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Legislative Report #7
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2015 GEDA Legislative Monitor Report #7

The 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly reconvened Monday, March 2, 2015, for Day 24 of the session.  The House and Senate completed Day 27 on Thursday, March 5, 2015, and adjourned until Monday, March 9, 2015; Legislative Day 28.  The General Assembly will be adjourned Tuesday and Thursday, March 10 and March 12 in preparation for Day 30, Friday, March 13.  Bills have to pass from one chamber to the other by Day 30 to be considered for passage this session.

Budget

HB 75, the FY- 2015 Supplemental Budget was signed by the Governor 2/19/15.

Bills

Sixty-nine bills were introduced in the House during the four days of week seven of the session for a total of five hundred sixty-nine House bills.  The Senate introduced an additional twenty-seven bills for a total of two hundred eighty 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 315 – Representatives Nimmer of the 178th, Coomer of the 14th, and Dickey of the 140th

Amends Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 20 of the OCGA, relating to technical and adult education, so as to change the name of the Technical College System of Georgia to the Georgia Career College System; to change the name of the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to the State Board of the Georgia Career College System; to amend various provisions of the OCGA; and for other purposes.

The bill proposes to change the name of the Board and Department from the Technical College System of Georgia to the Georgia Career College System.

Assigned to the Senate Committee on Higher Education.

The bill was read for the first time on 3/4/2015.

HB 408 – Representatives Willard of the 51st, Raffensperger of the 50th, Geisinger of the 48th, and Wilkinson of the 52nd

Amends Article 3 of Chapter 13 of Title 48 of the OCGA, relating to an excise tax on rooms, lodging, and accommodations, so as to clarify the application of certain provisions to certain municipalities; to provide conditions and limitations; and for other purposes.

The bill proposes to amend paragraph 5 of subsection (a) of Code Section 48-13-51 that currently authorizes local governments to collect the Hotel Motel excise tax at the rate of 7%.  The bill would continue to allow the collection of the excise tax at the rate of 7% and to dedicate a percentage of the tax collected toward funding a multi-purpose domed stadium facility. The bill also proposes to allow local governments to use 39.3% of taxes collected toward funding any of the purposes permitted for tourism product development.

Assigned to the House Committee on Ways and Means

The bill was read for the second time 2/23/15.

HB 439(S) – Representatives Shaw of the 176th, Abrams of the 89th, England of the 116th, Hatchett of the 150th, Knight of the 130th, and others

Amends Chapter 1 of title 33 of the OCGA, relating to general provisions regarding insurance, so as to establish qualified low-income community investment; to provide for a short title; to provide for definitions; to provide that certain entities may earn credit against state premium tax liability; to provide for certification of qualified equity investments; to provide for recapture of credit claimed under certain circumstances; to provide for certain refundable fees; to provide for a retaliatory tax; and for other purposes.

The bill proposes to create a new Code section known as the ‘Georgia New Markets Jobs Act’. The bill appears to mimic credits authorized in Section 45D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and 26 C.F.R. Section 1.45D-1. Qualified community development entities are authorized to make ‘Qualified Equity Investments’ and ‘Qualified Low-income Community Investments’.  Any entity that makes a qualified equity investment earns a vested right to credit against the entity’s state premium tax liability. No credits claimed will be refundable or saleable on the open market.  Credits may be carried forward for use in any subsequent taxable year.  The Department of Economic Development is currently listed as the state agency to promulgate rules and manage the process.

Assigned to the Committee on Insurance

The bill was favorably reported on 3/4/15.

HB 510 – Representative Stephens of the 164th

Amends Chapter 34 of Title 50 of the OCGA, relating to the OneGeorgia Authority, so as to provide for the creation of the Georgia Sports Commission Fund; to define certain terms; to provide for gifts and contributions; to provide for a committee to manage such fund; to provide conditions for obtaining grants and loans from such fund; and for other purposes.

The bill would authorize creation of the Georgia Sports Commission Fund managed by a five member committee appointed by the Governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of representatives.  The Commissioners of DEcD and DCA would serve as ex-officio nonvoting members of the committee. Local ‘sports commissions’ could register with the Authority and authorized to apply for grants from the fund. ‘Sport Commissions’ are defined as nonprofit organizations that are charged with managing the bid process to attract professional and amateur sporting events to a county, municipality, or consolidated government.  The grants would be used by registered sports commissions to cover the initial costs of hosting a sporting event or payment of an up-front fee for the privilege of hosting a sporting event.

Assigned to the House Committee on Economic Development and Tourism

The bill was favorably reported 3/4/15.

SB 101(CS) – Senators Watson of the 1st, Jackson of the 2nd, Ligon of the 3rd, Williams of the 19th, Tolleson of the 20th and others

Amends Chapter 7 of Title 12 of the OCGA, relating to the control of soil erosion and sedimentation, so as to provide for a buffer against coastal marshlands within which certain land-disturbing activities are prohibited; to provide for exceptions and variances; and for other purposes.

The bill would maintain a 25 foot buffer along coastal marshlands while allowing the Director of the Environmental Protection Division to grant a variance for specified purposes, including the maintenance of existing structures, while minimizing the impact on water quality or aquatic habitat of the adjacent marsh.

Assigned to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment

This bill passed the Senate on 3/2/15 and read for the second time in the House on 3/4/15.

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