March 15, 2024 | Week 10

Council for Quality Growth Members, 

State lawmakers convened this week, completing legislative days 33-35, leaving 5 days remaining in the 2024 Legislative Session. The Georgia legislature is just two weeks from the last day of session (Sine Die) on Thursday, March 28th and will convene next week for legislative days 36-38.

Suspension of the Data Center Tax Credit Heads to Governor Kemp:

On Thursday, March 14th, the Senate passed/adopted House Bill 1192 with a 29-22 vote. The Senate did not make any amendments to the measure and is now headed to Governor Kemp for his consideration. The bill is sponsored by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) and carried by Senator John Albers (R-Roswell) in the Senate. During the Senate floor debate, the State and Local Governmental Operations Committee Chairman Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) made a motion to table the measure, it failed with a 21-30 vote.

HB 1192 would suspend the issuance of any new sales and use tax certificates of exemption for data center projects in the state. The pause would become effective on July 1, 2024 and expire on June 30, 2026. The tax exemptions would still apply to data center contracts entered into before July 1, 2024. The bill also creates a Special Commission on Data Center Energy Planning. The Commission will review the existing grid and energy supply and make recommendations based on the findings. The Commission is required to submit a report of its findings and recommendations after June 2026. Previously, the bill was adopted by the House on February 27, 2024 with a 97-71 vote.

House Adopts School Voucher Measure:

On Thursday, March 14th after a lengthy debate, Georgia House of Representatives passed/adopted by substitute a school voucher measure, Senate Bill 233 sponsored by Senator Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) and carried by Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton) in the House. SB 233 would give families $6,500 a year per student to subsidize the cost of private schooling, which is estimated to cost the state $140 million a year. During the 2023 Georgia Legislative Session, SB 233 failed by six votes and with major amendments to the bill this year, the House was able to just pass the measure by a 91-82 vote. It now heads back to the Senate Chamber for consideration.

Senate Adopts Certificate of Need Legislation:

The Georgia Senate on Thursday, March 14th passed/adopted by substitute House Bill 1339 with a 43-11 vote that revises the Certificate of Need (CON) laws in Georgia. CON laws in Georgia have been around since the 1970s that require anyone who wants to build a health facility or offer new services to prove an expansion is needed.

The Senate version would let physicians from multiple specialties share one surgery center, allow Morehouse School of Medicine to open a hospital in central Atlanta, allow a hospital to open without a permit in any rural county where a prior hospital has been closed for more than 12 months, and creates a study committee to examine whether Georgia’s state-federal Medicaid program should be expanded to cover more lower-income adults.

The bill also includes increasing the statewide cap on the rural hospital tax credit program from $75 million to $100 million. SB 233 is now headed back to the House Chamber for consideration.

Legislation of Interest & Bill Movement This Week:

Senate Bill 171, sponsored by Senator Max Burns (Rr-Sylvania), provides additional training requirements for development authority board members and directors and would limit the length of a development authority director’s hold-over period following the expiration of their term of office.

STATUS: House Passed/Adopted on March 13, 2024 with a 174-1 vote

Senate Bill 349, sponsored by Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), would cap the assessed value on a homeowner’s primary residence at no more than a 3% per year increase. The bill would require a constitutional amendment. During the House Ways & Means Committee meeting on March 14th, two other bills were added to measure, House Bill 1115 and House Bill 1031.

STATUS: House Committee Favorably Reported by Substitute on March 14, 2024

Senate Bill 366, sponsored by sponsored by Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), provides greater transparency around tax expenditures, including listing annual cost estimates in appropriations legislation, creating a permanent Joint Committee on Taxation and Economic Development, and strengthening the current process of evaluating the effects of existing and proposed tax provisions.

STATUS: House Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute on March 12, 2024

Senate Bill 374, sponsored by Senator Larry Walker (R-Perry), relates to the Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Act of 2021 and aims to make amendments to educational and apprenticeship requirements for land surveyor interns and professional surveyors. There was one amendment to allow an individual with a professional engineer license to become a certified surveyor without having to take the required 18 semester credit hours. However, they would still need to have the appropriate amount of experience required and successfully pass the exam.

STATUS: House Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute on March 14, 2024

Senate Bill 422, sponsored by Senator Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett), increases the percentage limitation from 15% to 25% as to amount of investments an electric membership corporation may make and maintain in a gas affiliate.

STATUS: House Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute on March 12, 2024

Senate Bill 497, sponsored by Senator Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro), redesignates the High-demand Career Initiatives Program as the High Demand Apprenticeship Program, reduces the contract award amounts from $10,000.00 to $5,000.00 per apprentice, increases the cap on allowable apprentices from five to ten, among other amendments.

STATUS: House Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute on March 13, 2024

House Bill 617, sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), relates to highways, bridges, and ferries for the development and maintenance of a state-wide freight and logistics implementation plan and identifying intended funding for the Georgia Freight 2050 Program.

STATUS: Senate Committee Favorably Reported on March 11, 2024

House Bill 905, sponsored by Rep. Matt Reeves (R-Duluth), would repeal provisions authorizing administrative officers to exercise zoning powers, and repeal provisions authorizing quasi-judicial boards and agencies to hear and render decisions on applications for special administrative permits and conditional permits. There was an amendment impacting only a handful of cities, but would make certain commercial parcels eligible to deannex from a municipality to another where specific conditions are met.

STATUS: Senate Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute on March 11, 2024

House Bill 982, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Cartersville), would require the State Workforce Development Board to develop, approve, and annually publish a high-demand career list identifying those careers most critical to the state's current and future workforce needs.

STATUS: Senate Passed/Adopted on March 13, 2024 with a 53-1 vote

House Bill 1015, sponsored by Rep. Lauren McDonald (R-Cumming), would accelerate the cut to the state income tax from 5.75 percent to 5.39 percent.

STATUS: Senate Committee Favorably Reported on March 13, 2024

House Bill 1017, sponsored by Rep. Devan Seabaugh (R-Marietta), is known as the Georgia Squatter Reform Act, which would make it clear in Georgia law that squatting is criminal trespassing, making it a police matter, not a civil court case. 

STATUS: Senate Committee Favorably Reported on March 11, 2024

House Bill 1023, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), would set the corporate income tax rate at the same level as the personal income tax, effectively changing the rate from 5.75 percent to the current law personal income tax rate of 5.39.

STATUS: Senate Committee Favorably Reported on March 13, 2024

House Bill 1181, Sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), proposes increasing transparency, enhance the state’s return on investment, and limit fiscal exposure. The bill makes changes to more than 70 existing tax incentives.

STATUS: Senate Passed/Adopted on March 11, 2024 with a 45-2 vote

House Bill 1414, sponsored by Rep. Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners), would enact the City of Peachtree Corners Community Improvement District Act.

STATUS: Senate Passed/Adopted Local Consent Calendar on March 13, 2024 with a 54-0 vote

House Bill 1443, sponsored by Rep. Betsy Holland (D-Atlanta), would provide for operation of automated transit vehicle lane monitoring devices for the enforcement of traffic in transit vehicle lanes in the City of Atlanta. Senate Bill 583 is the Senate version of the bill.

STATUS: On House Local Consent Calendar for Monday, March 18, 2024

House Bill 1472, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-Carterville), would enact the Bartow County Community Improvement District Act.

STATUS: On House Local Consent Calendar for Monday, March 18, 2024

House Resolution 1418, sponsored by Rep. Phil Olaleye (R-Atlanta), creates the House Study Committee on the use of local fees to support affordable housing.

STATUS: House Second Readers on March 14, 2024

Be sure to check your inbox each Friday for the latest Under the Gold Dome highlights of important legislative updates. Council for Quality Growth members can also access bill summaries and analysis on our website. In case you missed last weeks newsletter, view the CQG Week 9 Capitol Update.

As the Council evaluates, supports, and weighs in on pieces of legislation, Clyde Higgs, the Government Affairs Task Force (GATF) Chair, Council Board Vice-Chair, and Chief Executive Officer, Atlanta Beltline Inc., will play a key role in our decision making. A full list of the GATF members is listed below. For more information on joining the GATF, please contact Joseph Santoro

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