2022 Capitol Update – Week 3
2022 Capitol Update – Week 3
January 31, 2022
The legislature was unusually active for Legislative Days 5 through 8 between:
- a special guest appearance by Mayor Andre Dickens
- the adoption of an adjournment resolution that sets the legislative calendar through the end of session
- an omnibus healthcare bill sponsored by Speaker Ralston
- a constitutional amendment attempt in the Senate that failed to obtain the 2/3rds vote required for statewide referendums (the proposed amendment would ban non-citizens from voting, which is already codified in Georgia statute, but not expressly stated in the Georgia constitution)
- two new midterm polls ahead of this year’s elections: an AJC poll which shows Republicans leading in nearly all races and a Quinnipiac poll which shows a more statistically split, but slightly R leaning Georgia electorate
- and a House bill that was filed to designate the state marsupial as the opossum—sources tell us that Koalas were also in the running for the official marsupial of the state of Georgia, but they were disqualified for not having the necessary koala-fications
Among the issues the House is juggling, and in addition to the proposed city of Buckhead, there are several other bills proposing referendums for the creation of new cities. These new city proposals include the cities of Lost Mountain, Vinings, and East Cobb—all of which are located in Cobb County. The legislation proposing the cities of Lost Mountain and Vinings passed the House Government Affairs Committee’s Special Subcommittee on Cityhood this past week and are now pending in the full committee. The bill proposing the city of East Cobb passed the House by a vote of 98-63 on January 27th, but a motion to reconsider the legislation also passed, so this legislation will not move on to the Senate until another vote on the House floor is cast. It is important to note that these bills do not actually create cities, rather they authorize a referendum for voters located in the geographic area of the proposed city who will then vote on the fate of the proposed city.
This week there is no movement to report on HB 476, which is the bill that would allow the PELS Board to operate as an independent unit with its own dedicated staff that is administratively attached to the Secretary of State’s office. The bill is currently in the Senate Regulated Industries committee, which did not meet last week.
The legislative calendar is as follows:
Legislative Day 8: Thursday, January 27
Legislative Day 9: Tuesday, February 1
Legislative Day 10: Wednesday, February 2
Legislative Day 11: Thursday, February 3
Legislative Day 12: Monday, February 7
Legislative Day 13: Tuesday, February 8
Legislative Day 14: Thursday, February 10
Legislative Day 15: Friday, February 11
Legislative Day 16: Monday, February 14
Legislative Day 17: Tuesday, February 15
Legislative Day 18: Thursday, February 17
Legislative Day 19: Tuesday, February 22
Legislative Day 20: Thursday, February 24
Legislative Day 21: Monday, February 28
Legislative Day 22: Tuesday, March 1
Legislative Day 23: Thursday, March 3
Legislative Day 24: Friday, March 4
Legislative Day 25: Tuesday, March 8
Legislative Day 26: Wednesday, March 9
Legislative Day 27: Friday, March 11
Legislative Day 28: Tuesday, March 15 (Crossover—this is the deadline for legislation to pass the chamber that it was introduced in, i.e. a House bill must pass debate on the floor and “crossover” to the Senate by the end of this legislative day, otherwise that bill is ineligible to become law)
Legislative Day 29: Wednesday, March 16
Legislative Day 30: Thursday, March 17
Legislative Day 31: Friday, March 18
Legislative Day 32: Monday, March 21
Legislative Day 33: Tuesday, March 22
Legislative Day 34: Wednesday, March 23
Legislative Day 35: Friday, March 25
Legislative Day 36: Monday, March 28
Legislative Day 37: Tuesday, March 29
Legislative Day 38: Wednesday, March 30
Legislative Day 39: Friday, April 1
Legislative Day 40: Monday, April 4 (Sine Die, the last day of session!)
But more importantly, this past week Rebecca Sullivan was officially sworn in as Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services!
Other Legislation ACEC Georgia is following
HB 100 – By Rep. Carl Gilliard (D-Garden City) would exempt public mass transit, campus transit, and public school system buses from paying Georgia’s motor fuel excise tax. This bill would undermine the premise underlying the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170) – that all users of Georgia’s roads and bridges should contribute toward their upkeep. ACEC Georgia is opposed to this bill. STATUS: Assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee.
HB 328 – By Rep. Martin Momtahan (R-Dallas) would establish a one-time right of way permit fee and reduce annual right of way use fees for telephone companies that is paid as due compensation for municipalities. STATUS: This legislation has passed both the House and the Senate; however, the Senate amended the bill last year. The House must agree to the Senate substitute before the legislation can be considered by the Governor. This past week, a special subcommittee on Right of Way Governance in the House Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee met to discuss the Senate’s changes, but no action can be taken by the committee, as the full House must vote to either agree or disagree to the bill as amended by the Senate.
HB 826 – By Rep. Ginny Ehrhart (R-Marietta) proposes the creation of the city of Lost Mountain in Cobb County. If passed, voters located within the geographic area will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum before cityhood can become official. STATUS: Assigned to the House Government Affairs Committee; passed the Special Subcommittee on Cityhood and will move to the full committee for a hearing there.
HB 840 – By Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) proposes the creation of the city of Vinings in Cobb County. If passed, voters located within the geographic area will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum before cityhood can become official. STATUS: Assigned to the House Government Affairs Committee; passed the Special Subcommittee on Cityhood and will move to the full committee for a hearing there.
HB 841 – By Rep. Matt Dollar (R-Marietta) proposes the creation of the city of East Cobb in Cobb County. If passed, voters located within the geographic area will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum before cityhood can become official. STAUS: Passed the House January 27th by a vote of 98-63, but a motion to reconsider the bill has halted it from being transmitted to the Senate. The House will have to call the bill up to reconsider (and re-vote) on the bill before it can continue on to the Senate.
HB 854 – By Rep. Todd Jones (R-Cumming) proposes the creation of “Buckhead City” by de-annexing Buckhead from the City of Atlanta and making it its own separate city. If passed, voters located within the geographic area will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum before cityhood can become official. STATUS: Assigned to the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
HB 1039 – By Rep. Mack Jackson (D-Sandersville) would extend the income tax credit for expenditures on the maintenance of railroad track owned or leased by Class III railroads. STATUS: Assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee
HR 203 – By Rep. Josh McLaurin (D-Atlanta) is a proposed amendment to the Georgia Constitution which would modify the current Constitutional dedication of all motor fuel excise taxes for “roads and bridges” to instead allow those funds to be used for all public transportation purposes, including “roads, bridges, rails, airports, buses, seaports, and all accompanying infrastructure and services.” While ACEC Georgia is opposed to the diversion of existing revenue that is constitutionally dedicated to funding roads and bridges, we are also strongly supportive of the goal of finding additional funding mechanisms for the transportation purposes this proposal ultimately seeks to fund. STATUS: Assigned to the House Transportation Committee.
HR 623 – By Rep. Carl Gilliard (D-Garden City) would create a House Study Committee on the Nancy Hanks Passenger Rail Line from Savannah to Atlanta. STATUS: Assigned to the House Transportation Committee.
SB 98 – By Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) is a Freight & Logistics bill that would allow SRTA to negotiate public/private partnership investments in infrastructure that would provide a “substantial public benefit.” STATUS: Passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on March 3rd. Passed the full Senate on March 8 on a 53-1 vote. Referred to the House Rules Committee.
SB 324 – By Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) proposes the creation of “Buckhead City.” If passed, voters located within the geographic area will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum before cityhood can become official. It has been assigned to the Senate Urban Affairs Committee, which consists of only Democratic Senators (who have been outspoken in their opposition to the proposal). STATUS: Assigned to Senate Urban Affairs Committee.