This week, lawmakers met for legislative days 11 – 14. Georgia mourned the loss of House Rules Committee Chairman, Richard Smith, who passed away Monday. Chairman Smith has served in the House since 2005 and, prior to serving at the state, served on City Council in Columbus. Legislators have postponed Monday’s legislative session to pay respects to Chairman Smith.

Activity continued to pick up under the Gold Dome. Considering all the bills that are still under consideration from last session plus new ones introduced this session, over 1,000 bills are in play.

Governor Kemp signed HB 30 into law on Wednesday. Sponsored by State Representatives John Carson (HD 46) and Esther Panitch (HD 51), HB 30 provides a legal definition of ‘antisemitism’ in Georgia that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopted and is protected in Georgia’s hate crimes law.

Bills to Watch

HB 1015 by State Rep. Lauren McDonald (HD 26) would reduce the state income tax from 5.57% to 5.39%, saving Georgia taxpayers roughly $1 billion. House Ways and Means Committee favorably reported on Thursday.

HB 1019 by State Rep. Matt Reeves (HD 99) would increase the Georgia homestead exemption from $2,000 to $4,000. House Ways and Means Committee favorably reported on Thursday.

HB 926 by State Rep. Matt Reeves would allow an individual with a felony record to request a “certificate of good standing” from the Board of Corrections or the Board of Community Supervision for employers to consider in the hiring process. This bill, known as the Second Chance Workforce Act, would not hide criminal records but provide further context to an individual’s circumstances. It is assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

SB 386 by State Senator Clint Dixon (SD 45) would put sports betting under the Georgia Lottery, avoiding the need to pass on a two thirds majority and constitutional amendment. State Senator Bill Cowsert (SD 46) proposed an amendment that would require a constitutional amendment. The Senate passed the measure with Cowsert’s amendment 35-16. The bill heads to the House.

SB 366 “Tax Expenditures Transparency Act of 2024” by State Senator Chuck Hufstetler (SD 52) would create the Joint Committee on Taxation and Economic Development to review the economic impact of tax credits and exemptions subject to analysis the prior year. On Tuesday, the bill passed by substitute 50-0 in the Senate. It is assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

SB 422 by State Senator Clint Dixon would increase the investment limit of an EMC in their natural gas affiliate from 15% to 30%. The bill is assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.

SB 333 by State Senator Clint Dixon would add a Mulberry cityhood question on the May 2024 ballot. On Thursday, the bill passed in the Senate 30-18 and has been transmitted to the House.

HB 1033 by State Rep. Rob Leverett (HD 123) would add protections for utility workers, including subcontractors, by enhancing penalties for anyone threatening or injuring them. It is with the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 946 sponsored by State Rep. Lee Hawkins (HD 27) and SB 383 by State Senator Shelly Echols (SD 49) would change the provisions for the calling of a T-SPLOST. Currently, all qualified cities within a county arerequired to enter into the intergovernmental agreement. This bill would allow cities representing more than 50% of the county municipal population to enter into an agreement. The bills are assigned to House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, respectively.

SB 426 by State Senator Blake Tillery (SD 19) would limit how insurance companies can be sued in accidents with big trucks. The bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 435 by State Senator Frank Ginn (SD 47) would establish community development districts that serve to finance, construct, acquire, operate, and maintain public infrastructure, requires approval from the local government in which the development is located, and would be Governed by a five-member elected board. It has been assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.

Next week, legislators will convene for legislative days 15-18.

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