2016 HBAG Legislative Review

Government Affairs continued from page 7

designee –will serve in this role. The bill is a direct result of a Supreme Court of North Carolina ruling and was brought forward by the Office of the Governor.

• HB 1004: Rick Jasperse (R–Jasper) –SUPPORT –This bill

modernizes the regulations governing the filing of maps and plats by land surveyors using electronic means. The bill spells out specifically what is required to be included on a plat and provides uniformity across the industry.

• HB 1025: Tom Taylor (R–Dunwoody) –OPPOSE –This bill

allows local magistrate courts to return to the practice of “tacking and mailing” property maintenance violations citations when personal service of the citation on a property owner is unsuccessful. This bill was opposed by GAC but gained traction in the Senate during the last week of session. HBAG worked with representatives of Dekalb County Government to amend the bill to require that the local government make at least one attempt at personal service before resorting to the ‘tack and mail’ method and use certified mail when mailing a

copy of the citation. These amendments will ensure that due

process is protected for these property owners. • HR 1198: Lynn Smith (R–Newnan) –MONITOR –This

resolution encourages the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to study its current regulations relating to aquifer storage and recovery. HBAG supported this resolution as part of our participation in the business-centric Georgia Water Alliance.

• HR 1343: Tom McCall (R–Elberton) and SR 1018: John

Wilkinson (R–Toccoa) –SUPPORT –These companion resolutions

encourage the U. S. EPA to withdraw the proposed Waters of the US Clean Water Plan rule which changes the definition of “waters of the U. S.” to include everything from drainage ditches to standing puddles. HBAG President Neal Davis wrote a letter to the authors of these resolutions along with the five co-signers of each to thank them for their recognition of the work done by industry stakeholders to educate the public on the regulatory over-reach of this new definition.

• SB 191: Lindsey Tippins (R–Marietta) –SUPPORT –This bill

prohibits local governments from imposing fines for violating ordinances which establish requirements for ‘white-lining’ or marking for utility facilities. HBAG participates in the Georgia Underground Utility Coordinating Council which produces state-wide standards known as the Call-Before-You-Dig rules. This bill prohibits local governments from going over-and-above those standards.

• SB 258: Fran Millar (R–Dunwoody) –SUPPORT –This bill

became a “Christmas Tree” by the last week of session, which is a legislative term used to describe a bill which has had language from several other bills hung on it like ornaments on a tree. The final version of SB 258 kept the original language, which was supported by GAC. This language prohibits a property tax appeals board from raising the amount of a property tax assessment during the appeals process. Language from HB 990 was attached to this bill, which clarifies that the three year assessment lock resulting from a property tax appeal applies when a final decision to reduce the value is made by the Board of Equalization, hearing officer, arbitrator, Superior Court or by written agreement between the tax assessor and the property owner. The final version of SB 258 also included language from HB 919, which allows individuals and corporations to get a state tax credit for donating money to rural health care organizations. One bill on the Tracking Sheet –HB 828 by Virgil Fludd (D–

Tyrone) –did not pass in its original form, but was attached to HB 936 –a bill that was carried by Brett Harrell (R–Snellville)

for the Department of Economic Development and provides clarity to an existing tax credit program designed to entice job creation throughout the state. The language from HB 828 creates an income tax credit of $2,500 per hire for employers who hire qualified parolees and is supported by GAC.

The end of the 2016 Legislative Session marks the beginning of the 2016 Campaign Season for many members of the state legislature who are running for re-election. As you can see from the information above –it matters who we as citizens send to the state legislature to represent us. It has been a pleasure for me to represent the Home Builders Association of Georgia for another year and I’d like to thank each of you for the opportunity –especially HBAG President Neal Davis and GAC Chairman Lamar Smith. My work on your behalf is made immensely more efficient and effective by HBAG EVP Kelly Lass and my HBAG colleagues and by Sam Hill and the rest of her team at Troutman Sanders Strategies.