March 26, 2021 | Week 10
Council for Quality Growth Members, 

State lawmakers reconvened this week for legislative days 36-38, leaving 2 legislative days remaining with the last day of the Georgia Legislative Session on Wednesday March 31.

On Tuesday Governor Kemp announced that all Georgia adults over the age of 16 can now sign-up to receive the coronavirus vaccines. The announcement of expanding eligibility on Tuesday means that Georgia will join a small group of states that have so far opened COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults. Newly-eligible Georgians can register for an appointment at a mass vaccination site at myvaccinegeorgia.com or contact local providers.

Budget Update:

This week the Senate adopted and released their version of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. The budget is now in Conference Committee consisting of three Senators and three House members appointed to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. The final version of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget is going to be voted on by the House and Senate on Legislative Day 39 or 40.

The Council is happy to announce that the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) increased funding of $3,140,322 was maintained in the Senate version. The Council has been working alongside our CID partners to increase GTIB funding and will continue to advocate for additional funds after session concludes. GTIB is a grant and low-interest loan program administered by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) and eligible applicants include local, regional and state government entities in Georgia, including CIDs.


Bill Movement:

This week the Governor signed HB 593, the Tax Relief Act of 2021 into law. HB 593 sponsored by Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) would let Georgians pay less income tax starting July 1, 2021 following up on a previous reduction passed in 2019 that lowered the state’s income-tax rate from 6% to 5.75%. The bill allows single taxpayers and heads of household an increase from $4,600 to $5,400 in their standard deduction. Married taxpayers filing separately will get an increase from $3,000 to $3,550. Married taxpayers filing jointly will get an increase from $6,000 to $7,100.

Several other pieces of legislation the Council for Quality Growth is tracking moved this week.

HB 98 – The bill relating to certain conditions for meetings and public hearings to be held by teleconference in emergency conditions.
STATUS: The Senate Passed/Adopted By Substitute

HB 150 – Prohibits governmental entities from adopting any policy that prohibits the connection or reconnection of any utility service based upon the type or source of energy fuel. The amendment added to the bill specifically includes customers of an electric utility, gas company, or natural manufactured or liquefied petroleum gas service and sales of liquid petroleum gas directory to consumer by a retail establishment.
STATUS: The Senate Passed/Adopted By Substitute

HB 161 – Removes a provision providing perpetual existence to downtown development authorities.
STATUSThe Senate Passed/Adopted

HB 317 – Revise Definition of Innkeeper to include marketplace facilitators. This is the bill the House passed (HB 488) from last year that would require VRBO and AirBnB to remit the $5 fee per night. This is part of HB 170 hotel/motel fees that go towards transportation.
STATUSThe Senate Finance Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute

HB 333 – Ethics in Government Act of 2021 revises the powers and duties of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, how maximum contribution limits are implemented, and purposes requiring registration with the commission, and other campaign issues. The Council is currently monitoring definitions relating to trade associations in the bill.
STATUSThe Senate Ethics Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute

HB 577 – This bill guarantees bids on certain projects, licensing of airports, and is primarily a Georgia Department of Transportation cleanup bill.
STATUSThe Senate Transportation Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute

HB 586 – The Georgia Economic Recovery Act of 2021, which would allow or extend sales tax exemptions for manufacturers and businesses that create jobs. It includes extensions of sales tax exemptions for regional economic development projects and in specific manufacturing industries. 
STATUSThe Senate Finance Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute

HB 588 – The bill looks at key recommendations from the Freight and Logistics Commission and provides structured language allowing for public and private funding for the Georgia Freight Railroad Program of the Georgia Department of Transportation. Gives the state authority and funding mechanisms to begin working on freight and logistics projects.
STATUSThe Senate Finance Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute

SB 6 – Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2021 is a tax credit review bill that would require the Office of Planning and Budget to determine the direct and indirect effects of Georgia’s tax credits and incentives upon the request of either the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee or the House Ways and Means Committee. Each chairman may choose up to five incentives each year to be reviewed, with such reviews to be completed no later than December 1 of that year.
STATUSThe House Passed/Adopted By Substitute and the Senate Disagreed to the House Substitute

SB 49 – The legislation allows owners to use a licensed engineer or architect to perform private plan review and inspection services, rather than using the local government entity’s services. This bill would cement into law Governor Brian Kemp’s Executive Order 03-20.20.02 that allows owners to go straight to private plan review and/or inspections and pay 50% of that jurisdictions regulatory fee up front to the local government regardless of the time frame in which that local government is able to the service.
STATUSThe House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported

SR 102 – This resolution creates the Georgia Commission on E-Commerce and Freight Infrastructure Funding, which will study and determine the best course of action with regarding to funding an additional $1.5 billion annually into freight and logistics infrastructure.
STATUSThe House Transportation Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute

SR 154 – The resolution creates a Joint Study Committee for Strengthening Georgia's Future Workforce
STATUSThe House Higher Education Committee Favorably Reported

These are just a few key pieces of legislation we are tracking through the end of week 8 under the Gold Dome. To see all of the bills the Council is actively monitoring, please stay up to date with our bill tracking sheet featured at the bottom of this email.

As the Council evaluates, supports, and weighs in on pieces of legislation, Al Edwards, the Government Affairs Task Force (GATF) Chair, Council Board Vice-Chair, and Founder & Managing Director of Corporate Environmental Risk Management, LLC (CERM), will play a key role in our decision making. A full list of the GATF members is listed below. For more information on joining the GATF, please contact Joseph Santoro
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