This week, lawmakers met for legislative days 15 – 18. February 6, 2024 was officially recognized as Gwinnett Chamber Day at the Capitol. Members of the Chamber’s Public Policy Advisory Committee spent the day at the Capitol thanking our state leaders and lawmakers for championing pro-business policies that helped earn us the ‘Chamber of the Year’ designation.
The General Assembly has one constitutional requirement: Pass a balanced budget. The House passed the Amended Fiscal Year 2024 budget, HB 915, on Wednesday 161-2. The bill has been transmitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee for review. The amended budget increases FY24’s budget by $5 billion. Notable funding items include $1.5 billion to GDOT for road building and maintenance; $250 million for sewer and water projects; construction of a new medical school at UGA; a new dental school at Georgia Southern; Public Service Commission database upgrades; and $200,000 to evaluate gaps in the specialties of neurology, psychiatry, rheumatology, and endocrinology.
On Wednesday, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs addressed the General Assembly on the State of the Judiciary. In his address, Chief Justice Boggs touted a strong judiciary but urged legislative support in protecting and retaining Georgia’s judges.
Next week, legislators will convene for legislative days 19-22.
Bills to Watch
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.
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 are required 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 House Ways and Means Committee favorably reported HB946 by substitute on Thursday.
HB 982 by State Representative Matthew Gambill (HD 15), one of Governor Kemp’s Floor Leaders, would require the State Workforce Development Board to publish a High-Demand Career List most critical to the state’s current and future workforce needs. The House passed the measure 161-1 on Thursday.
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. The House passed the bill unanimously on Thursday.
HB 1019 by State Rep. Matt Reeves (HD 99) would increase the Georgia homestead exemption from $2,000 to $4,000. The bill passed the House 162-0. The bill heads to the Senate.
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. The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee favorably reported by substitute on Tuesday.
HB 1172 by House Majority Caucus Whip James Burchett (HD 176) removes references to the public trust doctrine as it relates to water rights in SB 115 that passed in 2023. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 1180 by State Representative Kasey Carpenter (HD 4) would change the tax credit qualification requirements for film companies and add limits to the selling of credits. Rep. Carpenter is the Chairman of the House Creative Arts and Entertainment Committee. The bill has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.
HB 1181 by State Representative Chuck Martin (HD 49) would limit the carry-forward period for a number of tax credits. The bill was introduced this week and is assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.
SB 333 by State Senator Clint Dixon would add a Mulberry cityhood question on the May 2024 ballot. On The bill passed the House 101-63 on Thursday and has been sent to the Governor’s desk.
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 has been assigned to the House Ways and Means 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 has been assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
SB 420 by State Senator Jason Anavitarte (SD 31) would prohibit the acquisition of certain land by certain foreign persons and entities connected with foreign adversaries identified by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. It has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities.
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 and read for the second time on Thursday.
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.