Thursday, February 11 completes Legislative Day 16 for the General Assembly, leaving 24 remaining legislative days. Crossover Day is Legislative Day 28. Below we highlight some of the key legislative developments thus far:
This week, the General Assembly passed the amended fiscal budget. The House passed the measure 165-4 then the Senate shortly passed it unanimously. The amended fiscal 2020-2021 budget, which funds the state government through June 30, 2021, restores 60% cuts ($567 million) to public education and adds funding to public health programs. Among other notable funding includes:
-One-time $1,000 raise to over 57,000 state employees who earn less than $80,000.
-$20 million to expand rural broadband service
-Additional $3 million to tourism industry
-$100,000 to aid the Department of Labor’s operation of unemployment claims
HB 112, Introduced by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), passed the House this week 99-68. The COVID liability protection bill extends the sunset date out another year to July 14, 2022. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
SB 45, introduced by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), would speed the process of occupational and professional licensure for new Georgia residents. It was favorably reported by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities.
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 is currently being reviewed in the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
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.
Criminal Justice Reform
There is still a bipartisan effort for revisiting the state’s current citizen’s arrest law. After signaling his support during the State of the State Address, Governor Kemp will share next week his proposal to reform the current statute. “We can again send a clear message: Georgia is a state that protects all of its people and fights injustice wherever it is found.”
SB 6, introduced by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), passed by the Senate 51-0 (5 excused) and has been sent to the House Ways and Means Committee. 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.