With 11 days to go, here is what’s on the legislative agenda

[private]With crossover day behind them, lawmakers will be concentrating on the final flurry of bills and resolutions in the remaining 11 days of the General Assembly session.

Any bill that didn’t pass at least one chamber by the end of crossover day is supposedly dead for the session, but that doesn’t always hold true.

The sponsors of stalled bills are, even as we speak, looking for other bills that they can attach their measures to as amendments, thus keeping rejected legislation alive.

“Most measures that failed to meet the crossover deadline won’t become law in 2017,” said Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn) in a message to his constituents. “But as I’ve learned over the years, never say never!”

Status of major bills in the Georgia General Assembly

Alcohol

SB 85 by Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough) would allow licensed breweries to sell beer for on-site consumption and off-site consumption (up to one case per person per day), with the total beer sold at breweries not exceeding more than 3,000 barrels per year. SB 85 passed the Senate and has been reported out of a House committee.

SB 17 would allow restaurants to start selling alcoholic drinks at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Still in committee.

Banks

HB 192 by Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) would make it more difficult to sue bank officers and directors for bad business decisions. The bill would repeal a unanimous 2014 Georgia Supreme Court decision (FDIC v. Loudermilk) that said bank officers and directors can be held legally accountable if they make negligent decisions that cause the financial institution to fail. Passed the House.

Casinos/gambling

SB 79 and HB 158 would provide for the legalization of casino gambling at “destination resorts.” Neither bill made it out of committee.

HB 118 provides for state regulation of fantasy football operations like DraftKings and FanDuel. Passed the House.

Courts/judiciary

HB 126 by Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) specifies how the new Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) will be restructured as of July 1. Passed the House.

HB 1 and SB 46 provide that a space flight company is immune from liability for injuries or death of passengers in a space flight. Each bill passed its respective chamber.

Economic development

HB 314, the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act, provides tax credits for economic development projects in rural counties. Passed the House.

HR 389 creates the House Rural Development Council to determine if legislation is needed to spur economic development in rural counties. Reported out of committee.

Education

HB 338 creates a state program that would provide assistance to “unacceptable” low-performing public schools. Passed the House.

Environment

HB 205 would establish a state board to regulate the practice of fracking for natural gas. Passed the House.

Three bills intended to protect water supplies from coal ash contamination — HB 387, HB 388, and SB 165 — did not make it out of their respective committees. Coal ash is left behind when coal is burned by utilities to generate electricity, and it contains heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium, and selenium that are harmful to the environment. The bills are still in their committees.

HB 271 revises the protective boundaries of the state’s shoreline protection act. Passed the House.

SB 191 would restrict petroleum pipeline companies from using eminent domain for acquiring private property until they receive a certificate of need from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority and a permit from the EPD. Passed the Senate.

Government operations

HB 204 prohibits counties from putting bills for services such as trash collection or storm water utilities on property tax bills. Passed the House.

HR 158 is a constitutional amendment that would require the General Assembly to use the revenues from dedicated fees — such as those that go into a trust fund for tire cleanups — only for the purpose for which the fees are levied. The measure did not make it out of committee.

HB 202 would raise the governor’s salary from the current level of $139,339 to $175,000. Passed the House.

Healthcare

Two bills that would roll back provisions of the state’s certificate of need law — HB 299 and HB 464 — are still in committee.

SB 221 would allow optometrists to administer drugs by injections into patients’ eyelids and around the eye. Passed the Senate.

HB 65 adds eight medical conditions to the list of ailments that can legally be treated with medical cannabis. Passed the House.

SB 70 would extend the Medicaid provider fee paid by hospitals for another three years. It has already been signed into law.

SB 8 would minimize “surprise billings,” those situations where patients get medical treatment and then are hit with a huge bill for “out of network” services that they thought were covered by his health insurance. Passed the Senate.

SB 12 would allow dental hygienists to provide cleaning services when a dentist is not present in safety net settings such as school health centers, long term care facilities, and charity clinics.  Passed the Senate.

HB 154 is the House version of the dental hygienists’ bill. Passed the House.

HB 146 would require local fire departments to provide cancer insurance coverage and long-term disability benefits for the state’s firefighters.  Passed the House.

SB 118 would raise the mandatory age cap for autism insurance coverage from 6 to 21 years of age. Still in committee.

Immigration

HB 37 would penalize private colleges that serve as “sanctuary campuses” for immigrant students by cutting off state money and state-administered federal funds. Passed the House.

HB 33 by Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek) would prohibit the appointment of  immigrants who are not “lawful permanent residents” to local government boards or commissions. The bill is in committee.

HB 12 and HB 66 would both impose a state tax on out-of-state wire transfers of money, such as money wired to Mexico. The fee would be $10 on transfers of $500 or less and 2 percent on those exceeding $500. The bills are in committee.

HB 324 would require that driver’s licenses issued to non-citizens be stamped with the words “Ineligible Voter.”  Still in committee; did not get a floor vote.

Insurance

HB 64 would require that health insurance agents get a commission for all health benefit plans that they sell. Passed the House.

Labor

HB 243 would prohibit local governments from passing ordinances that require businesses to provide “predictive schedules” for their employees. Passed the House.

SB 195 would publicly expose companies who accept tax breaks and financial incentives from the government and then decide to relocate their business out of state. Still in committee.

Lottery

SB 5 would increase lottery revenues for the HOPE scholarship and pre-K programs by requiring lottery officials to pay a higher percentage of their gross sales to the educational programs and to devote a lower percentage to winner payouts and administrative costs. Passed the Senate.

Public Safety

HB 51 provides that felonies and sexual assaults that occur on a college campus must be reported to law enforcement agencies rather than handled in an internal student disciplinary procedure. Passed the House.

HB 280 is this year’s version of the campus carry bill for licensed firearms carriers. Passed the House.

HB 292 makes several technical changes in the state’s gun carry law and enables a person who’s been involuntarily hospitalized for mental health treatment to apply for a permit. Passed the House.

SB 45 would make it illegal to surreptitiously take photos of a woman’s undergarments without her consent — upskirt photography. Passed the Senate. A similar bill passed in the House.

Social issues

SB 233 is this year’s version of the religious freedom act. Did not get a committee hearing.

Taxes

HB 217 would increase the amount of tax credits available to persons or corporations that donate to private school scholarship organizations. Passed the House.

HB 61 would require online retailers with at least $250,000 or 200 sales a year in Georgia to collect and remit to the state sales taxes on purchases or send “tax due” notices each year to customers. Passed the House.

HB 54 would increase the tax-free portion of rural hospital donations to 90 percent from the current level of 70 percent. It is still in committee.

SB 14 would extend the ability to make these tax-free donations to LLCs, shareholders of Subchapter ‘S’ corporations, and partners in a partnership. Passed the Senate.

HB 145 would restore part of a $25 million jet fuel sales tax exemption for Delta Air Lines that was granted in 2005 and repealed in 2015 when legislators revised the state’s motor fuel excise tax.  The bill is still in committee.

HB 340 would require used car buyers to pay the title tax under the same system that governs new car buyers. Passed the House.

HB 329 revises the state income tax rates and replaces them with a single 5.4 percent rate. Passed the House

HB 155 would make music production companies eligible for a 15 percent tax credit in an effort to keep musicians in Georgia. Passed the House.

HB 196 would provide a state income tax exemption for royalties paid to musicians. Passed the House.

HB 199 provides tax credits for video game and film post production companies, similar to tax credits adopted earlier for TV and movie producers.  Passed the House.

Transportation

SB 6 would establish a statewide council of legislators, local government officials, and transportation experts to develop a plan to consolidate Georgia’s myriad of transit systems. Passed the Senate.

HB 160 would create the Georgia Commission on Transit Funding and Governance, with a similar structure to the Senate Council in SB 6. Passed the House.

HB 225 clarifies that rideshare services like Uber must collect and remit sales taxes. Passed the House.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: General Assembly , status of major bills