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Legislative Report #5
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2015 GEDA Legislative Monitor Report 5

The 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly reconvened Monday, February 23, 2015 for Day 20 of the session.  The House and Senate completed Day 19 on Friday, February 20, 2015 and adjourned until Monday, February 23, 2015. Legislative Day 30 (the day bills have to pass from one chamber to the other to be considered for passage during the current session) will be Friday, March 13, and Day 40 will be Thursday, April 2, 2015.

Budget

HB 75 passed the House and Senate with minor amendments on 2/19/15, and was transmitted to the Governor for signature.

Bills

Eighty-two bills were introduced in the House during the four days of week five of the session for a total of four hundred forty-two House bills.  The Senate introduced an additional thirty-two bills for a total of one hundred thirty-nine Senate bills.  GEDA will focus on tracking bills that directly affect the membership’s ability to create jobs and investment.  Please contact Kevin Shea, GEDA President, if you identify a bill(s) that you feel GEDA should track.

HB 2 – Representatives Geisinger of the 48th, Randall of the 142nd, Stephens of the 164th, Willard of the 51st, and others

Amends Title 50 of the OCGA, relating to state government, so as to provide for pari-mutuel wagering or betting on horse racing in this state; to provide for comprehensive regulation of such activities; to provide for legislative intent; to provide for the establishment of the Georgia Racing Commission; to provide for funding; to establish and provide for the Georgia Breeders Funds; and for other purposes.

The bill proposes to create The Georgia Racing Commission which would be empowered to control all horse racing with pari-mutuel wagering in the state with primary plenary power to prescribe regulations and conditions under which such racing and wagering will be conducted.  The bill would allow for pari-mutuel wagering at a racetrack or satellite facility licensed by the commission.  The bill would also allow simulcast horse racing at licensed facilities.  There would be a minimum of sixty live racing days each calendar year.  No license can be issued by the commission until a referendum approving the location of a facility is held in each county or municipality in which the facility is to be located.  The state would receive five percent of a racetrack’s pari-mutuel wagering pool, and counties and municipalities in which a racetrack is located would receive 2 percent of the pool.

Assigned to the Committee on Regulated Industries

Read for the second time on 2/17/15.

HB 308 – Representatives Stephens of the 164th, Peake of the 141st, and Harbin of the 122nd

Amends Article 2 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the OCGA, relating to imposition, computation, rate, and exemptions from state income taxes, so as to revise the tax credit for rehabilitation of historic structures; to provide for procedures, conditions and limitations; to provide for a sunset date; and for other purposes.

The bill defines ‘certified structure’ and ‘employment retention requirement’.  The bill establishes an ‘employment target’ as verifiable creation and retention of at least 200 full-time jobs as a result of rehabilitation of a certified structure. In the case of the rehabilitation of a certified structure the proposed tax credit is equal to 25 percent of qualified rehabilitation expenditures.  The maximum credit for a certified structure would be $5 million for any taxable year.  If the project meets or exceeds the employment target, the maximum credit for any individual certified structure would be up to $25 million.

Assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means

The bill was read for the second time on 2/17/15.

HB 318 – Representatives Stover of the 71st, Pezold of the 133rd, Allison of the 8th, Caldwell of the 20th, Kirby of the 114th, and others

Amends Titles 36 and 50 of the OCGA, relating to local government and state government, respectively, so as to provide that membership in regional commissions is optional for counties and municipalities; and for other purposes.

The bill proposes to make membership in Regional Commissions optional for municipalities and counties.  The current law makes membership for municipalities and counties mandatory.

Assigned to the Committee on Governmental Affairs

The bill was read for the second time on 2/17/15.

HB 339 – Representatives Burns of the 159th, Stephens of the 164tth, Strickland of the 111th, Rice of the 95th, Peake of the 141st, and others

Amends Article 2 of Chapter 7 of Title 48 of the OCGA, relating to the imposition rate, and computation of state income taxes, so as to extend the tax credit for film, video, or digital production in this state.

The bill proposes to extend the income tax credit, and provides that the maximum allowable credit claimed for any qualified interactive entertainment production company and its affiliates is $1.5 million in any single year.  The credit would extend through 2019.

Assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means

The bill was read for the second time on 2/17/15.

HB 348 – Representatives Dickey of the 140th, Nimmer of the 178th, Coomer of the 14th, and Rogers of the 10th

Repeals Chapter 14 of Title 34 of the OCGA, relating to the Georgia Workforce Investment Board; to amend Chapter 7 of Title 50 of the OCGA, relating to the Department of Economic Development, so as to create the State Workforce Development Board; to provide for a Workforce Division within the Department of Economic Development; to provide for a Deputy Commissioner; and for other purposes.

The bill proposes to create the State Workforce Development Board in compliance with Public Law 105-220.  The Board would meet quarterly, and be funded by federal law.  The Workforce Division would replace the current Governor’s Office of Workforce Development. The Governor is authorized to appoint the deputy commissioner of the Workforce Division.

Assigned to the Committee on Industry and Labor

The bill was read for the second time on 2/18/15.

SB – 63 Senators Hill of the 6th, Gooch of the 51st, Albers of the 56th, Bethel of the 54th, Ginn of the 47th, and others

Amends Title 3 of the OCGA, relating to alcoholic beverages so as to provide for manufacturers 
 of malt beverages to make limited retail sales of malt beverages under certain circumstances; to change the definition of a ‘brewpub’; to provide for licensed brewpubs to sell malt beverages manufactured on its premises to the public for off-premises; to define the term ‘tasting room; and for other purposes.

The bill would allow consumers to buy up to seventy-two ounces of beer to drink in a tasting room on the premises of a licensed brewpub, and 144 ounces to take home.

Assigned to the Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities

The bill was read for the first time 1/29/15.

SB 122 – Senator Mullis of the 53rd

Amends Code Section 48-8-111 of the OCGA, relating to the procedure for implementing a special purpose local option sales tax, so as to provide for an additional purpose for use of the proceeds of the tax; and for other purposes.

The bill proposes to add the repair of capital outlay projects, including, but not limited to, roads, streets, and bridges, located in part or in whole, within the special district that have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster to the list of eligible LOST projects.

Assigned to the Committee on Finance

The bill was read for the first time 2/17/15.

SR 287 Senators Miller of the 49th, Tippins of the 37th, Jeffares of the 17th, Sims of the 12th, Gooch of the 51st, and others

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Georgia so as to allow the General Assembly to authorize the establishment of an Opportunity School District to provide for state intervention for failing schools; and for other purposes.

The resolution would authorize the state to assume the supervision, management, and operation of public elementary and secondary schools which have been determined to be failing through any governance model allowed by law.

Assigned to the Committee on Education and Youth

The resolution was read for the first time 2/19/15.

   

 

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