2024 Legislative Session Report Week 10

GFB Action Center

March 15, 2024

In this Issue: 

Photo Credits: Office of Governor Brain Kemp

Week 10 Under the Gold Dome


The days are long, and weeks are short this time of year under the Gold Dome as legislators work to advance bills through committee with the final deadline looming in the near distance. Sine Die, the final day of the legislative session is scheduled for March 28th ,and this year will conclude the 2023-2024 biennium. This means any bill that does not pass both chambers this year will no longer be up for consideration next year. 


On Thursday, the House honored former Speaker David Ralston, who passed away in 2022, with a mural that will hang in the Capitol honoring his legacy. Speaker Jon Burns reflected on Speaker Ralston's influence during his long career. He was joined in the chamber by former Governor Nathan Deal, Chancellor Sonny Purdue, and Governor Brain Kemp. Both former Governors and Governor Kemp took to the well to give remarks honoring the life of Speaker Ralston. 

Legislative Calendar Update


This week, the General Assembly convened for legislative days 33-35. The week began on Monday, March 11th, and concluded on Thursday, March 14th. They will return next week on Monday, March 18th, and convene for 3 legislative days and 1 committee workday. 

Take Action - Water Rights Under Consideration


On Monday, March 18th, HB 1172 by Rep. James Burchett (R-Waycross) will be in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has been the top priority of GFB this legislative session to claw back property rights that were lost at the end of the 2023 session by SB 115. HB 1172 is one of two bills under consideration right now that provides a solution to the issues at hand. SB 542 by Sen. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) will hopefully be in the House Judiciary Committee this week as well.


We ask you click the button below to email your legislators about the importance of finding a solution to the issue at hand.

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GATE Bill Moves Forward


On Thursday, HB 1459 by Rep. Joe Campbell (R-Camilla) was passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee as an amendment to SB 340 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta). This amendment would allow diesel exhaust fluid, DEF, to be eligible for sales tax exemption under the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program. 


Because HB 1459 was not introduced until after Crossover Day, the bill could not pass the House to be considered by the Senate. To circumvent this procedural barrier, the language from HB 1459 was added to SB 340 as an amendment, which made it across before the crossover deadline. SB 340 will head to the House floor for a vote and if passed, will go back to the Senate for them to agree to the amendments. Once agreed upon, the bill can head to the Governor's desk. We would like to say a special thank you to Rep. Campbell for his willingness to find a way to get this important piece of legislation through the process. 

Ex-Officio of the Agriculture Commodity Commissions Nominations


On Wednesday both the House and Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committees appointed their nominees to serve as the ex-officio for the Agriculture Commodity Commissions. These two will serve as ex-officio members for all the commodity commissions and must be reappointed each even numbered year. 


We would like to say a special thank you to Buddy Leger who has been the House appointee for this position for many years. He is a longtime GFB member and a farmer in Crisp County, Georgia. Leger has grown pecans and watermelons since the 1960's.


This year the House nominated Al Pearson from Peach County, Georgia. His family runs Pearson Farms in Fort Valley, a fifth-generation peach and pecan farm and have also been long time members of GFB. The Senate renominated Russ Moon of Madison County, Georgia to serve as their appointee. He is a fourth-generation farmer with a diverse operation of poultry, row crops, and beef cattle. Russ Moon also serves as a GFB Board of Director for the 2nd district. We are grateful to have GFB members in these important statewide leadership roles. 

Preservation of Farmland


On Wednesday, SB 132 by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) passed out of the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. SB 132 is one many bills that seeks to prohibit the acquisition of farmland by foreign adversaries and has similar language to other bills that GFB has been working on this session to address this issue. It would prohibit a nonresident alien, business domiciled in a country considered a foreign adversary, or a government of a foreign adversary from acquiring farmland or any land within 10 miles of a military instillation. We are expecting to see SB 420 by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), a similar bill to SB 132, in the House Judiciary Committee next week. 


On Wednesday, Sen. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) introduced SB 578 which was assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. SB 578 would require the Director of EPD to revoke a landowner's agricultural water withdrawal permit if the landowner puts his permitted acres into a solar project. The non-permitted acres would then be allowed to be reallocated to other landowners in the region. The bill exempts solar projects of less than 10 acres that generate electricity for residential, agricultural, or commercial purposes to be used on site. 

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.

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Georgia Ag Week


This week Commissioner Tyler Harper announced the beginning of the 2024 Georgia Ag Week, which will be held March 18th - 24th. Ag Week is dedicated to celebrating our state's #1 industry with events for everyone to participate in everyday of the week. These events are focused on deepening Georgians understanding of the industry and growing a greater appreciation of agriculture. Click the button below for the official press release from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and to see the full schedule of events.

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2024 Ford Farm Bureau Recognition Survey


Ford needs your feedback! Please take a couple of minutes to participate in their annual survey here.  Did you know that members of Georgia Farm Bureau Member are eligible for an exclusive cash reward on the purchase or lease of eligible new Ford vehicles? Learn more here!

Action This Week


HB 300:
Reps. Kelley, Williamson, Stephens, Blackmon

The bill aims to create state standards for utility scale solar facilities aimed at ensuring remediation, decommissioning, and disposal occur at the facility's end of life. Solar developers that lease land for facilities would be required to provide surety bonds to ensure remediation at the end of life. None of these requirements would apply if the solar developer owned the land. A change was added to allow for a modification to the land restoration requirements if both parties agree to these terms at the conclusion of the lease agreement.

Passed House and Passed Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee 3/13/2024


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 Passed Senate Transportation Committee 3/13/2024


HB 1015:

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

This bill would reduce the state income tax from 5.49% to 5.39% starting on January 1, 2024. This bill is a part of a plan to gradually reduce the state income tax over the next few years.

Passed House and Passed Senate Fiance Committee 3/14/2024


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 Passed Senate Judiciary Committee 3/13/2024


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 Passed Senate Finance Committee 3/14/2024


HB 1048:

Reps. Carpenter, Huddleston, Cameron, Hilton, Vance, and others

This bill would designate cornbread as the official bread of the state of Georgia. This bill was amended in Senate Committee to know include the Georgia Statewide Music Office Act.

Passed House and Passed Senate Economic Development & Tourism Committee 3/14/2023


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 is only citizens of the United States and the primary purpose of the land is production agriculture. GFB policy supports this bill.

Passed House and Passed Senate Finance Committee by Substitute 3/13/2024


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 Passed Senate Finance Committee 3/13/2024


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 Passed Senate Insurance Committee 3/14/2024


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 Passed Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee by Substitute 3/13/2024


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 Passed Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 3/13/2024


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 Passed Senate Higher Education Committee 3/14/2024


HB 1459:

Reps. Campbell, Dickey, and Greene

This bill would add diesel exhaust fluid, DEF, to the list of sales tax-exempt products under the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption, GATE, program.

Assigned to House Ways & Means Committee 3/11/2024


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 with an exemption to residential property.  

Passed Senate and Passed House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee by Substitute 3/13/2024


SB 340:

Sens. Kirkpatrick, Albers, Hufstetler, Robertson, Anavitarte, and others

This bill would create a sales tax exemption for firearms safes and firearm safety devices. This bill was amended in House committee to include bill language from HB 1459 by Rep. Campbell to make DEF a GATE eligible purchase. 

Passed Senate and Passed House Ways & Means Committee 3/14/2024


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 Passed House Ways & Means Committee by Substitute 3/13/2024


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 Passed House Judiciary Committee 3/13/2024


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 by Substitute 3/11/2024


SB 578:

Sens. Watson, Goodman, Anderson, and Echols

This bill would revoke a landowner's agricultural water withdrawal permit if the landowner turned permitted acres into a solar farm. There is an exemption for facilities less than 10 acres used for on-site energy production.

Assigned to Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 3/13/2024


SR 786:

Sens. Kennedy, Anderson, Goodman, Watson, and Walker

This resolution creates the Senate Advancing Forest Innovation in Georgia Study Committee.

Assigned to Rules 3/14/2024

Bills Eligible 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 $20,000. 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 Passed Senate Finance Committee 2/27/2024


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 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 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 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 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


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 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 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 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