Capitol Update Week 7 – Preparing for “Crossover”

Last week

Last week was a very busy week completing necessary committee work in preparation for “Crossover Day” on Monday. Crossover is the 30th day of the 40-day legislative session and the date by which a bill must pass one chamber to permit enough time to complete the process in the other chamber and become law. The House has seventeen bills on the first calendar for Monday and we will likely have one or more supplemental calendars prior to adjourning for the day.

Three bills I either authored or co-sponsored passed the House last week and are now pending committee hearings in the Senate. HB 412 permits voluntary electronic property tax billing. Gwinnett County estimates it may save up to $140,000 a year in billing costs.HB 731 included an Amendment to repeal an unconstitutional article from Georgia Code.HB 658 by Representative B. J. Pak removed the last remnants of the Estate Tax from Georgia statute.

The House voted down HB 153 a proposal to permit a “fractional” SPLOST of less than 1-cent. I voted No. The author has asked the House to reconsider the bill on Monday. Initially the idea of a SPLOST at less than 1-cent may sound like a good idea – lower taxes. I see it differently. I view the idea as a tax increase from zero up to the fraction rather than from 1-cent down to the fraction. I also agree with the Department of Revenue that multiple rates at multiple fractions in multiple counties may result in a number of administrative burdens. Finally, SPLOST should sunset when the need is fulfilled. I view the implementation of a fractional SPLOST as an attempt to continue taxes when the voters would otherwise let the penny lapse.

Finally, the House passed HB 459 by Representative Bill Kitchens, a former State Patrol Commander, commonly referred to as the “Slow Poke” law to require drivers in the left lane to move over when approached by a faster moving vehicle.

It was also my great pleasure to welcome students from the Grayson Elementary School Cluster on Monday and the Choir from Snellville Middle on Tuesday to the Capitol.

SMS Choir
SMS Choir with Governor Nathan Deal

The SMS Choir toured the Capitol and performed two songs at noon
to the great enjoyment of all.

Next week

Among the more noteworthy bills the House may consider next week are:
HB 885 – would permit medical cannabis treatments for certain seizure disorders
HB 707 – would prevent any state resources used to implement the Affordable Care Act
HB 990 – would require a vote of the Legislature prior to expanding Medicaid

Committee calendars

House committee meeting calendar:
http://calendar.legis.ga.gov/Calendar/?chamber=house

Senate committee meeting calendar:
http://media.legis.ga.gov/Calendar/?chamber=senate

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.

Thank you,

Brett_Signature

Brett Harrell

Twitter: bharrell
Facebook: voteharrell