prior to being finalized. Much like the Governor’s request and the House budget, the $27.5 billion budget focuses on teacher pay raises and mental health issues.
     
    The Senate Appropriations Committee also passed an amended version of HR164, a Constitutional amendment to dedicate fees.
     
     
    Some legislation that GEDA has been working on is still making its way through the Senate.
    • HB224, is pending before Senate Finance Committee and is expected to be heard again Monday. This legislation has changed many times to date but its current version would (1) allow certain rural and economically distressed counties to utilize the investment tax credit against payroll withholding and (2) for certain rural and economically distressed counties, lower the threshold number of jobs necessary to qualify for the quality jobs tax credit from 50 to as low as 5.
    • Additionally, GEDA has worked on HB 406 which requires reporting by joint development authorities to ensure its scope is narrowly tailored to only apply to joint development authorities which have established revenue sharing agreements between the joint authority and its participating local governments and revenue emanating from said agreements.
     Healthcare:
    The House Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare passed SB 106, the “Patients First Act,” which would make it possible to move forward with Medicaid waivers to improve Medicaid coverage and access to healthcare for Georgians while also allowing healthcare providers to recoup many of the losses felt since 2013.
     
    The Senate Finance Committee passed HB 186, a compromise bill on Certificate of Need. This was followed by a statement from Governor Kemp stating that if the General Assembly does not take action on our Certificate of Need laws then he will explore executive action on the issue.
     
    Late Friday afternoon, after 4 hours of debate on the Senate floor, the Senate passed (on a party line vote) HB481, a bill that would outlaw abortions after a heartbeat is detected. Georgia is the third state to pass such legislation (Mississippi and Kentucky have already passed similar bills, though a federal judge blocked KY’s legislation just hours after it was signed into law). The legislation now must go to the House to agree to changes made by the Senate.
     
    As always, if you become aware of issues or bills you would like GEDA to follow please let us know!

    House Bill Tracker

    HB 23 – Statutory Authority for Broadband: EMCs
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Penny Houston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Passed on House Floor unanimously 2/11/19; Senate Read & Referred to Regulated Industries and Utilities
    Summary: To specifically authorize Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) & their affiliates to provide broadband services (aka “statutory authority”)
     
    HB 30 – Amended FY19 Appropriations 
    Bill Sponsor: Speaker Ralston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Passed House Floor 2/8/19; Passed Senate Floor 2/21/19; Governor Kemp signed 3/12/19
    Summary: Amended FY2019 Appropriations
     
    HB 31 – FY20 Appropriations
    Bill Sponsor: Speaker Ralston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Passed House Floor by Substitute 155 Yea – 13 Nay 2/28/2019. Senate read and referred to Appropriations 3/1/19, favorably reported by substitute 3/21/19.
    Summary: FY2020 Appropriations
     
    HB 184 – Small Cell Wireless
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Brett Harrell
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/7/19. Passed by House 2/14/19. Senate Referred to Regulated Industries and Utilities 2/15/19, favorably reported 3/13/19.
    Summary: To encourage small cell wireless deployment through the colocation of new equipment on already-existing infrastructure.
     
    HB 224 – Investment Tax Credit
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Williamson
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/8/19. Passed by House 3/4/19. Senate Referred to Finance 3/5/19
    Summary: Investment tax credit for new purchases and acquisitions would be earnable for existing manufacturing and telecommunications facilities and would be allowed to be used against payroll withholding, with limitations.
     
    HB 315 – Local Government Contracting
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Mark Newton
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/14/19. Passed House unanimously 3/7/19. Senate Referred to Government Oversight 3/8/19, favorably reported by substitute 3/18/19.
    Summary: A bill to create greater transparency in the local procurement process by requiring disclosures of certain consultants and relationships.
     
    HB 349 - Authorize counties to exercise powers in incorporated areas
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Chuck Martin
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Passed House unanimously 3/7/19. Senate Referred to State and Local Government Operations 3/8/19, favorably reported 3/21/19.
    Summary:  A bill to authorize counties to exercise powers in incorporated areas.
     
    HB 352 – Sales and Use Tax
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Burt Reeves
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Passed House 3/4/19. Senate Referred to Finance 3/5/19
    Summary:  A bill relating to exemptions from sales and use tax, so as to change the sunset provision for the exemption for competitive projects of regional significance.
     
    HB 405 – Level 1 Freeport Exemption
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. David Knight
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/21/19. Passed House 3/7/19. Senate Referred to Finance 3/8/19, favorably reported 3/18/19.
    Summary:  A bill to modify provisions related to the Level 1 Freeport Exemption to include affiliated entities and inventory held for the repair or modification of goods.
     
    HB 406 – Tax Digest and Equalized Adjusted Property Tax Digest
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Williamson
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/20/19. Passed House 3/5/19. Senate referred to Finance 3/7/19, favorably reported 3/13/19.
    Summary:  A bill to be entitled an Act to amend Title 36 and Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to local government and revenue and taxation, respectively, so as to require joint authorities to furnish certain information necessary for the state auditor to determine the net impact of their activities on associated tax digests and to require the use of such net impact to determine equalized adjusted property tax digests.
     
    HB 453 – Douglas County Redevelopment Powers 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Roger Bruce
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19. House Passed 2/27/19. Senate Passed Unanimously 3/14/19
    Summary:  A bill to authorize Douglas County to exercise all redevelopment and other powers under Article IX, Section II, Paragraph VII(b) of the Constitution and Chapter 44 of Title 36 of the O.C.G.A., the "Redevelopment Powers Law," as amended and to provide for a referendum as well as effective dates.
     
    HR 37 – Commission on Freight & Logistics
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Tanner
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/28/19. Passed House 2/21/19. Senate Referred to Transportation Committee.
    Summary: A resolution creating the Georgia Commission on Freight & Logistics.
     
    HR 306 – Reduction of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Rate
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Efstration
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19. Referred to House Ways and Means Committee.
    Bill Summary: To provide for a reduction in the highest personal and corporate income tax rates by 0.25 percent

    Senate Bill Tracker

    SB 2 – EMC Broadband Statutory Authority
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Gooch
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/16/19; Passed Senate 3/7/19. House Referred to Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications 3/11/19, favorably reported by substitute 3/21/19.
    Summary: To specifically authorize Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) & their affiliates to provide broadband services (aka “statutory authority”)
     
    SB 17 – Telephone Cooperatives Broadband Statutory Authority
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Gooch
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/16/19; Passed Senate Floor unanimously 2/20/19; House passed 3/21/19.
    Summary: To specifically authorize telephone cooperatives & their affiliates to provide broadband services (aka “statutory authority”)
     
    SB 20 – Banking Improvement Zones
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Rhett
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/16/19. Senate passed unanimously 2/17/19. Referred to House committee on Banks and Banking 3/1/19, favorably reported 3/21/19.
    Summary: A bill to establish “banking improvement zones” to encourage opening of banks in areas underserved by banks.
     
    SB 66 – Streamlining Wireless Facilities & Antennas Act
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Gooch
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Senate passed unanimously 2/25/19. Referred to House Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee., favorably reported 3/13/19.
    Summary: To streamline the deployment of wireless broadband in public rights of way.
     
    SB 87 – Toombs County Development Authority
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Tillery
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/12/19. Senate passed unanimously 2/25/19. House Passed unanimously 3/14/19.
    Summary: A bill dealing with the membership of the Toombs County Development Authority
     
    SB 110 – Statewide Business Court
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Stone
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/14/19. Passed Senate 3/7/19. House Referred to Judiciary 3/11/19, favorably reported by substitute 3/21/19.
    Summary: Legislation to create a statewide business court.
     
    SB 119 - Georgia Measuring Success Act
    Bill Sponsor: Senator John Albers
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/15/19. Passed Senate 3/4/19. House Referred to Ways & Means 3/7/19
    Summary:  A bill relating to fiscal bills generally, so as to require an economic analysis prior to the introduction or amendment of legislation containing tax incentives or modifying or extending existing tax incentives.
     
    SB 120 - Georgia Tax Credit Business Case Act
    Bill Sponsor: Senator John Albers
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/15/19. Passed Senate 3/1/19. House Referred to Ways & Means 3/5/19.
    Summary: A bill relating to fiscal bills generally, so as to require an economic analysis to be conducted by the state auditor of certain income tax credits and exemptions from sales and use taxes according to a schedule.
     
    SB 131 - Georgia Major Airport Authority Act
    Bill Sponsor: Senator Burt Jones
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Passed Senate 3/7/19. House Referred to Rules 3/11/19.
    Summary:  A bill relating to aviation, so as to create the Georgia Major Airport Authority. The bill amends Article 1 of Chapter 15 of Title 45 of the O.C.G.A., to general provisions relative to the Attorney General, so as to provide for representation of the Georgia Major Airport Authority by the Attorney General.
     
    SB 162 – Disaster Mitigation Improvements and Broadband Services Infrastructure 
    Bill Sponsor: Senator Matt Brass
    Bill Status: Introduced/22/19. Passed Senate 3/7/19. House Referred to Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications 3/11/19.
    Summary:  A bill relating to local government, so as to provide for disaster mitigation improvements and broadband services infrastructure in projects of downtown development authorities and development authorities.

    SR 237 – Congressional Term Limits
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Cowsert
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19; passed Senate 3/8/19. House Referred to Rules 3/11/19.
    Summary: A resolution urging Congress to call a convention to address term limits so as to limit the number of terms Members of Congress may serve. It would only be effective if 2/3 of the states passed the same resolution.
     
     

    Glossary of Terms:

    Effective - The bill has been signed into law by the Governor and will go into effect the date stated.
    Recommitted -  A parliamentary motion to reassign a bill which has been in one committee to the same or a different committee. 
    Second Read -  In the House, second reading occurs automatically on the legislative day following the bill's introduction. In the Senate, second reading occurs on the legislative day after a bill is reported from standing committee, except that after the 35th day of the session, second reading occurs on the day a bill is reported from committee.
    Conference Committee -  A special committee consisting of three members from each house appointed by the presiding officers to seek a compromise when the two houses have passed different versions of the same bill and insist on their respective positions.
    Pre-filed - A bill that is filed before the beginning of the legislative session
    Withdrawn - A bill is removed from consideration
    Referred - Placed into committee

    To find your law makers click here.
    To view the GEDA Public Policy Agenda for 2019 click here.
     

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