The Union Recorder

Local News

April 4, 2013

State legislative session wrap-up



HB 61 (Lobbyist registration / Ethics): Kidd introduced this bill that would mandate that all elected officials disclose what a lobbyist or other individual spent to influence a vote or veto. Did not get a hearing in lieu of HB 142 and HB 143.


HB 150 (Mug shot Restrictions): Prohibits companies from charging for removal of mug shot photos from websites or other media.  Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.


HB 657 (Solar): Pending hearings this summer. Would mandate the Public Service Commission work with the Solar Energy industry to develop the use of solar energy for communities or businesses who wish to cut their utility bills. 


Judicial and Public Safety

HB 78 (Elder Abuse): Expands criminal protection for elder and disabled adults against sexual abuse and exploitation by updating the relevant language in Georgia law. Enhances law enforcement’s ability to respond to reports of abuse by moving relevant crimes against elder and disabled adults into the criminal code section most frequently used by law enforcement. Expands and clarifies the mandatory reporting requirements for abuse and exploitation of elder and disabled adults in order to provide a better reporting process and better response by adult protective services and law enforcement. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.


SB 160 (previously HB 125) (Immigration Changes): Redefines the 'physical performance of services' and allows for an exception from e-verify reporting for contracts smaller than $2,499.99. Streamlines the business license process for renewals by only requiring the business submit its federal work authorization user number. It adds to the definition of public benefit by adding retirement benefits and state issued drivers’ licenses. Updates the citizenship verification process for government benefits by only requiring that verification be provided upon initial application for a government benefit or service. Prohibits use of foreign passports without additional documentation. Creates a new Code section to establish guidelines for the annual immigration compliance report which each agency and political subdivision is required to send to the Department of Audits and Accounts. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.


HB 4 (Georgia and Tennessee Boundary): HR 4 urges the State of Tennessee to accept a settlement of the boundary dispute between the State of Georgia and the State of Tennessee. The settlement reflects the flawed 1818 survey as the boundary line along with a metes and bounds exception, which would be made a part of the State of Georgia so that Georgia can exercise its riparian water rights to the Tennessee River at Nickajack. The resolution further authorizes the Governor to enter into any necessary negotiations with the State of Tennessee to resolve this dispute. As amended, it also calls for a lawsuit against Tennessee in 2014 if no action is taken by that state to resolve the issue. Status: Awaiting signature from the Governor.


Labor and Employment

HB 361 (Right to Work): Reaffirms Georgia as a "right to work" state. It provides that no employer shall deduct from the wages or other earnings of any employee any fee assessment or other sum of money whatsoever to be held for or to be paid over to a labor organization except on the annual written authorization from the employee, which shall not exceed a period greater than one year. Such authorization may be revoked at any time at the request of the employee. Was amended in Senate to prohibit unemployment benefits for seasonal workers.  Provision removed in House.  STATUS: Awaiting signature from the Governor.


HB 393 (Georgia Workforce Investment Board): Grants the State Workforce Investment Board the authority to remove local workforce area board chairs and directors who are deemed ineffective, not meeting performance standards, or having conflicts of interest; provides the State Workforce investment Board the authority to remove fiscal agents based on a lack of sound financial policies and recognized accounting standards; sets an approval requirement for expenditures exceeding $5,000 to a single vendor/sub-recipient/grantee in a local workforce area. Status: Passed the House.


Tax Policy

HB 266 (Car Tax Fix): Persons who buy a new or used car as of March 1, 2013 no longer pay an annual personal property tax on the vehicle. New purchases will be subject to a one-time title tax, which includes the sales tax and a title registration fee. HB 266 amended a provision that required drivers who lease a car to pay both the title fee and a monthly sales tax on the lease. Status: Signed by Governor

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