• Legislative Update 2019 - Week #11 & Sine Die

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    April 05, 2019

    Noteworthy Items:

    April 1-2, 2019
    The General Assembly convened for Legislative Day 40 on April 2, which was the final day of the 2019 session. For those bills that were successfully passed by the legislature, Governor Kemp has 40 days to sign or veto them.
     
    Some highlights from Sine Die include:
     
    The House and Senate reached an agreement and passed SB 2 which would provide statutory clarity for the EMCs to provide broadband around the state. SB 2 now awaits the Governor’s signature.
    • The Senate and House met for most of the day in a conference committee to reach a deal on HB 324 allows for medical marijuana to be grown and sold in Georgia as low THC-oil. The oil would only be allowed to be sold to patients already allowed to use cannabis oil. Each Chamber passed the measure late on Tuesday night and it now awaits the Governor’s signature.
    • SB 200 which dealt with a DOT procurement appeals process became the vehicle for both Delta’s jet fuel exemption and HB 511, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. The House and Senate went to a conference committee but were unable to reach an agreement to move forward on both measures, so the bill failed. This issue is expected to re-emerge in 2020.
    • SB 131 and all other attempts to create an airport takeover failed to make any traction on Tuesday. The House remained firm in their position that Atlanta, not the state, should remain in charge of Hartsfield International Airport.
    HB 406 which is a bill GEDA has been closely monitoring was successfully amended on the Senate floor at GEDA’s request to limit the reporting requirement only to those joint development authorities required to report.

    March 25-29, 2019
    The General Assembly was in session last week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for legislative days 36, 37, 38 and 39.  It was a busy week as legislators in the House and Senate worked late every day to try to get bills through the process needed to become law. The final day of session was Tuesday, April 2. Monday was a committee work day.
     
    Some highlights from last week include:
    • The FY20 budget was finalized and now goes to Governor Kemp for his signature. It includes a state revenue estimate of $27.5 billion, and focuses on education and teacher pay, public and school safety, as well as behavioral health.
    • The House agreed to the Senate’s amendments on HB 481, the controversial “Heartbeat Bill,” and it now goes to Governor Kemp for his signature.
      • Immediately upon passage, Governor Kemp issued a statement saying, “Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage. Our efforts to protect life do not end here. We must work to ease the adoption process, find loving homes for those in our foster care system, and protect the aging and vulnerable. Together, we will ensure that all Georgians are safe and have the opportunity to live, grow, learn, and prosper.”
      • On the other side, more than 40 prominent actors have signed on to a letter, spearheaded by Alyssa Milano, indicating they would not take on projects in Georgia if the bill becomes law. The Writers Guild of America also penned a letter indicating they view the legislation as inhospitable to the film industry and indicating there may be consequences. The Governor of Michigan then took to Twitter to try to lure any Georgia film projects to Michigan.
    • The Senate took up HB 324, a bill dealing with medical cannabis, and, after several long committee hearings, the Senate passed a version of the bill quite different than the House. Because of the very different versions passed by each chamber, the bill will go to a conference committee to attempt to resolve differences.
    • The House took up SB 131 and passed a very different version than the House. Rather than an airport takeover, the House’s version creates a state airport oversight committee to review operations, contracts, safety, financing, organization, and structure of commercial airports in Georgia. It would apply to not just the Atlanta airport, but also other commercial airports around the state with at least 300 commercial passengers boarding planes a year, including the airports in Albany, Athens, Augusta, Brunswick, Columbus, Macon, Savannah and Valdosta. The bill also includes a measure the House passed earlier this year to suspend jet fuel taxes on airlines for 20 years.  It also includes a small excise tax that would be used as a match for federal funding and support general aviation infrastructure needs. This will now also go to a conference committee to resolve differences.
    The Georgia’s First Commission had its first meeting last week. This Commission was created by Governor Kemp to identify government red tape, eliminate burdensome regulations, and ultimately, make Georgia the best state in the nation for small business. The Commission indicated they were dedicated to creating an environment where small businesses can hire more people, expand operations, and have greater economic opportunity.

    House Bill Tracker

    The bills in red did not pass both chambers. The bills in green passed both chambers and are waiting to be signed (or have been signed) by the Governor.

    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; Senate Committee favorably reported by substitute 3/28/19; Senate Read Second Time 3/28/19; Senate Tabled 3/29/19.
    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, passed Senate by substitute 3/25/19, Conference Committee appointed 3/25/19, House & Senate adopt Conference Committee Report 3/28/19.
    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, Senate Read Second Time 3/14/19.
    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. Passed Senate by Substitute 3/29/19. House Agreed to Senate Sub as Amended 4/2/19. Senate Agreed to House Amended 4/2/19.
    Summary: Investment tax credit for new purchases and acquisitions would be earnable for manufacturing and telecommunication facilities and would be allowed to be used against payroll withholding, with limitations. Lowers threshold number of jobs for quality jobs tax credits for certain rural counties from 50 to 10 or from 50 to 25.
     
    HB 315 – Local Government Contracting
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Mark Newton
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/14/19. Passed House 3/7/19. Passed Senate by Substitute 3/26/19. House Agreed to Senate Substitute 4/2/19.
    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 3/7/19. Passed Senate 3/29/19.
    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. Passed Senate by Substitute 3/29/19. House Agreed to Senate Substitute 4/2/19.
    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 Passed Senate 3/22/19.
    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. Passed Senate as Amended 4/2/19. House Agreed to Senate Amendment 4/2/19.
    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 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. Passed Senate 3/29/19.
    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. Passed House by Substitute 3/28/19. Senate Agreed to House Substitute as Amended 4/2/19. House Agreed to Senate Amendment 4/2/19.
    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 2/20/19. Passed House 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. Passed Senate 2/17/19. Passed House by Substitute 4/2/19.
    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. Passed Senate by Substitute 2/25/19. Passed House 3/25/19.
    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. Passed Senate 2/25/19. Passed House 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. Passed House by Substitute 3/25/19. Conference Committee Appointed 3/29/19. House Conference Committee Report Adopted 4/2/19.
    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. Passed House by Substitute 3/28/19.
    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. Passed House by Substitute 3/29/19. Senate Agreed to House Substitute 4/2/19.
    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 Passed by Substitute 3/28/19.
    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, House Committee Favorably Reported by Substitute 3/28/19.
    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
     
     
     

    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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