With Crossover Day behind us and the deadline of Sine Die looming ever closer, legislation began to move a little bit faster through both chambers this week. 

The General Assembly has completed 32 legislative days, leaving just eight days left to the calendar for the 2018 Legislative Session. These days will be spread over the next three weeks culminating with Day 40, Sine Die, on March 28.
Transit
Since the last Capitol Update, the two transit bills have really made some moves. As expected last week, the House Transportation Committee stripped all of the language out of SB 386 and substituted the language from HB 930. It is expected that this afternoon, the Senate Transportation Committee will follow suit, stripping the House's language from HB 930 and substituting the Senate's language from SB 386. Once both chambers pass the other chamber's bills out, the opposite chamber will then disagree with the changes made by the other chamber to their bill, insist in disagreeing and then a conference committee of three senators and three representatives will be appointed to iron out the differences between House and Senate.
Statewide Procurement Registry
HB 489 is the legislation that would create a "one stop shop" listing of all local government procurement in Georgia. This bill passed unanimously (172-0) out of the House Chamber on Crossover Day as reported in the "Dead or Alive" issue of the Capitol Update. 

The legislation was assigned to the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee. There has been a meeting scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) with HB 489 on the agenda. With all parties involved currently supporting the legislation, we expect to report great news on the movement of this bill in the next Capitol Update.
As mentioned before, this legislation (HR 158) would create a constitutional amendment that would allow the legislature to dedicate funds for specific purposes outside of the general appropriations process. This would allow for 100% of professional licensing fees to be dedicated back to fund the operations of that licensing board. The Senate Appropriations Committee was a little busy with the general budget last week. We expect a hearing on this legislation this week. 

We are very excited to report: HR 1374 was assigned to the House Special Rules Committee and has a hearing tomorrow (Tuesday). As previously reported, this is the study committee legislation previously discussed that would look into the process whereby individual licensing boards could set their own customer service and enforcement levels, as well as the licensing fees to support those service levels. The legislation is being championed by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville).
Tax Reform and Budget
The top income tax rate cut with HB 918 from Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) received a favorable vote from the House Chamber on Thursday - Day 29 of the session. The bill had crossed over and back from the Senate Chamber. The Senate is sure to take up the bill today (Monday), leaving the Governor's signature as a final step in the legislation becoming new law. 

Here are some highlights of the legislation:
  • Doubles the standard deduction - to $6,000 for married couples, $3,000 for single taxpayers and $4,600 for single/head of household filers - effective this year.
  • Reduces the top income-tax rate (personal and corporate) from the six percent rate that has prevailed for decades to 5.75 percent, beginning in 2019.
  • Reduces the top rate further, to 5.5 percent, in 2020 - subject to approval by the Legislature and future Governor at that time (which allows for adjustment in case the revenue increases don't materialize as projected for whatever reason).

The net effect of these changes will be to reduce revenues over the course of six years (fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2023) by a total of $516 million, or about one-half of one percent of projected revenues during those years. Instead of an anticipated state-tax increase of about $6.5 billion due to the federal reform, which broadened the tax base by limiting and eliminating some tax deductions, Georgians will see a bit of net tax relief.  

 

With the recent federal tax overhaul creating increased state tax consequences for many Georgians, Governor Nathan Deal and legislative leaders came up with a plan that will not only wipe out the federal tax windfall, but cut taxes on Georgians by an additional $516 million over the next five years. They were able to do this while also maintaining a promise to cut the top state income tax rate. 

 

The original legislation had some tax cuts to jet fuel sales that totaled more than $50 million a year. Clayton County Schools, the group that stood with the most to lose in that scenario, supported Governor Deal in this decision since he had promised grants or other funding to Clayton and other local governments to make up for lost revenue. Needless to say, after the Delta vs NRA fiasco, the jet fuel sales tax cut did not make it in the bill that crossed back to the Senate for a final "agree." 

 

Also, last week, Governor Deal signed the Amended FY 2018 budget. Deal commented that he feels pretty confident that he is wrapping up his final budget by continuing to address Georgia's needs. "With this amended budget, we are investing in our priorities and addressing critical issues for Georgia citizens," said Deal. "The $25.4 billion in state appropriations reflects the solid economic growth that Georgia continues to enjoy and ensures that our state agencies and local governments have the resources needed to meet the demands of a growing and vibrant state. Georgia's economy continues to surpass expectations, allowing for further investments to improve our air transportation systems, protect coastal Georgia's tourism industry and provide additional financial assistance to communities across the state. I want to thank the members of the General Assembly who made this amended budget possible, as their cooperation will have a lasting impact on the lives of Georgians." 

 

Amended FY 2018 budget highlights include:

  • $101.4 million for a midterm adjustment for K-12 enrollment growth.
  • $25.9 million for airport runway extension projects.
  • $60.7 million in additional funds for Forestland Protection Act reimbursements.
  • $15.7 million for school buses for local school systems.
  • $9.6 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program.
  • $2 million to expand marketing efforts to promote educational opportunities available at the technical colleges.
  • $10.3 million for technical college equipment replacement statewide.
  • $28.2 million for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid.
  • $1.2 million for hospitals to offset costs due to the high number of flu cases.
  • $15.1 million for child welfare services to care for children in state custody.
  • $3.5 million for autism services for children under 21.
  • $10 million for grants to local communities for beach nourishment projects.
  • $1.6 million for improvements to the Great Dunes South Beach Park and the Ocean View Beach Park at Jekyll Island State Park.
Week Ahead
The General Assembly will meet Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week, taking us through Legislative Day 35. That leaves 5 legislative days until Sine Die. We expect this week and next week to be full of committee meetings. We are in the home stretch with a few loose ends to tie up but the work is never done until we gavel out on Day 40. We are also remaining quite vigilant on the possibility of other bills being used as "vehicles" to be amended with language from bills that may have already died or for things that may be unwanted.
Legislation ACEC Georgia is following
HB 59 - By Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) modifies Georgia's existing historic structures tax credit by eliminating the caps on non-residential structures and by making the tax credits more readily transferable. STATUS: Passed out of House Ways & Means Committee February 27, 2017 and Full House March 3, 2017. Passed out of Senate Finance Committee by substitute on March 22, 2017. Bill has been recommitted to and is now pending in the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 150 - By Rep. Allan Powell (R-Hartwell) would allow the State Road & Tollway Authority (SRTA) to place a hold on the motor vehicle registration of anyone who fails to pay tolls, after sufficient notice and opportunity to respond and pay the tolls and associated fines. It would also allow unpaid tolls and fines to be collected via state income tax refund set-off. More importantly, the version which passed the Senate on the final day of last year's session also includes language that extends the sunset on use of the Consumer Price Index in calculating Georgia's motor fuel excise tax for an additional four years, to July 1, 2022. STATUS: Senate Passed on March 30, 2017. House agreed to Senate version 145-23 on January 30, 2018. It is now on the Governor's desk awaiting signature.

HB 189 - By Rep. Sheila Nelson (D-Augusta) the "Contract Cancellation Act" would require any service contract with a state agency or local government to "contain specific performance and cost parameters" and require the service provider to submit quarterly reports to the governing authority showing the provider's compliance with those performance criteria. It would also allow all contracts to contain a provision allowing governing authority to unilaterally terminate the contract if the contractor fails to comply with the performance criteria or if projected annual costs exceed the cost established by the contract. Obviously, performance and cost criteria can be affected by conditions outside of the service provider's control, including acts of God (such as weather), actions of third parties or even the actions (or inaction) of the governing authority itself. This bill did not move until very late in the process and we are still working alongside other stakeholders (AGC, ABC and AIA) to understand the motivation behind the bill (i.e. what exactly is the problem this bill is trying to solve?) and to work with the Senate committee to educate them on the potential unintended consequences of this legislation. STATUS: Passed out of the House Government Affairs Committee on March 1, 2017 and the full House on March 6, 2017 by a vote of 156-13. Assigned to the Senate State & Local Government Operations Committee.

HB 204 - By Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) would prohibit anything other than actual ad valorem property taxes from being included on property tax bills (i.e. no solid waste or stormwater fees on tax bills). There has been significant opposition to this legislation from local governments, particularly local stormwater authorities. The Senate passed a substitute version that gutted Rep. Harrell's original bill and replaced it with language exempting 501(c)(3) charitable tax-exempt corporations from the definition of innkeeper. Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) chaired a Joint House Senate Study Committee which explored issues relating to stormwater fee collections, including placing them on property tax bills. Consensus of that joint committee seemed to fall on the side of leaving that issue alone. STATUS: Passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee on February 16, 2017 and out of the full House on February 28, 2017 by a vote of 111-61. Passed out of the Senate Finance Committee by substitute on March 22, 2017. Bill has been recommitted to and is now pending in the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 271 - By Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah) seeks to clarify and expand shore protections in coastal Georgia. STATUS: Passed out of the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee on February 23, 2017 and the full House on March 3, 2017 by a vote of 174-0. Assigned to Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee.

HB 489 - By Rep. Tom McCall (R-Elberton) is a great, common sense bill that would require all local governments in Georgia to advertise local government bid opportunities for goods, services and public works with the Georgia Procurement Registry managed by the Georgia Department of Administrative Affairs, in addition to the official legal organ and other media outlets. This would create a "one stop shop" listing of all local government procurement listings in Georgia. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the House Government Affairs Committee on February 15, 2018. Pending in House Rules Committee. This bill received a favorable vote of 172-0 on the House Chamber floor on Crossover Day. The legislation was assigned to Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee with the potential of being heard this Tuesday afternoon.

HB 673 - By Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) would require all drivers in the state of Georgia to use a hands-free device when driving. There would be a fine from $150-$300 for your first offense up to a defensive driving course and incarceration for subsequent offenses. STATUS: Passed out of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on February 22, 2018. This bill was heard in the House Chamber on Crossover Day and passed 151-20 and was assigned to Senate Judiciary where it awaits a hearing. However, this bill took a small step back and was recommitted to committee on March 7, 2018. We will be watching for any changes to the legislation.

HB 694 - By Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) would require each distributor to file motor fuel taxes electronically by the twentieth day of each calendar month for the preceding month's activities. However, this week the Senate Finance Committee added language from Sen. William Ligon exempting non-profit hotels from the taxes created and collected in HB 170. ACEC will continue to fight this revised version of the legislation (not the original bill or its intent) and any other legislation that attempts to affect HB 170. ACEC Georgia opposes this legislation in its current form.  STATUS: Assigned to House Ways & Means Industries Committee where it was passed out on January 29, 2018. The full House chamber passed the bill 161-0 on January 31, 2018. Passed out of the Senate Finance Committee by substitute on February 22, 2018.

HB 791 - By Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula), similar to HB 674, would waive the government's sovereign immunity in cases for declaratory judgments or other injunctive relief. STATUS: Passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on February 23, 2018. This bill passed 177-0 in the House Chamber on Crossover Day and was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee and has a hearing Monday afternoon.

HB 833 - By Rep. Paulette Rakestraw (R-Hiram) is a housekeeping bill introduced on behalf of SAMSOG dealing with certain educational and licensing requirements for land surveyors, most notably eliminating the hydrology related educational and examination requirements for all surveyors (unless they opt-in). ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the House Regulated Industries Committee on February 14, 2018 and full House Chamber on February 23, 2018 157-6. The bill now awaits a hearing in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

HB 899 - By Rep. Dominic LaRiccia (R-Douglas) would prohibit the use of a lack of previous experience with the specific construction delivery method to be used on a project (such as CM at risk or design-build) as a disqualification of bidders for that public works project, as long as the bidder is otherwise qualified to do that type of work and scale of project and meet bonding requirements. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the House Governmental Affairs Committee on February 22, 2018. This bill passed out of the House Chamber on Crossover Day with a vote of 167-0. The legislation was assigned to the Senate Economic Development Committee. They have a hearing on Tuesday afternoon but an agenda has not been posted at this time. ACEC will attend since committee meetings are subject to change.

HB 930 - By Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) would reconstitute the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) as the new governing entity for all transit planning, capitol project approval and funding in metro Atlanta, with all existing transit agencies (MARTA, Cobb Transit, Gwinnett Transit, etc.) continuing to serve as transit operators. The 13 counties already under GRTA would be divided into 10 districts, with a representative from each district who would be elected by state legislators in a manner similar to the GDOT Board, but with the addition of county commission chairs and a mayor from the district as additional "voters". In addition, the Speaker and Lt. Governor would have appointees to the board and the Governor (or his designee) would serve as chairman. CIDs could create special taxing districts of less than an entire county (think Cumberland CID in Cobb County for transit to SunTrust Park and The Battery). GRTA would be the conduit for all funding and ultimate approval of capital projects. The bill creates a new 1% transit-only T-SPLOST, that could be put in place for up to 30 years. There would also be an additional 50 cent per ride fee placed on all ride share programs (i.e. Uber, Lyft) and a 1% sales tax on all concessions at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. All transit modes within the Atlanta region would be branded "ATL" - a name first suggested by Sen. Brandon Beach. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the House Transportation Committee on February 23, 2018. Will be voted on by the full House on February 28, 2018. This bill passed 162-13 out of the House Chamber on Crossover Day with the amendment to allow Cobb to participate county-wide, rather than by creating a special district around the Cumberland area. The bill had a hearing last week in this committee but was not voted on. It is on the agenda again for a committee meeting Monday afternoon where we have been assured of a favorable vote. We still expect this issue to be hammered out in conference committee.

HB 995 - By Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta) would require a company to disclose all payments received the contractor within the last five years when entering a contract with cities, counties, and other governmental entities. The penalty for failing to do so could result in disqualification of the bid. STATUS: This bill was assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Committee where it received a favorable vote on February 27, 2018 and passed out of full House Chamber on Crossover Day with a vote of 175-0 and was assigned to the Senate Economic Development Committee. This committee has a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

HB 998 - By Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) is to establish "Business Courts" that would deal exclusively with business-related litigation, by creating the Judicial Council the Office of Business Cases and provide for the referral and acceptance of cases into such office from the superior and state courts. STATUS: The legislation passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on February 23, 2018.

HR 158 - By Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla), that would amend the Georgia Constitution (if approved by the voters) to allow all fees collected by a state government agency to be appropriated back to that agency. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee on January 29, 2018 and the full House on February 14, 2018 by a vote of 166-1. Now pending in Senate Appropriations Committee.

HR 943 - By Rep. Marc Morris (R-Cumming) is a resolution proposing to create a Joint Georgia-North Carolina and Georgia-Tennessee Boundary Line Commission to work on the issues surrounding the erroneously marked boundary line between Georgia and its neighbors to the north. STATUS: Passed out of House Committee on Interstate Cooperation on February 5, 2018. Passed the full House on February 13, 2018 by a vote of 159-3. Pending in Senate Rules Committee.

HR 993 - By Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) is a resolution proposing to amend the Constitution so as to create a business court with state-wide jurisdiction. STATUS: The legislation passed out of the House Judiciary Committee February 23, 2018 and Full House Chamber on February 28, 2108 with a favorable vote of 142-25. The bill awaits a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HR 1091 - By Rep. Deborah Gonzalez (D-Athens) is a resolution that would create a House study committee to assess the possibility of an Athens to Atlanta Rail Line (similar to the "Brain Train" proposal that was promoted several years ago). STATUS: Pending in the House Transportation Committee. Being a resolution and a House study committee, the bill is not subject to Crossover Day and is still eligible to pass this session.

HR 1374 - By Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) is a resolution proposing to create a House Study Committee on Professional Licensing Boards Operations and Funding to look at the possibility of allowing each licensing board to govern and fund itself through licensing fees under the Secretary of State's Office. STATUS: The legislation is being heard in the House Special Rules Committee on Tuesday afternoon. 

SB 2 - By Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) the FAST Act ("Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency - Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed") seeks to eliminate duplicative rules, regulations and red tape to create a more efficient and transparent permitting process for Georgia businesses. It would require state agencies and local governments to set forth a specific turnaround time for processing licenses, permits and approvals as well as associated fees, including making available an expedited process available for an additional fee. If the agency fails to meet its timeline, the fee for that service would be reduced. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee on February 15, 2017 and the full Senate on February 17, 2017. Passed out of House Small Business Development Committee on March 28, 2017, but was recommitted by the full House on March 30, 2017. Passed again out of the House Small Business Development Committee on February 15, 2018 and will be voted on by the full House on Wednesday, February 27, 2018. This bill failed 129-33 on Crossover Day, but was given a second chance in a successful motion to reconsider, which allows the bill to come up again for a vote at a later time. The legislation was recommitted to the Rules Committee and amended to gut the bill except for an amendment adding the "Ready for Partnership Georgia" piece that was previously in the bill. The bill was passed out of Full House Chamber with a favorable vote 160-5. We expect the bill to go to conference committee. ACEC Georgia has drafted some amendments we will discuss with conferees that will be in favor of the engineering industry.

SB 3 - By Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) the "Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training (CONNECT) Act" would expand career education in grades 6 through 12, including new opportunities for internships, apprenticeships and cooperative learning and to provide a means of industry credentialing for those programs. It also requires closer collaboration between the Georgia Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia relative to identifying and addressing critical workforce needs through career education. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation. STATUS: A Conference Committee was appointed on March 30, 2017 to hammer out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill but which failed to report. This means another conference committee will be held to determine the fate of the bill.

SB 17 - By Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) is the so-called "Mimosa Mandate" bill (formerly known as the "Better Brunch Bill") to allow local governments to authorize the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on Sundays starting at 10:30 a.m. (current law prohibits this activity until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays). STATUS: Passed out of Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee on February 7, 2018 by a 6-4 vote and out of the full Senate on February 13, 2018 by a vote of 38-18. The legislation was heard in the House Regulated Industries Committee and favorably reported on March 7, 2018 and is being voted on in the Full House Chamber Monday morning.

SB 89 - By Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) would create a Georgia Freight Railroad Program within GDOT and would facilitate the expenditure of additional appropriations by the General Assembly for purposes of improving freight and passenger railway and crossing infrastructure. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on February 7, 2017 and the full Senate on February 15, 2017 by a vote of 49-0. Pending in House Transportation Committee.

SB 232 - By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), the "Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act" would create incentives for public and/or private entities to expand gigabit or higher broadband services to areas within the state where such services are not currently available. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. This bill passed 55-0 in the Senate Chamber on Crossover Day.

SB 315 - By Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) would create the new crime of unauthorized computer access to protect individuals and businesses from ransomware and other computer related attacks. ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee on February 1, 2018. Passed by substitute by the full Senate on February 12, 2018 by a vote of 41-11. The legislation awaits a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

SB 319 - By Senator John Albers (R-Alpharetta) the "Consolidation of Fire Safety Services in Georgia Act" would create a new Department of Fire Safety, led by a Commissioner of Fire Safety and would combine the myriad fire safety related departments, inspectors and training activities into one, unified agency. STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee on February 13, 2018 and passed the full Senate on February 21, 2018 by a vote of 49-3. Pending in House Insurance Committee.

SB 324 - By Sen. John Albers (R-Alpharetta) would allow any municipality to contract with any county abutting that municipality's corporate limits for the construction and maintenance of a bridge within the limits of both the municipality and county. STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on February 8, 2018. Passed the full Senate on February 26, 2018 by a vote of 50-2. The legislation was assigned to the House Transportation Committee where it awaits a hearing.

SB 338 - By Sen. William Ligon, Jr. (R-Brunswick) makes numerous changes to the state administrative procedure act designed to create greater public involvement in and legislative oversight of the state agency rule making process. STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 1, 2018 and the full Senate on February 8, 2018 by a vote of 37-18. Pending in the House Judiciary Committee.

SB 353 - By Senator Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown) would establish civil enforcement and penalty authority in the Safety Fire Commissioner for violations related to the regulation of boilers and pressure vessels. STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee on February 1, 2018 and the full Senate on February 12, 2018 by a vote of 53-0. Pending in House Insurance Committee.

SB 386 - By Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) creates a new transit-only SPLOST that a county could impose to fund transit capital improvements. This new Transit SPLOST would be exempt from the existing cap on local sales taxes (allowing Fulton & DeKalb counties to use this new funding tool). Local governments would enter into an intergovernmental agreement with MARTA for the provision of transit services and MARTA would be operator of those services. A new "Atlanta-region Transit Link 'ATL' Commission would be created within the existing Georgia Regional Transportation Authority to serve as the Atlanta region's transit planning entity (along with the Atlanta Regional Commission). ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: The bill had its first hearing last week. Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee where it passed out on February 23, 2018. This bill passed out of the full the Senate Chamber on Crossover Day with a vote of 51-4. The legislation was heard in the House Transportation Committee last week where it was gutted and replaced with the language from HB 930 and received a favorable vote. The bill is expected to be heard on the floor after the House version passes out of the Senate Committee.

SB 402 - By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) would have Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) create and implement a long-term policy for right-of-ways in Georgia for broadband services and other communication technologies. The bill would also require DCA to oversee the Georgia Broadband Ready Community Site designation program which would require at least 1 gigabit of broadband service all public services per site. This is one of a three part legislative initiative. STATUS: Assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee where it passed out of committee on February 20, 2018. It passed out of the full Senate Chamber on February 23, 2018 with a vote of 52-0. The awaits a hearing in House Ways & Means.

SB 404 - By Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) encourages the use of residential fire sprinkler system by prohibiting local water systems from charging a fee for standby water service for sprinkler system connections. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Natural Resources and Environment. This bill was heard in the Senate Chamber on Crossover Day and passed 34-14. The bill was assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Committee where it awaits a hearing.

SB 425 - By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) is identical to HB 833 (see above), which would eliminate the hydrology related educational and examination requirements for all surveyors (unless they opt-in). ACEC Georgia supports this legislation.  STATUS: Assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee where it received a passing vote on February 23, 2018. The bill was passed out of the full Senate Chamber on Crossover Day with a vote of 52-0. The legislation was assigned to the House Regulated Industries committed where it received a favorable vote on March 7, 2018.

SB 426 - By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) is the "Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development Act" (BILD Act), would limit the ability of local governing authorities to prohibit, regulate, or charge for use of public rights of way, under certain circumstances, to wireless providers in order to facilitate the growth of broadband services in rural areas of the state. This is part one of a three-part legislative initiative to achieve this goal. STATUS: Assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee where it received a favorable vote on February 23, 2018. The bill passed out of the full Senate Chamber on Crossover Day with a vote of 52-2. The legislation was assigned to the House Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee where it awaits a hearing.

SB 432 - By Sen. John Albers (R-Alpharetta) would provide for the expiration of certain tax credits relating to exemptions from state sales and use taxes. The dates range from 2019 to 2022 and the subject of the tax exemptions covers a large spectrum of items, places, and organizations.  STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on February 22, 2018 and the full Senate on February 26, 2018 by substitute by a vote of 53-0. Pending in House Ways & Means.

SB 445 - By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) This is a GDOT housekeeping bill that does a few things, including making certain contract and bonding requirements for federal-aid projects apply to all projects, prohibiting "camping" on GDOT property or right-of-way and changing certain pricing requirements for acquiring or disposing of right-of-way properties. STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on February 22, 2018 and the full Senate on February 26, 2018 by a vote of 52-0. Pending in the House Transportation Committee.

SB 451 - By Sen. Larry Walker III (R-Perry) would modify the authority of the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission, and regulations in consultation with Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources.  STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on February 23, 2018. This bill was heard in the Senate Chamber on Crossover Day and received a passing vote of 49-2. The legislation was assigned to the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee where it awaits a hearing.

SB 460 - By Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) companion bill to SB 386 (see above). STATUS: Passed out of Senate Transportation Committee on February 23, 2018 and full Senate Chamber on Crossover Day with a vote of 51-2. The legislation was assigned to the House Transportation Committee where it awaits a vote.

SR 502 - By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) encourages the Congress of the United States and Federal Agencies to do all within their powers to develop policies and funding sources to help bring high-speed broadband access to rural America. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Rules Committee and was passed out on January 25, 2018. The full Senate Chamber passed the bill 50-0 on January 31, 2018. It is currently waiting to be assigned to a House committee.

SR 882 - By Sen. Bert Jones (R-Jackson) This resolution would create the "Senate Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Operations and Authority Creation Study Committee" to consider whether "transfer of operations of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to an authority." STATUS: Pending in the Senate Transportation Committee (note that since this is a Senate Resolution for a Senate study committee, no action by the House or Governor is needed and this resolution is not subject to the Crossover Day rule). The legislation was favorably reported out of the Senate Transportation Committee on March 9, 2018.
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