2024 Legislative Session Report Week 9

GFB Action Center

March 8, 2024

In this Issue: 

Photo Credits: Georgia Department of Agriculture

Week 9 Under the Gold Dome


The Capitol was buzzing this week as individuals from across the state seeking office traveled to Atlanta to register as candidates for the 2024 election. Known as Qualifying Week, candidates wishing to run for local, state, and federal elections had to officially file their paperwork by today, often taking the opportunity for photos and press releases. Qualifying signals the first step in the 2024 election cycle, and reveals who will retire, have challengers, or be safe as an incumbent. Click here to find all candidates who have qualified for races across the state. 


On Tuesday, our friends from the Georgia Peanut Commission hosted the annual PB&J Day at the Capitol. The Commission spent the day meeting with legislators advocating for the peanut industry in Georgia and serving their famous grilled PB&J sandwiches for everyone. We appreciate all those who traveled to Atlanta to be a part of this event and enjoyed seeing many of our members in the halls of the Capitol.


On Wednesday, Commissioner Tyler Harper hosted a press conference to recognize two special members of the agriculture community. Skippy, the American Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year, and Casper, the American Farm Bureau People's Choice Pup, both from Georgia, were recognized with commendations for their accomplishments at the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention in Salt Lake City in January. Click here to see the press release from Commissioner Harper honoring Skippy, Casper, and their owners.

Legislative Calendar Update


This week, the General Assembly convened for legislative days 29-32. The week began on Monday, March 4th, and concluded on Friday, March 8th. They will return next week on Monday, March 11th, and convene for 3 legislative days and 1 committee workday. 

House Passes FY25 Budget


After passing the amended fiscal year 2024 budget last week, Appropriations Chairman Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) presented the House's version of the FY25 budget which passed the House on Thursday. The Senate Appropriations Committee immediately began holding subcommittee meetings to review the Governor's and House's recommendations, putting their own mark on spending priorities. While we expect there to be further changes and negotiations, below are highlights from the FY25 budget as passed by the House.


Department of Agriculture

  • $267,861 for two shellfish inspection and certification specialist positions.
  • $185,000 for new information security officer.
  • $700,000 for agricultural improvements.

Soil & Water Conservation Commission

  • $72,000 to develop and implement a Master Farmer program.

Department of Community Health

  • $2,000,000 for rural hospital stabilization grants.
  • $2,000,000 for hospitals with graduate medical education programs to support residency programs with priority to new and rural sites.

Department of Economic Development

  • $100,000 reduced from $200,000 for a site development specialist position to support economic development in rural communities.

Agriculture Education

  • $192,000 for two young farmer positions in Barrow and Peach counties.
  • $88,000  for eight extended day/year programs.

Department of Natural Resources

  • $259,307 to expand access to the Deer Management Assistance Program for conservation and management of wildlife resources.
  • $500,000 for processing of venison donations to encourage deer harvests.

University System of Georgia

  • $500,000 for projects at the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation.

Student Finance Commission

  • $35,000 for the Veterinary Loan Repayment Program service cancelable loans.

Technical College System of Georgia

  • $450,000 transfer of funds from the Department of Economic Development's Rural Development program for two workforce development positions to support the Hyundai and Rivian economic development projects. 

Capitol Project Funds

  • $1,700,000 for renovation of Chambliss Hall, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Public Input About State Deer Management Plan


Georgia farmers across the state have continually expressed challenges they face from increasing crop depredation from whitetail deer. It is important we make our voice heard to policymakers in order for them to set policy that addresses our needs and concerns. The Department of Natural Resources is currently taking public input from citizens and stakeholder groups to inform their decisions as they prepare the State Deer Management Plan for the next 6 years. It is important for farmers to participate and submit their input on this policy that will be in place for multiple years. Click below to learn more and submit input.

Click Here

SEC Backs Off Scope 3


Farmers celebrated this week when a final federal rule with significant implications was released by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding company climate disclosures, as part of the Biden administration's climate initiative. Last year's initial proposal included Scope 3 emission disclosure requirements, which pertain to indirect greenhouse gas emissions stemming from a company's activities but originating from uncontrolled sources such as the supply chain, transportation, and product use, and disposal. Essentially this would have required farms to track, quantify, and report their potential carbon footprint contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. Farm Bureau activated our membership to mount a notable opposition to the proposal.


Thankfully, the final rule's exclusion of Scope 3 obligations marks a prudent and emphatically welcome move, mitigating regulatory overreach and alleviating burdens on corporations, particularly in managing complex supply chains. The SEC listened to the input of agricultural stakeholders and saw the burden the inclusion of Scope 3 would have on production agriculture. Instead of submitting to this burdensome and untenable regulation, agricultural stakeholders united in backing down the inclusion of this overzealous kowtowing climate protection requirement. This marks one of the few run-ins with the SEC that Farm Bureau has experienced, allowing that relationship to develop and demonstrating the strength of Farm Bureau's unified voice. 

Action This Week


HB 827:

Reps. Smith, Dickey, Pirkle, Leverett, Hagan, and others

This bill increases the punishment for livestock theft by increasing both the penalty fines and the years of imprisonment. 

Passed House and Passed Senate Judiciary Committee by Substitute 3/7/2024


HB 1017:

Reps. Seabaugh, Reeves, Burchett, Crowe, Silcox, and others

This bill is known as the Georgia Squatter Reform Act. It seeks to strengthen the definition of criminal trespass to address issues with squatters. Squatters occupy an abandoned or unoccupied property without consent from the owner.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee 3/4/2024


HB 1023:

Reps. Williamson, Blackmon, Crowe, Silcox, Hilton, and others 

This bill decreases the corporate income tax rate. It matches the corporate income tax rate to the individual income tax rate applicable to all taxable years beginning January 1, 2024.

Passed House and Assigned Senate Finance Committee 3/4/2024


HB 1031:

Reps. Blackmon, Knight, Martin, and Crowe

This bill requires all parcels to be reappraised in 2025. After 2025, every parcel must be reappraised every three years.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Finance Committee 3/4/2024 


HB 1052:

Reps. Cannon, Dickey, Huddleston, McCollum, Meeks, and others

This bill would allow a non-eligible entity to lease property in a CUVA covenant as long as the ownership includes at least one citizen of the United States and the primary purpose of the land is production agriculture. GFB policy supports this bill.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Finance Committee 3/4/2024


HB 1099:

Reps. Huddleston, Burchett, Cannon, Camp, Rhodes, and others

This bill is known as the "Purple Paint Law." It allows landowners to mark their property boundaries with purple paint marks on trees or post in place of typical signage.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee 3/4/2024


HB 1223:

Reps. Leverett, Petrea, Prince, Jackson, and Adesanya

This bill amends the Georgia Soil Amendment Act of 1976 and prohibits the application of soil amendments to a site currently subject to a consent order issued by EPD or an existing enforcement action of EPD.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 2/29/2024


HB 1274:

Reps. Huddleston, Frye, Dickey, Pirkle, Thomas, and others

This bill amends the Veterinary Student Loan Repayment Program. Recipients of the loan repayment program would qualify for 3 payments of $25,000 over the course of 3 years. The program would be limited to applicants who have been practicing food animal medicine for less than 10 years in a rural community.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee 3/4/2024


HB 1371:

Rep. Burchett

This bill is a part of this year's tort reform efforts and known as premise liability. It seeks to reduce liability from a landowner when there is a felony involving a third party.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee 3/4/2024


SB 420:

Sens. Anavitarte, Goodman, Beach, Cowsert, Gooch, 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 installation. Any violator would be convicted of a felony with up to two years in prison or a $15,000 fine.

Passed Senate and Assigned to House Judiciary Committee 3/4/2024 


SB 436:

Sens. Watson, Goodman, Anderson, Walker, Ginn, and others

This bill addresses farm use vehicles as it relates to right-of-way on the road. It changes the definition of "Implement of husbandry" requiring the main use to be primarily for agricultural operations, not exclusively.

Passed Senate and Passed House Motor Vehicles Committee 3/5/2024


SB 542:

Sens. Watson, Kennedy, and Gooch

This bill removes public trust doctrine from reference of Georgia's navigable rivers and grants access for the public to float, fish, and hunt on all Georgia's navigable waters.

Passed Senate and Assigned to House Judiciary Committee 3/4/2024

Bills Available for Consideration


HB 73:

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 House on 2/22/2023 and Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities 3/1/2023



HB 82:

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.

Passed House and Passed Senate Finance Committee 1/30/2024


HB 514:

Reps. Washburn, Bazemore, Reeves, Lim, Ridley, and others. 

This bill is known as the "Housing Regulation Transparency Act." It seeks to limit the duration of time that a local government may enact a temporary housing moratorium on properties being developed for residential purposes to 180 days. It also requires that a local government must wait another 180 days before enacting any new temporary housing moratorium once the initial 180-day moratorium is expired. The bill allows for exemptions under certain circumstances including a declared state of emergency, when safety is of concern, a court order, or while a studied is being conducted investigating future development. This bill also grants local governments the power to collect fees associated with their zoning powers and issuance of permits. This is to create an equitable program for governments to finance the development and creation of local planning, land use, and zoning ordinances for orderly growth. 

Assigned to Conference Committee 3/29/2023


HB 808:

Reps. Cheokas, Yearta, Mathiak, Ridley, Powell, and others

This bill would increase a statewide ad valorem tax exemption limit for tangible personal property from $7,500 to $50,000. It also provides for a statewide referendum and a question to be placed on the ballot for the voters of Georgia to decide on making this change. 

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Finance Committee 2/27/2024


HB 912:

Reps. Anderson, Rhodes, Burchett, Smith, Williams, and others

This bill defines a multipurpose off-highway vehicle and ensures no multipurpose off-highway vehicle shall be returned for or subject to ad valorem taxation.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee 2/16/2024


HB 1069:

Reps. Cannon, Pirkle, Corbett, Rhodes, Williams, and others

This bill authorizes the State Forestry Commission to access tax accessors reports on the assessment of standing timber.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Finance Committee 2/22/2024


HB 1114:

Reps. Wade, Gambill, Hong, McDonald, Jones, and others

This bill is known as the Data Analysis for Tort Reform Act. It is a priority of Governor Kemp and will help his administration gather information to help prepare for future tort reform efforts.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Insurance Committee 2/26/2024


HB 1172:

Reps. Burchett, Rhodes, Leverett, Smith, and Williams

This bill comes from the Chairman of the House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources. This bill is a priority of GFB this session. It fixes unintended consequences of SB 115 (2023) and removes the reference to public trust doctrine as it relates to navigable waters.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee 2/27/2024


HB 1237:

Reps. Cannon, Corbett, Dickey, Meeks, Campbell, and others

This bill revises a definition within the Agricultural Commodity Commission code section. It does away with the provision requiring producers of citrus to operate at least 5 acres of fruit trees to be eligible for the Citrus ACC.  

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 2/27/2024


HR 96:

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.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Finance Committee 3/6/2023


SB 132:

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 subject to a government that is considered a foreign adversary as defined by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. It would also restrict the purchase of agricultural land by any government of, or business domiciled in a country subject to a government that is considered a foreign adversary. There are provisions within the bill that would also limit the foreign ownership of land near certain military instillations. 

Passed Senate and Recommitted to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 3/29/2023


SB 177:

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 and Recommitted to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 3/29/2023 


SB 352:

Sens. Anderson, Albers, Robertson, Williams, Payne, and others

This bill prohibits any motor vehicle from operating on any highway whose suspension has been elevated or lowered six inches above or below the manufacturer's recommendation for such vehicle. No motor vehicle may operate on any highway whose front frame is more than four inches above the rear of the vehicle.

Passed Senate and Assigned to House Motor Vehicles Committee 2/1/2024


SB 355:

Sens. Robertson, Burns, Williams, Anavitarte, and Dolezal

This bill prohibits the use of rank choice voting in any elections in the state of Georgia.

Passed Senate and Assigned to House Governmental Affairs Committee 1/29/2024 


SB 366:

Sens. Hufstetler, Tillery, Dolzeal, Albers, Still, and others

This bill is known as the Tax Expenditures Act of 2024. This bill creates the Joint Committee on Taxation and Economic Development to meet every other year evaluating the tax climate in Georgia. It also provides measures to ensure greater transparency through the appropriations process.

Passed Senate Finance and Assigned to House Ways & Means Committee 1/31/2024


SB 426:

Sens. Tillery, Setzler, Burns, Walker, Albers, and others

This bill is a part of Senate leaderships efforts to address the legal climate in Georgia and provide relief to businesses and insurance companies. This bill is commonly known as direct action and prevents a plaintiff from suing only an insurance company in the case of an accident. Direct action directly benefits large commercial fleets and their insurers, but we are still excited to see the Senate begin to tackle this issue.

Passed Senate and Assigned to House Judiciary Committee 2/15/2024

Save the Date

March 13-15 - GA Cattlemen's Association Annual Convention

March 15 - FFA 17th Annual Blue & Gold Gala