2018 Legislation Recap

The 2018 Session of the Georgia General Assembly is history, with session officially ending after midnight on March 29. All legislation that successfully passed in 2018 now goes to the Governor for review and potential approval or veto. While any passed bills left untouched by the Governor automatically become law, the 40 day deadline for the Governor’s action is May 8. Unless otherwise specified, all approved legislation becomes Georgia law on July 1, 2018.

This weekly Capitol Overview Update is to inform you on legislative issues that may effect your North Fulton business or quality of life. Your comments and questions are welcome.

For more information regarding the North Fulton Chamber’s legislative efforts, contact Liz Hausmann, Vice President of Government Affairs, at 678-397-0572 or lhausmann@gnfcc.com

The mission of the North Fulton Chamber is to be the catalyst for economic development, business growth, and quality of life in North Fulton.

PASSED

  • Regional Transit Authority providing the dramatic expansion of mass transit in metro Atlanta to include the 13 metro counties.
  • A ban on talking on your phone while driving unless you use a hands-free device.
  • Reducing Georgia’s 6 percent income tax rate.
  • Sales tax collection on online retail sales.
  • Constitutional Amendment to establish a business court with statewide jurisdiction.
  • Rural internet expansion by setting up a structure for future government funding.
  • Tax exemptions for certain computer equipment sold or leased for use in high-technology data centers.
  • Fully funding the state’s portion of K-12 public education formula.
  • Increased funding for charter schools.
  • Increase in the tax credit scholarships for private schools.
  • Expansion of eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship.
  • Created a career pathway for high school students to earn industry certification and credentials.
  • Created a pilot program introducing agricultural education in elementary schools throughout the state.
  • Created a study committee to evaluate the school year calendar for Georgia public schools.
  • Medical marijuana for patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Allow local governments to effectively ban fireworks except on holidays.
  • Permit domestic violence victims to break their leases without penalty.
  • Funding to protect green space in Georgia.
  • Georgia Lottery winners to remain anonymous.
  • Making it free for Georgians to freeze their credit reports.
  • A ban on computer snooping without permission.
  • Adoption reform.
  • Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays instead of 12:30 p.m. by local referendum.
  • Created a Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Operations and Authority Creation Study Committee.
  • Floating homestead exemption for Fulton cities and school systems.

DID NOT PASS

  • Creation of the Georgia Freight Railroad program to streamline state investment.
  • Replacing Georgia’s electronic voting machines with a paper-based system.
  • Limiting early voting on Sundays and requiring uniform 7:00 pm poll closing time throughout Georgia
  • Requirements for prosecutors and police to determine whether defendants are in the country illegally.
  • Extending the time allowed for adult survivors of child sex abuse file lawsuits against predators.
  • Keeping guns from Georgians with mental illnesses.
  • Allowing religious adoption agencies to turn away gay couples.
  • Regulation of daily fantasy sports.
  • Higher pensions for state legislators.

Transit

HB 930 sponsored by Representative Kevin Tanner (Dawsonville) and Senator Brandon Beach (Alpharetta), creates the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (the ATL). The ATL is a new structure for coordinated and integrated transit planning for the 13-County Metro Atlanta region, and the bill passed both chambers after conference committee agreement shortly before midnight on Sine Die. The bill establishes the governance and accountability of the ATL, as well as outlining new and enhanced transit funding; including through optional local taxes (TSPLOST) which counties may apply to raise transit funds. The FY 2019 Budget includes $100M for bond funding for Transit.

HB 930 is a new regional governance and funding structure for transit in Metro Atlanta. Metro Atlanta is defined as the 13-County region currently under GRTA’s jurisdiction, namely: Cobb, Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale Counties. The bill intends to improve the coordination, integration and efficiency of transit in the region to promote a seamless and high-quality transit system for Metro Atlanta.

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