• Legislative Update 2019 - Week #7

    Noteworthy Items:

    • The General Assembly met last week Monday – Friday for Legislative Days 21-25. With Crossover this week, there were many committee meetings last week to try to get as many bills as possible on the floor by Day 28. As a reminder if a bill does not pass at least one chamber and “cross over” to the next, by the end of Day 28, it is not eligible for consideration the remainder of the session.
    • The FY 2020 Budget (HB 31) passed the House with a vote of 155 – 13 last Thursday. The $27.5 billion budget delivers part of Governor Kemp’s promise of teacher pay raises. The budget provides a $2,775 pay increase for teachers, school psychologists, counselors, social workers, and special education specialists. Economic and community development highlights in the budget include:
      • Funding for the One Georgia Authority at $23.6 million
      • $300,000 for the creation of the Blight Removal and Code Enforcement (BRACE) program at the Department of Community Affairs. This program will provide grants to communities with a population of 2,500 or less to initiate a free, neighborhood-level cleanup for their areas with the most code violations and blight, and comes at the recommendation of the House Rural Development Council.
      • $2.5 million in bond funding for an addition at the Atlanta Farmers Market;
      • $670,000 in bond funding for facility repairs at farmers markets statewide;
      • $22 million in bond funding for a pedestrian mall and bus depot at the Georgia World Congress Center.
    • On Monday, the Senate passed SB66, the “Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act,” to address the use of public right of ways by wireless providers to promote the expansion of 5G technology.
       
    • On Friday, the Senate unanimously passed SB120, the “Georgia Tax Credit Business Case Act,” which would sunset most tax credits on a 5-year window and require the state auditor to perform an economic analysis on most tax credits, as well as sales and use tax exemptions before reauthorizing them.
       
    • There were multiple tax bills heard in House Ways & Means last week, including HB 224, HB 333, HB 355 and HB406.
      • HB224 proposes to allow the investment tax credit to be used against payroll withholdings for Tier 1 and Tier 2 communities, capped at $1 million per tax-filer and capped at $20 million total per year.
      • HB333 proposes to create an additional $500 job tax credit for certain economically distressed communities, as well as lowers the wage requirement for job tax credit eligibility for certain economically distressed communities.
      • HB355 proposes to lower the threshold number of jobs necessary to qualify for the quality jobs tax credit to 5 jobs (for Tier 1 counties) and 10 jobs (for Tier 2 counties)
      • HB406 proposes to mandate joint development authorities that have jointly titled property and revenue stemming from such property to report their property and interest to the state auditor and state revenue commissioner.
         
    • On February 22nd, a resolution was made calling for Speaker Ralston’s removal as Speaker (HR 328). This was a result of an AJC article written on the Speaker’s use of the legislative leave law, alleging he used it to delay certain cases where he served as the defense attorney. Legislative leave allows legislators to postpone certain events like court dates in order for the citizen legislature to be able to fulfill their legislative duties. Ralston responded to these allegations last week in the Well of the House, giving a full-throated defense of his actions, but also announcing the creation of a study committee to look at the legislative leave law.
    • The General Assembly will be in session this week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for Legislative Days 26-29. Crossover day is Thursday!
    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; Passed House Floor by Substitute 155 Yea – 13 Nay 2/28/2019
    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. Passed by House 2/14/19. Senate Referred to Regulated Industries and Utilities 2/15/19.
    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; Favorably reported, then recommitted 2/28/19.
    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 be 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. Referred to House Government Affairs Committee.
    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. Referred to Governmental Affairs
    Summary:  A bill to authorize counties to exercise powers in incorporated areas.
     
    HB 350 - Income tax credit 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Williamson
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
    Summary: A bill relating to tax credits for certain business enterprises located in certain counties, to change the carry forward provisions relating to such credits.
      
    HB 352 – Sales and Use Tax
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Burt Reeves
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. House Committee on Ways and Means favorably reported 2/27/19.
    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 355 – Income Tax Credit for Relocating Quality Jobs 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Clay Pirkle
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Referred to the House Way and Means Committee.
    Summary:  A bill relating to the imposition, rate, computation, and exemptions from state income tax, so as to modify conditions for earning a tax credit for establishing or relocating quality jobs.
     
    HB 356 – City of Douglas Redevelopment Powers
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Clay Pirkle
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/19/19. Referred to the House Committee on Intragovernmental Coordination.
    Summary:  A bill to authorize the City of Douglas 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.
     
    HB 388 – Development Impact Fees
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Deborah Silcox
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/20/19. Referred to the House Committee on Governmental Affairs.
    Summary:  A bill to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 71 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to development impact fees, so as to exempt counties and municipalities from funding a development project's proportionate share of system improvement when such development project is exempt from development impact fees and such project creates affordable housing.
     
    HB 405 – Level 1 Freeport Exemption
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. David Knight
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/21/19, Referred to Ways & Means
    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. Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
    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 421 – School Year to not Begin Before the Second Week of August 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Ron Stephens
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/21/19. Referred to the House Education Committee.
    Summary:  A bill to amend Code Section 20-2-168 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the minimum school year and other matters, so as to provide that a school year shall not begin prior to the second full week in August and to provide for input on the school year calendar from community organizations and parent organizations.
      
    HB 443 – Allow Municipality to Levy Sales and Use Tax up to Five Years
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. William Boddie
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19. Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
    Summary:  A bill to amend Article 4 of Chapter 8 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to water and sewer projects and costs tax (MOST), so as to redefine the term "municipality" and to allow for the levy of such sales and use tax to last up to five years.
     
    HB 453 – Douglas County Redevelopment Powers 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Roger Bruce
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19. House Passed 2/27/19. Senate Read and Referred to State and Local Government Operations Committee 2/28/19.
    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.
     
    HB 494 - Rehabilitation of Historic Income Tax Structures
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Buckner
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/6/19. Referred to House Ways and Means Committee.
    Summary:  A bill to amend Code Section 48-7-29.8 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic structures and conditions and limitations, so as to change the time when a taxpayer is allowed a tax credit. It changes the projects earning limitation for the aggregate per calendar year cap and provides for carry forward of credits for other certified structures and changes the requirements for the transfer of credits.
     
    HB 503 – Authorize Local Governments to Lease Aviation Property
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Rhonda Burnough
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19. Referred to House Government Affairs Committee.
    Summary:  A bill to amend Article 2 of Chapter 3 of Title 6 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to powers of local governments as to air facilities, so as to authorize certain local governments to lease property to private parties for development.
     
    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. Passed House 2/21/19. Senate Referred to Transportation Committee.
    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 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. 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
     
    HR 327 - Local Authorization of a Limited Number of Resort Casinos 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Ron Stephens
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19. Referred to House Committee on Economic Development & Tourism.
    Summary:  A resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for the local authorization of a limited number of licensed destination resort facilities casino resorts within the state and to authorize the operation and regulation of limited casino gaming within the state.
      
    HR 328 – Encouraging the Speaker of the House to Resign from Speakership 
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. David Clarke
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/22/19. Referred to House Rules Committee. 
    Summary:  A resolution encouraging the Speaker of the House of Representatives to resign from his leadership position; and for other purposes.
      
    HR 378 – Georgia Gaming Commission
    Bill Sponsor: Rep. Ron Stephens
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/26/19. Referred to House Regulated Industries. 
    Summary:  A resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution so as to provide that all forms of betting, bingo games, raffles, and gambling shall be permitted as determined by the Georgia Gaming Commission. The resolution provides for the establishment of such commission; for the members of such commission and for powers, duties, responsibilities, and resources of such commission.

    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”)
     
    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.
    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 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.
    Summary: To streamline the deployment of wireless broadband in public rights of way.
     
    SB 74 – 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. Senate passed unanimously 2/25/19. Referred to House Committee on Intragovernmental Coordination.
    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. Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee. Reported favorably by substitute 2/28/19.
    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. Referred to Senate Finance Committee. Reported Favorably 2/22/19.
    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. Referred to Senate Finance Committee. Favorably reported by substitute 2/22/19.
    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. Referred to Senate Transportation Committee. Favorably reported by substitute 2/27/19.
    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 151 – The Health Act
    Bill Sponsor: Sen. Burke
    Bill Status: Introduced 2/21/19. Referred to Senate Health and Human Services.
    Summary: To provide for improvements in the state’s healthcare system and coordination of state health related entities
     
    SB 162 – Disaster Mitigation Improvements and Broadband Services Infrastructure 
    Bill Sponsor: Senator Matt Brass
    Bill Status: Introduced/22/19. Referred to the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries.
    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 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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