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Legislative Update: Governor has 40 days to sign or veto


Last Wednesday, March 31 the legislature completed legislative day 40, the final day of the 2021 session, known as Sine Die.  As Georgia has a two-year session cycle, any bill that doesn’t pass can be revisited during the next legislative session in 2022.

Governor Kemp has 40 days to sign or veto legislation that passed both chambers and moved to his desk. He is not required to sign bills and resolutions in order for them to go into law, so unless vetoed, each piece of legislation that reaches the Governor will go into law.

House Bill 112: Extension for COVID Liability Protections
Bill Sponsors:
 Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) & Senator Brian Strickland (R-McDonough)
GSEC Position: Support
Status: HB 112 passed the House by a vote of 99 – 68 on Feb. 9, followed by a vote of 36-17 in the Senate on March 18. The bill was sent to the Governor on March 17th.
Overview: HB 112 is an extension of liability relief for healthcare providers, facilities, and businesses that was originally passed in 2020 as  SB 359 and is currently scheduled to sunset on July 14, 2021.  HB 112 extends liability protections for an additional year until July 14, 2022.
House Bill 479: Repeal of Citizen Arrest Law  
Bill Sponsor in House: Bert Reeves (R-Marietta)  
Bill Sponsor in Senate: Bill Cowsert (R- Athens)
GSEC Position: Monitoring
Status:  On Monday, March 29, HB 479 was amended and passed the Senate by a  52-1 vote.  The House agreed to the Senate change and adopted the measure by a unanimous vote marking final passage.  HB 479 moves onto the Governor for his consideration.
Overview: HB 479 repeals Georgia’s antiquated citizen’s arrest law authored in 1863.  It would revise the grounds for arrest and detainment by a private citizen, but also provides a shopkeeper’s exemption for retail, food-service establishments across the state as well as their agents and employees, and protections for citizens on their personal property.
Senate Bill 6: Omnibus Tax Legislation
GSEC Position: Under Consideration
Bill Sponsor in the Senate: John Albers (R-Roswell)
Bill Sponsor in the House: Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire)

Status: On March 31 the Senate adopted the SB 6 Conference Report 52-0 and the House adopted the report 146-25. The legislation is now available for the Governor’s consideration.
Overview: SB 6 is an omnibus piece of tax legislation negotiated in a conference committee on March 31.  The final bill contained provisions from Chamber supported HB 586including extension of the sunset date for sales tax exemption on personal property in relation to regionally significant projects, the addition of a tax exemption towards museum tickets or tickets to fine arts events, extension of a tax exemption for concrete mixing while in transit, and extension of the sales tax cap on certain boat purchases.  It also contained provisions from Chamber supported HB 587 including extending tax credits to medical equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturers and fine-tuning existing tax credits to fit our current needs for business recruitment, defense, and transportation.   Additionally, the omnibus legislation provided for the auditing of preferential tax laws and added a reporting requirement for companies using a technology purchasing sales tax carve-out.
Note: Check out this “Legislative Lingo” video to learn more about omnibus bills, Christmas Tree bills, and the other forms legislation like SB 6 can take, by 2020 Friend of Film, Rep. Teri Anulewicz.

Senate Bill 157: Fair Business Practices Act of 1975
GSEC Position: Monitoring
Bill Sponsor in Senate: Bill Cowsert (R- Athens)
Bill Sponsor in House: Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) 
Status: SB 157 passed the House Creative Arts & Entertainment Committee on March 22, was eligible to be put on the Rules calendar for a floor vote in the House. SB 157 was voted on by the House but will still be eligible for passage in the 2022 legislative session.

Overview: SB 157 relates to the  “Fair Business Practices Act of 1975,” so as to prohibit the deceptive practice of musical performance groups advertising and appearing as the recording group without the recording group’s permission or denoting that it is a salute or tribute performance; to provide for definitions; to specify violations; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Senate Bill 202: Elections and Primaries; persons or entities that mail absentee ballot applications shall mail such applications only to eligible registered electors 
Bill Sponsor in the Senate: Max Burns (R-Sylvania)
Bill Sponsor in the House: Barry Fleming (R-Harlem)
Status: SB 202 passed the Senate on March 25 with a vote of 34-20, and was signed into law by Governor Kemp that evening.  The law will go into effect immediately.

Overview:  Relating to elections and primaries generally, so as to provide that persons or entities that mail absentee ballot applications shall mail such applications only to eligible registered electors who have not already requested, been issued, or voted an absentee ballot; to require certain comparisons to remove improper names from mail distribution lists; to provide for sanctions for violations; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
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