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    Legislative Affairs



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    Happening Now:


    ACEC Georgia Capitol Update (Feb 4, 2019)



    Things are still moving slowly under the Gold Dome, with so many new players (or old players in new roles) getting adjusted to their new realities. The House passed HB 30, the little budget, Supplemental FY19, on Friday 166-8 with relatively few changes from the Governors submitted budget. The Supplemental Budget makes mid-year adjustments to the current fiscal years budget, based on more accurate financial forecasting (. FY 2019 Supplemental Budget). House appropriators will move to the big budget, FY20, this week (FY 2020 Budget).

    As not much has passed out of committee at this point, there are relatively few bills for the Rules Committees to consider. HB 23, the Rural Broadband Bill that will allow EMCs to provide broadband to rural areas was scheduled to be voted on last week, but a technical change in Rules will push that bill to the House floor on Monday, February 11th.

    The Senate passed SR 19, proposing the creation of a Joint Commission on Freight and Logistics, on Friday by 54-0. They tweaked the composition of the Commission by adding representatives from GMA and ACCG. Rep. Kevin Tanners House version of this legislation has not been heard in committee yet, but I anticipate they will take it up this week.

    House Higher Education Committee heard testimony on HB 42, which would prevent the State from revoking a professional license from someone who is in default on their student loans. While no license has been revoked by the State in the last six years, such action remains a possibility under Georgia law.

    The Joint Transportation Committee heard from Commissioner Russell McMurry on GDOTs 10-year plan. Here is the power point presentation Commissioner McMurry made to the Committee. The biggest takeaway from the meeting is that the federal shutdown has impacted the letting of contracts by GDOT. GDOTs Obligation Authority is currently maxed out so they cannot advance fund projects. Congress must come to an agreement by this Friday, February 15th or there will be another government shutdown further delaying projects.

    Sully and I are continuing to discuss ways to properly fund the Secretary of States Professional Licensing Division and to increase the service and enforcement functions of the professional licensing boards. We are looking into administrative and legislative solutions as well as potential Constitutional Amendment opportunities. It is worth bringing to your attention that former Ways and Means Chair and current House Rules Chairman, Jay Powell (R-Camilla), has dropped HR 164, a Constitutional Amendment that would allow the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were originally imposed. This same bill passed the House last year by a vote of 166-1 and current Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan (who was then a member of the House), was an original cosponsor of that bill. It did not receive a hearing in the Senate last year. This years version has been assigned to the Ways and Means Committee and the Chair of Ways and Means is also a cosponsor of the bill. If this Constitutional Amendment were to pass, it would allow professional license fees to be dedicated to the licensing board. However, this would not take effect until 2021. We are continuing to look at more immediate solutions.

    Looking Ahead

    We have been working with ACCG to finalize language on a tweak to last years Procurement Registry legislation that would raise the threshold for advertising on the state registry from $10,000 to $100,000 and clarify when this is applicable. We expect Rep. Tom McCall (R-Elberton) will introduce this bill Monday.

    The House Education Academic Support Subcommittee will hear HB 1, Senator Eric Johnson Scholarship Act on Monday. The Bill would rename the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program to honor former State Senator Johnson.

    Pitchers and catchers report this week Go Braves!

    Other Legislation ACEC is following:

    HB 1 - By Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah) would rename Georgias existing Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act the Senator Eric Johnson Scholarship Act. Eric Johnson is a former state senator from Savannah who served as President Pro Tem of the Senate and is President of ACEC Georgia Member Firm, Hussey Gay Bell. A well-deserved honor for a great Georgian. STATUS: Assigned to the House Education Committee. In Academic Support Subcommittee Monday, February 11th.

    HB 3 By Rep. Matt Gurtler (R-Tiger) would repeal the $5 per night hotel/motel room fee for transportation that makes up a significant part of the revenue generated by the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170). While ACEC Georgia will oppose this bill, it is unlikely to even receive a hearing. STATUS: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.

    HB 22 By Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) the Rural Telephone Cooperative Act would allow Cooperative nonprofit corporations who currently provide telephone service in rural areas to also provide broadband services. STATUS: Passed out of the House Economic Development Committee. Pending in House Rules Committee.

    HB 23 By Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) would allow Electric Membership Corporations to provide broadband services. STATUS: Passed out of House Economic Development Committee. Rules Committee recommitted and will now be on House Floor Monday, February 11th.

    HB 30 FY19 Supplemental. STATUS: The full House passed on Friday, February 8, 2019 by a vote of 166-8.

    HB 31 FY20 Budget. STATUS: Assigned to House Appropriations Committee. Hearings begin this week.

    HB 36 Rep. Bob Trammell (D-Luthersville) HOPE Grant for students enrolled in TCSG colleges. STATUS: Assigned to House Higher Education Committee.

    HB 42 By Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) would prohibit professional licensing boards from refusing to issue a license, suspending or revoking the license of a person who is a borrower in default under an educational loan. STATUS: Referred to House Higher Education Committee, which heard the bill in Committee on Wednesday, February 6th, but no action was taken.

    HB 184 By Rep. Bret Harrell (R- Snellville) the negotiated Small Cell bill would allow 5G to be collocated on poles located in the city/county right of way. STATUS: Assigned to Economic Development.

    HB 200 By Rep. Don Hogan (R-St. Simons Island) exempts hotels operated by a 501(c)3 charitable tax-exempt organization (such as a religious denomination) from charging the $5 per night hotel/motel fee, which is a significant component of the revenue generated by The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170). STATUS: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.

    HR 37 By Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, would create a joint House/Senate Commission on Freight and Logistics. The goal of the Commission is to develop a state-wide comprehensive, strategic business plan for freight and rail to handle the increased import volume from the Port of Savannah. The Commission will also look at alternative freight routes and funding mechanisms. STATUS: Assigned to House Transportation Committee.

    HR 38 By Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) would create a House Study Committee on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Fields. STATUS: Assigned to House Special Rules Committee.

    HR 164 By Jay Powell (R- Camilla) Constitutional Amendment that would allow revenues derived from fees or taxes to be dedicated to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were imposed. This House passed an identical bill last year by a vote of 166-1 and now Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan was a cosponsor of that bill. It did not receive a hearing in the Senate last year. STATUS: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.

    SB 2 By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) would allow Electric Membership Corporations to provide broadband services. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

    SB 17 By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) the Rural Telephone Cooperative Act, would allow Cooperative nonprofit corporations who currently provide telephone service in rural areas to also provide broadband services. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

    SB 66 By Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) the negotiated Small Cell bill. Allow 5G to be collocated on poles located in the city/county right of way. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

    SR 19 By Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), Senate Transportation Chairman, would create a joint House/Senate Commission on Freight and Logistics. The goal of the Commission is to develop a state-wide comprehensive, strategic business plan for freight and rail to handle the increased import volume from the Port of Savannah. The Commission will also look at alternative freight routes and funding mechanisms. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee. Hearing on Tuesday, February 5th. Bill passed after altering the makeup of the Commission to include a designee from GMA and ACCG. Passed the Senate on Friday, February 8th by a vote of 54-0.

    SR 24 By Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), urging resolution. Urges Congress to block grant Federal Motor Fuels Taxes to the State. STATUS: Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee. Hearing was held on Tuesday, February 5th and the resolution was withdrawn for further study.




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