UNDER THE GOLD DOME Legislative Week 3

The Council for Quality Growth was active at the Ga. General Assembly as the Legislature gaveled Friday, Legislative Day  14 to a close.   Although it has been an unusually slow start to the Session, there are still bills of interest to Council staff and members that are being tracked.  Each week bills will be designated by the Council staff as either a bill the Council supports, is monitoring, currently evaluating or opposes.

During the first several weeks of Session, many bills are introduced and referred to a committee in their respective Chamber.  As bills are heard in committee, they will more rapidly be hard and if passed will go to the floor of the House or Senate and if passed, will go to the other Chamber to be heard in Committee.  Until then, the bills below are a sampling of bills the Council believes are of interest to members.

The House passed Friday, February 8, the budget that will fund the state until June, otherwise known as the supplemental budget, where it will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee next week.  Additionally, Speaker Ralston’s “Ethics Reform” bill was passed out of subcommittee and will go before the Rules Committee and will likely be heard next week.  A full analysis of this legislation will be included in next week’s report. Additionally, the Governor proposed changes to the HOPE Grant for technical schools, along with a mention of criminal justice reform, both which will be detailed in next week’s report as well.  The Legislature is scheduled to be in Session for Legislative Days 15-18, Monday-Thursday, next week.


House Bills

HB 81: Angel Investor Tax Credit

Representative Mike Dudgeon (R)

House Ways & Means Committee

 This legislation extends the Angel Investor Tax Credit previously passed by the Georgia General Assembly, until 2015.

Council Position: Supports

 HB 153: Fractional SPLOST

Representative John Carson (R)

House Ways and Means Committee

This legislation will allow counties, pending an intergovernmental agreement with local municipalities, to levy, pending voter approval, a special option sales tax of less than 1%, but only in increments of .05%.  Any tax that is imposed is not to exceed 1% and counties may have multiple fractional SPLOSTS, providing they do not exceed 1%

Council Position: Monitoring

HB 175: Covenants and Warranties

Representative Dusty Hightower (R)

House Judiciary Committee

Except as provided in public law, this bill says it is the public policy of this state that a covenant runs with the land when, for consideration, a property owner and a third party agrees to such covenant, the property is adequately described in such covenant, and such covenant does not run for more than 20 years.

Council Position: Monitoring

 HB 176: Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development Act

Representative Don Parsons (R)

House Energy and Telecommunication Committee

 The legislation limits a city’s authority in collocations and the siting of new cell towers.

Council Position: Monitoring

HB 195:  Special District Transportation Sales & Use Tax

Representative Ed Setzler (R)

House Ways and Means Committee

This legislation establishes special districts to be formed by counties, pending voter approval that did not pass the TSPLOST last July, in order to establish a special transportation sales tax that will require voter approval and may not be less than three and no more than ten years in length and cannot exceed one percent.

Council Position: Monitoring

 HB 199: Expansion of GEFA Leak Detection and Conservation Fund

 Representative Ed Lindsey (R)

House Natural Resources and Environment Committee

Council Position: Evaluating

 HB 225: Ga. Environmental Protection Division RuleMaking Authority

Representative Tom Kirby (R)

House Natural Resources and Environment Committee

 This bill would require General Assembly approval of Georgia EPD rules before they could take affect after January 1, 2014.

Council Position: Evaluating


Representative Mike Jacobs (R)

House Hopper

 This bill repeals a three-year suspension of the restrictions on MARTA’s use of tax proceeds, as well as the current membership of MARTA Board of Directors, if a bill is enacted this session that suspends the restrictions and reconstitutes the Board of Directors.

Council Position: Monitoring

Senate Bills

 SB 104: Department of Community Affairs Comprehensive Planning Revision

Senator Frank Ginn (R)

Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee

This legislation is a product of the DCA Task Force, of which the Council for Quality Growth was a member.  Almost all changes recommended by the task force could be established by rulemaking authority in DCA, there were come changes that required legislature approval.  This legislation addresses those changes.

Council Position: Support

 SB 70: Design Build Transportation Bills

Senator Steve Gooch (R)

Senate Transportation Committee

This legislation addresses the design build procedures in current law.  Design-Build means a party who wins a DOT contract will both design and build the projects within the contract.  This bill allows DOT to include technology deployments when using design build. Additionally, the bill allows DOT to use a revised procurement process.

Council Position: Evaluating

 SB 73: Repeal of the TSPLOST Penalty Provision

Senator John Alber (R)

House Transportation Committee

This bill would repeal the penalty on local governments that required a thirty-percent match for local government maintenance and improvement grants by the GDOT for road projects.  The 2011 TIA legislation requires those local governments that did not pass the TSPLOST to pay a 30% match for two years, until the TSPLOST was passed in the special districts.

Council Position: Oppose