This week, the Georgia General Assembly completed legislative days 13-16 of its 40-day legislative session. Next week starting on Tuesday, February 16, the legislature will reconvene for legislative days 17-19. The latest adjournment resolution was passed and maps out legislative days through March 1, which will be legislative day 25. Click here for the upcoming committee meeting schedule taking place during this time.
This week, lawmakers in the Georgia House and Senate came to an agreement on the Amended Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. It restores much of K-12 school funding and adds spending for public health COVID-19 vaccine operations, broadband internet expansion, higher education, transportation, and state vehicles. Click here for highlights to the amended 2021 budget. Governor Kemp announced his amended fiscal year 2021 budget recommendations on Jan. 14, and the House approved its proposal Jan. 28. The Senate approved its version of an amended spending plan this past Tuesday, February 9. Both chambers then agreed on a final version this week and it’s now been sent to Governor Kemp for his signature.
Among the bills that have been introduced and considered in committees:
- House Bill 68 is relating to certain military certifications that entitle persons to obtain certain professional licenses, so as to extend the time a member of the military has to qualify for the issuance of a license or certification as an electrical contractor, plumber, conditioned air contractor, low-voltage contractor, or utility contractor using his or her military specialty or certification. It has been referred to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
- House Bill 86 would legalize sports betting in Georgia for major league professional sports teams and provides operation through the Georgia Lottery Corporation. This week, it was recommitted to the Economic Development and Tourism Committee by the Rules Committee. The Senate companion bill, SB 142 was also introduced this week and was read and referred to the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee.
- House Bill 98 conditions for state government meetings and public hearings to be held by teleconference in emergency conditions. This week, the House Committee on Governmental Affairs favorably reported.
- House Bill 112 would extend the immunity for COVID liability for businesses for an additional year through July 14, 2022. Following last week’s passage in the Special Committee on Civil Justice, the House passed/adopted it this week and it now is in the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.
- House Bill 122 extends the sunset for manufacturers' sales tax exemption for concrete mixers. This week, the House Committee on Ways & Means favorably reported by substitute bill.
- House Bill 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 or fuel. This has been referred to the House Committee on Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications. SB 102, the companion bill, was introduced and referred to the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee.
- House Bill 265 revises the terms "Internal Revenue Code" and "Internal Revenue Code of 1986" and thereby incorporates certain provisions of the federal law into Georgia law. This legislation is important for businesses that received or are receiving PPP (Payroll Protection Program) funding to make it not taxable. Following the House Ways & Means Committee favorably reporting, the House unanimously passed it this week and it was also read and Senate Finance Committee this week.
- House Bill 271 is relating to licenses for emergency medical services, so as to authorize the Department of Community Health to assess one or more provider matching payments on ambulance services for the purpose of obtaining federal financial participation for Medicaid. This has been referred to the Health & Human Services Committee.
- House Bill 304 provides for a tax credit for medical equipment and supplies manufacturers and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers. This has been referred to the Ways & Means Committee.
- House Resolution 11 creating the House Study Committee on Innovative Ways to Maximize Global Talent in Georgia. This week, the House Committee on Small Business Development reported favorably by substitute.
- Senate Bill 6 “Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2021” will require all state tax credits to be reviewed and evaluated to see if they are accomplishing their goals and providing a sufficient return. Following its passage and adoption in the Senate, it has now been read in the House and referred to the House Ways & Means Committee.
- Senate Bill 8 relating to public utilities and public transportation, so as to modify the percentage limitation as to the amount of the investments an electric membership corporation may make and maintain in a gas affiliate. This has been referred to the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee.
- Senate Bill 11 relating to tax returns and furnishing of information, so as to authorize Georgia taxpayers to make certain voluntary contributions through the income tax payment and refund process to aid and assist service disabled veterans through a qualified service disabled veterans benefit organization. The Senate Veterans, Military & Homeland Security Committee favorably reported by substitute bill.
- Senate Bill 45 Professional Licensure Bill speeds up occupational and professional licensure for new residents of Georgia. The bill would require the professional licensing boards to approve new occupational or professional licenses by endorsement. This week, the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee favorably reported by substitute bill.
- Senate Bill 52 relating to selling and other trade practices, so as to provide for legislative findings; to provide standards for cybersecurity programs to protect businesses from liability; to provide for affirmative defenses for data breaches of private information. This week, the Senate Committee on Science & Technology favorably reported by bill substitute.
- Senate Resolution 84 is the creation of the Airport Infrastructure and Improvements Joint Study Committee. This week, it was read and referred to the Senate Rules Committee.
2021 Cobb Chamber State Legislative Agenda Priorities
The Cobb Chamber’s 2021 State Legislative Agenda represents our commitment to advance a vibrant and thriving economy by enhancing the business climate and quality of life for Cobb County, the region and state. Our agenda addresses the key concerns from our 2,500-member organizations representing more than 16,000 business leaders. Click here to access our full 2021 State Legislative Agenda.
Thank you to our Government Affairs Committee Chairman Andrew Dill of Lockheed, Vice Chairman Trey Paris of Taylor English Decisions, and our entire Government Affairs Committee for your partnership in enhancing our business environment.