The Georgia legislature reconvened Monday, February 18, after a lengthy recess to allow the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to continue to conduct hearings on the FY 2020 amended and the FY 2021 budgets. As for the FY 2020 amended budget, the House Appropriations committee returned some of the spending cuts and reductions that came recommended by the governor and the budget was passed out of the House by a vote of 126 to 46. The FY 2020 amended budget now goes to the Senate for a vote. The House Appropriations Committee will now continue their work on the FY 2021 budget and we are committed to working with our friends in the General Assembly to ensure that Governor Kemp’s $70 million budget request for the beginning phase of the Savannah Convention Center expansion remains fully funded in the final budget bill. We are also working with the members of the General Assembly to make sure the state budget provides the proper appropriations needed to fund the construction requests from Georgia Southern University, Savannah State University and Savannah Technical College.
As far as items on the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda, we continue to monitor several bills that are making their way through the committee process. We are currently working with the appropriate members and committees to identify and support the proper legislation that will address the issues.
Below are some additional bills of interest that we are tracking:
HB 448: This would require hotel/motel lodging tax and fees to be collected by the online platform rather than the owner or operator when the reservation is made on a third-party platform such as VRBO.com or Airbnb.com. This bill is still awaiting House committee action.
HB 523: This would limit the local government regulation of properties used as short-term or long-term rentals to regulations that apply to all residential properties. There are current discussions with the bill’s author to allow some local control aspects to be added to the legislation. This bill has passed out of committee and awaits action in the House Rules Committee.
HB 740: This would create a Sports Marketing Fund to provide grants to local Sports Councils, helping them attract sporting events to Georgia. This bill has not passed out of Committee.
HR 935: This would continue the work of the 2019 Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics task of developing a comprehensive, strategic business plan to promote state-wide freight and logistics infrastructure in order for this state to remain economically competitive. This resolution recently passed the House and is currently in the Senate.
SB 110: Establishment of a state-wide Business Court. This bill would allow one party to petition to transfer the case to business court, which is the national standard. This bill is still moving through the committee process.
If you have any specific questions or concerns during the legislative session, please do not hesitate to contact Jared Downs, director of governmental affairs, at JDowns@SavannahChamber.com.