Gold Dome Report – Legislative Day 5 2022

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens addresses the Georgia House of Representatives on Monday. Photo: Georgia Public Broadcasting

The floors of the House and Senate were unusually active on Monday compared to a typical Fifth Legislative Day. Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) welcomed Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens to address his chamber amidst the ongoing debate around a proposed Buckhead City. Mayor Dickens reiterated his vision for Atlanta to be “one city with one bright future” and committed to a collaborative approach with legislators in running the state’s capital city and addressing crime. The Mayor then proceeded over to the Senate, where the reception was attentive if a bit more tepid.

The debate over elections also continued in earnest on the Senate floor. Members debated SR 363, Senator Butch Miller’s (R-Gainesville) proposal that would amend the Georgia Constitution to only allow citizens of the United States and residents of Georgia to register and vote in elections. The proposition, which would enshrine a requirement already codified in State law, failed to achieve the requisite two-thirds majority vote with a party line vote, 33 to 14.

More on Monday’s committee actions and Speaker Ralston’s committee leadership changes from last week in today’s #GoldDomeReport.

In this Report:

  • Speaker Appoints New Committee Chairs, Vice Chairs
  • Committee Reports
  • New Legislation
  • What’s Next

Speaker Appoints New Committee Chairs, Vice Chairs

As last week’s Joint Appropriations Hearings concluded, Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) announced a number of new committee leadership appointments. Although committee members and leaders are typically appointed at the beginning of each two-year biennium, it is not unusual for House and Senate leaders to elevate (and demote) committee chiefs midterm.

New committee chairs appointed include:

  • Representative Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton) – Creative Arts & Entertainment
  • Representative Houston Gaines (R-Athens) – Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment
  • Representative Stan Gunter (R-Cornelia) – Special Committee on Election Integrity
  • Representative John LaHood (R-Valdosta) – Code Revision
  • Representative Noel Williams (R-Cordele) – Banks & Banking Committee

New committee vice chairs include:

  • Representative Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton) – Rules
  • Representative Beth Camp (R-Concord) – Juvenile Justice
  • Representative Tyler Paul Smith (R-Bremen) – Judiciary Non-Civil
  • Representative Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) – Transportation

Committee Reports

Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee

The Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee met this morning and adopted its Rules for the session; these Rules are the same which were in place in 2021. The only bill on the agenda was HB 342, authored by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon). The legislation prohibits any plumbing entity from advertising its services unless the master plumber and journeyman holds a valid license. The changes for this requirement are added at O.C.G.A. 43-14-8(b)(3). The legislation received a DO PASS recommendation from the Committee and now moves to the Senate Rules Committee (LC 5002183). Note that this bill also passed in 2021 out of this Committee but never made it to the Senate Rules Calendar.

Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Brian Strickland (R-McDonough), met to consider the following measures:

  • SB 197, authored by Senator Kim Jackson (D-Pine Lake), amends Title 16 to adjust how the Criminal Code defines “stalking”. Specifically, the bill changes the definition so that stalking can include actions taken inside a victim’s residence.

Senator Jackson presented the bill to the Committee after Chairman Strickland noted that the bill passed out of the Committee last year. Mazie Lynn Guertin of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers spoke to the legislation, expressing appreciation for Senator Jackson’s collaboration but explaining they still cannot support the legislation. Judge Paige Whitaker of the Fulton County Superior Court and Georgia Commission on Family Violence spoke in favor of the legislation, noting that 47 other states already recognize stalking can be committed inside the home. The Committee took no action on the bill.

  • SB 332, authored by Senator John Albers (R-Alpharetta), is the “Inform Consumers Act”. The bill amends Title 10 to provide for certain disclosures by third-party high-volume sellers of consumer products on online marketplaces. Specifically, the bill requires online marketplaces to collect and verify third-party seller information and mirrors federal legislation on the topic.

Senator Albers presented the bill to the Committee, explaining that it is directed at organized retail crime. He noted that this legislation puts similar information recording requirements on third-party marketplaces as those on pawn shops and metal buyers. Stephen Loftin of the Georgia Retail Association spoke in favor of the bill, noting that it has been adopted in one other state and similar bills have been introduced in 20 other states. CVS, The Home Depot, Walgreens, Walmart, and the Georgia Food Industry Association appeared in support of the legislation; and Amazon.com and eBay appeared and urged support for federal legislation on these topics. The Cobb Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter in support of the bill.

The Committee unanimously recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

House Rules Committee

The House Rules Committee, chaired by Representative Richard Smith (R-Columbus), met for a hearing only on Rep. Beth Camp’s (R-Concord) HR 39. The legislation, if passed, would align Georgia with four other states for a convention of state. The appointed convention delegates would create term limits for US Congressional members. With no vote held, the resolution remains in the Rules Committee.

New Legislation

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

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H.B.919

State government; require state agencies to provide an entrepreneurship impact statement for each rule to be adopted, amended, or repealed

GA Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick (D-GA-093)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61145

H.B.920

Income tax; revise tax credit for certain investments to be limited to investments in entrepreneurship programs, centers, and initiatives

GA Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick (D-GA-093)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61146

H.B.923

Local government; development authorities; cap the per diem allowance available to directors

GA Rep. Mary Oliver (D-GA-082)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61151

H.B.924

Local government; participate in annexation dispute resolution process; provisions

GA Rep. Mary Oliver (D-GA-082)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61153

H.B.929

Solitary Confinement Limitation Act; enact

GA Rep. Shelly Hutchinson (D-GA-107)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61165

H.B.932

Education; noncitizen students with certain refugee, special immigrant, or humanitarian parole status under federal law are classified as in-state for tuition purposes; provide

GA Rep. Wesley "Wes" Cantrell (R-GA-022)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61168

H.R.581

General Assembly; net proceeds of one or more lottery games to support economic development; authorize - CA

GA Rep. Yasmin Neal (D-GA-074)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61155

H.R.590

Opening Doors to Recovery stakeholders; commend

GA Rep. Don Hogan (R-GA-179)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61186

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

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S.B.337

Public Officers; suspension of compensation because of indictment for a felony; provide

GA Sen. Larry Walker (R-GA-020)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61147

S.B.338

Medicaid; postpartum coverage under Medicaid from six months to one year following birth; increase

GA Sen. Dean Burke (R-GA-011)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61152

S.B.339

'Green Call Act'; enact

GA Sen. Kay "Kay" Kirkpatrick (R-GA-032)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61157

S.B.340

Hospital Authorities and Designated Teaching Hospitals; definitions; revise

GA Sen. Kay "Kay" Kirkpatrick (R-GA-032)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61150

S.B.341

Healthcare Services; guidelines for the prior authorization of a prescribed medication for chronic conditions requiring ongoing medication therapy; provide

GA Sen. Kay "Kay" Kirkpatrick (R-GA-032)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61156

S.B.342

Insurance; annual reporting regarding mental health parity in healthcare plans; provide

GA Sen. Kay "Kay" Kirkpatrick (R-GA-032)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61158

S.B.345

State Government; state and local governments from mandating vaccine passports; prohibit

GA Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-GA-053)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61178

S.B.348

Municipal Corporation; deannexation of territory from an existing municipal corporation so as to incorporate a new municipal corporation; prohibit

GA Sen. Jennifer "Jen" Jordan (D-GA-006)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61193

S.R.370

Easterseals Georgia and Champions for Children Program; recognize

GA Sen. Dean Burke (R-GA-011)

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/61159

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What’s Next

The General Assembly will reconvene for Legislative Day 6 on Tuesday, January 25, at 10AM.

The Mental Health Caucus will meet Tuesday, January 25th at 1PM in 341 CAP.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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