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April 2, 2019

2019 Sine Die Legislative Update

On Tuesday, April 2nd, the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly came to a close around midnight.

MAC’s public policy team pursued business-friendly policies while also working to prevent harmful legislation from advancing. Notably, our team successfully drove passage of House Bill 218 and Senate Bill 108. Introduced and carried by Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville), HB 218 extends eligibility for the HOPE scholarship from seven to ten years. SB 108, introduced and carried by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), puts computer science classes in every middle and high school by 2030. Additionally, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes $1 million to train teachers to teach computer science.

Efforts to oversee and/or take over Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport stalled in the House. These efforts were widely opposed by the Atlanta business community. SB 200 went to conference committee in the waning hours of the session, but also failed. It had contained provisions to extend the sales tax exemption on jet fuel, create a new agency to plan and operate rural transit, and clarify language to reduce taxes on rideshares, taxis, and limos. HR 37 did pass, which will establish a commission to make recommendations on statewide freight and logistics. I will serve as a member of the commission.

Governor Brian Kemp now has 40 consecutive days to sign or veto all legislation, which will be his first bill signing period as Governor. We are grateful to Gov. Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Speaker David Ralston, members of the General Assembly, legislative staff and our many partners at the Capitol for helping make this session a successful one.

For a more detailed look at bills our team followed this session, including their final status, please refer to the document below. All legislation that did not pass will be available for consideration again next year.

 

Hala Moddelmog's signature, the President and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

 

 

Hala Moddelmog

President and CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber

 

BUSINESS CLIMATE

SB 8 (Sen. P.K. Martin) - creates an Atlanta United license plate. PASSED

SB 45/SR 84 (Sen. Brandon Beach) - if approved by voters, this constitutional amendment and enabling legislation would allow for pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. DID NOT PASS

SB 77 (Sen. Jeff Mullis) - provides protections for government statues, monuments, plaques, banners, and other commemorative symbols. PASSED

SB 106 (Sen. Blake Tillery) - known as the Patients First Act, this bill 1) would allow the state to submit a waiver request to expand Medicaid coverage to those earning up to 100% of the federal poverty level and 2) allow the state to pursue innovation waivers to develop innovative and targeted strategies to address specific problems. PASSED

SB 120 (Sen. John Albers) - this bill would allow the Senate Finance Committee chairman and House Ways and Means Committee chairman to each request up to three economic impact analyses of an existing or proposed law per year. PASSED

SB 221 (Sen. Marty Harbin) - adopts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. DID NOT PASS

SR 61 (Sen. Butch Miller)/HR 54 (Speaker David Ralston) - commends the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee for bringing Super Bowl LIII to Atlanta. PASSED

SR 184 (Sen. Brandon Beach) - if approved by voters, this constitutional amendment would authorize a limited number of licensed destination resort facilities casino resorts within the state. DID NOT PASS

SR 224 (Sen. Butch Miller)/HR 391 (House Speaker David Ralston) - commends Arthur Blank for bringing Atlanta United to Atlanta and commends the team for winning the MLS Cup. PASSED

SR 503 (Sen. Nan Orrock)/HR 740 (Rep. Bee Nguyen) - commemorating the 50th Running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race. PASSED

HB 74 (Rep. Scot Turner) - allows rideshare drivers to carry a weapon while driving for rideshare company. DID NOT PASS

HB 132 (Rep. Bruce Williamson) - allows film and post-production tax credits to be assigned to an affiliate and applied against payroll withholding tax or income tax. DID NOT PASS

HB 198 (Rep. Matt Hatchett) - updates the certificate of need requirements for healthcare facilities. DID NOT PASS

HB 239 (Rep. Chuck Efstration) - creates business courts with statewide jurisdiction with judges to be appointed by the Governor. PASSED

HB 276 (Rep. Brett Harrell) - requires a business or organization that contracts with third parties to sell goods and services, often referred to as a marketplace facilitator, to collect sales and use tax resulting from retail purchases made on its platform. DID NOT PASS

HB 321 (Rep. Jodi Lott) - extends the sunset on the hospital Medicaid financing program, known as the “provider fee”, from 2020 to 2025. PASSED

HB 352 (Rep. Bert Reeves) - renews an economic development incentive for two years that allows the state to waive the sales tax collections on construction materials for competitive projects of regional significance. PASSED

HB 428 (Rep. Bill Werkheiser) - levies a tax on digital downloads like e-books, music, video games and software, removes franchise fees and imposes a communications services tax on satellite TV service. DID NOT PASS

HB 538 (Rep. Todd Jones) - removes judicial doctrine known as “Chevron deference” in tax related matters under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Tax Tribunal. DID NOT PASS

HR 164 (Rep. Jay Powell) - if approved by voters, this constitutional amendment would statutorily dedicate revenue to the fund for which it is intended. DID NOT PASS

HR 327 (Rep. Ron Stephens) - if approved by voters, this constitutional amendment would allow for casino gambling in the state and dedicate revenue to educational programs. DID NOT PASS

HR 378 (Rep. Ron Stephens) - if approved by voters, this constitutional amendment would create the Georgia Gaming Commission. DID NOT PASS

HR 380 (Rep. Craig Gordon) - if approved by voters, this constitutional amendment would legalize sports betting. DID NOT PASS

 

EDUCATED WORKFORCE

SB 15 (Sen. John Albers) - requires all public and private schools to conduct threat assessments every four years. PASSED

SB 108 (Sen. P.K. Martin) - expands teacher professional development and puts computer science classes in every middle and high school by 2030. PASSED

SB 181/HB 123 (Sen. Burt Jones/Rep. Bill Werkheiser) - transfers the Workforce Development Board and the accompanying federal funds from the Technical College System of Georgia to the Dept. of Labor. DID NOT PASS

HB 31 (Speaker David Ralston) - As a part of the FY 2020 budget, this bill appropriates $1 million to train teachers to teach computer science. PASSED

HB 126 (Rep. Randy Nix) - codifies the GeorgiaBest program and an employability skills training curriculum. DID NOT PASS

HB 218 (Rep. Rick Williams) - extends HOPE Scholarship eligibility from seven to ten years after high school graduation. PASSED

 

TRANSPORTATION and INFRASTRUCTURE

SB 2 (Sen. Steve Gooch) - allows EMCs to get into the broadband business while prohibiting cross-subsidies and protecting pole attachments for existing utilities. PASSED

SB 66 (Sen. Steve Gooch) - streamlines the deployment of small cell and 5G technology in public rights of way. PASSED

SB 131 (Sen. Burt Jones) - transfers control of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to a new state authority if the City of Atlanta and General Assembly do not agree on a joint oversight plan by July 1, 2020. DID NOT PASS

SB 200 (Sen. Steve Gooch) - contains miscellaneous transportation provisions. DID NOT PASS

HB 447 (Rep. Dominic LaRiccia) - exempts jet fuel from the state sales tax for 20 years and levies a half-cent excise tax on jet fuel to be used for rural airport improvement. DID NOT PASS

HB 454 (Rep. Kevin Tanner) - defines rented scooters and establishes statewide minimum standards for the operation. DID NOT PASS

HB 511 (Rep. Kevin Tanner) - reorganizes several state transportation agencies including SRTA, abolishes GRTA, creates a statewide transit planning framework, clarifies rideshare/taxi/limo trips subject to 50-cent fee. DID NOT PASS

HR 37 (Rep. Kevin Tanner) - creates the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics. PASSED

 

NATURAL RESOURCES

HB 31 (Speaker David Ralston) - appropriates funds for the state for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes $200,000 for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. PASSED

HB 49 (Rep. Marc Morris) - authorizes interbasin water transfers for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. DID NOT PASS

HB 465 (Rep. Don Parsons) - creates a water customer bill of rights. DID NOT PASS

 

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