Georgia Lesiglative updates for March 9th, 2022

Related Practices and Jurisdictions

Although the House and Senate took a number of actions throughout the day, money matters caught the attention of most lawmakers and lobbyists under the Gold Dome on Wednesday. After approving a measure to reduce Georgia’s income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.25% and revising the personal tax exemption regime (HB 1437), the House of Representatives turned to spending taxpayers’ money and adopted a compromise version of the amended budget the financial year 22 (HB910). The compromise, reached with Senate budget writers outside of typical conference committee procedure, reflects $3.08 billion in additional spending over the original $30.3 billion budget passed last year, an increase of 11.3%, which is fueled by record-breaking revenue for the full fiscal year 22. While the House of Representatives approved most of the Senate-proposed changes, one by the governor’s office on May 3 allowed nurses, part-time staff to $2,000 (full-time faculty and administration have already been allocated $2,000) and additional one-time spending funding. Overall, the revised FY22 spending plan, which is expected to receive final Senate approval later this week, includes more than $900 million in new, one-time capital expenditures and more than $950 million in pay increases for government employees and educators.

But don’t stop following the money just yet — the House Budget Committee is scheduled to meet at 7am Thursday to discuss its plans for the FY23 state budget.

ground action

The House of Representatives took the following actions on Wednesday:

  • HB 849 – Domestic Relations; Add staff and supervisory staff at a workplace where minors are employed as mandatory child abuse reporters – PASS (160-0)

  • HB 884 – Professions and trades; accelerated licenses for military spouses; Regulations – PASS (164-0)

  • HB 1043 – Georgian Foundation for Teachers; create – PASS (157-4)

  • HB 1279 – Controlled Substances; certain individuals to carry prescription drugs in a compartmentalized container; authorize – PASS (164-0)

  • HB 1280 – Revenue and Taxes; Duties of the County Tax Commissioner; Revise Regulations – PASS (161-0)

  • HB 1295 – Basic Quality Education Act; group of performance reviews; Remove Development Needs Score – PASS (159-4)

  • HB 1351 – Community Health, Department of; Administration of pharmacy benefits for the Medicaid program; deliver – PASS (162-0)

  • HB 1357 – Professional Standards Commission; standards and procedures for certification programs; Regulations – PASS (161-0)

  • HB 1371 – Rural Health Promotion Commission; create – PASS (156-4)

  • HB 1372 – Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act; Revise regulations and short titles – PASS (160-0)

  • HB 1381 – Local Government; Board members of the Water and Wastewater Authority to complete annual continuing education courses; require – PASS (155-0)

  • HB 1383 – Fair Employment Practices Act 1978; hearing before an administrative judge; deliver – PASS (156-0)

  • HB 1385 – Legislative and Congressional Redistribution Office; Revise reporting requirements for Appendix – PASS (158-0)

  • HB 1396 – Council of Georgia Magistrates; create PASS (162-2)

  • HB 1406 – Zoning; changes to regulations revising the classification of single-family homes; Provision of Additional Notice and Consultation Provisions – PASS (110-51)

  • HB 1437 – Income Tax; Revision of Income Tax Rates – PASS (115-52)

  • HB 1455 – Port Authority of Georgia; Provide Powers of Attorney – PASS (159-1)

  • HR 920 – Invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation; convict – PASS (166-0)

The Senate took the following measures on Wednesday:

  • SB 203 – Motor Vehicles; use of windshield mounts to support wireless telecommunications devices and stand alone electronic devices; allow – FAILED (14-35)

  • SB 333 – Education; agents and agent ID cards; remove definitions of such terms; provisions; remove – PASS (49-0)

  • SB 371 – Fraud; for-profit credit repair services; approve – ENTERED

  • SB 510 – Motor vehicle; operation of motor vehicles by category D license holders with designated passengers in the vehicle; remove one constraint – TABLED

  • SB 562 – Administrative Services Division; companies owned or operated by Russia to bid for or submit a proposal for a State Contract; ban – PASS (53-0)

  • SR 565 – Northwest Georgia Logistics Corridor; official logistics growth corridor in Georgia; name – PASS (49-0)

committee reports

House Budget and Tax Oversight Committee

Chairman Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) called the committee meeting to discuss two actions:

  • HR 842, Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock), proposes a constitutional amendment to increase lawmakers’ salaries. This resolution would raise Legislature salaries to 60% of the median Georgia household income, about $70,000. If passed, this would add a voting question to November’s general election. Rep. Josh McLaurin (D-Sandy Springs) moved to change the 60% to 2/3 to align with the study that the bill came from. The motion was accepted and the resolution received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • HR 894, Representative Beth Camp (R-Concord), proposes a constitutional amendment to change how contingent federal funds are allocated. For example, funding from the ARPA and CARES Acts would fall into this category. Currently, these funds are allocated by the governor. The Georgian Constitution states that the General Assembly will allocate all funds. This measure creates a $100 million threshold so that unexpected funds of $100 million or more cannot be provided by the governor. The General Assembly would have to disburse these funds in accordance with federal guidelines. The measure also includes a provision stating that the Assembly will be able to use “some or all of these funds”. This caused some confusion in emergencies related to FEMA funds. Many lawmakers also disagreed on the threshold, believing that the House should use all funds. No changes were made and the resolution received a DO PASS recommendation.

New legislation

The following legislation of interest was brought into the House:

The following relevant bills have been introduced into the Senate:

What’s next

The General Assembly adjourned Thursday and will reconvene on Friday 11 March at 10:00 am for Legislative Day 27.

The House is expected to consider the following proposals on the 27th Legislative Day:

  • HB 689 – Georgia Crime Information Center; Victims of trafficking in human beings may request the clerk to seal certain criminal record information; Offer

  • HB 725 – Advice on Native American Concerns; revise membership

  • HB 839 – Mableton, town; Take over

  • HB 895 – Criminal Procedure; Restrictions on Disclosure of Personal Information by Non-Sworn Employees; provisions

  • HB 934 – Sales and Use Tax; special district mass traffic; local government; provisions

  • HB 1232 – Motor Vehicles; temporary license plates and operating licenses; Revise terminology

  • HB 1343 – military; Requiring the Adjutant General to release personal information of commissioned officers of the organized militia; remove

  • HB 1391 – Criminal Procedure; Compensation for Public Defenders and Public Defenders; revise

  • HB 1409 – Labor and Industrial Relations; workers’ compensation benefits; change certain provisions

  • HB 1433 – Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; Reviewing and updating the composition of the Advisory Board

  • HB 1438 – Transport, Department of; Board election meetings; Change Notice Rules

  • HB 1452 – Domestic Relations; Dating Violence Protection Orders; revise a definition

  • HB 1453 – Crimes and Misdemeanors; access to medical cannabis; revise provisions

The Senate is expected to consider the following proposals on Legislative Day 27:

  • SB 54 – Custody Proceedings; judicial discretion in determining a surviving parent’s entitlement; if that surviving parent is criminally charged with the murder or manslaughter of the other parent; Offer

  • SB 339 – ‘Green Call Act’; enacted

  • SB 357 – Military Student Transfers; military students with the discretion to choose neighboring school districts to visit; Offer

  • SB 359 – Safe and Secure Georgia Act; enacted

  • SB 377 – State Government; Take action to prevent the use of any curriculum or training program that incorporates, promotes, or promotes specific concepts, with exceptions; government agencies require

  • SB 378 – Reckless Conduct; definition of turbidity; broaden

  • SB 519 – Attorney General’s Offices: Honorary Office of the Attorney General Emeritus; Offer

  • SB 534 – State Government; certain procedural requirements and considerations for government adoption of rules applicable to nonprofit organizations; Offer

  • SB 586 – Road Projects; the application of the design-build contracting method by the districts; authorize

  • SB 603 – Public school property and facilities; a pilot program for outdoor learning spaces; Offer

Copyright ©2022 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 68