2024 Legislative Updates - Week 12

Posted By: Stephen Davis 2024 Legislative Updates,

2024 Legislative Session

Legislative Days 39-40                                                                                                                                                                 March 29, 2024


General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die

The House and Senate adjourned just before 1am Friday morning, concluding the 2024 session in their usual fashion.  Bills flew back and forth throughout the evening and legislative mischief, which is common during the final days, was pervasive.


House and Senate members now return home, many to kick off reelection campaigns.  Over forty incumbents face challengers in their May 21 Primary Election and will spend the next seven weeks fundraising and campaigning.  Relatively few of Georgia’s 236 legislative districts are expected to be competitive in November’s General Election, so in most cases the Primary Election determines who will hold the seat for the next two-year term.


Governor Brian Kemp will spend the coming weeks reviewing and acting on legislation sent to him by the General Assembly.  He has until early May to sign or veto legislation.  Measures that failed to reach the Governor are now lost and must be refiled next year for consideration.


The conclusion of session is just a temporary respite from legislative issues.  The industry remains committed to working with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Insurance, and allies in the continued fight to reform Georgia’s legal environment.  Your Government Affairs Team will continue to be engaged in these conversations.


Due to the frenetic nature of the final days of the General Assembly, it is common for dead legislation to find

new life within other active bills.  This report represents our best effort to accurately report on relevant legislation. 

A comprehensive legislative report is forthcoming, pending action by the Governor.



Off-Duty Officers for Set Outs (HB 1203)                                                                       

Rep. Trey Kelly, R-Cedartown

House agreed to changes on Mar-26  |  Eligible for enactment by the Governor

HB 1203 authorizes landlords to use off-duty sheriffs, constables, marshals, and other POST-certified law enforcement officers to execute writs of possession if the marshal, sheriff, or constable does not execute within 14 days of the application.  Local law enforcement must maintain a list of authorized off-duty personnel and provide that information to the landlord upon request.  The landlord must provide written notice of the execution of the writ.  The bill will be effective upon the signature of the Governor.


Safe at Home Act (HB 404)                                                                                       

Rep. Kasey Carpenter, D-Dalton

House agreed to changes on Mar-26  |  Eligible for enactment by the Governor

Introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in 2023, the Safe at Home Act makes several changes throughout the landlord-tenant.  The Senate Judiciary Cmte updated the effective date of the bill and the House agreed to that change on Mar-26 with much praise from Speaker of the House Jon Burns.  The bill:

    • Requires leases to state explicitly that the dwelling is fit for human habitation,
    • Adds “cooling” to the list of utilities that the landlord must make available,
    • Limits security deposits to no more than two months’ rent, and
    • Creates a three-business day right to cure, posted on the door, and sent by terms agreed to in the lease.


Squatter Reform Act (HB 1017)                                                                              

Rep. Devan Seabaugh, R-Marietta

Adopted by the Senate on Mar-26  |  Eligible for enactment by the Governor

HB 1017 addresses the issue of squatters through the criminal trespass code.  This allows police to take action directly under certain conditions.

Legal Reform       

Data Analysis for Tort Reform (HB 1114)                                                                     

Rep. Will Wade, R-Dawsonville

Adopted by the Senate on Mar-26  |  Eligible for enactment by the Governor

HB 1114 is the Governor’s data request bill to support future tort reform.  It authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to request data from insurers, licensed rating organizations, and state agencies regarding the impact of tort lawsuits and the assessment of tort-related risks.  Data is not subject to open record laws.  The Department of Insurance is expected to issue a preliminary data call by the end of April 2024.


COVID-19 Liability Claims (SB 430)                                                                           

Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Alpharetta

Eligible for enactment by the Governor

SB 430 revises guidelines for rebuttable presumption of risk by claimants in certain COVID-19 liability claims.  The liability protections remain in place, but the legislation repeals the warning requirements that became ubiquitous during the pandemic.


Premises Liability Reform (HB 1371)                                                                      

Rep. James Burchett, R-Millwood

Lost, failed to be called for a vote in the Senate

After weeks of negotiations between the business community and the trial lawyers’ association, Rep. Burchett introduced HB 1371 on Feb-22.  While the bill was touted as premises liability reform, it did not limit landowner liability regarding invitees, licensees, and trespassers.  The House adopted an improved version of the bill on Feb-29, but those gains were short-lived as the Senate Judiciary Committee made their own changes. 


While landowners and the business community opposed the latest version of HB 1371, the Senate was poised to amend it on the final day of the session to make it more palatable.  In the end, the bill was not called for a vote.  Proponents will continue to work with the Governor’s Office and legislative allies to advance meaningful premises liability reform in the 2025 session.


Property Management and Property Rights

Prohibit Vehicle Booting (HB 119)                                                                              

Sen. Josh McLaurin, D-Atlanta

Lost, failed to report from the Senate Rules Cmte

As amended, HB 119 prohibits vehicle booting / immobilization except where expressly authorized by local governments.  It requires parking enforcement companies to be permitted by the Department of Public Safety.  It prohibits “predatory” monitoring of parking facilities and prevents property owners from receiving kickbacks or inducements from parking vendors.  When the bill did not make the Senate’s final debate calendar, Sen. Josh McLaurin continued to advance booting language, although his efforts were not successful.


Affordable Housing Study Committee (HR 1418)                                                            

Rep. Phil Olaleye, D-Atlanta

Lost, failed to report from the House Rules Cmte

HR 1418 creates a study committee to determine if there are existing local fees that can be leveraged to develop statewide affordable housing.  In discussing the measure, the author pointed to development impact fees for affordable housing as an example, noting that they cannot be waived without being backfilled by the local government.


Rental Housing Affordability Study Committee (SR 709)                                           

Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta

Lost, failed to report from the Senate Urban Affairs Cmte

SR 709 creates the Senate Study Committee on Rental Housing Affordability.  It finds that the state struggles “with a lack of affordable rental housing on a massive scale” and that a “study is needed to examine the lack of affordable rental housing” and its causes and possible solutions.  While the measure was not authorized, Sen. James may use her authority as Chair of the Senate Urban Affairs Committee to convene hearings on housing affordability and rent control over the interim.


Property Taxation and Valuation

Property Tax Reform (HB 581)                                                                                 

Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire

Eligible for enactment by the Governor

Homestead property tax reform was a moving target until the final gavel fell on Mar-28.  Measures volleyed between the House and Senate, seemingly changing bill numbers each time.  As adopted, HB 581 appears to contain the following provisions:

  • Limits assessment increases on homesteaded property to no more than the rate of inflation; municipalities are permitted to opt out of this floating homestead exemption.
  • Revises the local sales tax cap and allows additional taxes to be used for property tax relief for those municipalities with a floating homestead (municipalities cannot have both the additional sales tax and uncapped assessments).
  • Amends the so-called 299(c) lock.  Current law grants a three-year value freeze when the property value is unchanged, so long as the taxpayer takes the appeal to the board of equalization, hearing officer, arbitrator, or superior court.  Now, the value freeze is only applied when the property value is actually reduced as a result of the appeal.
  • Requires property to be reappraised at least every three years.
  • Adjust sales ratio studies required by the Department of Audit and Accounts.
  • Creates an estimated roll-back rate to appear on the notice of assessment.


Separately, the House and Senate gave final passage to HB 1019 to increase the statewide homestead exemption.  This was the House’s final action before adjourning sine die


Revise Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (HB 1182)                                                       

Rep. Clint Crowe, R-Jackson

Lost, failed to be called for a vote in the Senate

Introduced as part of the larger tax credit reform package, HB 1182 rebrands the low-income housing tax credit to the Georgia affordable housing tax credit.  It allows credits to be leveraged for the development of affordable housing for seniors, veterans, and “targeted” areas, including rural locations.  It reduces to 50% of the federal housing tax credit for affordable projects.


Code Enforcement, Land Use and Development

Development Impact Fees (SB 208 / SR 189)                                                             

Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Alpharetta

Lost, voted down in the House on Mar-28

These measures authorize a local board of education in a high-growth county to impose, levy, and collect development impact fees and use the proceeds to pay for additional educational facilities.  It is currently drafted to apply only to Forsyth County, although the law would certainly become open to all jurisdictions in future sessions.  The Association opposed expanding impact fees for education and granting school boards the authority to impose such fees.


SR 189 was called for a vote in the House on Mar-28.  Because it amends the Constitution, it requires a steep two-thirds majority (120 votes) for passage.  It failed, receiving only 88 votes.  Procedural maneuvering kept the bill alive for a possible revote later in the evening, but the needed votes did not materialize.  Without the constitutional amendment, the enabling legislation was moot, and SB 208 was left on the table.


Rezoning Moratoriums (HB 514)                                                                                 

Rep. Dale Washburn, R-Macon

Lost, failed to gain final agreement

HB 514 codifies the authority of local government to impose zoning moratoriums.  The bill limits the duration of a zoning moratorium to no more than 180 days, although several exceptions are included.  The newly authorized moratoriums could be extended for an additional 180 days if at least one of several easily met conditions exist.


While the Association worked to ensure that all residential property types are protected from zoning moratoriums, multifamily was removed from the compromise language in the final days of session.  Despite this “concession” to others in the residential real estate industry, the Senate still rejected the compromise, taking the side of local governments and local control.


Taxation & General Business Legislation

New PSC Election Dates (HB 1312)                                                                               

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Macon

Eligible for enactment by the Governor

HB 1312 resets the election calendar for Public Service Commissioners, given recent election cancellations and delays caused by ongoing litigation.  Passage of the measure signals “legislative intent” to the courts regarding Georgia’s strong preference to maintain staggered election dates for the Commission.  The court could prescribe its own election schedule as part of the resolution of the ongoing litigation.


Revised election dates and terms are as follows:


  • District 1 (South GA) is elected in 2028 and serves 2029-2034 (six years)
  • District 2 (East / Central GA) is selected in a special election in 2025 and serves 2026-2030 (five-year term, then would revert to a six-year term following the next election cycle)
  • District 3 (Atlanta) is selected in a special election in 2025 and serves Jan-Dec 2026 (one-year term, then would revert to a six-year term following the next election cycle)
  • District 4 (North / Northeast GA) is elected in 2028 and serves 2029-2034 (six years)
  • District 5 (North / Northwest GA) is elected in 2026 and serves 2027-2032 (six years)


Artificial Intelligence Study Committee (SR 476)                                                            

Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell

Authorized by the Senate on Mar-26

SR 476 creates the Senate Study Committee on Artificial Intelligence.  The committee will determine the policies and procedures the state should consider adopting concerning the development, procurement, implementation, utilization, and ongoing assessment of systems that employ AI and are in use by state agencies.


Consumer Privacy Protection Act (SB 473)                                                                     

Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell

Lost, failed to report from the House Rules Cmte

SB 473 protects the privacy of consumer personal data, defined as information that is linked or reasonably linkable to an identified or identifiable individual.  A broad coalition of business interests continued to express concerns with the scope and ambiguity until the last gavel fell on Mar-28.