State Banking Issues

Georgia General Assembly in Session

The 2019 Session of the Georgia General Assembly began January 14. GBA is represented throughout the session by our Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, President and CEO, Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, and our Government Relations Consultant Steve Bridges, 404.420.2037. Contact any of them with questions about legislation, information about your legislator's stance on a particular issue or to request any other information related to the Georgia General Assembly.

This will be the first session of a 2-year legislative cycle, which means essentially that legislation not completed in the 2018 session will need to be reintroduced in a subsequent session if the author chooses to move forward.

Preliminary GBA State Legislative Issues List

GBA's Georgia General Assembly Legislation Tracker

Below are the banking and financial services bills we are tracking during the 2019 session. We'll update these as the session progresses: 

GBA Priority / Supporting

Department of Banking and Finance Housekeeping Bill (Priority)
HB 185 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) includes provisions to eliminate barriers to forming de novo banks, eliminates appropriated retained earnings references since that no longer impacts legal lending limits, authorizes background checks for trust company directors and officers, among other provisions affecting other entities the Department regulates. GBA’s Bank Counsel Board of Directors reviewed the draft last year.

Statute of Frauds (Priority)
SB 37 by Rep. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) would restore the proper method of releasing or rescinding a written guaranty. A 2018 Georgia Court of Appeals case, Crop Production Services, Inc. v T. E. Moye, reversed two cases going back nearly three decades which held that the Statute of Frauds barred oral evidence that a written guaranty had been released or rescinded. In Moye, the court held that a written guaranty may be rescinded by a mutual oral agreement, even though the guaranty itself is subject to the Statue of Frauds and contains a provision requiring that notice of revocation must be in writing. Because the creditor technically “won” this case because the summary judgment granted to the guarantor was reversed and remanded to the trial court to determine a question of fact, an appeal is unlikely. Therefore, legislation is needed to correct this decision that could have a profound impact on lending in Georgia.

Shared Deposit Programs (Priority)
SB 157 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon), would give banks the option through shared deposit programs to offer access to multi-million dollars of FDIC insurance to public depositors as a way to avoid tying up securities or putting up a Letter of Credit to collateralize the deposits. GBA associate members StoneCastle Partners and Promontory Interfinancial Network are the two companies most active in Georgia selling this service to our members. Representatives from city, county and state governments have agreed to the concept. The State Depository Board would establish policies and procedures related to the approval of third-party service providers and the ongoing monitoring of participation in deposit placement programs. That rulemaking would be due by the end of this year assuming the bill passes. The State Treasurer would serve as the administrative officer for that Board.

Boat Titling
HB 314 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) creates a process by which boats and other watercraft will be titled.

Business Court
HB 239 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and  SB 110 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) is the legislation to implement the statewide Business Court authorized by a constitutional amendment passed in 2018. 

Income Tax - Hurricane Michael Relief

HB 105 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) would exempt federal disaster relief payments to victims of Hurricane Michael  from state income taxes.

Prized Linked Savings Accounts
HB 193 by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) would authorize banks and credit unions to offer a deposit account with a raffle component to encourage savings. 

Rural Development Council
HR 214 by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) would reauthorize the Rural Development Council for an additional two years. Recommendations from the Council’s first two years of work are being enacted into law. These next two years will all the legislators to continue looking for ways to support economic development and jobs for rural Georgia. 

Rural Development - Broadband
HB 22 by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) would allow telephone cooperatives and their affiliates to provide broadband services. 

Rural Development - Broadband
SB 17 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) would allow telephone cooperatives and their affiliates to provide broadband services.

Rural Development - Broadband
HB 23 by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville)  would allow Electric Membership Corporations and their affiliates to provide broadband services.

Rural Development - Broadband
SB 2 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) would allow  Electric Membership Corporations and their affiliates to provide broadband services.

Rural Development - Freight and Logistics
HR 37 by Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) would create the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics to make recommendations for a comprehensive strategic business plan to develop state-wide freight and logistics infrastructure with the intent of ensuring the state remains economically competitive.

Rural Development - Freight and Logistics
SR 19 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) would create the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics to make recommendations for a comprehensive strategic business plan to develop state-wide freight and logistics infrastructure with the intent of ensuring the state remains economically competitive.

SAFETY 21 Loan Program
HB 30 by Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) is the Fiscal Year 2019 Supplemental Appropriations Bill that contains an additional $10 million for the low interest loan program created to assist farmers and others suffering losses from Hurricane Michael. 

Bills We're Opposing

Elder Financial Abuse
HB 402 by Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) would expand the current statute requiring bankers to report suspected cases of elderly financial exploitation to also report instances of suspected elder abuse and neglect.

Bills We're Monitoring

Abandoned Motor Vehicles.
HB 307 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) replaces the current process for disposing of abandoning motor vehicles in public rights of way with a new process that is intended to take into account any existing liens when the vehicles are sold and the proceeds escheated to the Revenue Department.

HB 19 by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex) would create a comprehensive state civil rights law protecting individuals from discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment. 

Appraisal Management Companies
HB 192 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) is a substantial revision to the code relating to the operation of Appraisal Management Companies.  

Bank Data Match – State Tax Delinquencies
HB 452 by Rep. Steven Sainz (R-Woodbine) would allow the Department of Revenue access to the child support data match registry to search, levy and seize deposits found of delinquent tax payers. 

Banking Improvement Zone
HB 552 by Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) would provide an incentive for financial institutions to operate in underserved areas designated as Banking Improvement Zones by the Department of Community Affairs by allowing the local governmental entity to place deposits with a financial institution as long as the fixed rate of interest is at or below the institution’s posted two-year certificate of deposit rate.

Banking Improvement Zone
SB 20 by Sen. Michael Rhett (D-Marietta) would provide an incentive for financial institutions to operate in underserved areas designated as Banking Improvement Zones by the Department of Community Affairs by allowing the local governmental entity to place deposits with a financial institution as long as the fixed rate of interest is at or below the institution’s posted two-year certificate of deposit rate.

Checks for Payroll
HB 110 by Rep. Tom Kirby (R-Loganville) would give employers the discretion to issue payroll for wages in the manner chosen by the employer. 

Dedicated Taxes and Fees
HR 164 by Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) would amend the Constitution so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by general law for the dedication of revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were imposed. 

Electronic Filing – Courts
SB 38 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) would exclude certain filings such as those related to the enforcement of child support orders to be entered into the clerk of court’s electronic filing registry.

Fraudulent Transfers
HB 396 by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) would provide that it shall be unlawful for a person with intent to hinder, delay, impair, or defraud a creditor's rights to deed or otherwise transfer title to real property to another person without the knowledge or consent of such other person.

Funeral Expenses for Intestate Depositors
HB 490 by Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth). The bill would increase the amount and shortens the time financial institutions are required to release deposits upon receipt of a proper affidavit to pay claimants for funeral expenses or expenses of last illness. 

Gross Receipts
HB 715 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) removes certain references to gross receipts in the tax code.

HB 70 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) would revise a number of areas within the code affecting guardianship of minors and adults. The changes mostly relate to appointment issues and court administration rather than bank operations.

Hemp Farming
HB 213 by Rep. John Corbitt (R-Lake Park) would establish the framework for research, development, growing, licensing and regulating hemp production in Georgia.

Homeowner/Property Owner Association Statement of Accounts
SB 178  by Rep. P.K. Martin, IV (R-Lawrenceville) would establishe a statutory statement of accounts to be used by authorized parties representing homeowner or property owner associations to respond to requests for information needed by mortgage lenders to consider a loan request, including outstanding fees owed by property owners.

Information Security Officer – Covenants
HB 81 by Rep. Todd Jones (R-Cumming) would prohibit restrictive covenants from being included in information technology employee contract agreements.

Innovation and Emerging Technologies Joint Study Committee
HR 408 by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) and SR 275 by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) would create a joint study committee of the House and Senate and others to undertake a study of the conditions, needs, issues, and problems of emerging technology entities in Georgia. 

Low THC Oil
HB 324 by Rep. Micah Gravely (R-Douglasville) would provide for for the production, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil.

Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry
HB 212 by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn) would exempt certain retailers of mobile homes and employees of residential contractors from registration under the state and national mortgage registration system.

P.A.C.E. Loans
SB 162 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) is related to financing broadband services that originally included language prohibiting lenders from accelerating loans under certain circumstances. PACE is the abbreviation for property assessed clean energy financing and the concept is being hawked as an alternative means of financing energy efficiency upgrades, disaster resiliency improvements, water conservation measures, or renewable energy installations of residential, commercial, and industrial property owners. Obviously these types of loans are readily available from traditional lenders. What’s unique about PACE loans is that they are authorized by a public entity (in this case a Downtown Development Authority or other Development Authority), the loan payments are made along with property tax payments, and the loan balance has the same super priority lien status that a tax lien would have should a foreclosure occur. These loans all run with the property and not the borrower, so if a property is sold, the PACE loan obligation remains. 

Peer-to-peer Vehicle Sharing
HB 337 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) would establish a regulatory structure for peer-to-peer vehicle sharing services. The bill has been assigned to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

Property Owner Associations Study Committee
HR 329 by Rep. William Boddie (D-East Point) would create a committee to study how various communities could be better organized to implement requirements and procedures for turnover and transition from declarants, developers, or other establishing entities to property owners comprising the community association. 

Property Tax Bills
HB 411 by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) would preclude tax commissioners from including on property tax bills nontax related fees or assessments, including, but not limited to, storm-water service fees or solid waste service fees.

Property Tax ID Numbers
HB 694 by Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) would require certain real estate transaction recordings contain property tax identifying numbers. 

Recording Fees
HB 288 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), among other things, would create a flat filing fee for recording certain real estate and personal property with the clerk of superior court by raising the current base fee and eliminating the per page fee. 

529 Savings Trust Accounts
HB 266 by Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville) would double the state income tax deduction for contributions of certain savings trust accounts

Self-settled Spendthrift Trust
SB 186 by Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) creates a new trust in Georgia that allows the creator of the trust to also be the beneficiary of the trust. 

Stored Value Cards
HB 488 by Rep. Martin Momtahan (R-Dallas) would establish a process intended to prevent the use of stored value cards to commit organized retail crime. 

Student Loan Defaults – Professional Licenses
HB 42 by Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holy Springs). The bill would prohibit the state’s professional licensing boards from refusing to issue a license or suspending or revoking the license of a person who is a borrower in default under an educational loan issued through the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation or through a federal agency. Among other licensees, those for money transmitters, check cashers and mortgage brokers are included. 

Student Loan Defaults – Professional Licenses
SB 92 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) would prohibit a professional licensing board from revoking licenses due solely to a student loan default.

Tax Credits
SB 120  by John Albers (R-Alpharetta)  would require study each of Georgia’s tax credits. The legislation calls for the state auditor to develop an economic analysis on each tax credit over a series of years. The auditor’s reports would be provided to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. The Bank Tax Credit is found in Code Section 48-7-29.13 and that report is scheduled for no later than Dec. 1, 2021.  

Timber Tax Credit
HB 446 by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin) relating to income tax credits for timber producers incurring losses from Hurricane Michael, so as to clarify that certain income tax credits that have been transferred shall not be refundable to the transferee and shall not be eligible for transfer. 

Title Insurance
SB 202 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) would allow title insurance to be procured on a lender's security interest in personal property taken by the lender as collateral for a loan. 

Wire Transfers
HB 532 by Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) would require the collection of a defined fee to be remitted to the state for sending certain wire transfers. 

Writ of Possession
HB 492 by Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) requires applications for execution of a writ of possession in dispossessory proceedings be made within 30 days of the issuance of the writ unless good cause is shown.