GPCA Bug Bytes
By Connie Rogers
March 5, 2018
In this issue: Legislative Update Week 8
2018 Weekly Legislative Update
Week 8 – March 2, 2018
Legislative Days 27-29
The Georgia General Assembly completed day 29 of its 40 day session on Thursday, March 1. The legislature was in session past 1:00 a.m. on “cross-over” day on Wednesday, February 28. The legislature will reconvene on Monday, March 5 at 10:00 a.m. and will be in session for three days next week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for legislative days 30-32. Tuesday and Thursday are both committee work days. The legislature is still on schedule to Sine Die on March 29. If you would like to review the full legislative calendar for the remainder of the 2018 session you may do so here.
Below is an update on a number of pending issues:
SB 402 and SB 232 – which address broadband – and SB 426 – which addresses small cells – by Senator Steve Gooch made progress this week. SB 426 and SB 232 both passed the Senate on Wednesday, February 28. SB 402 was read in the House on Monday, February 26, and assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.
HB 887 by Representative Jay Powell, which seeks to expand broadband across the state, passed the House on Wednesday, February 28. This is part of the House’s pursuit of the rural broadband deployment initiative which was part of the Speaker’s Rural Development Council recommendations.
HB 918 by Representative Chuck Efstration reduces Georgia’s income tax rate. This measure is designed to support economic development in Georgia. The bill passed the House and Senate on Thursday, March 1. Governor Deal signed HB 918 into law on Friday, March 2.
SB 403 by Senator Bruce Thompson calls for uniform election equipment throughout the state, with a full return to paper ballots by 2024. SB 403 passed the Senate on Wednesday, February 28.
SB 359 by Senator Chuck Hufstetler is a comprehensive solution to “Surprise Billing” for consumers due to very narrow insurance networks in Georgia. The bill also provides a fair reimbursement plan for health care providers who are “out of network.” SB 359 passed the Senate on Wednesday, February 28.
HB 673 by Representative John Carson, the “Distracted Driving Bill,” prohibits any actions that would distract a driver’s attention. The bill passed the House on Wednesday, February 28.
HB 898 by Representative Alan Powell enables implementation of new technology at the Department of Revenue to issue much more cost-effective license tag renewals for large fleet operators like UPS, Publix, GA Power etc. The bill was assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, February 28.
SB 430 by Senator Matt Brass provides increases in minimum salaries for constitutional officers. This bill passed the Senate on Wednesday, February 28.
HB 791 by Representative Chuck Efstration allows the state’s sovereign immunity to be waived for declaratory or injunctive relief under certain circumstances. The bill passed the House on Wednesday, February 28.
HB 696 by Representative Trey Kelley creates a tax exemption for certain high technology computer equipment used in data centers. The bill passed the House on a reconsideration vote on Wednesday, February 28.
HB 996 by Representative Katie Dempsey establishes the Strategic Integrated Data System to provide for data sharing across departments and agencies. The bill passed the House on Wednesday, February 28.
HB 930 by Representative Kevin Tanner and SB 386 by Senator Brandon Beach both attempt to expand and coordinate transit in the metro region. Senator Brandon Beach also had two other transportation bills pass the floor – SB 460 and SB 391. SB 460 is a companion bill to SB 386 and would amend the MARTA Act to change MARTA’s logo to reflect the unified ATL transit commission. SB 391 exempts service buses, motor vehicles, and rail systems from identification and regulation requirements. All passed their respective chambers on Wednesday, February 28.
This week GeorgiaLink sponsored the Senate Democratic Caucus breakfast, the Senate Cross-Over dinner, and the Senate Transportation Committee dinner.
The GPCA Calendar for 2018 is filling up fast. Be sure to save these important dates:
July 15 – 19, 2018 – GPCA Summer Conference, Hammock Beach Resort, Palm Coast, FL
September 12 & 13, 2018 – GPCA North Georgia Conference, Dalton, GA
October 10, 2018 – GPCA Charity Golf Tournament, Reunion Country Club, Hoschton, GA – PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE
November 7 & 8, 2018 – GPCA South Georgia Conference, Rural Development Center, Tifton, GA