2015 Capitol Update – Week 5 – Solar Power / Education

Solar Power and Education bills unanimously pass the House

The House began this week of the session by unanimously passing HB 57, the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act. Authored by Rep. Mike Dudgeon, this legislation makes it easier and more affordable for Georgians to fund solar power installations through third-party financing plans. Upon approval by the Senate and Governor Deal, this measure will increase options for residents to use innovative technologies to ultimately lower their power bills.

Education remains the priority for the General Assembly and the unanimous passage of HB 91 in the House this week makes it easier for some deserving students to obtain their high school diplomas. Gwinnett’s Rep. Brooks Coleman, Chairman of the House Education Committee, authored the bill that permanently eliminates the Georgia high school graduation test that has fallen out of favor and practice over the past several years.

Doctor of the Day

Doctor of the Day Lee Grose, M.D.
Lee Grose, M.D. – Doctor of the Day
L to R: Brett, Dr. Grose, Speaker Ralston


It was my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Lee Grose, M.D. as our Doctor of the Day in the House this week. Dr. Grose is a graduate of the University of Georgia, former Medical Director at the Gwinnett County Detention Center and a resident of my District. Thanks for your service Dr. Grose.

Next week

The House Rules calendar is beginning to accumulate various bills that have passed through the Committee process and are available for consideration of a floor vote.

HB 49 that I authored provides for optional “paperless” property tax billing passed the full Ways & Means Committee on Thursday and may be before the Rules Committee on Wednesday. Gwinnett County estimates that voluntary participation may save over $140,000 per year in billing costs.

The Ways & Means Committee also accepted an amendment to HB 202 that I proposed to postpone charging interest on property tax bills until 60 days after the taxpayers has received notice of the final valuation and taxes due.

House Bills of Interest

Several citizens have asked about these bills that are making their way through the House legislative process:

HB 1  Medical Marijuana – I support concept, evaluating legality regarding the transportation and immunity for citizens.

HB 208  State Fair Tax – I support concept, oppose bill containing significant errors.

HB 218  Religious Freedom Act – Evaluating unintended impacts on business.

HB 220  Income Tax Credits for Low Emission Vehicles – I support ending the government subsidy for electric vehicles this year. As an interim position, I would support the phase out in HB 220 if unable to achieve full repeal this year.

HB 244  Safe Harbor – I support ‘safe harbor’, oppose bill as it expands government and mandates substantial fees on business.

If there is a bill or issue that is important to you or your family, send me a quick email at Brett@VoteHarrell.com and let me know your opinion.

Committee calendars

House committee meeting calendar:

Senate committee meeting calendar:

As always, I remain appreciative that you allow me to serve as your state Representative. I encourage you to contact me with any comments or questions you have about the legislation being considered at the state Capitol.  You can reach me at my Capitol office at 404-656-0254 or on my cell at 404-966-5804 or via email at brett.harrell@house.ga.gov.