State Legislative Issues - 2013
Georgia’s 2013 General Assembly session began
Jan. 14. As always, there will be a variety of bills introduced that
will affect the banking industry.
at the Capitol
Throughout the session, GBA will be represented by our Senior Vice
President for Government Relations,
Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, and President and CEO,
Joe Brannen, 404.402.2026. Contact either of them with
questions about legislation, information about how your legislator
voted on a particular issue or any to request any other information
related to the Georgia General Assembly.
Check on the bill numbers below for summaries and links to the full text of bills as they are introduced. Also,
look for weekly the GBA Legislative Update electronic publications
throughout the session.
Full Summaries of All Legislation Monitored
Support / Amend / Oppose
Foreclosure – Unpaid Condo / HOA
S.B. 56 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) would require the
purchaser of a foreclosed property, prior to the purchaser obtaining
title to the property, to pay an amount equivalent to
months of unpaid assessments if the foreclosure is a condo and up to
one-half of unpaid assessments in the previous 12 months if the foreclosure is a lot or home
governed by a homeowners association. GBA Opposed.
Funds Transfer - Remittances
H.B. 289 by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Carrollton), a
GBA-requested bill that updates Georgia’s Uniform Commercial Code
related to remittance transfers as required by the Dodd-Frank Act.
H.B. 82 by Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) would
an acquirer of a note purchased from an insured institution at a
discount of more than 60 percent to notify to borrower of a new
right being given the borrower to purchase the note for a 10 percent
premium if purchased within 30 days or a 20 percent premium if purchased
within 90 days. GBA Opposed.
Assets - Forfeiture of Seized Assets
H.B. 1 by Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs)
would establish a comprehensive forfeiture procedure for seized
assets. Financial institutions qualify as an “interest holder” if
they have filed proper paperwork with the court asserting that
interest in seized property. As an interest holder and upon being
granted permission from the court, a financial institution may
dispose of seized property using commercially reasonable means to
satisfy their interest plus recoup selling costs. Any excess would
be turned over to the court. In addition, if the seized asset is
cash, the clerk of court will be required to place the funds in an
interest bearing account at a financial institution branch in the
county where the civil forfeiture action is located.
H.B. 80 by Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross) is legislation
introduced to clarify some of the provisions of the new automobile
tax and title legislation passed last session. Legislators have been
told of increased and apparently unintended taxes that are being
collected related to leased vehicles, rental vehicles, and on vehicles that may be
sold more than once in a particular year.
This bill was merged with H.B. 266,
below, which passed and was signed by the Governor.
Automobile Title and other Tax Issues
by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) corrects some unintended
consequences from last year's bill replacing what's commonly called
"the birthday tax" on motor vehicles.
passed and was signed by the Governor.
Here's a link to a
summary of new provisions, and
here's a link to some specific changes to how
Fair Market Value is calculated for new vehicles.
Bankruptcy - Vehicle Exemption
H.B. 531 by Rep.
Mike Jacobs (R - Brookhaven)
would increase a debtor's exemption for motor vehicles in a
bankruptcy from $3,500 to
UCC - Bulk Transfers
by Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold) repeals UCC Article 6 related
to Bulk Transfers.
Contracts - Collection of Closing Fees
S.B. 139 by Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) would
allow a lender or seller to collect a one-time closing fee of up to 4
percent, but not to exceed $50, to defray the cost of credit and
reference checks. For loans prepaid in full within 90 days of the
loan or sales contract, lenders or sellers must refund or credit the
borrower with a pro rata portion of the fee and can't keep more than
$25 of the fee.
Contracts - Renewal Notifications
H.B. 234 by Rep. Lynn Smith
(R-Newnan) requires a 30-day notice on certain automatically
renewing consumer contracts with a specific exemption for financial
Covenants and Warranties
by Rep. Dustin Hightower (R-Carrollton)
would establish that
covenants entered into by a property owner with third parties will
run with the land for 20 years.
S.B. 20 by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) with limited
exceptions, prohibits employers from requesting credit reports on
existing or potential employees.
H.B. 215 by Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) would change
the process by which clerks record instruments in their records and
raises the fee for certain filings.
Debt Management Services
H.B. 465 by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) would
enact a new Chapter 5 for Title 18 of the Official Code of Georgia
to require certain companies providing debt management services to
be regulated by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. It
would require annual registration with the department, and it
defines several other rules related to fees, advertising and
services that may be provided.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards - ATM Usage Prohibition
H.B. 181 by Rep. Kevin Cooke (R-Carrollton) would
prohibit the use of EBT cards that provide public assistance
benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to be
used at ATMs to withdraw cash. Banks and other ATM operators would
have to set up the machines so they will not accept the cards.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards - Retail Usage Prohibitions
H.B. 138 by Rep. Andrew Welch (R-McDonough).
As required by the Federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation
Act of 2012, this bill would prohibit the use of EBT cards by
the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
program in establishments such as liquor stores or adult
entertainment venues. Those establishments would also have to
prevent access to cash from EBT cards through ATMs or point of sale
terminals. EBT recipients would not be able to use and other
retailers would not be able to accept EBT cards for purchases such
as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gambling, pornography, tattoos and
other defined items. A number of reporting and disclosure
requirements are included, as well.
Elder Abuse -- Notification Requirement
H.B. 78 by Rep, Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) adds to
the list of individuals, mostly nursing homes, day care centers,
clergy and other professionals who are required to report suspected
or known cases of elder abuse. Financial institution employees have
been covered by this same requirement for many years.
S.B. 105 by Sen. Hardie Davis (D-Augusta) would
prevent gifts from being recovered from charitable organizations if
the organizations were unaware the gifts were fraudulently
transferred under the meaning prescribed in the Georgia Fraudulent
Foreclosure -- Confirmation Process
by Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) relates to the
confirmation process and adds new requirements for providing
appraisals to the court.
Foreclosure -- Deeds to Secure
S.B. 108 by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah),
among other things, would remove the small dollar exemption for
transferring deeds to secure debt, requires notification to the
borrower of the transfer, requires all transfers to be recorded,
prevents property from being sold if transfers are not recorded,
adds new notice requirements on residential foreclosures, and
creates a new crime of residential mortgage foreclosure fraud.
Foreclosure - Definition of a Mortgage.
S.B. 123 by Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)
provides that any document or instrument made for the purpose of
securing the payment of money for owner occupied residential real
property shall be deemed to be a mortgage and if the property is
later foreclosed upon, the foreclosure process for a mortgage would
Foreclosure - Post Judgment Process
by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro), would add a new right for
borrowers related to the valuation of property sold at foreclosure
after a judgment has been granted on a note. Within 30 days after a foreclosure, any
person or entity obligated on the debt may file a
complaint against the holder to establish the fair market value of
the real estate. If the court determines the property was sold at
less than the fair market value, the court may set aside the
foreclosure OR reduce the balance of the remaining judgment by the
fair market value, with any excess funds left over after
satisfaction of the judgment paid by the holder to the person or
entity obligated on the debt.
Foreclosure - Post Judgment Process
H.B. 344 by
Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City)
would add a new right for borrowers related to the valuation of
property sold at foreclosure after a judgment has been granted on a
note. Within 30 days after a foreclosure, any person or entity
obligated on the debt may file a complaint against the holder to
establish the fair market value of the real estate. If the court
determines the property was sold at less than the fair market value,
the court may set aside the foreclosure sale OR the court enters an
order crediting the amount of the court's finding of true market
value against the remaining balance of the judgment. A primary
above is that if the court's finding of true market value exceeds
the remaining balance of the judgment, the credit shall be limited
to such remaining balance in full satisfaction of the judgment and
the holder shall not be liable to any person or entity for any sum
in excess of the full satisfaction of the judgment."
Foreclosure - Property Owner Associations
H.B. 502 by Rep.
Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) would require mortgage holders
to pay up to six months of unpaid property association fees on a
property upon foreclosure.
Foreclosure – Right to Cure
by Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) would
borrower the right to cure a default up to five calendar days before
a sale is scheduled.
Foreclosure – Rescue Consultants
H.B. 49 by Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) would
create a licensing procedure
within the Georgia Real Estate Commission for individuals and
companies that operate as foreclosure rescue consultants.
Foreclosure – Study Committee
H.R. 75 by Rep.
Dar’shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) calls for the creation of the
House Committee on the Foreclosure Crisis, which would study all the
factors related to foreclosures in Georgia the past few years and
make recommendations to the 2014 legislative session.
– Statewide Registry Clarifications
H.B. 160 by Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven)
revisions to last session's bill that established statewide
foreclosure registry standards. Unrelated to the registries, the
bill would prohibit fees from being charged for future conveyances
except in limited circumstances related to homeowners or condo
Garnishment - Exemption of Retirement Funds and Benefits
H.B. 377 by Rep. Ronnie Mabra (D-Fayetteville), would
exempt retirement account, pension fund and certain other employee
benefits from garnishment until such earnings or funds are actually
paid to the person or transferred to a beneficiary. The exemption
would not apply to garnishments for alimony, child support or
divorces involving property divisions.
S.B. 113 by Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) would clarify
that a summons of garnishment would be served on the registered
agent of a corporation rather than the list of individuals listed in
Gift Cards as Unclaimed Property/Trauma Care
S.B. 190 by Sen. Emanuel Jones
(D-Decatur) adds remaining balances on gift cards after one year to
be designated as unclaimed property and the money collected would be
administratively set aside to help fund a statewide trauma care
A group of
Senate Democrats led by Sen. Nan
Orrock (D-Atlanta) introduced
S.R. 595 which calls on the
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
to broaden the coverage of individuals
who could be served using the federal
HomeSafe grant money. A similar group of
House Democrats led by Rep. Pat Gardner
(D-Atlanta) introduced an identical
S.B. 125 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) would codify
the duties, responsibilities and liability of owners and occupiers
of land for protecting trespassers from harm. Land holders would owe
no duty of care for adult trespassers other than to refrain from
causing willful or wanton injury. A possessor of land may be subject
to liability for physical injury or death to a child trespasser
under certain situations. The legislation would apply to bank ORE
Liens - Mechanics and materialmen
H.B. 434 by Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold)
would ensure that property liens allowable for services, labor
or materials provided include the amount due and interest on such
S.B. 269 by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) would
give liens for work performed on real estate priority over a deed to
secure debt by requiring distributions from a foreclosure sale to
first be used to satisfy these liens.
Liens - Waste Management
H.B. 595 by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) would
prevent liens generated from
unpaid taxes, fees, or assessments owed
local government solid waste providers from being attached as
a lien against the property upon which the taxes, fees or
assessments are imposed.
Medicad - Smart Card Pilot
S.B. 220 by Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) would
establish pilot program for the use of smart cards for Medicaid
program recipients. The cards could be used to authenticate
participants and providers, and could include the ability to store
multiple recipients on one card as well as include photo
identification features and store pertinent billing codes and
deductible amounts, among other things.
Mortgages - Property Covenants
Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) would make deeds to secure debts
on residential development lots subordinate to covenants on the
properties. Entities foreclosing would be subject to all properly
filed homeownership association and other covenants.
Property - Uniform Rule against Perpetuities
S.B. 159 by Sen. William T. Ligon, Jr.
(R-Brunswick) would change the law
designed to prevent
someone living today from dictating for a long time how the property
is used after his or her death. The legislation would extend the
period from 90 years to 360 years.
Property Taxes - Non-Tax Fees
H.B. 159 by Rep.
Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) would restrict
property tax bills from
including any nontax related fees or assessments.
Security Interest - Perfection
S.B. 185 by
Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro)
and introduced at the request of the State Bar of Georgia, revises
UCC Article 9 related to the perfection of security interests and
Short Sales - Exemption from
H.B. 83 by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin) would exempt real estate brokers or sales
persons from having to register as a mortgage broker as long as they
are simply assisting a buyer with a potential short sale and not
receiving an additional payment for their services.
State Income Tax -
Credits for bad
debts on private label credit cards of dealer credit program
by Rep. Allen Peake
(R-Macon) would allow tax deductions or refunds for lenders or
dealers on unpaid balances on accounts or receivables charged off as
bad debt from certain private label credit cards.
Tax Credits - Downtown Investments
H.B. 128 by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) would provide $30
million annually in tax credits for certain investments
commercial, industrial or residential projects in Georgia’s historic
downtown districts. Each project would be eligible for a tax credit
equal to a certain percentage of its total cost. Commercial projects
would be capped at $500,000 and residential projects or renovations
at $50,000. Also, donations to a fund that would finance
low-interest loans for such projects would be tax deductible. The
concept for the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Tax
Credit Act is among the results of a 2011 Georgia Municipal
Association/Georgia Cities Foundation special Downtown Development Task Force. GBA Past Chair
Rick Whaley, president and CEO, The Citizens Bank of Americus,
and Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO, served on the task
force at the request of Lt. Gov. Cagle.
Tax Sales - Redemption Costs to be Paid
by Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) would add amounts
owed to property owners' associations to the various costs to be
paid to redeem property from a tax sale.
Tenants - Storage of Property after Eviction
Rep. Sandra Scott
would require a landlord removing personal property after an
eviction to store the property for up to two weeks in a convenience
warehouse and provide a receipt of the contents to the court.
Landlords would be entitled to reimbursement of costs and fees by
the tenant, and would have a lien on the property that could be
satisfied after two weeks by sale or disposition of the property.
Trust – Transfer of Property
by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella) would
allow property to be transferred to a trust (in addition to a
trustee) if the name of the trust is ascertainable with reasonable
here for our final 2012 GBA Legislative Update
outcome of the 2012 session. We
also archived summaries of the bills that passed and were considered
in the 2012 session.
Access the 2012 archive here.