2013 Capitol Update Week 7 – Ethics, Beer and Guns


The pace at the Georgia House is picking up. Crossover Day, the day a bill must pass one chamber to be considered by the other this session, is Thursday, March 7th. Committees are meeting more frequently, the number of bills receiving a hearing is growing, and the Rules Calendar is getting longer.

Last week the House passed two pieces of Ethics legislation on Monday.

HB 142 relates to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance (Ethics) Commission and modifies requirements for lobbyists registration and disclosures, regulates lobbyist spending on Legislators, and restores rule-making authority to the Commission.  HB 142 passed 164-4 and is now in the Senate.

HB 143 changes provisions to campaign contributions and disclosure reports revising both local official reporting as well as mandating that contributions to Legislators between January 1 and the first day of the Legislative Session be reported within five days of the beginning of that Session. HB 143 passed 167-0 and goes to the Senate.

The House unanimously passed HB 242 a comprehensive Juvenile Justice Reform bill.

By the time we reached Friday, legislation concerned beer.

HB 99 the Home Brewer’s Rights Bill authored by Rep. Jason Spencer passed easily with a vote of 151-4. I co-signed this bill that legalizes home-brew competitions, permits the transportation of home-brewed beer to the competitions, and raises the maximum amount of beer a person can brew yearly from 50 gallons to 100 gallons (200 gallons if two people of legal drinking age live in the household).

Next Week

The House is in session on Monday and Tuesday, we are adjourned Wednesday, and return for Crossover Day on Thursday. Monday’s calendar is published here. A few bills on interest include:

HB 124 a Sunday Sales fix providing that a failure to approve package liquor sales on Sunday would not nullify the prior approval of package beer and wine sales.

HB 125 streamlines the licensing and citizen verification process dealing with immigration.

HB 361 reiterates that Georgia is a “right to work” state and provides annual renewal of any authorization to deduct union dues from employee paychecks.

HB 362 provides that governmental public works contracts shall not be required to use union labor.


HB 159 passes House Ways & Means Committee

HB 159 my Property Protection Bill passed the Ways & Means Committee and is now pending before House Rules. This proposal that simply says “taxes and only taxes should appear on our property tax bills” is gaining support. I am pleased that in addition to the 55,000 Georgian’s that are members of Americans for Prosperity-Georgia, the Real Estate Trade Group including the Georgia Association of REALTORS, Mortgage Bankers Association, Georgia Credit Union League, and Community Bankers Association among others is actively supporting passage. This week the NFIB, National Federation of Independent Business added their support. There remains much work and a long way to go, however, I am gratified that support is growing. HB 159 is sound public policy and prohibits the use of our property tax bills as a debt collection tool for tack-on fees.


HB 512 Safe Carry Protection Act hearing Monday afternoon

HB 512 the Safe Carry Protection Act will be heard before the Public Safety Committee on Monday afternoon at 3 PM in room 415 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.I strongly support HB 512 and I anticipate it will come to the floor for a vote quickly.

Please contact me with any issue of state importance to you, your family, or business. I appreciate you allowing me to serve as your state Representative.

Thank you,

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Brett Harrell

At the Capitol
Please call, email, or visit Brett at the Capitol.

Representative Brett Harrell
601-D Coverdell Legislative Office Building
18 Capitol Square
Atlanta, GA 30334