Legislative Update – Week 2
The Georgia General Assembly completed Day 8 of its 40-day legislative session on January 29th. Pursuant to HR 31 adopted by the House and the Senate, the legislature returns to session on Monday, February 1 through Thursday, February 4. They will reconvene on Monday, February 8 for legislative day 13, but no further decisions have been made with respect to the schedule following February 8.
On Thursday, January 28 the House passed the FY21 Amended Budget. The House made minor changes to Governor Kemp’s proposed budget plan and it is noteworthy that there were no cuts like those instituted last year. Instead, the budget included increases in funding in education, healthcare, and public safety. The Senate is expected to move quickly on the FY21 Amended Budget which will set the stage for a conference committee to be appointed to resolve any differences and finalize the spending plan. The House will now begin work on the FY22 Budget.
The pace of legislation has been slow. The Amended Budget was the first bill to be debated on the House floor this year and the Senate has yet to have any bills on the floor. Among the bills that have been introduced and are now being considered in Committees are:
Senate Bill 1 by Senator Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) which would require companies with ERISA plans to provide information on employees’ claims to a state database. Supporters of the bill argue that the collection of healthcare data is essential to helping the legislature make decisions on legislative programs and funding. Opponents question the legality of the State requiring this information and oppose the provision of the bill taking away tax credits for companies who do not respond.
Senate Bill 6 by Senator John Albers (R-Roswell) will require all state tax credits to be reviewed and evaluated to see if they are accomplishing their goals and providing a sufficient return. This is a bi-partisan effort.
Senate Bill 10 by Senator Emmanuel Jones (D-Decatur) attempts to deter street-racing.
House Bill 86 by Representative Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) would legalize sports betting in Georgia. A similar measure by Senator Jeff Mullis is expected to be introduced in the Senate.
House Resolution 30 by Representative Stephens (R-Savannah) seeks to legalize casino gambling in Georgia.
House Bill 112 by Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) would extend the immunity for COVID liability for businesses for an additional year.
House Bill 150 by Representative Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) would prohibit government entities from adopting policies to place limitations on what type of fuel a citizen can use.
Information courtesy of Lauren Fralick, GeorgiaLink on behalf of the RBC – February 1, 2021.