Wednesday, March 31 completed the last day of the legislative session. Bills that did not pass this session will have to be reconsidered for next year’s session. Bills that passed out of both chambers are sent to the Governor who has 40 days from the end of session to veto. Otherwise, the bills become law. We highlight some of the key bills the chamber is tracking:
HB 81, the $27.2 billion fiscal year budget for July 2021 – June 2022, includes funding for public education, mental health programs, nursing homes, transportation, rural investments, and economic incentives. Notably, the budget includes funding towards the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.
Georgia received over $4.6 billion from the federal government through the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act.
Economic Development/Business Climate
HB 112, Introduced by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), The bill passed out of both chambers. The COVID liability protection bill extends the sunset date out another year to July 14, 2022.
HB 150, introduced by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), would prohibit local governments from implementing policy that bans utility service based on the type of source of energy or fuel. The bill passed out of both chambers.
HB 182, introduced by Rep. Marvin Lim (D-Norcross), would create an Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit program that helps first-time entrepreneurs by waiving some of the obligations when filing for a new business. It has been assigned to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee. It did not pass out of the House before Crossover Day.
HB 183, introduced by Rep. Marvin Lim (D-Norcross), would expand the current Georgia Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA) to permit businesses to make claims, in a “representative” capacity, against unfair or deceptive trade practices by businesses. Currently, the FBPA only allows consumers to make claims. It has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. It did not pass out of the House before Crossover Day.
HB 306, sponsored by Representative Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville), would allow corporations to hold shareholders’ meetings remotely. It passed out of both chambers.
HB 398, introduced by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), removes the jobs cap from the jobs tax credit. It did not pass out of the House before Crossover Day.
HB 479, sponsored by Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta), would reform the roughly 150-year-old statute that allows any Georgian to arrest a suspected offender. This bill would still allow business employees and security officers to detain lawbreakers and off-duty police officers to make arrests when outside their jurisdiction. The bill is a continuation of Governor Kemp’s push from last year’s passage of hate-crimes law. The bill passed out of both chambers. If signed into law, Georgia will become the first state to repeal the statute.
HB 593, sponsored by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire), would increase the standard deduction from $4,600 to $5,400 and $6,000 to $7,100 for individuals and jointly filing married couples, respectively. It would allow Georgians to save up to $75 per year on their income taxes and cost the state between $100 million and $150 million per year in foregone revenue. The changes would take effect on January 1, 2022. The Governor signed the bill into law on Monday, March 22.
HR 11, authored by Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock), would create the House Study Committee on Innovative Ways to Maximize Global Talent in Georgia. This resolution was passed by the legislature and awaits the Governor’s signature.
SB 6, introduced by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), passed out of both chambers. The bill would allow the Chairs of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to request an economic analysis on up to five tax incentives each year. Additionally, the language for tax-exempt ticket sales at non-profit performing arts businesses in Georgia was added to the bill.
SB 33, introduced by Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford), provides victims of human trafficking a civil cause of action against perpetrators and gives the Attorney General a cause of action against perpetrators of human trafficking in certain circumstances. It passed out of both chambers unanimously.
SB 34, introduced by Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford), allows human trafficking victims to change their legal name without the usually required public ad in their legal organ. It passed out of both chambers unanimously.
SB 45, introduced by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), would speed the process of occupational and professional licensure for new Georgia residents. It passed out of the Senate but not the House.
SB 98 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) and HB 588 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) establish rules for the Georgia Freight Railroad Program in GDOT’s budget and provides guidance for public-private partnerships. SB 98 passed out of the Senate but not the House. HB 588 passed out of both chambers.
SR 102, introduced by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), creates the Georgia Commission on E-Commerce and Freight Infrastructure Funding. This resolution was passed by the legislature and awaits the Governor’s signature.
HB 67, introduced by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), allows institutions at the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia to carry forward certain unexpended revenues into the next fiscal year. It passed out of both chambers.
SB 88, introduced by Sen. Russ Goodman (R-Cogdell), helps grow the teacher pipeline throughout recruitment, mentorship, and retention. It passed both chambers and has been sent to the Governor.
SB 256, introduced by Sen. Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge), would give the state the authority to reorganize county boards of health. It passed out of the Senate but did not pass out of the House. However, the House voted to reconsidered. The chamber is examining its potential impact on the Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Public Health Departments.
SB 201, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), would give county-city contract negotiating authority to the county commissioners instead of county tax commissioners. The bill passed out of both chambers.