GBAN Legislative Update February 23, 2018

Action Alert:

House Resolution 993: Constitutional Amendment to create business court with statewide jurisdiction

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Chuck Efstration (Dacula)

HR 993 proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would establish a business court with statewide jurisdiction. If enacted and approved by voters in November, this court would provide specialized resolution of complex business litigation matters.

Without the passage of HR 993, Georgia’s excellent business climate will be in jeopardy. Businesses may decide to incorporate in neighboring states with a more favorable legal climate; that means fewer jobs, less economic growth, and less opportunity for all Georgians. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed HR 993 and is now in the House Rules Committee.

TAKE ACTION TODAY by contacting members of the Georgia House of Representatives and encourage them to support HR 993. Georgia cannot continue to be the number one state for business unless we protect our business-friendly environment and provide a positive legal climate.

Legislative Calendar

This week, the Georgia General Assembly convened Tuesday through Friday completing 26 legislative days of the 40-day session. The General Assembly will reconvene on Monday, February 26, and work through Thursday. 

Chamber Scorecard Legislation

House Bill 918:
Revenue and taxation; Internal Revenue Code

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Chuck Efstration (Dacula)

HB 918 provides for the annual Internal Revenue Code update for the tax years 2017 and 2018 and includes a reduction of both the personal and corporate income tax rate to 5.75% in 2019 and 5.5% in 2020 upon approval by the legislature.  HB 918 also provides for a sales and use tax exemption for jet fuel. On Thursday, February 20, the state House passed HB 918, making it the first income tax rate cut since 1937. To view the Georgia Chamber’s letter of support, click here. To learn more about HB 918, view Representative Efstration’s live interview here.

Legislation of Interest

House Bill 787: Education; certain provisions relative to charter schools

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Scott Hilton (Peachtree Corners)

On Thursday, the House passed HB 787 which increases funding for state authorized charter schools.  Schools currently funded at the average of the five lowest funded districts in the state would see funding increased to the state average.

House Bill 827:  Income tax; increase value of rural hospital organization tax credit to 100 percent

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Trey Kelley (Cedartown)

HB 827 increases the value of the Rural Hospital Tax Credit to 100% of the donation, an increase from the current level of 90%.  Extends the sunset data of the tax credit from 2019 to 2021. To learn more about HB 827, view Representative Kelley’s live interview here.

House Bill 769: Health; recommendations from the House Rural Development Council

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Rick Jasperse (Jasper)

HB 769 implements recommendations from the House Rural Development Council related to healthcare. Creates a Rural Center for Health Care Innovation and Sustainability to be housed at an academic institution. Creates a new category of “micro hospitals” which would be authorized in rural counties with hospital closures. Creates a new incentive program to increase number of healthcare providers in rural communities. To learn more about HB 769, view Representative Jasperse’s live interview here.

House Bill 888: Ad valorem tax; certain reporting requirements

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative David Knight (Griffin)

HB 888 clarifies and preserves the intentions of previous freeport exemption legislation by exempting tangible personal property inventory from ad valorem taxes. Freeport exemptions are a county option. The state gives counties the authority to exempt certain goods from local property taxes. These exemptions can exist to allow manufacturers to not pay property taxes on “finished goods” if they are being assembled as part of another bigger piece of equipment. The state House passed HB 888 on Thursday

Senate Bill 426: Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Senator Steve Gooch (Dahlonega)

On Thursday, the Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed SB 426 which seeks to incentivize deployment of wireless broadband technology throughout the state.  Specifically, the bill modernizes Georgia’s law to allow wireless companies to access the Right of Way (ROW); it provides for a uniform permitting process for small wireless facilities; and it establishes reasonable, cost-based fees for wireless access to the ROW.

Senate Bill 395: Georgia Joint Defense Commission; create

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Senator Ben Watson (Savannah)

SB 395 creates a joint military commission focused on strengthening, protecting, and growing our base community. As all of our military installations prepare for possible base realignment and closure discussions, we believe it is paramount to have a cohesive state centered strategy to protect Georgia bases. SB 395 includes leadership from the House of Representatives, Senate, Governor’s office, as well as industry experts in a state funded effort focused on our growing military communities. SB 395 passed Senate  Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security on Wednesday.

House Bill 930: Georgia Regional Transportation Authority; creation of certain community improvement districts

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Kevin Tanner (Dawsonville)

HB 930 creates the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (the ‘ATL’): a new structure for coordinated and integrated transit planning for the 13-County Metro Atlanta region. The Bill establishes the governance and accountability of the ATL, as well as outlining new and enhanced transit funding; including through optional local taxes (TSPLOST) which counties may apply to raise transit funds.

HB 930 creates a new regional governance and funding structure for transit in Metro Atlanta. Metro Atlanta is defined as the 13-County region currently under GRTA’s jurisdiction, namely: Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale Counties. The Bill intends to improve the coordination, integration and efficiency of transit in the region, to promote a seamless and high-quality transit system for Metro Atlanta.

Senate Bill 386:  Sales and Use Taxes; exception to the ceiling on local sales and use taxes; transit special purpose local option sales and use tax; provide; Atlanta-region Transit Link “ATL” Commission

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Senator  Brandon Beach (Alpharetta)

Senate Bill 386 aims to address the transit needs of 13 metro counties within the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority service area, and will create an Atlanta-region Transit Link (ATL) and, -transit funding for that governance structure.

SB 386 would authorize Georgia Regional Transportation Authority to oversee the creation of the ATL board. Counties under the ATL would be empowered to propose a ballot measure for a 30-year, sales tax in increments up to 1%. The “ATL” Commission will develop, manage, and execute regional transit strategies throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area. The ATL Commission will consist of the Georgia Commissioner of Transportation, Mayor of Atlanta, Chief Executive Officer of MARTA, and County Commission Chairmen from each member-county.

Political Affairs Update

The Georgia Chamber Political Affairs Council, Inc. (PAC) is continuing to support candidates for office who will champion business-friendly, job-creating initiatives. Your support of the PAC is essential as we work to keep Georgia the number one state in which to do business. To make a donation to the PAC, click here. For additional information regarding the Chamber’s Political Affairs Council, Inc., contact Chelsey Ruppersburg at

Click here
to learn more about the Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Priorities.

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