• Legislative Update 2019 - Week #5.

    Noteworthy Items:

    • The General Assembly met last week Monday – Friday for Legislative Days 12-16. Session was in full swing. Notably, HB23, one of the bills allowing EMCs to provide broadband services, passed the House by a unanimous vote on Monday. It has been read in the Senate and referred to Regulated Industries and Utilities, where hearings have begun.
    •  Healthcare continues to be a prominent topic this session: 
      •  Last week, Governor Kemp revealed SB 106, “The Patients First Act.” This legislation would allow the state to apply for innovative Medicaid waivers from the federal government. Although it is too early to determine exactly what the waiver would include, priority would be given to low-income adults who are currently uninsured.
      • We also saw two bills, HB 198 and SB74, introduced to repeal the Certificate of Need (CON) process. These bills are very broad in scope. There were two hearings on the legislation with strong points of view both for and against the proposals expressed from the healthcare community and others.
    • The House also started working on the budget for FY 2020, beginning with holding hearings.
      • Commissioner Nunn and Commissioner Wilson spoke to the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Economic Development about the their FY20 budget.
      • For DCA, certain one-funding was removed, like funding included during the special legislative session for disaster assistance.
      • Commissioner Nunn also highlighted the work DCA is doing on broadband mapping per legislation that was passed last session. DCA is also creating a framework to deploy funds if Georgia is given federal funding for rural broadband initiatives. 
      • For GDEcD, Commissioner Wilson noted a reduction in one-time funds for Civil War Heritage Trails markers ($25,000) and an $800,000 reduction in funds for the Year of Music in Georgia marketing campaign.
    • Governor Kemp announced his 18 appointments to the Georgians First Commission, a task force created by Executive Order on the Governor’s first day in office. The Commission is charged with reviewing state regulations, policies, and procedures to streamline government, remove inefficiencies, and secure Georgia’s place as the top state for small business in the country. The members are:
      • Cade Joiner (Brookhaven, GA) – Owner, Shred X * Co-Chair
      • James Whitley (Athens, GA) – Founder & COO, Landmark Properties *Co Chair
      • Debbie Alford (Atlanta, GA) – Former Commissioner of GA Lottery
      • Bobby Banks (Oakwood, GA) – Chief Administrative Officer, CBT Inc.
      • Natasha Bell (Atlanta, GA) – Partner, 360 Venture Law, LLP
      • Christie Cannon Cole (Albany, GA) – Marketing Manager, Flint Equipment Company
      • Michael Collins (Jackson, GA) – President, Collins Trucking Company, Inc.
      • Rick Desai (Buford, GA) – Founder, Vanitywala.com
      • Sam Holmes (Atlanta, GA) – Vice Chairman, CB Richard Ellis, Inc.
      • Mark Horn (Macon, GA) – COO, EBM
      • Ruel Joyner (Savannah, GA) – Owner, 24e Design Company
      • Vickie Moreland (Tucker, GA) – CFO, Moreland Altobelli
      • Alec Poitevent (Bainbridge, GA) – Chairman & President, Southeastern Minerals, Inc.
      • David Renz (Dalton, GA) – President, Southern Lubes & Fuels
      • T. Dallas Smith (Atlanta, GA) – Owner, T. Dallas Smith & Co.
      • Trey Taylor (Valdosta, GA) – CEO, Taylor Insurance Services
      • Brad Usry (Augusta, GA) – President, Fat Man’s Hospitality Group
      • C.B. Yadav (Kingsland, GA) – President & CEO, Gope Management Co.
    • The General Assembly will be in session this week Tuesday through Friday for Legislative Days 17-20 
    If you become aware of legislation you would like Cornerstone to follow, please let us know!

    House Bill Tracker

    HB 2 – Constitutional Carry
    Bill Sponsor: Rep Matt Gurtler
    Bill Status: Introduced 11/16/18 (prefiled); Referred to Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee
    Summary: A bill to allow anyone in Georgia who is legally allowed to own a gun to carry it without paying for a state-issued license. Currently, Georgia gun owners must pay to register with the state and pass a background check before being issued a license to carry a gun in public.
    HB 22 – Statutory Authority for Broadband: Telephone Cooperatives
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Penny Houston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Referred to Economic Development & Tourism Committee & favorably reported
    Summary: To specifically authorize telephone cooperatives & their affiliates to provide broadband services (aka “statutory authority”)
    HB 23 – Statutory Authority for Broadband: EMCs
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Penny Houston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Passed out of House Rules 2/8/19; Passed on House Floor by a vote of 169 Yea and 0 Nay
    Summary: To specifically authorize Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) & their affiliates to provide broadband services (aka “statutory authority”)
    HB 24 – Governance of State & Local Boards, Authorities, & Commissions 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Vernon Jones
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Referred to Government Affairs Committee and favorably reported on 2/13/19.
    Summary: To require that all members of state and local boards, authorities, commissions, and similar entities in this state shall be appointed by an elected official or officials of the state or a political subdivision of the state.
    HB 30 – Amended FY19 Appropriations 
    Bill Sponsor: Speaker Ralston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19
    Summary: Amended FY2019 Appropriations; Passed on the House Floor by a vote of 166 Yea and 8 Nay
    HB 31 – FY20 Appropriations
    Bill Sponsor: Speaker Ralston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19
    Summary: FY2020 Appropriations
    HB 34 – Development Authority Board of Directors Requirements & Removal 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Rhonda Burnough
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; House Committee on Government Affairs
    Summary: To allow development authority boards of directors to be comprised of residents OR licensed business owners paying ad valorem taxes on real or personal property within the county or municipal corporation for which the authority is created (expanding it beyond current law requirement of taxpaying residents). It would also give the city or county governing authority the power to remove a director for cause (which would include but not be limited to, neglect of duties, incompetence, failure to meet residency requirements, or unethical/dishonorable conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public, county or municipality) or with 30 days written notice provided a public hearing is followed no less than 30 days from the date of written notice.
    HB 41 – Expanded Film/Gaming Production Tax Credit for Veterans Employed 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Pam Dickerson
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19: Referred Ways and Means Committee
    Summary: To provide for an additional income tax credit for film, gaming, video, or digital production in Georgia for productions that employ veterans.
    HB 126 – GeorgiaBest Employability Skills Training Program
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Randy Nix
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/5/19. Referred to Committee on Industry & Labor. Favorably reported out of committee on 2/13/19.
    Summary: To establish at the Ga Dept. of Labor the “GeorgiaBest” program, an employability and skills training curriculum.
    HB 184 – Small Cell Wireless
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Brett Harrell
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/7/19. Referred to Economic Development & Tourism Committee. Favorably reported out of committee on 2/12/19. Passed by House 2/14/19.
    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. Referred to Ways & Means Committee.
    Summary: Investment tax credit for new purchases and acquisitions would be earnable for mining and mining facilities and would allowed to be used against payroll withholding, with limitations.
    HB 244 – EMCs to Comply with Poll Rate Requirements
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Stephens
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/11/19; referred to House Committee of Economic Development and Tourism
    Summary: To amended Georgia Code to relating to corporate purposes and powers of electric membership corporations, so as to require electric membership corporations to comply with certain requirements in determining the rates for attachments to utility poles by communications service providers

    HB 254 – Film & Gaming Tax Credits
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Trey Rhodes
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/11/19. Referred to Ways & Means Committee.
    Summary: To increase the amount of income tax credits allowed per year for film, gaming, video, or digital production.
    HB 315 – Local Government Contracting
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Mark Newton
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/14/19
    Summary: A bill to create greater transparency in the local procurement process by requiring disclosures of certain consultants and relationships.
    HR 6 – Term Limits
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Caldwell
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/30/19; referred to House Rules Committee
    Summary: Constitutional amendment to provide that no member of the Georgia House or Senate can serve more than 4 consecutive terms before being required to be out of office for a full term.
    HR 37 – Commission on Freight & Logistics
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Tanner
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/28/19
    Summary: A resolution creating the Georgia Commission on Freight & Logistics.
    HR 48 – GA Coastal Tourism
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Gilliard
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/30/19; referred to Natural Resources Committee
    Summary: A resolution supporting GA’s coastal tourism and fisheries and opposing seismic testing and oil and gas drilling activities off of Georgia’s coast.
    HR 72 – World’s Largest Start-Up Competition
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/29/10. Referred to Economic Development & Tourism Committee. Favorably reported out of committee on 2/12/19.
    Summary: A resolution encouraging Georgia to host the world’s largest start-up pitch competition.

    Senate Bill Tracker

    SB 2 – EMC Broadband Statutory Authority
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Gooch
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/16/19; Referred to Regulated Industries Committee
    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; Referred to Regulated Industries Committee and favorably reported
    Summary: To specifically authorize telephone cooperatives & their affiliates to provide broadband services (aka “statutory authority”)
    SB20 – Banking Improvement Zones
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Rhett
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/16/19. Referred to Banking & Financial Institutions Committee and favorably reported
    Summary: A bill to establish “banking improvement zones” to encourage opening of banks in areas underserved by banks.
    SB 45 – Rural Georgia Jobs & Growth Act 
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Beach
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/5/19. Referred to Economic Development Committee.
    Summary: A bill to provide for pari-mutuel horse racing at a limited number of equestrian centers and to create the Georgia Horse Racing Commission.
    SB 87 – Toombs County Development Authority
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Tillery
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/12/19
    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.
    Summary: Legislation to create a statewide business court.
    SR 55 – Equal Rights Amendment
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Orrock
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/30/19. Referred to Judiciary Committee and favorably reported
    Bill Summary: Ratify 1972 Equal Rights Amendment as passed by Congress to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender.
    SR 84 – Constitutional Amendment for Horse Racing
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Beach
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/6/19. Referred to Economic Development & Tourism Committee.
    Summary: A resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for pari-mutuel betting on horse racing.


    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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