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Legislative Update: Week 7 - Mar 1-5, 2021

The Georgia General Assembly was in session for three days this week. Monday was legislative day 25, Wednesday was legislative day 26, and Friday was legislative day 27. Tuesday and Wednesday were heavy committee workdays. Many bills moved through committees as they prepare for Crossover Day on Monday, March 8. That leaves three and a half weeks until Sine Die on March 31. Click here for the remaining session schedule.
 
Among the various bills that are under consideration are:
 
Senate Resolution 102 by Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), creates the Georgia Commission on E-Commerce and Freight Infrastructure Funding. This resolution was favorably reported by the Senate Transportation Committee on February 26 and was read for a second time in the Senate on March 1.
 
Senate Resolution 135 by Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), seeks to provide for sports betting in this state. This resolution was passed as amended by the Senate on March 5. 
 
Senate Bill 95 by Senator Frank Ginn (R- Danielsville), seeks to provide conditions for meetings and public hearings to be held by teleconference in emergency conditions. This bill passed in the Senate on March 3.
 
Senate Bill 156 by Senator Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone), relates to labor and industrial relations and provides an appointment, oath, bond, power, duties, and authority of a chief labor officer. The bill will be heard on the Senate floor on Monday, March 8.
 
Senate Bill 168 by Senator Larry Walker (R-Perry), seeks to permit corporations to hold annual shareholders' meetings and special shareholders' meetings by means of remote communication. This bill passed in the Senate on March 3.  
 
Senate Bill 169 by Senator Larry Walker (R-Perry), seeks to provide acceptance of electronic signatures and electronic corporate seals on bonds. The Senate passed this bill on March 1st and it is currently in the House Judiciary committee.
 
Senate Bill 185 by Senator Bo Hatchett (R-Cornelia) allows judges more flexibility in taxpayer dispute cases and frees them from an administrative rule requiring them to defer to Department interpretations of ambiguous laws. The bill passed the Senate on March 1.
 
Senate Bill 255 by Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), relates to the "OneGeorgia Authority Act” to provide for a grant program to support border region retail and tourism projects. This bill passed the Senate 47-1
 
House Bill 86 by Representative Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), which would legalize sports betting is currently awaiting action in the House Rules Committee. 
 
House Bill 334 by Representative Joseph Gullet (R-Dallas), creates a framework for the use of remote notarizations in Georgia. This bill passed the House on March 4.
 
House Bill 479 by Representative Bert Reeves (R-Marietta), would repeal Georgia’s antiquated citizen’s arrest law authored in 1863. House Bill 479 had a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on March 4, and it passed out of committee unanimously. The bill is now awaits action by the House Rules Committee.
 
House Bill 428 by Representative Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), requires reporting to the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue if a company is taking the high-tech exemption. The House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill on March 3.
 
House Bill 451 by Representative Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee), provides for the optional determination by a taxpayer of the fair market value applicable to inventory for which a level 1 freeport exemption is sought for certain taxable years. This bill passed the House on March 5.
 
House Bill 469 by Representative Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), extends the sunset date for the tax credit on historic structures. This bill passed committee on March 3 and awaits action by the House Rules Committee.
 
House Bill 511 by Representative Bert Reeves (R-Marietta) allows the Georgia General Assembly, with a two-thirds vote, to dedicate tax or fee revenue to the public purpose for which the taxes or fees were imposed. This bill passed out of the House on March 3.
 
House Bill 553 by Representative Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville), would provide for participation in hearings by electronic communications and provide for electronic filing of documents, electronic service, and electronic availability or transfer of the record. This bill passed the House on March 3. 
 
House Bill 577 by Representative Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton), provides for a proposal guaranty for bids upon certain projects. This bill passed the House on March 5.
 
House Bill 586 by Representative Sam Watson (R-Moultrie), would extend the sunset date for the exemption for projects of regional significance. The House passed this bill on March 3. 
 
House Bill 587 by Representative Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), enacts an omnibus economic package which extends tax credits to medical equipment manufacturers, adjusts funding to the Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act, and fine-tunes existing tax credits to fit the current needs for business recruitment, defense, and transportation. The bill passed the House on March 4.
 
House Bill 588 by Representative Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) would enable the Georgia Department of Transportation to make investments in private freight and logistics infrastructure as long as the projects provide a “public benefit” including, but not limited to, enhanced public safety, enhanced mobility of people or goods, congestion mitigation, and enhanced trade and economic development. The bill passed out of the House on March 3.
 
House Bill 593 by Representative Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire), seeks to increase the amount of the standard deduction from state taxable income for individuals. This bill passed the House on March 3. 
 
House Bill 594 by Representative Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton), would expand sales and use taxation to encompass certain transactions of digital goods and services. This bill is sitting in the Ways and Means committee awaiting action. 
 
 
This weekly Legislative Update report is courtesy of the Regional Business Coalition of Metropolitan Atlanta (RBC), an organization of over a dozen of the largest and most active Chambers of Commerce throughout the metro Atlanta region. RBC member chambers represent over 15,000 member companies who employ millions of metro Atlanta residents. The RBC’s primary goal is to represent the interests of RBC Chamber members on regional public policy issues impacting our transportation, water and air quality and to advocate for solutions that improve metro Atlanta’s quality of life and economic vitality.

 

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