Georgia Legislature

Yesterday in the Georgia Legislature – 03/24/21

This is an informal rundown of the legislative happenings. These bills are from the most recent legislative day – 3/23/21, or Day 37.

The following bills were voted on in the House on 3/23/21:

SB 33 –  Sen. Clint Dixon (Bonner)
Passed the Senate: 50-0
LINK→ https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59057
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Allows a victim of human trafficking to bring a civil action against their ‘perpetrator’ 
  • A civil action can be brought within 10 years of the act occurring or 10 years of the victim turning 18
  • Statute of time for filing is stayed during pending criminal action 
  • Attorney General has ability to bring civil action against the person as well if the AG believes the citizens of the state were also harmed

PASSED: 164-0

SB 86 – Sen. Larry Walker (Efstration)
Passed the Senate: 47-3 (Jones (25th), Jordan, and Merritt voting no)
LINK→ https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59278
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • PREVIOUS VERSION: Requires that any document which solicits business related to corporate filings similar to those of government documents be marked in 16 pt size Helvetica font at least 2 inches from the rest of the solicitation language indicating that is is a solicitation and not authorized by the SOS
  • CURRENT VERSION: changes the affidavit for equitable caregivers. 
  • Narrows the timeframe on the statutory affidavit to indicate that the proposed equitable caregiver can demonstrate he/she has been the caregiver in the last 5 years 
  • Also requires attesting that the child will suffer emotional or physical harm if the relationship between the child and proposed equitable caregiver is not preserved 
  • Prohibits the court from ordering child support to the equitable caregiver 
  • Provides a provision that the equitable caregiver rights can be terminated if a court finds that one or both parents are once again not a risk to the child – emotionally or physically. 

PASSED THE HOUSE: 97-69

SB 119 – Sen. Tyler Harper (McDonald)
Passed the Senate: 53-0
LINK→https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59472
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Amends code section for burning woods, eliminating the requirement to obtain a permit to burn leaves, yard debris, etc unless it is otherwise prohibited under the law (state or local ordinance)
  • Assigns liability for damage to the person who is burning

PASSED THE SENATE: 126-30

SB 187 – Sen. Lindsey Tippins (Wiedower)
Passed the Senate: 50-0
LINK→https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59715
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Applies to code section on the HOPE Scholarship
  • Amendments to code section would apply to students who have a disability as defined under the ADA if that disability “prevents or substantially inhibits full-time academic study”
  • The student would be able to appeal to the Georgia Student Finance Commission for a limited waiver on time to complete requirements under HOPE
    • Earning a bachelor’s or first professional degree 
  • There is no statutory window proposed, the waiver period would be determined by the Georgia Student Finance Commission on a case by case basis. 

PASSED THE HOUSE: 165-0

SB 238 – Sen. Brian Strickland (Efstration)
Passed the Senate: 53-0
LINK→ https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/60005
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Amends OCGA 1-1-1 to notate that the Georgia code can include supplemental information and annotations, but those supplements and annotations have no binding authority 
  • Only the statutory text & the code sections with title, chapter, section, subsection etc. are binding with full force of the law
  • Basically clarifies that AG opinions, State Bar opinions, and other contextual information does not supersede state law as passed by the General Assembly.

PASSED THE HOUSE: 166-0

SR 134 – Sen. Larry Walker (Efstration)
Passed the Senate: 51-1 (Cowsert)
LINK→ https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59907
WHAT THE RESOLUTION DOES:

  • Constitutional Amendment
  • Would suspend the compensation for certain public officers who are suspended because of  indictment for a felony.
    • Only applies to Governor, Lt. Gov, SOS, Atty General, State School Super, Insurance Commissioner, Ag. Commissioner, Labor Commissioner, and any GGA member.
  • Would stop the practice of offering compensation to the above-referenced if they’re indicted by a grand jury and strikles language that says the term of compensation after indictment
  • Provides that back pay would be offered if a person is reinstated into office

PASSED THE HOUSE: 169-0


The Senate voted on the following measures:

HB 154 – Rep. Bert Reeves

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59029 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

Again updates the adoption code

  • Sets out parameters for filing petitions if a person is from another state and that is not in our interstate compact for placement of children
  • Lowers the age of qualified persons to adopt from 25 to 21 (must also be 10 years older than child unless it’s a stepparent or relative)
  • Defines a person from another country as in compliance with the Compact for the code section on petitions for adoption
  • Same as above if the person is from a state that does not have an Interstate Compact
  • Both of these essentially clarify the code section so as not to exclude someone from adoption provisions simply because their state does not participate in the compact or they are a nonresident.
  • Amends OCGA 19-8-9 regarding parental rights termination to have a more defined and traceable notification process (registered mail) and requires notification to be served at an address already on file with the court/etc to make best effort for delivery
  • Adds clarification that if a mother has voluntarily surrendered rights or has had them revoked/terminated in another state, she cannot partake in the acknowledgement of paternity process.
  • Amends code section for terminating parental rights to require that a petition to terminate must have the evidence outlined in the petition.
    –Requires compliance with OCGA 19-8-11(a)(3) and (b)
    https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2019/title-19/chapter-8/article-1/section-19-8-11/
    -(a)(3) deals with the circumstances  under which termination can be sought
    -(b) requires the parent to be served
  • Allows the appeal of an adoption to be anonymous to the extent that court docs use initials instead of the child’s full name as it does in traditional adoption paperwork and proceedings
  • Adds code section to ensure that the it is clear that the petitioner for termination of rights/adoption etc is responsible for requesting the court appoint an investigator to appoint and make recs to the court if the court does not preemptively or proactively do so.
  • Re: above, the petitioner can make recommendations on investigators if they so choose but are not required to do so
  • Allows non-residents to appear via teleconference/electronic means if the petition is uncontested
  • Makes it unlawful for a person to make a representation for adoption re: an unborn child when a pregnancy does not exist or if they don’t actually intend on placing the child up for adoption (in the code section for other similar offenses and makes it a felony up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 fine)
  • Makes it unlawful for a person who is not the parent or the expectant parent to serve as an intermediary for an adoption
  • Allows anyone who is ‘damaged’ by actions in the code section on criminality of adoption-related offenses is eligible to file a civil suit (because the matter IS a civil one)


PASSED: 160-4 (NOs: Byrd, Gilligan, Prince, Michael Smith)
PASSED THE SENATE: 51-0

HB 168 – Rep. Jesse Petrea

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59090 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Gives district attorneys additional access to information of convicted persons that would otherwise be considered state secrets when the district attorney is contracted re: the possibility of parole for a person. (mostly dangerous/violent felonies)
    • Usually they write a written objection to the state board.
  • Adds those on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry to the already existent list for the DA to have access to.
  • If a DA or other person shares the confidential information, they’re guilty of a misdemeanor. (I’m sure this is one of those things where the DA is told to investigate the DA and then the DA finds no wrongdoing. Making this a misdemeanor will do nothing)
  • Passed House in 2020 108-57 (HB 885 is identical language)
  • PASSED THE HOUSE: 99-66
  • PASSED THE SENATE: 40-11

HB 210 – Rep. John Corbett

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59158 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • clarifies when vehicles are exempt from the requirement of disclosing odometer mileage on certificates of title
    • Over 16,000 lbs
    • Manufactured in 2010 or before AND is transferred at least 10 years after the model year of the vehicle
    • Manufactured in or after 2011 AND is transferred at least 20 years after Jan 1 of the model year of the vehicle.
  • PASSED THE HOUSE: 163-0
  • PASSED THE SENATE: 50-0
HB 395 – Rep. Dave Belton

LINK→ https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59550 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Creates the Professional Counselors Licensure Compact Act
  • PASSED THE HOUSE: 133-0
  • PASSED THE SENATE: 53-0
HB 451 – Rep. Eddie Lumsden

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59646 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Comes at the request of the Georgia Assn of Manufacturers
  • Optional way to determine the applicable FMV on inventory for when a level 1 freeport exemption is sought
  • Explanation/example: situation where an order was placed pre-covid, manufacturer filled order, order cancelled, as a result, manufacturer is sitting on inventory they would not otherwise have.
  • One time fix, only applies to eligible finishing goods for year 2021 and based on FMV January 1, 2020 or FMV of January 1, 2021, whichever is less


PASSED THE HOUSE: 159-0
PASSED THE SENATE: 53-0

Jessica Szilagyi

administrator
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.' Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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