The Senate Committee on Economic Development and Tourism advanced House Bill 514 this week, legislation limiting the ability of local governments to enact moratoriums on building new housing to no more than 180 days.
The bill, which resulted from Rep. Dale Washburn’s House Study Committee on Regulation, Affordability and Access to Housing, seeks to address the primary factor increasing the cost of housing: lack of supply.
Washburn has worked hard on the bill throughout the legislative process, and included modifications requested by the cities and county associations, such as providing exemptions for a declared state of emergency or when a local government is conducting a study on their existing land use.
The current bill represents compromise in many ways, and is a modest measure to increase housing to keep up with demand. But one area the bill would address that was not discussed in committee are “build-to-rent” homes, which represent an additional option when it comes to expanding housing supply.
In 2018, voters in Walker County opted to shift from a sole commissioner form of government to a board of commissioners. But seven other counties continue to be run by a single commissioner, which supporters call a more efficient form of government.
A year ago, Georgia lawmakers approved a $1 billion reduction in the personal income tax and set the stage for cutting at least $1 billion more. Given the state’s large budget surpluses, you may wonder what legislators are doing about taxes this year.
In January, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation noted that Georgia has plenty of room for improvement in expanding work opportunities. And the legislature has worked to reduce those barriers to work this year.
Senate Bill 233 would grant $6,000 scholarships to students that could be used to pay for private school tuition, curricula, tutoring or other education expenses. Despite what bill opponents claim, no one is taking that money away from public schools.
A recap of alleged or documented stories about waste, fraud, or abuse of taxpayer money or taxpayer-funded resources throughout Georgia.
At the Capitol
Lawmakers completed Day 35 of the session on Thursday. This means that just five days remain in the session as both chambers are busy working to move bills before Sine Die. Here is your recap of the 10th week of the 2023 legislative session in Georgia.
- On Tuesday, lawmakers memorialized the legacy of former Speaker David Ralston in celebration of what would have been his 69th birthday. At the same time, Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, introduced a resolution honoring Ralston’s life and work.
- Shortly after it hit his desk this week, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a $1 billion tax rebate into law, which will provide $250-$500 rebates to taxpayers in Georgia.
- House Bill 155, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, would require most licensing boards to recognize occupational licenses obtained in other states. It passed the Senate 54-0 this week after also passing the House without a dissenting vote earlier this year.
- House Bill 203, sponsored by Rep. Mark Newton, R-Augusta, would amend telemedicine laws to include eye examinations. It passed the Senate 51-1 this week after passing the House earlier.
- Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, would require state agencies to assess whether current educational requirements, such as a four-year college degree, for many state jobs are necessary. It passed the House 168-0 this week after passing the Senate earlier.
- Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, would permanently extend Georgia’s prohibition on local governments requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for services. After passing the Senate earlier in the year, it cleared the House Public Health Committee this week, sending the bill to the floor.
- House Bill 557, sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, would expand prescription authority for physician assistants (PAs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) while also expediting the process to enter into an agreement with a supervising physician. After passing the House 136-38 earlier, it was approved by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. The Foundation’s Kyle Wingfield testified in support of the legislation in a committee hearing Thursday.
- This week, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones announced four “priority” study committees that will be outlined post session. This includes the Senate Occupational Licensing Study Committee, the Senate Study Committee on Expanding Georgia’s Workforce, the Senate Study Committee on Certificate of Need (CON) Reform and the Senate Study Committee on Foster Care and Adoption.
The State of Georgia’s net tax collections for February totaled over $2.12 billion, for an increase of $169.3 million, or 8.7%, compared to February 2022.
Georgia is seeing all-time job availability with low unemployment numbers, according to a Thursday news release from the Department of Labor. As of the beginning of 2023, Georgia’s unemployment rate was 3.1%, unchanged from a revised 3.1% in December.
Beginning next school year, every public school in Georgia will be required to hold an “intruder alert drill” each fall. The state Senate gave final passage to the Safe Schools Act on Monday, a top priority of Gov. Brian Kemp.
The DeKalb County Board of Education approved the lease of a new weapons detection system for middle and high schools. Interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley says the district is on track to confiscate the highest number of weapons from students over the past five years.
A new Georgia State Patrol post could soon operate in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which includes $1.25 million to set up the new post.
South Fulton City Council members are suing Mayor Khalid Kamau to get him out of office. They claim he violated the city charter several times and leaked confidential information to the public.
A 2021 report by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University found that repealing Certificate of Need laws would increase the number of hospitals in Georgia from 176 to 250. But the laws have widespread support from hospitals because “they limit their competition,” said Matthew Mitchell, a professor at George Mason.
The NAACP – along with state legislators and other politicians – has filed two federal complaints over Wellstar Health System’s decision last year to close Atlanta hospitals in majority-black areas.
Quotes of the Week
“Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be.” – St. Patrick
“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.” – Lewis Grizzard
“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.” – William Hazlitt