Yesterday in the Georgia Legislature – 01/31/24

HOUSE

HB 884 – Rep. Kim Alexander
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/65968 
Substitute: http://www.legis.ga.gov/api/legislation/document/20232024/221833 

WHAT IT DOES:

  • Adds a 4th Superior Court judge to the Douglas Judicial Circuit
  • Also staggers the terms of the judges after Kemp makes an appointment for this 4th judge
  • Currently 3 judges are doing the work of 4.5 judges (per Alexander)
  • Judicial circuit hasn’t added another judge since 1998

CONCERNS: None – Kemp has appropriated funds for this in the FY 2025 budget, per Alexander in Rules. However, if courts are overburdened, stop making so many things illegal and hold prosecutors accountable for not moving cases.
PASSED 168-0

HB 906 – Rep. Yearta
LINKhttps://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/65997 
Substitute: http://www.legis.ga.gov/api/legislation/document/20232024/221832 
WHAT IT DOES:

  • Adds a 3rd judge to the Tifton Judicial Circuit which encompasses 4 counties

CONCERNS: None.
PASSED: 168-0


SENATE

SB 85 – Sen. Michael Rhett
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/63966

  • Speaker David Ralston Veterans’ Retirement Act
  • A member with at least 2 years of membership service may obtain up to 60 months of creditable service to be awarded month for month for active military service in the armed forces of the United States performed on or after January 1, 1990.
    • Must have honorable discharged
    • must not be reserve
    • must not overlap with federal retirement benefits from US military (Social security not included)

PASSED 50-0

SB 151 – Sen. Donzella James
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/64311
Would designate September 11 as ‘First Responders Appreciation Day’ every year.
Passed 49-0

SB 348 – Sen. Rick Williams
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66015
Would amend the notification requirement for suspicious and unusual deaths. This legislation removes deaths at long-term healthcare facilities from the list of those that are unusual if the physician had seen or treated the resident within the 90 days prior to the individual’s death.
PASSED: 52-0

SB 352 – Sen. Lee Anderson
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66060

  • Would provide standards regarding the alteration and operation of motor vehicles in relation to modified suspension systems.
  • Current law has weight requirements but this just makes it a blanket enforcement for ‘motor vehicles’ generally if on a street or highway, and the alteration is “in a manner that elevates or lowers the frame height of such vehicle by more than six inches above or below the manufacturer’s recommendation for such vehicle.”
  • Current law makes it unlawful for the suspension system to be altered in excess of the limitations. This also makes it unlawful to have springs relative to the suspension system that are broken

PASSED 41-9

SB 366 – Sen. Chuck Hufstetler
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66136

  • Referred to as the “Tax Expenditures Transparency Act of 2024”
  • Would revise provisions related to the General Appropriations Bill (budget) procedure and content
  • Requires 24 hours before voting on the Budget after the Senate Appropriations committee passes it out of committee.
  • Also requires the Appropriations bill to include:
    • A list of all then-existing revenue sources
    • The net amount of revenue expected to be generated by each such revenue source and available for appropriation by the General Assembly in the fiscal year
    • A summary of the tax expenditure review provided to the General Assembly as part of the Governor’s budget report which includes
      • a brief description of the expenditure
      • the amount of tax revenue projected to be forgone in the fiscal year as a result of the expenditure
      • a citation of the statutory or other legal authority for the expenditure
  • Also increases the number of economic analyses that can be requested by the legislature each year from 5 to 6. These are done by the Department of Audits and Accounts
    • Must be limited to:
      • one existing provision of law or proposed law and
      • shall specify one particular exemption/tax abatement etc;  
    • Then requires Dept. of Audits and Accounts to publish online for public review upon completion of the analysis.
  • Creates a Joint Committee on Taxation and Economic Development instead of affording all of these responsibilities to the House Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance committee, but essentially keeps all the same members.
    • The committee has the authority to investigate and review the fiscal and economic impact of the exemptions and abatements referenced above
    • Provides per diem and mileage for these members if they meet when the legislature is not in session.

PASSED 50-0

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

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