Sine Die Summary
The General Assembly adjourned at midnight on Thursday, March 20, 2014 to complete Sine Dine/Legislative Day 40 after a contentious evening between the House and Senate. Though many of our bills passed, the Governor still has 40 days to sign them into law or veto. We would like to thank our elected officials and above all, we thank you, our members, for your support. Whether it's through membership dues, reading these advocacy bulletins, or helping us spread the word, our members make us a stronger voice for Georgia's restaurants.
PASSED, Sent to Governor Deal for Signature
HB 60: Guns – Would allow guns in churches, bars and government buildings. Private property owners still can decide whether or not to allow them. Governor Deal has publicly stated that he would veto gun legislation of this kind.
HB 384: Alternative Fuel – Would include natural gas as an alternate fuel and provide tax credits for purchasers of alternative fuel vehicles.
HB 670: Trade Names – To simplify current system and create a more accurate database, company trade names are to be registered with the clerk of the superior court.
HB 737: Homebrew – Serves as a clarification to last year’s HB 99 “Malt Beverage” bill to legalize the transportation of individual homebrew items to other individual private residences for personal consumption and to completions, following specific transpiration rules.
HB 772: Food Stamps – Food stamp recipients can now be drug-tested.
HB 778: Non-Profits – Exempts from a foodservice permit non-profit homes, or other residential structures, where seriously ill or injured children and their families are provided temporary accommodations in proximity to their treatment hospitals, specifically Ronald McDonald homes.
HB 816: Postage – Direct mail is no longer subject to state sales tax on postage.
HB 825: Fruit Growers – Would allow fruit growers licensed as farm wineries to obtain a license authorizing production of distilled spirits and fortified wines from left over fruit.
HB 809: Patent Trolls – Amends the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act to prevent "patent trolls" from making bad-faith assertions of patent infringement. This will help targeted companies in fighting back.
HB 947: Debit Cards – Would allow companies to issue prepaid debit cards as an alternative method to pay their employees. Employees must be notified of the option availability, what fees will be charged and the ability to opt-out of the method should they choose.
HB 954: Fair Market Value – Allows companies to utilize rental property revenue in determining fair market value. This may be of interest to property owners who lease-back.
SB 286: Fortified Wines – Would change the maximum alcohol volume content in fortified wines from 21 to 24 percent to match the federal limit. Would require wineries who utilize distilled spirits in their fortified wines to purchase only from wholesalers or distilled spirits manufacturers. Georgia wineries could produce port type wines.
DEAD for This Session
HB 290: Sick Pay – Bill sought to require employers that provide sick pay allow employees to take up to 5 days of sick pay leave to care for an immediate family member.
HB 907: Taxis – Intergovernmental agreement to regulate taxicabs; subcommittee established to work on compromise rules.
HB 1023, SB 377: “Religious Freedom" bills – During Thursday's Sine Dine, the GRA worked with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and both sides of the aisle to prevent amendment language from being inserted into active bills.
SB 404: Drivers Licenses – Would have also disallowed DACA children to use deferred status as a form of identification.
SR 1031: English as Official Language – Bill sought to make English the official language of Georgia as well as require government official communications and driver’s tests to be in English.
SIGNED into law
SB 318: St. Patrick’s Day – Allows for bars to sell alcohol on Sundays in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Signed by Governor Deal into law on March 18, 2014.