Georgia Lesiglative Updates for March 9, 2022

Betty Q. Hixson

Although the House and Senate took up a number of measures throughout the day, money matters drew the attention of most lawmakers and lobbyists under the Gold Dome on Wednesday. After approving a measure to reduce Georgia’s income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.25% and reworking the personal exemption regime (HB 1437), the House turned to spending tax dollars, taking up and signing off on a compromise version of the Amended FY22 Budget (HB 910). The compromise, reached with Senate budget writers outside of the typical conference committee process, reflects $3.08 billion in additional spending from the original $30.3 billion budget passed last year, an 11.3% increase driven by record-setting revenue collections throughout FY22. While the House agreed with most of the Senate’s proposed changes, an increased revenue estimate released by the Governor’s Office on March 3 allowed for allocators to, among other things, double the $1,000 one-time salary supplements proposed for school bus drivers, nutrition workers, nurses, part-time employees to $2,000 (full-time instructional staff and administration were already allocated $2,000) and fund additional one-time expenses. Overall, the Amended FY22 spending plan, which is expected to receive final approval in the Senate later this week, includes more than $900 million in new, one-time capital expenses and more than $950 million in salary increases for state employees and educators.

But don’t stop following the money quite yet–the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to convene at 7AM on Thursday to discuss its plans for the FY23 State Budget. 

Floor Action

The House of Representatives took up the following measures on Wednesday:

  • HB 849 – Domestic relations; add human resources personnel and supervisory personnel in a workplace that employs minors as mandatory reporters for child abuse – PASSED (160-0)

  • HB 884 – Professions and businesses; expedited licenses for military spouses; provisions – PASSED (164-0)

  • HB 1043 – Georgia Endowment for Teaching Professionals; create – PASSED (157-4)

  • HB 1279 – Controlled substances; certain persons to carry prescription medications in a compartmentalized container; authorize – PASSED (164-0)

  • HB 1280 – Revenue and taxation; county tax commissioner duties; revise provisions – PASSED (161-0)

  • HB 1295 – Quality Basic Education Act; group of performance evaluation ratings; remove needs development rating – PASSED (159-4)

  • HB 1351 – Community Health, Department of; pharmacy benefits management for Medicaid program; provide – PASSED (162-0)

  • HB 1357 – Professional Standards Commission; standards and procedures for certification programs; provisions – PASSED (161-0)

  • HB 1371 – Rural Health Advancement Commission; create – PASSED (156-4)

  • HB 1372 – Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act; revise provisions and short title – PASSED (160-0)

  • HB 1381 – Local government; water and sewer authority board members to complete yearly continuing training courses; require – PASSED (155-0)

  • HB 1383 – Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978; hearing before an administrative law judge; provide – PASSED (156-0)

  • HB 1385 – Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office; revise annexation reporting requirements – PASSED (158-0)

  • HB 1396 – Georgia Municipal Court Clerks’ Council; create PASSED (162-2)

  • HB 1406 – Zoning; changes to ordinances that revise single-family residential classifications; provide additional notice and hearing provisions – PASSED (110-51)

  • HB 1437 – Income tax; revise rates of taxation on income – PASSED (115-52)

  • HB 1455 – Georgia Ports Authority; provide for powers of authority – PASSED (159-1)

  • HR 920 – Invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation; condemn – PASSED (166-0)

The Senate took up the following measures on Wednesday:

  • SB 203 – Motor Vehicles; use of mounts on windshields for support of wireless telecommunications devices and stand-alone electronic devices; allow – FAILED (14-35)

  • SB 333 – Education;agents and agent’s permits; to repeal definitions of such terms; provisions; remove – PASSED (49-0)

  • SB 371 – Fraud; for-profit credit repair services; authorize – TABLED

  • SB 510 – Motor Vehicle; operation of motor vehicles by Class D license holders with certain passengers in the vehicle; remove a restriction – TABLED

  • SB 562 – Department of Administrative Services; companies owned or operated by Russia to bid on or submit a proposal for a state contract; prohibit – PASSED (53-0)

  • SR 565 – Northwest Georgia Logistics Corridor; official logistics growth corridor in Georgia; designate – PASSED (49-0)

Committee Reports

House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee

Chairman Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) called the Committee meeting to order to discuss two measures:

  • HR 842, Representative Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock), proposes a Constitutional Amendment to increase the salary of legislators. This resolution would increase legislative salaries to equal 60% of the median household income in Georgia, roughly $70,000. If passed, this would add a ballot question to the General Election in November. Representative Josh McLaurin (D-Sandy Springs) motioned to amend the 60% to ⅔ to align with the study from which the bill originated. The motion passed, and the resolution received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • HR 894, Representative Beth Camp (R-Concord), proposes a Constitutional Amendment to alter how unanticipated federal funding is allocated. For example, ARPA and CARES act funding would fall into this category. Currently, these funds are allocated by the Governor. The Georgia Constitution says that the General Assembly will appropriate all funds. This measure creates a $100 million threshold so that any unanticipated funds $100 million or more could not be appropriated by the Governor, the General Assembly would have to disburse those funds according to the federal guidelines. The measure also includes a provision stating that the Assembly will be able to appropriate “some or all of such funds.” This caused some confusion on emergencies as it relates to FEMA Funds. Many legislators also disagreed over the threshold and felt that the House should appropriate all funds. No amendments were made, and the resolution received a DO PASS recommendation.

New Legislation

The following legislation of interest has been introduced in the House:


The following legislation of interest has been introduced in the Senate:


What’s Next

The General Assembly is in adjournment on Thursday and will reconvene for Legislative Day 27 on Friday, March 11 at 10AM.

The House is expected to consider the following propositions on Legislative Day 27:

  • HB 689 – Georgia Crime Information Center; persons who are victims of an offense of trafficking may petition the clerk of court to have sealed certain criminal history record information; provide

  • HB 725 – Council on American Indian Concerns; revise membership

  • HB 839 – Mableton, City of; incorporate

  • HB 895 – Criminal procedure; restrictions of the disclosure of personal information of nonsworn employees; provisions

  • HB 934 – Sales and use tax; special district mass transportation; local government; provisions

  • HB 1232 – Motor vehicles; temporary license plates and operating permits; revise terminology

  • HB 1343 – Military; requirement of adjutant general to publish personal information of commissioned officers of the organized militia; eliminate

  • HB 1391 – Criminal procedure; compensation for public defenders and assistant public defenders; revise

  • HB 1409 – Labor and industrial relations; workers’ compensation benefits; change certain provisions

  • HB 1433 – Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; revise and update composition of advisory board

  • HB 1438 – Transportation, Department of; meetings for election of board members; amend notice provisions

  • HB 1452 – Domestic relations; dating violence protective orders; revise a definition

  • HB 1453 – Crimes and offenses; access to medical cannabis; revise provisions

The Senate is expected to consider the following propositions on Legislative Day 27:

  • SB 54 – Child Custody Proceedings; judicial discretion in determining the right of a surviving parent; when such surviving parent is criminally charged with the murder or voluntary manslaughter of the other parent; provide

  • SB 339 – ‘Green Call Act’; enact

  • SB 357 – Military Student Transfers; military students with the discretion to select adjacent school districts for attendance; provide

  • SB 359 – “Safe and Secure Georgia Act”; enact

  • SB 377 – State Government; take measures to prevent the use of curricula or training programs which act upon, promote, or encourage certain concepts, with exceptions; require state agencies

  • SB 378 – Reckless Conduct; definition of hazing; expand

  • SB 519 – Solicitors-General of State Courts: honorary office of solicitor-general emeritus; provide

  • SB 534 – State Government; certain procedural requirements and considerations for the adoption of rules by state agencies that are applicable to charitable organizations; provide

  • SB 586 – Road Projects; the use of the design-build contracting method by counties; authorize

  • SB 603 – Public School Property and Facilities; an outdoor learning spaces pilot program; provide


Copyright ©2022 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 68

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