Legislative Bulletin

Every effort has been made to be accurate and complete in our descriptions of the contents of each act, but we caution you to rely solely on the acts themselves and not on the summaries in this or any report. Seek appropriate counsel when needed.

HB 27 - Foreclosure Debt Repayment

Rep. Billy Mitchell (Stone Mountain)

This bill seeks to provide the opportunity to an individual to pay all past payments, fees, charges, etc.  Prior to foreclosure, a debtor could bring the debt current by making all past due payments, fees, charges, etc. to the creditor up to five days before the sale of the property.

Status: House Judiciary Committee

HB 55 - Term Limits for Licensing Board Members

Rep. Rick Williams (Milledgeville)

This bill provides restrictions for any member of any Georgia professional licensing board to be limited to eight consecutive years on that board.

Status: House Regulated Industries Committee

HB 59 - Historic Tax Credit Provisions

Rep. Ron Stephens (Savannah)

This bill revises the tax credit structure established for the rehabilitation of historic structures.  The $5 million dollar cap per year per individual certified structure is removed.  The prohibition of multiple applications over 120 months is removed.  Resale of gifted and/or purchased tax credits for an individual certified structure will now be permitted.

Status: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 66 - Wire Transfer Fee

Rep. Jeff Jones (Brunswick)

This bill seeks to apply a fee to wire transferring of out-of-state funds. A Georgia citizen would be reimbursed the fee on their taxes at year’s end.  This bill would exempt certain transactions, but does not currently provide an exemption for real estate transactions.

Status: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 85 - Forest Land Fair Market Value

Rep. Jay Powell (Camilla)

This bill would amend the appraisal process for forest land conservation values and establish a data bank.
If passed, this act would not become effective until January 1, 2019.

Status: House - PASSED; Senate Finance Committee

HB 89 - Income Tax Credit – Emerging Businesses

Rep Dar’shun Kendrick (Lithonia)

This bill would provide additional income tax credits to certain small businesses in emerging markets and technology.

Status: House Ways and Means Committee

HR 51 - Forest Land Fair Market Value

Rep. Jay Powell (Camilla)

This resolution proposes the constitutional amendment necessary to implement the changes as described within HB 85 which seeks to provide a sales data bank and would amend the appraisal process for forest land conservation values.

Status: House - PASSED; Senate Finance Committee

SB 2 - FAST Act

Sen. Mike Dugan (Carrollton)

This bill seeks to reduce regulatory burdens by publishing a timeline and any expediting fees for business licenses and certain permits.  A 10% reduction of the fee would be assessed if the timeline is not met.  Expedited processing of a license could be requested with a fee of up to twice the original cost assessed by the municipality.  Provisional licenses would be granted to individuals from states with guidelines similar to those of Georgia while the review process is being conducted.  The Department of Community Affairs would provide a transparency score for all municipalities.

Status: Senate - PASSED; House Small Business Development Committee

SB 22 - Campaign Contribution Restrictions

Sen. Josh McKoon (Columbus)

This bill restricts campaign contributions by prohibiting any company that receives more than $50,000 in contracts annually with state or local agencies from making any contribution to a candidate for the office responsible for awarding those contracts.  This includes pending contracts, as well.  

Status: Senate Ethics Committee

SB 27 - Property Condemnation Compensation

Sen. Josh McKoon (Columbus)

This bill provides an additional avenue to recovery of expenses upon appeal of property condemnation for transportation purposes.  A judgment in favor of the condemnee’s appeal would now include the additional sum of attorney’s fees, expenses of litigation, investigation expenses, expert witness fees, and other expenses which relate to the preparation for trial upon the judgment in favor of the condemnee.

Status: Senate Transportation Committee

HB 194 - Zoning and School Systems

Rep. Todd Jones (South Forsyth)

Currently, local government may consider the local system in a zoning request. This bill will make that consideration mandatory.

Status: House Government Affairs Committee

HB 203 - Condo Breach of Restrictive Covenants

Rep. Brian Strickland (McDonough)

This bill would affect a condo’s ability to extend the existing covenants to include expansions and additions to the development.

Status: House - PASSED; Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 204 - Property Tax & Non-Tax Fees

Rep. Brett Harrell (Snellville)

This bill would create a separation of property tax bills from any other nontax related fees or assessments.  Storm-water service fees and solid waste service fees are examples of such fees, but the bill is not limited to these examples.  Multiple billings in the same mailing would be permitted.

Status: Senate Finance Committee

HB 211 - Homestead Exemption Increase

Rep. Beth Beskin (Atlanta)

This bill would increase the Homestead Exemption annual credit from $2,000 to $2,500 in certain areas.  

A taxpayer would be eligible for this credit if that individual owns, and occupies, a home located within the district of an elementary school that is within the lowest 5% of academic achievement as defined by Department of Education and/or Office of Student Achievement.

Status: House Ways & Means Committee

HB 271 - Shoreline Protection

Rep. Jesse Petrea (Savannah)

This bill revises the Shore Protection Act of 1979.  Currently, structures built before 1979 and 20ft tall trees are used to outline protected areas.  This creates an extremely cumbersome explanation of ‘protected’ and non-protected areas that can change regularly based on the removal/addition of trees. New conditional options will include a 25ft buffer line from the most inward sand dune, a shoreline project, or ordinary high water mark.

Status: Senate Natural Resources and Environment

HB 281 - GA Tenant Protection Act

Rep. Scott Holcomb (Atlanta)

This bill seeks to provide the ability for an individual to break a lease in cases of domestic violence, stalking, and harassment.  With the signature of a qualified third party as defined, an individual would be able to immediate terminate an existing lease. The defined qualified third party are: law enforcement, health care providers, employees of a court of the state, licensed mental health professionals, employees of any victim assistance program, and members of the clergy.

Status: House Judiciary Committee

HB302 - Millage Rate Notice

Rep. Randy Nix (LaGrange)

This bill seeks to modify the current notice format by deleting the heading “PROPERTY TAX INCREASE” and replacing it with a new heading that states “PROPOSED MILLAGE RATE.”  This bill would also remove other instances within the current notice format that specifically state ‘property tax increase’ and insert ‘the proposed millage rate.’

Status: House Ways & Means Committee

HB325 - Property Tax – Income Approach

Rep. Ron Stephens (Savannah) (Savannah)

This bill seeks to give the property owner an option to supply actual income and expense data to be considered in determining the fair market value of income producing property.  Currently, if that data is available, it is automatically considered.

Status: House - PASSED; Senate Finance Committee

HB 381 - Abandoned Mobile Home Act

Rep. John Corbett (Lake Park)

This bill defines ‘Abandoned mobile home’ as a mobile home that has been left vacant by all tenants for at least 90 days without notice to the landowner and there is evidence of: Failure to pay rent or fees for 90 days; Removal of most or all personal belongings; Cancellation of insurance; Termination of utility services; or a risk to public health, safety, welfare, or the environment.  At the request of a landowner, a mobile home can be inspected by an appointed local government official to determine the state of the mobile home as ‘intact’ or ‘derelict’ and the landowner can proceed to place a lien on an ‘intact’ mobile home or remove a ‘derelict’ mobile home.  Procedures, via the local magistrate court, are provided.

Status: House Judiciary Committee

HB 397 - Property Tax – Homestead Exemption

Rep. Dale Rutledge (McDonough)

This bill would provide additional health reasons for extended absence from a homestead exemption property.  Stays in a nursing home or assisted living facility would no longer present a potential loss of the homestead exemption.

Status: House Ways and Means Committee

HB 410 - HOA Letter Fees New

Rep. Alan Powell (Hartwell)

This bill would require clear disclosure of all fees, charges, and/or sums due to the HOA. Once a request is filed for this information, the HOA, and/or management company, would have 10 days to respond.  Expediting fees for completion of a letter within 3 days would be $15 and no other administrative charges or fees would be allowed for the processing of this letter.

Status: House Judiciary Committee

HB436 - Disputed County Territory

Rep. Robert Dickey (Musella)

This bill would require taxes collected from a disputed area between two counties to be placed in an escrow account until the boundary line issue is resolved.

Status: House Judiciary Committee

HB 456 - Executory Contracts

Rep. Debra Bazemore (Riverdale)

This bill would establish necessary language for all executory contracts centered upon the sale of real property.  The language is as follows: “THIS IS AN EXECUTORY CONTRACT FOR THE SALE OF REAL PROPERTY. FOR THE DURATION OF THIS CONTRACT THE SELLER REMAINS THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY. YOUR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT MAY RESULT IN THE SELLER’S RIGHT TO TAKE POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY BEFORE YOUR FINAL PAYMENT AND THE CONVEYANCE OF THE DEED” in bold 14pt type.  The bill also defines language to be used by the buyer to back out of the contract within 14 days and the statement required by the seller to take possession of the property if a buyer fails to meet the outlined requirements.

Status: House Judiciary Committee

HB459 - Buyer’s Agents, Brokers, Appraisers

Rep. Sam Teasley (Marietta)

This bill would allow for a buyer to have their own real estate agent, broker, and/or appraiser present to view a property.  If the buyer is forbidden to do so, then the contract is void and unenforceable.

Status: House Judiciary Committee

SB 159 - Purple Paint

Sen. Lee Anderson (Grovetown)

This bill would allow purple paint added to trees and/or posts to be used to identify private property and deter criminal trespass.  The purple paint would be required to be a vertical marking of at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide.  On forested land, purple paint markings would be required to be at least every 100 feet.  On non-forested land, the paint markings would be at least every 1,000 feet.

Status: Senate - PASSED; House Judiciary Committee

SB 162 - Eminent Domain

Sen. Frank Ginn (Danielsville)

This bill would provide that a city, state, municipality pay additional court costs and fees to a property owner when a final award for condemnation is at least 10% greater than the highest offer initially made by the condemnor.

Status: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 167 - Disabled Veterans – Homestead Exemption

Sen. Hunter Hill (Atlanta)

This bill would increase the minimum threshold for disabled veterans homestead exemption. The increase would be from $33,500 to $77,300.  If the disabled veteran has legal residency in his or her child’s home, then the child of the veteran would be eligible for the homestead exemption.

Status: Senate Finance Committee

SB 116 - Storm Water Utility Fees

Sen. Frank Ginn (Danielsville)

This bill would exempt a property that is deemed ‘water neutral’ by a professional engineer from any fees regarding storm-water collection and/or disposal.  No local governments, county or city, would be allowed to impose these fees.  The property owner would be responsible for providing proof from the engineer.

Status: Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities

SB 119 - Fair Housing

Sen. Lester Jackson (Savannah)

This bill amends current fair housing law by adding ‘sexual orientation, gender identity’ to the existing list of protected classes.

Status: Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 120 - Recording of Property Deeds

Sen. William Ligon (Brunswick)

This bill permits the use of existing records that are unattested or properly acknowledged to serve as a deed once a 4 year period has passed.  

Status: Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 579 - Short Term Rentals

Rep. Matt Dollar (Marietta)

This bill seeks to provide that local governments cannot ban or excessively regulate short-term and vacation rentals.

Status: House Regulated Industries

SB 299 - Real Estate filings in Superior Court New

Sen. Frank Ginn (Danielsville)

This bill would require an attorney for all real estate related filings with Superior Court.

Status: Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 661 - Tax liens New

Rep. Bruce Williamson (Monroe)

This bill revises current law pertaining to electronic record keeping and filing of state tax liens to address unintended issues of the State Tax Execution Modernization Act of 2017.

Status: House Ways & Means Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute