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Gold Dome Report - Legislative Day 40 (2024)
Friday, March 29, 2024

Legislative Day 40 is a roller coaster, full of ups, downs, and zero gravity turns (also known as conference committee reports). One goes from celebrating a bill achieving final passage to lamenting a measure being gutted — all in the course of five minutes.

Much like a year ago, the final legislative day was punctuated by frenzies of floor activity followed by open-ended pauses, inexplicable to outside observers but likely driven by the quickly shifting tides of legislative negotiations and jockeying between House and Senate leaders. The result was lots of activity during the day but also lots of legislation left on the cutting room floor when the gavels fell at nearly 1 a.m. Still, legislators fulfilled their constitutional duty of passing a budget for Fiscal Year 2025 in addition to several (but not all) of House and Senate leaders’ signature measures. And while we salute those legislators celebrating their last adjournment sine die and retiring this year, our team looks forward to picking up with the unfinished business here with you on January 13, 2025. 

In this Report:

  • Floor Notes
  • Committee Reports
  • What’s Next

Floor Notes

The following notes detail floor actions in the House and Senate on Legislative Day 40. Note that measures passing either chamber may not have achieved final passage due to unreconciled differences between the chambers. Click the link on each bill or resolution of interest to access the legislative action history to determine if the measure achieved final passage or died for lack of agreement.

The House took up the following on Legislative Day 40:

  • HR 1066 - Iranian people; desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Republic of Iran; express support - PASSED 164-0
  • HR 1229 - United States Department of Veterans Affairs; additional resources for elder care, nursing home access, and expanded disabled residential programs; urge; provide - PASSED 170-0
  • HR 1435 - Economic Development, Department of; support Vince Dooley Battlefield Preservation Fund; urge - PASSED 170-0
  • SB 12 - "Protecting Victims and Dismantling Georgia Street Gangs Act"; enact - PASSED 168-1
  • SB 36 - Pimping and Pandering; penalty provisions; increase - PASSED 154-0
  • SB 76 - State Employees' Health Insurance Plan; state health benefit plans to cover insulin medication at a reduced rate; provide - PASSED 155-3
  • SB 105 - Public School Employees Retirement System; the minimum and maximum allowable benefit multiplier for current and future retirees; revise - PASSED 163-0
  • SB 138 - Office of Sheriff; procedure for filling vacancies; revise - PASSED 169-1
  • SB 157 - Professions and Businesses; preclearance process in the licensing of individuals with criminal records who make an application to or are investigated by certain licensing boards and commissions; create - PASSED 149-16
  • SB 189 - Elections; text portions of ballots shall be counted for vote tabulation and recounts purposes; provide - PASSED 101-73
  • SB 198 - Georgians with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Innovation Commission; create - PASSED 165-0
  • SB 203 - "Trucking Opportunity Act of 2023"; enact - PASSED 168-0
  • SB 237 - Georgia Student Finance Authority; student loan repayment for peace officers; provide - PASSED 169-1
  • SB 347 - Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit; additional judge of the superior courts; provide - PASSED 166-0
  • SB 349 - Ad Valorem Taxation of Property; setting of millage rates; revise provisions - PASSED 170-1
  • SB 351 - "Protecting Georgia's Children on Social Media Act of 2024"; enact - PASSED 120-45
  • SB 494 - 'Georgia Hemp Farming Act'; hemp products; regulate - PASSED 168-3
  • SB 495 - Low THC Oil Patient Registry; term of validity of a registration card; provide - PASSED 170-0
  • SB 512 - Victims of Human Trafficking Fund and the Victims of Human Trafficking Fund Commission; create - PASSED 166-0
  • SB 542 - Water Rights; the public trust doctrine; remove references - PASSED 175-0
  • SR 82 - Tax Commissioner; waive certain delinquent ad valorem property taxes; procedures and conditions; provide - CA - PASSED 1701
  • SR 158 - Northwest Georgia Logistics Corridor; designate as an official logistics growth corridor in Georgia - PASSED 171-0
  • SR 189 - General Assembly; development impact fees for educational purposes; provide - CA - FAILED 88-84, RECONSIDERED
  • SR 583 - Dr. Robert F. Sullivan Memorial Highway; Franklin County; dedicate - PASSED 171-0
  • SR 609 - Princess Trahlyta; dedicate a roundabout in her memory - PASSED 169-0

The House also approved the following study committees:

  • HR 473 - House Study Committee on Safety and Consumer Protection in the Tree Care Industry; create - PASSED 169-1
  • HR 1135 - House Study Committee on Credit Card Fee on State Sales and Excise Tax and Their Impact on Georgia Merchants and Consumers; create - PASSED 164-3
  • HR 1166 - House Study Committee on the Exchange, Storage, and Bond Coverage of Agricultural Products, Grain, and Livestock; create - PASSED 162-0
  • HR 1283 - House Study Committee on Safety and Consumer Protection of Nicotine Vapor Products; create - PASSED 171-0
  • HR 1360 - House Study Committee on Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Management; create - PASSED 170-0
  • HR 1384 - House Study Committee on Assessing the Semester and Quarter Systems at USG and TCSG Institutions; create - PASSED 171-0
  • HR 1432 - House Disaster Mitigation and Resilience Study Committee; create - PASSED 152-16
  • HR 1498 - House Study Committee on Private Water Systems; create - PASSED 166-0
  • HR 1554 - House Study Committee on Navigable Streams and Related Matters; create - PASSED 167-0

The House was expected to take action on the following measures on their Rules Calendars but failed to do so before adjournment sine die:

  • SB 69 - Honorable Clarence Thomas; placement of a monument in his honor within the capitol building or grounds; provide
  • SB 208 - 'Georgia Development Impact Fee Act'; provide for fees for education
  • SB 507 - Special License Plates; "America First" specialty license plate; establish
  • SB 543 - Bingo; certain provisions relating to bingo games operated by nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations; change

The Senate took up the following on Legislative Day 40:

  • HB 82 - Income tax; limit eligibility for rural physician tax credit to physicians who qualify on or before December 31, 2023 - PASSED 53-1
  • HB 218 - Evidence; sexual assault hearsay for disabled adults and 17 year olds; provide - PASSED 53-1
  • HB 279 - Insurance; discount for property owners who build a new property that better resists tornado, hurricane, or other catastrophic windstorm events; provide - PASSED 51-1
  • HB 282 - Quality Basic Education Act; minimum course study in career readiness education for students in grades six through twelve; provide - PASSED 33-22
  • HB 300 - Solar Technology Trust Fund; fund within state treasury; establish - PASSED 52-2
  • HB 384 - Insurance; annual notification by insurers to male insureds of coverage for prostate-specific antigen tests; provide - PASSED 49-3
  • HB 409 - Local government; authorize local authorities to dispose of real property in the same manner as county governing authorities - PASSED 49-3
  • HB 500 - Crimes and offenses; offense of arson of law enforcement vehicle; provide - PASSED 36-18
  • HB 617 - Highways, bridges, and ferries; development and maintenance of a state-wide freight and logistics implementation plan; provide - PASSED 45-1
  • HB 825 - Judicial Retirement System; require certain counties to supplement retirement benefits paid to the circuit's superior court judges and district attorneys; require - PASSED 44-9
  • HB 872 - Medical professionals; rural assistance; expand service cancelable loan program for health care providers to include dental students - PASSED 47-2
  • HB 905 - Zoning procedures; provisions authorizing administrative officers to exercise zoning powers; repeal - PASSED 35-20
  • HB 926 - Second Chance Workforce Act; enact - PASSED 51-1
  • HB 970 - Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Scholarship; victims of human trafficking are eligible; provide - PASSED 53-0
  • HB 977 - Elections; number of contests subject to risk-limiting audits; expand - PASSED 50-0
  • HB 1019 - Revenue and taxation; statewide homestead exemption from certain ad valorem taxes; increase - PASSED 54-0
  • HB 1021 - Income tax; increase amount of dependent exemption - PASSED 50-0
  • HB 1049 - Insurance Business Transfer Act; enact - PASSED 49-0
  • HB 1073 - Local government; zoning; repeal additional hearing and notice provisions regarding halfway houses, drug rehabilitation centers, or other facilities for treatment of drug dependency - PASSED 42-12
  • HB 1146 - Natural Resources, Department of; EPD to issue water permits to private companies in areas where no public service can be provided within a period of 12 months; require - PASSED 32-22
  • HB 1170 - Public Health, Department of; require certain state government buildings, courthouses, and university buildings maintain and make accessible opioid antagonists - PASSED 32-19
  • HB 1231 - Postsecondary education; allow academically successful students to use the full number of hours of HOPE scholarship eligibility - PASSED 51-0
  • HB 1253 - Community Affairs, Department of; revise composition of governing council for regional commissions - PASSED 32-22
  • HB 1292 - Property; clerks of superior courts obtain photographic identification cards of individuals who present deeds or other instruments for recording; require - PASSED 51-2
  • HB 1407 - Local government; establishing service delivery strategies; revise provisions - PASSED 46-3
  • HB 1409 - Torts; mental health care providers; limit liability under certain circumstances - PASSED 40-14
  • HR 854 - Keith Jackson Memorial Intersection "Whoa Nellie"; Carroll County; dedicate - PASSED 53-0
  • HR 1164 - Honorable Richard H. Smith Memorial Interchange; Muscogee County; dedicate - PASSED 52-0
  • HR 1215 - Speaker David E. Ralston Interstate Connector; Fannin County; dedicate - PASSED 52-1

The Senate was expected to take action on the following measures lying on the table but failed to do so before adjournment sine die:

  • HB 53 - State Board of Registration for Foresters; independent state agency; provisions
  • HB 101 - Income tax; change certain definitions
  • HB 231 - Prosecuting Attorneys Oversight Commission; create
  • HB 264 - Revenue and taxation; handling of appeals of property tax assessments; revise certain deadlines and procedures
  • HB 362 - Insurance; benefit provider to disclose certain payments to a treating healthcare provider; provide
  • HB 434 - Georgia Composite Medical Board; licensing for radiologist assistants; provide
  • HB 546 - Georgia Pharmacy Practice Act; pharmacy care; revise definition
  • HB 814 - Income tax credit; certain manufacturing and telecommunications facilities; qualified investment property; revise definition
  • HB 881 - Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission; standards of conduct and rules; provisions
  • HB 957 - Water, ports and watercraft; penalties for failing to remove abandoned vessel; revise
  • HB 971 - Firearm Safe Handling and Secure Storage Tax Credit Act; enact
  • HB 976 - Elections; ballots used in optical scan voting systems shall use paper with a visible watermark security feature; provide
  • HB 1096 - Professional licensing boards; continuing education tracking solution to monitor compliance of licensees with applicable continuing education requirements; establish
  • HB 1182 - Income tax; low-income housing tax credits; revise
  • HB 1260 - Georgia Nicotine Vapor Products Directory Act; enact
  • HB 1283 - Juvenile code; use of deadly weapon; revise provisions
  • HB 1330 - Mableton Development Authority Act; enact
  • HB 1371 - Torts; clarify liability regarding third-party criminal activity; provisions
  • HR 96 - Ad valorem tax; rate reduction for sale or harvest of timber; provide - CA
  • HR 804 - Local government; temporary loans are payable from end of calendar year to 12 months of initial funding date; change date - CA

Committee Reports

House Ways and Means Committee

Chaired by Representative Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire), the House Ways and Means Committee met Wednesday morning to discuss the following measures:

  • SR 82, authored by Senator Carden Summers (R-Cordele), is a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the tax commissioner to waive delinquent ad valorem property taxes, penalties, and interest to utilize non-revenue-generating and tax-delinquent property. The underlying measure was removed and replaced with HR 96, authored by Representative Noel Williams, Jr. (R-Cordele). This resolution also creates a constitutional amendment to revise the severance tax on harvested timber. It would allow for reimbursement to counties for any reduction in lost revenue. The measure includes a cap and will sunset after 10 years. The substitute measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

House Higher Education Committee

Chairman Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) called the House Higher Education Committee to order Wednesday afternoon for a HEARING ONLY to discuss the following measures:

  • SB 390, authored by Senator Larry Walker (R-Perry), amends Titles 20, 36, 43, and 50. The measure seeks to prohibit funds from being spent on materials provided by the American Library Association. A new Substitute was presented. The changes include adding specificity for the current president in line 23, removing privately donated funds on lines 48 and 87, and, in section 2, removing any affiliates. The author was favorable to these changes. Representative Jasmine Clark (D-Lilburn) highlighted another location where affiliates are still in the measure and expressed concern.
  • SR 579, authored by Senator Bill Cowsert (R-Athens), is the constitutional amendment to SB 386. This measure would create a statewide referendum asking Georgia voters if the Constitution should be amended to allow for sports betting and proceeds to be spent on education (80%), responsible gaming (15%), and sports promotion (5%). A new substitute was presented, which created a cap of the dedicated, responsible gaming fund at $150 million once the total revenue exceeds $1 billion. The Lottery Corporation would continue to oversee these funds. Representative Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville) offered an amendment so that revenue would be allocated as follows: 95% for education (35% to citizens with household income below the median income to attack a needs-based scholarship, 35% to citizens from rural Georgia population below the average county population, and 25% to fund voluntary pre-K) and 5% for gaming addiction.
  • SB 386, authored by Senator Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett), amends Title 50 and is the enabling legislation to SR 579. The measure seeks to codify sports betting upon approval of the statewide referendum. The Substitute includes changes in the definition of adjusted gross income to be taxable income that does not include winnings paid out to bettors, including the cash value of merchandise awarded as winnings. It increases the privilege tax rate from 20% to 25% on adjusted gross income. The Department of Revenue asked the author for a wording change, which is included. There is added language to strengthen problem gaming and reduce the risk of black market gambling. The newer version also has clean up language for the definition of motorsports to ensure the Atlanta Motor Speedway would receive a tethered license and to ensure those applying for licenses have “clean records” and no affiliation to an entity ineligible for a license.

Early Thursday morning, the committee reconvened to discuss these measures and amendments. SR 579 and SB 386 received a DO PASS recommendation with opposition. SR 579 included an amendment to enhance problem gaming language and to revise the revenue allocation. Of the first $150 million, 15% will be allocated to the Responsible Gaming Fund, and 85% will be allocated to voluntary pre-K. Any revenue over $150 million will go to the uses specified in the constitution and legislation for the Lottery Corporation.

What’s Next

The General Assembly adjourned sine die and will reconvene for the 2025 Legislative Session on Monday, January 13, 2025.

See our coverage of Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14Day 15Day 16Day 17Day 18Day 19Day 20Day 21Day 22Day 23Day 24Day 25Day 26Day 27Day 28Day 29Day 30Day 31, the Committee Work Day, the Crossover DayDay 32Day 33Day 34, Day 35, Day 36, Day 37, Day 38, and Day 39.

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