• Legislative Update 2019 - Week #6

    Noteworthy Items:

    • The General Assembly met last week Tuesday – Friday for Legislative Days 17-20. Session is picking up as we get closer to Crossover Day.
    • GEDA hosted its annual legislative dinner last Monday and had excellent participation from a bipartisan group of key legislators. The dinner provided a great opportunity to thank legislators for their support of our economic development efforts and continue to build relationships. We were pleased that Governor Kemp was able to stop by for a bit and visit with everyone.
    • Rural broadband deployment continues to be a hotly debated issue. The Senate’s bill regarding EMC’s ability to offer broadband services (SB 2) passed out of committee on Tuesday after over four hours of committee time spent on hearing the bill. The House took up another aspect of the rural broadband deployment issue – pole attachment costs for EMCs – by passing HB 244 out of the House Economic Development Committee unanimously.
    • The General Assembly continues to focus healthcare – access, quality, and cost around the state, as well as preserving and strengthening rural healthcare systems. While everyone seems to agree on the goal, the suggested approaches to get there are vastly different. Two bills repealing the Certificate of Need process (HB 198 and SB 74) were heard in the House and the Senate committees this week.
    • Election security is also an important topic of discussion this session. The Governmental Affairs Elections subcommittee heard several hours of testimony over 2 days on HB 316 this week. The bill calls for converting Georgia’s 27,000 electronic voting machines to a system of computer-printed paper ballots. The bill moved through both subcommittee and the full Government Affairs Committee by weeks end and now awaits a vote before the full House of Representatives.
    • On Thursday, HR 306, a bill to cut personal and corporate income taxes was introduced. If passed it would reduce the income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.50%. This is a follow up to HB 918 last session, which reduced the income tax rate by the same increment.
    • Governor Kemp announced Friday that he is backing legislation to support rural airports. The bill will establish a state excise tax on jet fuel of $0.005 per gallon collected by GDOT and will be matched 9:1 by the federal government. The funds collected are to be used by rural aviation authorities for maintenance and infrastructure improvements to local airports.
    • The General Assembly will be in session this week Monday through Friday for Legislative Days 21-25.
    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 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 24 – Governance of State & Local Boards, Authorities, & Commissions 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Vernon Jones
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/1; Referred to Government Affairs Committee and favorably reported by substitute
    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; Passed House Floor 2/8/19; Passed Senate Floor 2/21/19
    Summary: Amended FY2019 Appropriations
     
    HB 31 – FY20 Appropriations
    Bill Sponsor: Speaker Ralston
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Referred to Appropriations
    Summary: FY2020 Appropriations
     
    HB 34 – Development Authority Board of Directors Requirements & Removal 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Rhonda Burnough
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/17/19; Referred to 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 to 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 198 – Repeal of CON Requirements
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Hatchett
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/8/19; Referred to Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care
    Bill Summary: To eliminate certificate of need requirements for all health care facilities except certain long-term care facilities and services
     
    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 of Economic Development and Tourism and favorably reported by substitute
    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: Re. 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.
     
    HR 306 – Reduction of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Rate
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Efstration
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19
    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; Referred to Regulated Industries Committee and favorably reported by substitute
    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 Referred to Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications
    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.
     
     
    SB66 – Streamlining Wireless Facilities & Antennas Act
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Gooch
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Referred to Regulated Industries Committee.
    Summary: To streamline the deployment of wireless broadband in public rights of way.
     
    SB74 – Repeal of CON Requirements
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Brass
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/8/19; Referred to Regulated Industries and Utilities
    Summary: To eliminate certificate of need requirements for all health care facilities except certain long-term care facilities and services
     
    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.
     
    SB151 – The Health Act
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Burke
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/21/19
    Summary: To provide for improvements in the state’s healthcare system and coordination of state health related entities
      
    SR 55 – Equal Rights Amendment
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Orrock
    Bill Status: Introduced 1/30/19; Referred to Judiciary
    Summary: Ratify 1972 Equal Rights Amendment as passed by Congress to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender.

     
     

    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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