2023 Legislative Report Week 7
LEGISLATIVE REPORT WEEK 7
February 24, 2023
IN THIS ISSUE:
- General Assembly Meets for 3 Days
- House Ag Committee Meets
- Truck Weights Update
- GFB Board Legislative Committee Capitol Visit
- Tax Refunds and State Budget Progress
- Clean Day Event
- Action This Week
- Bills of Interest
- USDA Disaster Assistance
General Assembly Meets for 3 Days
This week the General Assembly only convened for 3 legislative days, due to Monday being a holiday. Even with a shorter week, there was a significant amount of action taken under the gold dome. Bills of interest to Georgia agriculture are seeing movement and important votes are being held as we near crossover day on March 6. Taste of Georgia, an event showcasing the best of Georgia's culinary talent, was held at the Freight Depot this week, and we were excited to see many Georgia based restaurants with Georgia Grown products on their menus.
As we enter the second half of this year's session, the days are getting longer, and the pace continues to pick up. Committee meetings are starting early in the morning and run late into the evening as legislators run to and from, often with multiple meetings taking place at the same time.
This week concluded with legislative day 23, and we will return next week for legislative days 24-27. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) will continue to be present every day at the capitol to represent our members and advocate for Georgia agriculture. Please read below for an update on some of the things that took place this week at the capitol.
House Ag Committee Meets
This Wednesday, February 22, the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs committee met to discuss multiple bills. At the beginning of the meeting Chairman Robert Dickey (R-Musella) recognized the GFB Legislative Committee and thanked them for attending the meeting. Two bills were voted on during the meeting, including HB 33 authored by Rep. Beth Camp (R-Concord). HB 33 seeks to move the State Board of Veterinary Medicine from the Secretary of State and establishes it as its own independent agency, attached to the Department of Agriculture for administrative purposes. The goal of the bill is to increase efficiency and timeliness for the licensing of new vets. We have been engaged on this legislation with the sponsor and were pleased to see the substitute bill include suggestions put forth by GFB. HB 33 passed with a unanimous vote and will move to the Rules Committee.
HB 452 authored by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn) received its first hearing during the meeting. It would prohibit the possessory interest of agricultural land by non-resident aliens, governments, or businesses from a country labeled as a foreign adversary by the US Secretary of Commerce. GFB has been fortunate to provide feedback throughout the process of crafting this bill to ensure it effectively protects the interest of both Georgia agriculture and our members. Rep. Pirkle has crafted a bill that we believe rivals that of any other proposal in the county, as many other states seek to enact similar legislation this year. We believe that food security is national security, and this bill is a step in the right direction to build on the success that we have here in Georgia with our agricultural economy. We expect this bill to receive a vote in committee on Monday.
Also on the agenda for a hearing was HB 305 by Ag Committee Chairman Robert Dickey, titled the "Georgia Farmers' Market Authority Act." It would establish an authority to oversee the State Farmers Markets and give them the ability to use revenue generated by the markets to improve operations and maximize their efficiency, similar to the Ag Expo Authority and Ga National Fairgrounds.
Truck Weight Updates
This week the truck weights debate has seen a great deal of action and movement. With two different bills moving through the House and Senate, there are two approaches being considered. HB 189 carried by Rep. Steven Meeks (R-Screven) has seen changes due to the concern that allowing heavier weights across all industries would be a major change to current policy, which only allows certain industries a variance. The most recent version of the house bill that was recommitted and subsequently passed back out of the House Transportation Committee, would increase the variance from 5% to 12.5% only on trucks hauling agricultural commodities and several other industries that were already specified in current law. This would give agriculture, and the other specified industries, an extra 6,000lbs per trip on a 5-axle truck. This is paired back from the original legislation which granted the increase to all commercial trucks, regardless of the industry. We expect to see this new version of the bill voted on by the Rules Committee in the coming days to determine if it will get a full vote on the House floor.
SB 165, sponsored by Chairman Russ Goodman (R-Cogdell) of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, takes a slightly different approach. This bill would increase the allowable variance in current law to 12.5% and make it available to several other industries in addition to what is already covered by the House version. This would include products such as floor coverings, petroleum, finished forest products, finished food products, and more. Both bills include new provisions that would increase penalties for trucks hauling above the allowable weights. We expect to see this measure before the Senate Transportation Committee in the coming days.
We encourage GFB members to reach out to their members of the General Assembly to express support for the measure ahead of key votes expected first of next week.
GFB Board Legislative Committee Capitol Visit
This week the Georgia Farm Bureau Legislative Committee was present in Atlanta to advocate on behalf of Georgia agriculture and receive important updates from various elected leaders. The committee hosted supper Tuesday evening with the chairmen of multiple influential committees who deal with agricultural issues and had the opportunity to discuss ongoing legislative priorities for the year. On Wednesday morning the committee attended the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee meeting as GFB weighed in on legislation being considered. The group also met with the Attorney General's office to discuss the newly revised Waters of The United States (WOTUS) rule and the state's response from a litigation standpoint. After a photo with Governor Kemp, the group had a meeting with our new Commissioner of Agriculture, Tyler Harper. Days such as this demonstrates the grassroots engagement that GFB is built on and the involvement of our members that we rely on.
Tax Refunds and State Budget Progress
Among the various topics debated this week, significant action was taken on the state's purse and Georgian's wallets. The state has seen a surplus over the past year, and while lawmakers are hesitant to increase continued government spending, they have conservatively approached utilizing one-time funding should these levels not sustain into next year. One of these, HB 162, reflects Governor Kemp's state income tax refund proposal to send another $250-500 back to taxpayers, totaling $1 billion. The bill passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 170-2, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Across the hall, the Senate passed their version of the amended FY23 budget on Thursday. After making changes and including their own priorities to the House version, this budget will soon head to a conference committee to negotiate the differences. Of note, the Senate version includes the following changes relevant to agriculture:
- $13,933 reduction in funds the House proposed for salary restructuring for Ag Education regional coordinators;
- $100,000 reduction in funds the House proposed for the Ag Experiment Station for the vertical integration greenhouse planning study;
- $5,000,000 addition of one-time funds to replace cabins at Rock Eagle 4-H Center;
- $200,000 reduction in funds the House proposed to Warnell School of Forestry for an ecological and economic impact assessment of land dedicated to forestry, row-crop farming, and solar energy production;
- $6,200,000 addition of one-time funds for equipment for Ag Hill Modernization Phase I project at UGA.
Pesticide Clean Day Event
Date & Time: March 29, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: Tri County Gin (Coffee County) 561 Sinkhole Road Douglas, GA 31535
The Georgia Department of Agriculture has scheduled a Pesticide Clean Day Event for March 29, 2023, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM at Tri County Gin in Coffee County. Clean Day is a program that gives everyone an opportunity to discard old, unusable, or cancelled pesticides to a hazardous waste contractor for disposal. Participation in the Clean Day Program remains free of charge to all private and commercial applicators with the understanding that the event is designed and intended for farmers, lawn care, golf courses, and pest control companies.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture will be requiring pre-registration for the events. For more information about the event please contact your local extension agent or click the button below.
Action This Week
Reps. Camp, Mathiak, Lim, Au, and Cameron
This bill would establish the State Board of Veterinary Medicine as an independent agency attached to the Department of Agriculture for administrative purposes. The State Board of Veterinary Medicine serves as the licensing board for veterinarians in the state of Georgia. Currently, this board is administratively attached to the Secretary of State and is under the professional licensing boards division.
Passed House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 2/22/2023
Reps. Corbett, Meeks, Pirkle, Dickey, and Williams
This bill would establish the State Board of Registration for Foresters as an independent agency attached to the State Forestry Commission for administrative purposes. Currently the Board is under the professional licensing boards division of the Secretary of State's office.
Passed by House Natural Resources and Environment Committee on 2/23/2023
Reps. Gullett, Parsons, Thomas, Anderson, Meeks, and others
This bill deals with ensuring transparency between buyers and sellers of distributed energy generation systems, including solar energy procurement, and provides access to educational information surrounding contracts and agreements for such systems. It specifically looks to address deceptive business practices seen throughout the state by certain companies selling rooftop solar systems.
Passed Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee on 2/22/2023
Reps. McDonald, Blackmon, Gillard, Meeks, and Barrett
This bill issues a tax return to all qualified taxpayers who filed an individual tax return for both 2021 and 2022. For a single or married taxpayer filing separately, they will receive $250. For a head of household, they will receive $375. For a married couple filing jointly, they will receive $500.
Passed the full House on 2/23/2023
Reps. Meeks, Burchett, Corbett, Frye, Dickey, and others
This bill would increase the current total gross vehicle weight (GVW) allowed for various trucks and haulers of agricultural commodities and other specified goods to include a 12.5% variance, allowing for 5-axle trucks to haul up to 90,000lbs. It is important to note that over the past two years we have been operating under various executive orders by Governor Brian Kemp that allowed for trucks to haul up to 95,000lbs (GVW) in an effort to combat supply chain issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and other global market disruptions. Currently, there is a 5% variance allowed for trucks hauling agricultural commodities and other specified goods within 100 miles of the farm.
Passed House Transportation Committee 2/22/2023
Reps. Anderson, Williamson, Parsons, Frazier, Jones and others
This bill says no governmental entity of this state shall adopt any policy that restricts or prohibits, or has the effect of restricting or prohibiting, the type or source of energy or fuel to be delivered to a home or the appliance to be used.
Passed House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication Committee 2/22/2023
Reps. Knight, Corbett, Rhodes, Cannon, and Pirkle
This bill would do away with an exemption provided in the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) program that allows for the installation of solar panels on land within a CUVA covenant, so long as that portion of the land is removed from the covenant and the specified breach penalty is paid. That penalty in current law is less than what must be paid for a normal breach on a property that is subject to a covenant. Under this proposal, installing solar panels on land enrolled in CUVA would constitute a breach of the covenant, and the full penalty would have to be paid.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee 2/21/2023
Reps. Pirkle, Jasperse, Meeks, Rhodes, Knight, and others
This bill would prohibit the foreign ownership of agricultural land by any non-resident alien, government, or business from a country considered to be foreign adversary as determined by the US Secretary of Commerce. It would also restrict ownership by those individuals, governments, and businesses of any land that is within a 25 mile radius of a military facility. The bill does allow for possession in certain special circumstances such as through an inheritance or for the collection of debts, but the land must be dispersed after a specified period of time.
Heard in House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee 2/22/2023
Reps. Pirkle, Corbett, Williams, and Rhodes
This bill seeks to make changes to the current hemp law to ensure the safety of the products being sold and marketed here in Georgia by requiring certain labeling and testing requirements for all consumable hemp products. It clearly defines hemp products, consumable hemp products, and industrial hemp products to distinguish between the different usages of hemp plants. It seeks make changes to the licensing and registration process and fee structure for growers, processors, and retailers. This bill also requires a person to be 21 years old to purchase consumable hemp products, be the target of certain marketing, or receive samples of consumable hemp products in stores.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee 2/21/2023
Reps. Leverett, Petrea, Prince, and Jackson
This bill seeks to address issues with bad actors improperly applying soil amendments through increased notification requirements and delegation of enforcement authority to certain local governments. GFB is actively monitoring this bill and has been in discussions with the sponsor to work towards an appropriate and balanced solution to the issue.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment Committee 2/21/2023
Reps. Drenner, Carter, Evans, Davis, and Thomas
This bill creates a definition for what is an overburden community and seeks to establish a special permitting process and environmental justice considerations that must be followed for an individual or entity to build or expand certain types of facilities in an overburdened community.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment 2/22/2023
Reps. Drenner, Carter, Evans, Davis, and Thomas
This bill is titled Georgia Environmental Justice Act of 2023. It establishes the Environmental Justice Commission to oversee the permitting of certain projects in low-income and minority neighborhoods.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment Committee 2/22/2023
Reps. Barnes, Beverly, Clark, Au, Oliver, and others.
This bill seeks to provide free school meals to all public-school students who qualify for the reduced-price meals under federal and state guidelines. It encourages the use of Georgia Grown products in school breakfast and lunch programs to promote Georgia agriculture and healthy eating.
Assigned to Education 2/22/2023
Reps. Gilliard, Stephens, Willis, and Thomas
This bill, titled the "Georgia Hemp Industry Growth and Business Partnership Tax Credit Act," provides for a tax credit for costs of doing business with Georgia Grown hemp owners and suppliers.
Assigned to House Ways & Means Committee 2/23/2023
Reps. Cannon, Corbett, Dickey, Rhodes, Houston, and others
This bill would establish the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Citrus Fruits.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee 2/23/2023
Reps. Drenner and Thomas
This is a resolution creating the House Study Committee on Environmental Justice. This committee will study the impact of pollution and hazardous materials on low-income neighborhoods or neighborhoods consisting primarily of minorities.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment Committee 2/22/2023
Sens. Kirkpatrick, Robertson, Hufstetler, Payne, Butler, and others
This bill seeks to address licensing, testing, and retail sales of consumable hemp products. It puts in place certain testing requirements for consumable hemp products, establishes a licensing structure with the associated fees, and addresses certain issues surrounding the offering of hemp samples to anyone under 21 years of age. The bill also puts in place specific labeling requirements for retail consumable hemp products.
Recommitted to Senate Rules Committee 2/22/2023
Sens. Anderson, Ginn, Gooch, Kennedy, Robertson, and others
This bill prohibits local governments from denying the installation of a water well serving a single-family residence situated on a parcel of one acre or more. It would therefore allow for drilling, servicing, or repair of new or existing wells on single-family residential and farm properties.
Passed out of Senate Natural Resource and Environment Committee 2/16/2023
Sens. Beach, Dolezal, Goodman, Summers, Anderson, and others
This bill would prohibit the purchase of agricultural land by a non-resident foreign alien who is from a Country of Particular Concern as defined by the U.S. State Department. It would also restrict the purchase of agricultural land by any government of, or business domiciled in, a Country of Particular Concern. There are provisions within the bill that would also limit the foreign ownership of land near certain military instillations.
Passed Senate Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security Committee 2/21/2023
Sens. Still, Dolezal, Robertson, Anavitarte, Payne, and others
This bill would prohibit local regulations that create differing standards for gasoline-powered leaf blowers from similar equipment.
Passed State and Local Governmental Operations Committee 2/22/2023
Sens. Jones, Goodman, Butler, Hickman, and Sims
This bill is entitled the "Food Insecurity Eradication Act." It establishes the Georgia Food Security Advisory Council under the Georgia Department of Agriculture to advise the General Assembly on ways to alleviate food insecurity in the state.
Passed Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee 2/22/2023
Sens. Goodman, Watson, Anderson, Walker III, Sims and others
This bill, titled the "Georgia Farmland Conservation Act," would establish the Georgia Farmland Conservation Fund Program for the purpose of conserving agricultural land in the state of Georgia. This would be accomplished through appropriation of state dollars that have the opportunity for federal matching funds, used to fund the acquisition of agricultural conservation easements. The program would be administered by the Department of Agriculture with the help of an advisory council that includes family farmers, executive and legislative branch appointments, and members of statewide farm organizations, including the President of Georgia Farm Bureau. The goal of this program is for the permanent preservation of farmland in our state and the future of our agricultural economy.
Assigned to Senate Finance Committee 2/23/2023
Bills of Interest
Reps. Jackson, Hawkins, Cooper, Williams, Beverly, and others
This bill would eliminate the current tax credit available for rural physicians and replace it with a new tax credit of up to $5,000 for each taxable year. The new tax credit would be available to a wider array of health care professionals including dentists, nurse practitioners, physical assistants and more. It also imposes certain restrictions such as a cap on the number of years it can be claimed (5 years) and restrictions on those who are already working in a rural area.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 1/31/2023
Reps. Jenkins, Pirkle, Knight, Huddleston, and Camp
This bill authorizes the use of ungraded lumber in the construction or repair of any accessory structure not primarily used as habitable space.
Assigned to Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee 2/16/2023
Reps. Momtahan, Parsons, Dickey, Tarvin, Pirkle, and others
This bill would prohibit the foreign ownership of certain types of land or properties, including farms and agricultural land, by Chinese, Russian, Iranian, or North Korean governments, citizens, or companies. It would both prohibit direct ownership but also ownership through majority stock or other specified intertest.
Assigned to House Judiciary Committee 2/7/2023
Reps. Schofield, Drenner, Kennard, Evans and Hutchinson
This bill would require the Public Service Commission to adopt regulations to gradually reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from every electric utility in Georgia, regardless of fuel type. It would require that by 2050 all electricity provided by an electric utility in Georgia be generated from energy sources that produce zero greenhouse gasses.
Assigned to House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Committee 2/7/2023
Reps. Lewis-Ward, Beverly, Jackson, and Gilliard
This bill would establish the Office of Equity in Agriculture to support current members of socially disadvantaged groups and to encourage the growth of socially disadvantaged groups into the field of agriculture.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/7/2023
Reps. Thomas, Schofield, and Marin
This bill would establish the ability to set up and operate a Microenterprise home kitchen. This would be a noncommercial kitchen facility located in a private home or on a farm where ready-to-eat food is handled, stored, prepared, or offered for sale for consumption off the premises. The kitchen must meet the criteria to be a microenterprise as established by the Department of Economic Development. This bill would exclude food sales establishments, any food production which requires a license by the Dept. of Agriculture, and more.
Heard by House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/14/2023
Reps. Smith, Kelley, Williamson, Stephens, and Blackmon
This legislation would establish the Solar Technology Trust Fund and impose a fee of $15 per kilowatt of capacity on retail sales of solar equipment in Georgia. The fees collected would be used by the trust fund for remediation, decommissioning, and disposal of solar equipment, such as solar panels.
Assigned to House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication Committee 2/9/2023
Reps. Dickey, Houston, Gilliard, and Carpenter
Over the past few years there has been discussion over how to address issues with our state's Farmers Markets, some of which are in need of substantial capital repairs and improvements. Several of the markets have also suffered from profitability issues, leading to the temporary closing of certain markets. This bill seeks to establish the Georgia Farmers Market Authority, allowing the state's markets to be run more like a business by retaining the income it generates and using it to operate and improve the markets.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 2/9/2023
Reps. Smith, Stephens, Knight, Greene, Blackmon, and others
This bill is the enabling legislation for the recently passed constitutional amendment that provides for optional temporary tax relief to certain properties located in nationally declared federal disaster areas. The constitutional amendment on the ballot this past November received a 'yes' vote of nearly 92%.
Assigned to House Ways & Means Committee 2/9/2023
Reps. Scott, Schofield, and Davis
Under this proposal, the Department of Human Services could establish the Healthy Food Development Program, to establish, support, facilitate, and expand access to healthy foods in eligible underserved areas, in coordination with Departments of Economic Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources on an approved application basis.
Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee on 2/9/2023
Reps. LaHood, Parrish, Williams, Jackson, Burchett and others.
This bill seeks to amend the tax credit limit for rural hospital contributions and redefines a rural hospital organization. It would increase the tax credit limit for contributions by corporate donors and increase the aggregate limit for tax credits for contributions to rural hospital organizations. This bill includes a sunset date of December 31, 2023.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee 2/14/2023
Reps. Yearta, Corbett, Cannon, Jasperse, and Franklin
This bill would make it unlawful for anyone other than a secondary metal recycler to sell, purchase, possess, or transport a catalytic convertor. The individual would be charged on a separate offense for every individual catalytic convertor. This, along with other similar pieces of proposed legislation, are in response to increasing frequency of catalytic converter theft in recent years.
Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee 2/13/2023
Reps. Williams, Meeks, Rhodes, Dickey, Blackmon, and others
This bill seeks to grant a second round of funding to the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs program. This bill would also increase the application fee and provide an annual maintenance fee.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/15/2023
Reps. Houston, Meeks, Dickey, Pirkle
This bill would establish the Farmer's Market Trust Fund allowing for the state farmers markets to retain fees and utilize them to repair and maintain those farmers markets and for marketing and promotion of Georgia agricultural goods.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee 2/16/2023
Reps. Balinger, Jasperse, Ridley, Byrd, Thomas, Scoggins
This resolution recognizes Shirley Pahl, program coordinator and office manager for the Cherokee County Farm Bureau, for her collaboration with legislators, leadership within the county, and dedicated service to her community. The members of the State House of Representatives congratulate her on her retirement and extends their best wishes.
House Read and Adopted 1/24/2023
Reps. Williams, Petrea, Dickey, Corbett, Rhodes, and others
This resolution proposes an amendment to the state constitution that would reduce the rate of ad-valorem tax assessment on timber at the time of sale or harvest. The proposal would require that the state appropriate funds annually to each county or municipality to compensate for any loss in revenue.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee 2/6/2023
Reps. Dickey, Leverett, Washburn, Fleming, Pirkle, and others
This resolution recognizes February 14, 2023, as Georgia Farm Bureau Federation Day at the capitol.
House Adopted 2/7/2023
Reps. Bennett, Jenkins, Dempsey, Lewis-Ward, Newton, and others
This resolution establishes the House Healthy Food Retail Study Committee to investigate the lack of access to healthy foods in both rural and urban areas.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee 2/15/2023
Sens. Jackson, Goodman, Summers and Butler
This bill, called the "Georgia Hemp Farming Act," would change the limitations for individuals seeking a license or permit to grow hemp. It would change current law to allow individuals who are convicted of a misdemeanor involving the sale of a controlled substance, to apply for and be given a license or permit to grow industrial hemp. It would also allow someone convicted of a felony to apply for and receive a license or permit after 10 years has passed from said felony.
Passed Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 2/7/2023
Sens. Hatchett, Ginn, Albers, Robertson, Kennedy and others
Last year, Senator Bo Hatchett (R-Cornelia) introduced legislation to address concerns raised by secondary metal recyclers whose business practices are restricted in their methods of payment for deposits. Under current law, recyclers may only pay using a check, electronic funds transfer, or a voucher. GFB along with other interested organizations worked closely with Sen. Hatchett to seek a solution that alleviated their business expenses by allowing for limited cash payment (up to $100) for deposits excluding utility wire, communications copper, copper wire, batteries, or catalytic converters. The bill did not receive final passage last year, so Sen. Hatchett has reintroduced SB 60, which is nearly identical to last year's legislation. It seeks to find a reasonable balance between deterrence of widespread metal theft while still allowing for a business-friendly environment. We appreciate Sen. Hatchett working with all interested parties to find a solution that also provides specific carve outs for the items and metal property most commonly stolen from farms and agricultural operations.
Passed the full Senate on 2/13/23. Assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee 2/14/2023
Sens. Anderson, Brass, Burns, Anavitarte, Robertson and others
This bill changes the definition of what is considered a dangerous or vicious dog. This bill revises the definition to include the following: a dog who is unprovoked barking, growling, or snarling, aggressively running along fence lines, or escaping confinement when people are present. It requires the owner of a dangerous dog as defined by the bill to maintain a $500,000 insurance policy covering any damage or bodily harm caused by the dog.
Assigned to Senate Insurance and Labor Committee 2/13/2023
Sens. Goodman, Sims, Walker, Brass, Mallow, and others
This bill is a companion bill to HB 189. The current state law sets the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of any 5-axle truck at 80,000lbs. Agriculture and forestry receives a 5% variance exemption to allow them to haul 84,000lbs. This bill would give agriculture and a number of new additional products, a 12.5% variance, allowing them to haul at 90,000lbs. This bill only pertains to state roads. Due to federal regulations, trucks traveling on interstates are only allowed to haul at 80,000lbs with no variances.
Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee 2/15/2023
Sens. Dolezal, Still, Gooch, Kennedy, Watson and others
This legislation deals with premises liability action and seeks to make changes to tort law provisions that are significant to landowners. It states no landowner shall be liable in a premises liability action to anyone who is injured on the landowner's property as the result of the willful, wanton, or intentionally tortious conduct of any third party who is not a director, officer, employee, or agent of the landowner unless the invitee can prove specific items as laid out by the legislation.
Assigned to Senate Insurance & Labor Committee 2/16/2023
Sens. Gooch, Anavitarte, Kennedy, Cowsert, Summers, and others.
This bill requires the Department of Community Affairs to determine locations that are eligible for state and federal funding for broadband services.
Assigned to Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee 2/16/2023
Sens. Walker, Goodman, Dixon, Echols, Anderson
This resolution recognizes February 21, 2023, as FFA Day at the Capitol and acknowledges the positive impact that FFA has on youth in Georgia.
Senate Read and Adopted 1/24/2023
Sens. Walker, Goodman, Dixon, Echols, Sims, Anderson, and others
Recognizes February 8, 2023, as 4-H Day at the Capitol and commemorates the achievements of outstanding students within the organization this year.
Senate Read and Adopted 1/25/2023
Sens. Goodman, Anderson, Walker, Sims, Watson, and others
This resolution acknowledges February 8th, 2023, as Georgia Young Farmers Association Day at the Capitol and commemorates the work done by the members of this organization.
Senate Adopted 2/07/2023
Sens. Goodman, Anderson, Walker, Sims, Watson, and others
This resolution recognizes February 14, 2023 as Georgia Farm Bureau Federation Day at the capitol, and commends President Tom McCall for his leadership in Georgia agriculture.
Senate Read and Adopted 2/13/2023
Sens. Anavitarte, Gooch, Kennedy, Dolezal, Robertson and others
This resolution would create the Senate Truck Driver Shortages Study Committee.
Senate Hopper 2/15/2023
Disaster and Pandemic Assistance Programs
Starting Jan 23, agricultural producers can begin to apply for two new important programs for revenue losses, from 2020 and 2021 natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic. Both programs equitably fill gaps in earlier assistance.
First, you may be eligible for assistance through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two if you experienced revenue losses from eligible natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. ERP Phase Two is for producers who didn't receive assistance from ERP Phase One.
You may also be eligible for the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) if you experienced revenue losses in calendar year 2020. PARP is addressing gaps in previous pandemic assistance, which was targeted at price loss or lack of market access, rather than overall revenue losses.
Applications for both new programs are due June 2, 2023, and you can apply for both programs during your same appointment with USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Historically, FSA programs have been designed to make direct payments to producers based on a single disaster event or for a single commodity loss. For many of you, this may be the first revenue-based program that you've applied for with FSA. Please click the button below for more information.
Dates to Remember
Please see below for a list of upcoming events related to Georgia Agriculture:
- March 1: PB&J Day
- March 6: Georgia Cattleman's Steak Biscuit Day
Not a Member Georgia Farm Bureau? Join Today!
The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation has a membership of almost 250,000 and serves as state's the largest general farm organization. Our goal is to provide leadership and assistance to the agricultural sector, to promote farm products, to aid in ag-related procurement, to be a spokesman for the farmer in the legislative arena, to be a leader in the development and expansion of farm markets, and to strive for more agricultural research and educational funds and facilities.
With members in all 159 Georgia counties, Georgia Farm Bureau is dedicated to promoting and improving agriculture in our counties, state and nation and in continually improving and expanding our service-to-member programs which serve to enhance the quality of life for all Georgians.
Membership in Georgia Farm Bureau is open to everyone. You don't need to be a farmer or have insurance with us to join Farm Bureau!
If you would like to become a member of Georgia Farm Bureau, you can start your membership online right now! We have a simple application process, and you can be our newest member in just a couple of minutes. Click the button below or use our County Office Locator to find the office nearest you.
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Public Policy Department Staff
Alex Bradford, Director
Adam Belflower, Governmental Affairs Specialist
Raynor Churchwell, Agricultural Programs Manager
Renee Jones, Operations Coordinator
Jake Matthews, Governmental Affairs Specialist
Jeremy Taylor, Agricultural Programs Specialist
Keaton Walker, Advocacy and Policy Development Specialist