March 6, 2017

The House and Senate have now completed 28 legislative days.  Friday was cross-over day which meant both House and Senate worked later into the evening. The Senate finished around 7:00 and the House around 10:00. House bills that did not pass the House and Senate bills that did not pass the Senate are considered “dead” for this session.  The only way for a dead bill to continue at this point is to find a related bill that is still active to which it can be attached.

This week, House committees should now focus on Senate bills and Senate committees should focus on House bills. The legislature is convening today, Thursday and Friday with recess days for committee meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

In House action last week, they passed a bill that would replace current individual state income tax rates with a single 5.4% rate (HB 329), a bill to increase the maximum amount of tax credits available for persons and businesses who donate to private school scholarship organizations from $58M to $100M over a six-year period (HB 217), and a bill to tax Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services (HB 225).  They approved a bill amending the state’s current vehicle title ad valorem tax (TAVT) law to avoid double taxation on lease vehicles, to set a maximum of $1,100 on the amount people moving from other states would pay when registering their vehicles in Georgia, and to specify that the calculation of the TAVT for used vehicles would be based on the highest of either the sales price or the state’s book value of the vehicle (HB 340). They also passed a gun bill (HB 280) which would allow persons who have concealed weapon permits to carry guns on college campuses excluding dorms, fraternities/sororities, athletic events, and up to three day care centers or pre-school classrooms per campus.  With bipartisan support, the House passed a school turnaround bill to help the state’s lowest performing public schools (HB 338).

The Senate unanimously passed legislation requiring the Ga. Lottery to increase the percentage of gross revenues it sends to pre-K programs and HOPE scholarships from 25% to 28.5% over the next three years (SB 5) and a bill calling for a referendum to increase DeKalb County’s sales tax rate from7% to 8% with the proceeds to be used for road resurfacing, police and fire stations, and other facilities (SB 143). They also approved legislation requiring pipeline companies to get a permit from Ga. EPD and limiting their ability to use eminent domain unless they receive a certificate of need from GEFA along with the permit from Ga. EPD (SB 191). The Senate also approved a floor amendment to this bill that prohibits any new pipeline or pipeline extension within the Ga. Coastal Zone Management Program.

The House and Senate each had casino bills (HB 158 and SB 79) and neither bill made the cross-over deadline on Friday.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need information on any legislative issue. All bills can be found on the state’s legislative web site, and live action can be watched in the House and Senate chambers when they are in session.

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