The 2014 legislative session has come to a close and after hard fights throughout the session, AFP activists find a good deal to cheer about and some renewed fights moving forward. Here’s how it went down on our priority legislation. Our 2014 Legislative Score Card is currently in the works and is due out soon with a complete scoring of how every state senator and representative voted on key issues affecting economic and health care freedom in Georgia. Stay tuned!
Fractional Percentage SPLOST – HB 153 (AFP Supported) – FAILED – This legislation was the final bill to be discussed on the Senate floor and ran out of time before a vote could be taken Tuesday night.
Common Core – SB 167 (AFP Supported) – FAILED – The Senate legislation passed the Senate, then after a House substitute was drawn up but taken off the table, the Senate version failed in a House Education committee vote.
State Income Tax Cap – SR 415 (AFP Supported) – PASSED – Georgia will become a first in the region to place a constitutional income tax cap at our current rates, if voters approve this measure in the Fall.
Tax Exemption for Business Inputs – HB 900 (AFP Supported) – PASSED – This is a job growth bill that lowers the sales tax burden on businesses by exempting sales tax on consumables used as manufacturing inputs.
ObamaCare Restriction on Health Exchange/Navigators – HB 707/943 (AFP Supported) – PASSED – The Georgia Health Care Freedom and ACA Non-Compliance Act failed to make it out of Senate Rules as HB 707 but late night maneuverings on Day 39 attached the language to HB 943 which ultimately passed both House and Senate.
Medicaid Expansion Restrictions – HB 990 (AFP Supported) – PASSED – Requires any Medicaid expansion be approved by legsislature. It passed cleanly through both chambers.
Competitive Private Sector Bidding on Public Infrastructure Projects – SB 255 (AFP Supported) – It passed the Senate floor vote and was amended in the House Government Affairs committee, then was not placed on the debate calendar in the House and did not receive a final vote.
Additional Supplemental Rebates Fees on Pharmaceutical manufacturers – HB 744 line item (AFP Oppposed) – These additional job killing sales taxes would have increased the costs of pharmaceuticals in Georgia. The Governor removed this line item from his budget, then the Dept. of Community Health put them back in their budget and the House Appropriations Health sub-committee eventually removed them.
Medicaid Expansion – SB 295 (AFP OPPOSED) – This bill was introduced and didn’t see the light of day.
Civil Forfeiture Reform – HB 1 (AFP Supported) – Legislation passed through House Judiciary committee but did not get placed on the debate calendar and did not get a vote in the House or Senate. AFP worked with a coalition on this bill and will be back for another round.
Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads To Development Act – HB 176 (AFP Supported) – This bill streamlines the process for approval and construction of mobile telecom towers in Georgia and should trim the cost of service over time. It passed quickly through House and Senate early in the session.
Uber Bill – HB 907 (AFP Opposed) – This bill would heavily restrict innovative RideShare services like Uber and Lyft in Georgia. The bill passed out of House Public Safety and Homeland Security and then was tabled before it got a House a vote.
Charter Schools – HB 897 (AFP Supported) – It would have streamlined the process for charter schools to acquire use of public education facilities no longer in use and apply for an expansion or duplication of an existing charter school, where successful, with authorizer approval. The legislation went back and forth throughout the session, was passed in the House and then opposed, amended to remove most of the good language and passed out of the Senate Education committee. The good charter school language was never successfully reinserted into the bill and never received a follow up vote.
Other great bills were introduced during the session as conversation starters for major tax reform and an omen of things to come in 2015! Senate Resolution 594, the Taxpayer Protection Amendment, would propose a state Constitutional amendment to limit state government taxes and expenditures and create a way of returning excess revenues back to the people of Georgia. House Bill 688, the Fair Taxation Act, completely abolishes the state income tax in Georgia. Both of these bills set up the conversation for tax reform in Georgia that lowers personal and corporate income taxes and brings us into competitive striking distance with our neighboring states like North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida. AFP activists will lead the way on the education front as we move to keep Georgia competitive and build on our state’s growing reputation as a jobs and low tax leader!