Friday, March 3rd, was “Crossover Day” at the Georgia State Capitol. Crossover Day is the last day legislation can “cross over” from one chamber to the other in order to stay active or it will be considered “inactive” for the remainder of the legislative session. An “inactive” bill can come back up for consideration next legislative session, but will not be reconsidered this session.
Here is the status of several bills important to REALTORS®:
- The FAST Act - SB 2 or the “Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency Act” (F.A.S.T.) aims to reduce regulatory burdens by publishing a timeline and any expediting fees for business licenses and certain permits. If the local government does not meet the timeline, a 10% fee reduction would be assessed. SB 2 has moved from the Senate and is now being considered in the House.
- Property Tax and Non-Tax Fees - This seeks to separate property tax bills from non-tax related fees. For example, solid waste, storm-water and/or any other non-tax related fee would no longer be able to added to a tax bill. A local jurisdiction could still put the fee or assessment in the same envelope as the tax bill, but it would have to be a separate bill. HB 204 passed the House and is now in the Senate Finance Committee.
- HOA Letter Fees - HB 410 sought to require clear disclosure of all fees and charges owed to an HOA for documents. Once a request is filed, the HOA, or its management company, would have 10 days to respond. An expediting fee of $15 could be assessed for completion in 3 days, but no other fees could be added. This bill did not make cross over and will be inactive for the remainder of the session.
- Zoning and School Systems - This bill would have required local jurisdictions to consider school systems when hearing zoning requests. Current law states that local governments “may” consider school systems, but this bill, HB 194, would make it mandatory. HB 194 did not cross over and is therefore inactive for the remainder of the session.
- Wire Transfers - HB 66 sought to apply a fee to all out-of-state wire transfers. A Georgia citizen would be reimbursed the fee when they filed their Georgia State taxes. Language to exempt real estate and banking transactions was recently added, however HB 66 did not pass and is inactive for the remainder of the session.