The Home Builders Association of Georgia exists to protect the interests of its members on a state-wide level. Those collective interests fall into one of two categories, government affairs or regulatory affairs. The Government and Regulatory Affairs Committees and the members who serve on them, along with members of the permanent staff, are where the issues we face are discussed and where the decisions are made to handle the issues facing the association. My goal is to better explain this process to you in a two part series of articles.
This committee is historically chaired by the Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Georgia, a seasoned leader with a good understanding of the role of the committee and one who can lead it effectively. The chairman of the committee this year is Mr. Lamar Smith from Savannah. There are nineteen other members of the committee, appointed by HBAG presidents, who serve on staggered terms. The committee is charged with reviewing all legislation affecting the residential construction industry during the 40 day legislative session and to take a position on each proposed bill. The committee will usually meet once a week during the legislative session.
The two year legislative session of 2013-2014 produced 4,935 bills and resolutions. In 2015 the legislative session produced 2,565 bills and resolutions, keeping pace with the last two rear cycle. Austin Hackney, our Government Affairs Director, reviewed these 2,565 bills and resolutions as they were introduced and brought a total of 41 bills that related to our industry to the GAC for its consideration. The committee took a position on each bill as it is charged to do. There are three possible positions to take on a bill; to support it, oppose it or monitor it. When the GAC decides to support or oppose a bill, Austin goes to work at the “Gold Dome” and lobbies our position on each bill. Troutman Sanders Strategies, one of the best lobbing firms in the state, also helps us with this effort. Together, they work with the authors of the bill to change the language to something we can support and rally chamber votes to alter a particular piece of legislation. The collective voice of a respected industry is what our legislators hear when we lobby on your behalf.
B-PAC is essential to our continued success in this arena. These funds come from voluntary contributions from you and through local fundraising events. 70% of the money you give goes to your local B-PAC fund for use in local elections. 30% goes into the state B-PAC fund for state wide elections. B-PAC is currently led by Mr. Mark King. The B-PAC Trustees are nominated by their local HBA and represent them in voting and on making requests for their local elected officials. There are 56 state senators and 180 state representatives that have an election every two years. Over the two-year period of 2014-2015, B-PAC awarded campaign contributions to 59 candidates for statewide office, House, or Senate seats totaling $63,520. We had a success rate of 90% for giving to candidates who went on to win their elections and now hold office. In this high-turnover environment, that success rate is higher than that of incumbents in the Georgia Legislature winning their re-elections over the same time period.
Next time I will discuss Part 2: The Regulatory Affairs Committee (RAC) Semper Fidelis,
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