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GEDA Weekly Policy Update: Week 1

Friday, January 12, 2018   (0 Comments)
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January 12, 2018


GEDA Weekly Policy Update: Week 1




REMINDER: GEDA Legislative Day is Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 at the Capitol, South-wing, 2nd floor, CAP 230. Please invite your legislators to attend! We will host a brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.

Days 1-4 of 40 Day Session


  • The Georgia Legislature convened the 2018 Legislative Session on Monday, January 8.
  • The proposed calendar for January is:

· Tues, Jan. 9 convene for legislative day 2

· Weds, Jan. 10 convene for legislative day 3

· Thurs, Jan 11 convene for legislative day 4

· Thurs, Jan 18 convene for legislative day 5

· Fri, Jan 19 convene for legislative day 6

· Mon, Jan 22 convene for legislative day 7

· Tues, Jan 23 convene for legislative day 8

· Weds, Jan 24 convene for legislative day 9

· Thurs, Jan 25 convene for legislative day 10

· Mon, Jan 29 convene for legislative day 11

  • Budget Week is scheduled for the week of January 15. That week will be devoted to budget hearings for the FY2017 continuation budget and the FY2018 General Appropriations Act.

House/Senate Leadership & Committee Changes:

This session brings new changes in leadership in the Senate and new chairman positions in both chambers.


  • President Pro Tempore …............Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville)
  • Majority Caucus Vice Chair ……… Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta)
  • Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee … Sen. Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla)
  • Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee … Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville)
  • Senate Public Safety Committee…....Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell)
  • Senate State & Local Gov. Operations Committee… Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus)
  • Senate Reapportionment & Redistricting Committee… Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan)


  • House Code Revision Committee... Rep. Timothy Barr (R-Lawrenceville)
  • House Appropriations & Subcommittee on General Govt… Rep. Chad Nimmer (R-Blackshear)
  • House Industry & Labor Committee… Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R-Glennville)
  • House Small Business Development Committee… Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie)

State of the State

On January 11, 2018, Governor Deal presented his final State of the State address. He looked back on his time as Governor, called this a “year of transition,” and recalled an Israeli parable: an older man went out and planted a tree in his yard. A neighbor passed by and saw what he was doing, stopped and shook his head, saying, “What are you doing planting a tree now? You are old and won’t be able to enjoy its shade or its fruit.” The old man responded, “I’m not planting this tree for myself, I’m planting it for those who come after me, just as I enjoyed the shade and fruit from trees planted by those who came before me.” Deal went on to discuss the various “orchards of opportunity” he has planted during the past 7 years:

  • Lowering unemployment rate to 4.3% from 10.7% in 2011. Creating around 675,000 jobs. Named #1 state in which to do business 5 consecutive years.
  • Film production industry. From $241 million in economic impact 10 years ago to $9.5 billion in economic impact in 2017, as well as 92,000 jobs in GA.
  • Increased education spending by $3.6 billion over the last 7 years, including his final budget proposal, making the total education expenditure during his time as governor roughly $14 billion.
  • Saving the HOPE Scholarship during economic crisis, and creating the HOPE Career Grant, which covers 100% of tuition for technical school students who enroll in one of GA’s high-demand fields.

· Announced moving the Division of Workforce Development and the state’s customized recruitment office to TCSG.

· Announced inclusion of $1 million in his proposed budget for a TCSG marketing campaign to encourage some of the 30% of Georgia high school graduates who don’t pursue any further education or training.

· Announced inclusion in proposed budget of $1 million for 2 mobile welding labs for TCSG.

  • Passing the Transportation Funding Act, providing a 10-year $11 billion transportation investment.
  • Enacting criminal justice reform, including increasing the number of state-funded accountability courts from 12 to 149, and ensuring that every one of the state’s 49 judicial circuits has at least one type of accountability court in operation.
  • Creating a Commission on Children’s Mental Health, charged with providing recommendations on improving state mental health services for children.

· Proposed budget includes $22.9 million based on their recommendations.

Bill Tracking:

Since this is the second term of the legislative session, this report will cover all the bills that GEDA tracked for the 2017 session, and note those that were signed by the Governor and are now effective. We will continue to monitor bills that did not pass last session but are still “alive.” We will add to this list as relevant legislation is introduced in the 2018 session. We encourage GEDA members to send bills they would like to be tracked to


  • We include in this first report, those bills GEDA tracked in the 2017 session that were signed by the Governor and are now effective. We will not include these (denoted with yellow highlights) in future legislative reports for this session.
  • Any bill italicized is new to this report – either it was recently introduced this 2018 session, or it was a bill that GEDA did not track last legislative session.

HB1– Georgia Space Flight Act
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine)
Bill Status: Effective 7/1/17
Summary: The bill removes operators’ liability for death or injury to passengers travelling in Georgia-launched space vehicles, provided the passenger has given written informed consent.

HB44 – 2018 Budget
Bill Sponsor: Speaker Ralston (R -Blue Ridge)
Bill Status: Effective 5/1/17
Summary: Appropriations for July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.

HB59 – Historic Tax Credits
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah)
Bill Status: Senate Recommitted on 1/8/18
Summary: The bill provides tax credits against state income taxes for the rehabilitation of historic structures, and provides re-approval of additional tax credits for current recipients of credits. The taxpayer will be allowed a tax credit against the tax imposed at such time as the certified rehabilitation is completed. An applicant seeking to claim a tax credit will submit an application to the GA Dept. of Community Affairs for pre-approval.

HB69 – Tier Tax Credit Claims
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Paulette Rakestraw (R-Hiram)
Bill Status: House Second Reader
Summary: Beginning on Sept. 1, 2019 and annually for 5 years, the DCA Commissioner will issue a report to the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House, including a list of all counties and their tier tax credit classifications, as well as the following information: (A) The total number of employers that claimed a credit under O.C.G.A. 48-7-40; (B) The number of all credits earned and all credits applied during such tax year; and (C) An estimate of the number of jobs and overall economic impact produced by this code section.

HB70 – Tier Tax Credit System
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Paulette Rakestraw (R-Hiram)
Bill Status: House Second Reader
Summary: Amend O.C.G.A. 48-7-40 to provide that a county classified as a Tier 4 county wil be reclassified as a Tier 3 if at least 70% of the county’s workforce commutes outside the county for work. Additionally, if 70% of a county’s workforce commutes outside the county for work, Tier 3 counties will be reclassified as Tier 2 counties, and Tier 2 counties shall be reclassified as Tier 1 counties.

HB118 – Fantasy Contests Act
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown)
Bill Status: Senate Recommitted on 1/8/18
Summary: Provides for the licensing, registration, regulation, and taxation of fantasy contest operators. The bill creates the Registered Fantasy Contest Operators Act. Fantasy contest operators must register with the Commissioner of the Dept. of Revenue. A fantasy contest operator must pay an annual registration renewal fee and 6% of the fantasy contest operator’s gross fantasy contest revenues for the preceding 12 months. The registration application is exempt from public disclosure unless challenged in the courts.

HB134 – Special District Mass Transportation
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Bubber Epps (R-Dry Branch)
Bill Status: Effective 5/1/17
Summary: Authorizes imposition of a special district transportation special purpose local option sales and use tax within a special district for a limited period of time; the proceeds of which must be used only for transportation purposes. The bill adds “roads” to the definition of ‘transportation purposes.’ More than one tax will be authorized to be imposed concurrently within a special district as long as the combined rate of the taxes does not exceed 1%.

HB155 – Georgia Musical Investment Act
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Amy Carter (R-Valdosta)
Bill Status: Effective 1/1/18
Summary: Creates an income tax credit for certain expenditures by a production company related to certain state-certified musical or theatrical productions or recorded musical performances that originate in this state, or that prepares and rehearses within this state and has its U.S. debut within this state. To qualify, a musical or theatrical performance must invest at least $500,000 during a taxable year. A recorded musical performance that is incorporated into or synchronized with a movie, television, or interactive entertainment production must invest $250,000 during a taxable year, and any other recorded musical performances must invest $100,000 during a taxable year. The GA Dept. of Economic Development must approve ‘state certified productions.’ A production company will be allowed a tax credit equal to 15% of a production company’s qualified production expenditures; and a production company will be allowed an additional tax credit equal to 10% for the production company’s qualified production expenditures incurred in a county designated as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 by the Commissioner of DCA.

HB158 – Georgia Gaming Commission & Destination Resorts
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah)
Bill Status: House Second Readers
Summary: To provide for the creation, membership, appointment, and duties of the Georgia Gaming Commission and to authorize the licensing of up to 2 destination resorts in this state.

HB183 – Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella)
Bill Status: Effective 7/1/17
Summary: Moves the Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council from the Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, to the Dept. of Community Affairs. The Council will identify, develop, and prioritize areas whereby data can be used far more effectively to promote efficient decision-making by governments in Georgia.

HB199 – Interactive Entertainment Companies Tax Credit
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Trey Rhodes (R-Greensboro)
Bill Status: Effective 7/1/17
Summary: Enhances GA’s film and video game tax credits, particularly for post-production. Must invest at least $250,000 in the state to qualify.

HB205 – Regulation of Exploration & Extraction of Oil and Gas
Bill Sponsor: Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun)
Bill Status: Passed House & Senate; went to conference committee
Summary: Provides for regulation of the exploration and extraction of gas and oil; provides the authority to create an Oil and Gas Board; requires development of rules and regulations related to drilling and extraction; amends provisions relating to drilling permits; increases the amount of bond security for drilling operations; provides for the authority of local governments; and to impose a severance tax on the extraction of oil and gas. The bill also defines ‘hydraulic fracturing.’

HB225 – Licensing & Sales Tax Exemption for Ride Share Networks
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla)
Bill Status: Senate Recommitted 1/8/18
Summary: Repeals an inoperable sales tax exemption related to ride share networks and imposes collection and remittance of sales taxes on certain persons that facilitate or broker and accept or process payment for certain sales. Individuals that utilize ride sharing networks would be required to pay a 4% sales tax for each trip.

HB237 – Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth)
Bill Status: Effective 4/27/17
Summary: Authorizes the creation of the Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation to receive private donations to be used for grants to public schools, and to provide for an income tax credit for qualified education donations. The Foundation is authorized to receive donations from taxpayers for the purpose of awarding grants to public schools for the implementation of academic and organizational innovations to improve student achievement, with preference given to schools earning unacceptable ratings.

HB265 – Quality Jobs Tax Credit
Bill Sponsor: Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula)
Bill Status: Effective 4/25/17
Summary: Extends to 2 years the period for mandatory job creation to receive the jobs tax credit for relocating quality jobs. Also allows the tax credit to be used by businesses already receiving the credit for expansions or for the creation of new quality jobs in the state.It also exempts sales of tickets, fees, or charges of admission to facilities containing an art museum, symphonic hall, and theater from state sales tax. Additionally, it allows for a sales tax exemption on the construction materials for renovation of facilities (Alliance Theater, Woodruff Arts Center).

HB329 – Personal Income Tax
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla)
Bill Status: Passed House & Senate; went to conference committee
Summary: Modifies the rate of tax imposed on the Georgia taxable net income of individuals; provides for an inflationary index rate; adjusts the amounts of the personal exemptions and standard deductions based on the inflationary index rate; and provides for a non-refundable earned income tax credit. The current Georgia taxable net income rate of one to 6% of taxable income would be removed from GA Code and replaced with one rate of 5.4%. *Note: This is a potential vehicle for any additional tax policy this session.

HB342 – Enterprise Zones
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula)
Bill Status: Effective 7/1/17
Summary: Provides that certain urban redevelopment zones may be designated as enterprise zones, provided there is a minimum $400 million capital investment for redevelopment, and the Commissioner of DCA certifies that the area has been chronically underdeveloped for a period of 20 years or more. Any redevelopment project used to qualify an area for designation as an enterprise zone shall, upon approval of the designation, qualify for an exemption of any sales and use tax levied within the boundaries of the project. (The Gulch)

HB428 – Downtown Development Authorities
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta)
Bill Status: Effective 7/1/17
Summary: Authorizes assessments and liens for downtown development authorities.

HB650 – State Symbols & Monuments
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur)
Bill Status: pre-filed for 2018 session
Summary: To allow local governments to relocate, remove, conceal, obscure, or alter certain monuments.

HB658 – Excise Tax on Rooms, Lodging, & Accommodations
Bill Sponsor: Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs)
Bill Status: pre-filed for 2018 session
Summary: To remove the sunset date on the collection of excise tax on rooms, lodging, & accommodations.

SB2 – The Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency – Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed (FAST) Act
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Mike Dugan
Bill Status: House withdrawn; Recommitted
Summary: The bill would require state and local government agencies that issue licenses or permits to establish turnaround times they would have to meet. If they fail to process a license or fee by the deadline, they would have to reduce the processing fee. The bill would also require Georgia’s professional licensing boards to issue provisional licenses for businesses either renewing their licenses or moving to Georgia from out of state. Finally, the bill would establish a system for ranking and comparing state and local agencies’ permitting processes based in part on fees they charge and how long they take to issue licenses or permits. Additionally, the bill makes it easier for the legislature to override state agency rules by requiring simple majorities of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate rather than 2/3 votes required in current law.


SB3 – Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training (CONNECT) Act
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Lindsey Tippins
Bill Status: Passed House & Senate; went to conference committee
Summary: Requires the State Board of Education to prescribe a minimum course of study in career education for students in grades 6-12. The course of study should include career exploration and career-oriented learning experiences that include participation in work-based learning programs like internships, apprenticeships, cooperative education, or employability skill development; and rigorous industry credentialing.

SB 6 – Georgia Regional Transit Council
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Steve Gooch
Bill Status: House withdrawn; recommitted
Summary: Creates the Georgia Regional Transit Council that will be attached to the Dept. of Transportation for administrative purposes. The Council is created to develop a state-wide strategic transit plan with the guidance of a recognized industry leader in delivering transit strategy for multijurisdictional entities that emphasizes first-mile and last-mile services, the development of a seamless transportation network with dependable trip times for commuters, the enhancement of limited access highways, road congestion relief, safety enhancements, and plans for a future of transportation innovations.

SB14 – Rural Hospital Income Tax Credit
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Dean Burke
Bill Status: Effective 5/8/17
Summary: Doubles the cap on tax credits that individuals and businesses can receive for donations made to rural hospitals. Also increases the amount of the tax credit for donations from rural hospitals to 90% of the donation amount.

SB79 – Georgia Gaming Commission & Destination Resorts
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Brandon Beach
Bill Status: Referred to Senate Regulated Industries Committee
Summary: To provide for the creation, membership, appointment, and duties of the Georgia Gaming Commission and to authorize the licensing of up to 2 destination resorts in this state.

SB85 – Malt Beverages
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jeffares
Bill Status: Effective 5/8/17
Summary: Allows breweries to sell up to 3,000 barrels of beer they manufacture to consumers visiting the brewery. Consumers could purchase beer by the glass or up to one case to-go, as well as purchase food without the tour package. Also reinforces local control on issues of to-go sales from brewpubs.

SB117 – Georgia Technology Authority
Bill Sponsor: Sen. P.K. Martin
Bill Status: Effective 7/1/17
Summary: Empowers the Georgia Technology Authority to set cyber policies for all state agencies.

SB133 – Corporate Net Worth Tax
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Larry Walker III
Bill Status: Effective 7/1/17
Summary: Exempts corporations having a net worth, including capital stock, paid-in surplus, and earned surplus, of no more than $100,000 from the corporate net worth tax.

SB191 – Petroleum Pipelines
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Rick Jeffares
Bill Status: House withdrawn; Recommitted to Natural Resources Committee
Summary: Requires that on or after July 1, 2017, any construction of a new petroleum pipeline or an extension in this state requires a permit from the Director of EPD regardless of whether the petroleum pipeline company intends to exercise any power of eminent domain. The Director will conduct hearings to determine whether the location and construction of the portion of the petroleum pipeline for which the permit is sought are consistent with, and not an undue hazard, to the environment and natural resources of this state.



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 2018 click here.




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