Update from Under the Gold Dome by Georgia Rep. Brett Harrell

By Rep. Brett Harrell

Rep Alan Powell and me after passage of SB 85 the Beer and Distillery Bill
Five voting days remain in the 2016 Session . . .
The 2016 Session of the Georgia General Assembly will end (Sine Die) on Thursday, March 30th. We have only five voting days remaining and several other committee and work days before months end. As you might imagine, we are working at a rapid pace.
This past week, the House passed several Senate Bills including:
Senate Bill 85 provides a generational improvement in Georgia’s alcohol laws permitting breweries and distillers to sell their products, for the first time, to visitors. A tremendous amount of thanks is due Speaker David Ralston and Chairman Howard Maxwell in the House and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Chairman Rick Jeffares in the Senate for shepherding this compromise bill through the General Assembly. Industry leaders from the Georgia Beer Wholesalers, Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers, and Distilleries worked tirelessly together to reach agreement on SB 85 that meets the demands of the marketplace, needs of a growing industry, and preserves a system that is serving Georgia well. My personal thanks to all. I voted – YES.
Senate Bill 169 creates a special “Back the Badge” license plate with proceeds benefitting the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Georgia. This fund provides law enforcement officers with pension benefits. I voted – YES.
On Monday, the House will consider these bills.
The House streams most meetings live and you will find a broadcast schedule here.

House Committee Meetings

Senate Committee Meetings

Senate passes HB 41 Integrated Path to Architecture
HB 41 providing our best and brightest students of architecture an option to achieve their degree, accumulate their internship hours, and stand for professional certification quicker and at a lower cost passed the Senate on Monday.
HB 204 No Fees on Property Tax Bills before Senate Finance
Thanks to Senator Bill Heath and Senator John Albers for hearing and passing HB 204 out of the Senate Ad Valorem Subcommittee and on to the full Senate Finance Committee this week.
Among the problems created by local governments adding non-tax fees to property tax bills is that the billing scheme makes it more difficult to purchase a home. That reality became personal for me this week as my son was denied a mortgage because the estimated payment exceeded the income ratio required by underwriting by 2%. The fees Gwinnett County adds to the property tax bill for the house he has under contract exceeded that 2% underwriting ratio. The fees alone resulted in the denial.

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