Legislative Report Week 7

March 6, 2020


GENERAL ASSEMBLY MARCHES ON

The General Assembly met at the Capitol this week for days 22 through 25 of the 2020 legislative session. It was a busy week for both the House and the Senate who are working to move bills through their respective chambers before next week's Crossover Day. As always, the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Public Policy team continued their fight to move the needle on House Bill 545 - the Right to Farm bill. It continues to be tabled in the Senate as we work to secure votes in favor of the bill's passage.

 

The Senate also passed their version of the $27.4 billion FY20 Amended Budget Wednesday. With very few changes made from the House's version, it is expected to move quickly to the Governor's desk for a signature which will allow for each chamber to put their focus on the FY21 budget. You can read more about the state's budget process in this report. 

 

To read about the other bills affecting Georgia agriculture, please see the Action This Week and Bills of Interest sections below.


HOUSE BILL 545 REMAINS TABLED IN THE SENATE    

House Bill 545 remained tabled in the Senate this week as Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Public Policy staff and allied industry groups continued their work of squashing misinformation and educating legislators on the true intent of the bill. 

 

Our members have remained steadfast in their efforts to advocate for the bill and their right to farm. We appreciate those who have taken to social media and other news outlets to share their personal stories through on-farm videos and testimonials. The fight is not over - in fact, it is imperative that we continue to push the issue within the General Assembly until the bill is passed. Misinformation from environmental groups continues to inundate the halls of the Capitol, and we must continue to negate these false statements with facts. If you have not taken to social media to share your own story, we encourage you to do so. Be sure to tag your legislators and include the hashtag #ProtectMyFarm in any posts that you make or share.

 

GFB has created a landing page to aid in the promotion of House Bill 545. Please share this page with your legislators so that they can familiarize themselves with the bill and debunk any myths that have been promoted by the opposition. Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Georgia. Without a strong right to farm law, our farmers could be subjected to frivolous nuisance lawsuits, which could upend their operations and bankrupt their families. It is vital that we pass House Bill 545 to preserve the production of food and fiber in our state. 

 

As we move into this next week of session, which includes Crossover Day on Thursday, March 12, we encourage you to continue reaching out to your legislators. If you did not have the opportunity to reach out yet, please take a moment to do so by clicking here. We challenge you to take your advocacy efforts a step further by giving your Senator a call. You can get in touch with any of your legislators, state or federal, by using the Find Your Legislators tool.

 

Those in opposition of House Bill 545 are not letting up in their efforts to derail the bill and jeopardize the future of Georgia's #1 industry. Our strength as an organization lies in our membership - it is our grassroots advocacy that can, and will, push House Bill 545 across the finish line. 

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AMENDED BUDGET MOVES THROUGH SENATE

The Senate passed their version of the $27.4 billion FY20 Amended Budget Wednesday, where it now will go to a conference committee with the House to hammer out differences. The Senate version is largely the same as the House version, making changes mainly in areas of public health, rural healthcare, foster care, and behavior health. The Senate supported key changes made by the House to alleviate deep cuts to agricultural interests such as UGA Cooperative Extension, diagnostic labs, and the Department of Agriculture.

 

With the House and Senate versions being largely the same, it is expected the FY20 Amended Budget will be finalized rather quickly and sent to the Governor for signature. Committee hearings and work on the $28.1 billion FY21 Budget are said to take time, as the General Assembly plans to balance the Governor’s proposed cuts, $2,000 teacher pay raise, and deliberate a potential state income tax rate cut from 5.75% to 5.5%. As the House moves forward with FY21 Budget appropriations, Georgia Farm Bureau staff will continue monitoring and advocating for agricultural priorities to be funded.


HOUSE PASSES HEMP FARMING UPDATE - HB 847

On Thursday, the House passed House Bill 847, sponsored by Rep. John Corbett, by a vote of 159-7. The legislation updates last year’s hemp bill to implement needed logistical and regulatory changes discovered over the summer as potential producers, processors, USDA and interested parties provided feedback on the original framework. Of note, the bill allows for greenhouse growers to sell transplants to other growers, and for a licensee grower to sell to another person who is not a Georgia licensee so long as that person is located in a state with hemp regulation plan approved by USDA or to a Georgia college or university. It also specifies that Georgia Universities may establish a hemp research program, and utilize third parties to assist in the research. Provisions also clarify security measures surrounding the transportation and background check information required, as well as increases the initial permit fee for processors from $25,000 to $50,000.


USDA OPENS WILDFIRES AND HURRICANE INDEMNITY PROGRAM PLUS (WHIP+)

Last week U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced additional disaster assistance available to agricultural producers, including producers impacted by drought and excess moisture. Through WHIP+, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is helping producers recover from losses related to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

 

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will open signup on March 23 for producers to apply for eligible losses of drought (D3 or above) and excess moisture. 

 

“It’s true that farmers and ranchers are no strangers to the impact natural disasters have on their operations, but disaster events the past two years have been atypically widespread, relentless and unforgiving,” Secretary Perdue said. “In some instances, producers have suffered multiple disaster events in one year or in several years back-to-back. I am pleased that Congress has afforded USDA the authority to continue providing much-needed assistance to producers who have lost so much these last few years. President Trump has the backs of our farmers, and we aim to support them as they recover.”

 

In June 2019, more than $3 billion was made available through a disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump. In December 2019, Congress passed, and President Trump signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 that provides an additional $1.5 billion for the continuation of disaster assistance program delivery.

 

WHIP+ New Qualifying Disaster Events
The Appropriations bill added excessive moisture and D3 and D4 drought as qualifying losses for WHIP+ assistance.

 

Beginning March 23, producers who suffered either of these types of loss in 2018 and/or 2019 can apply for WHIP+ assistance at their local FSA office. For drought, a producer is eligible if any area of the county in which the loss occurred was rated D3 (Extreme Drought) or higher on the U.S. Drought Monitor during calendar years 2018 or 2019.

 

WHIP+ for Quality Loss
In addition, producers have reported widespread crop quality loss from eligible disaster events that results in price deductions or penalties when marketing the damaged crops. The Appropriations bill expands WHIP+ to include assistance for crop quality loss. FSA is gathering data and input from producers and stakeholders regarding the extent and types of quality loss nationwide.

 

“Providing assistance for quality loss is complicated, and we are actively gathering data and input on how to administer quality loss assistance for producers,” said Farm Production and Conservation Undersecretary Bill Northey.

 

Eligibility

To be eligible for WHIP+, producers must have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only) for the following named natural disaster events; hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms, wildfires, and now excessive moisture that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Also, losses located in a county not designated by the Secretary as a primary county may be eligible if the producer provides documentation showing that the loss was due to a qualifying natural disaster event.

 

For drought, counties having a D3 or D4 Drought Monitor classification in any portion of the county anytime during calendar year 2018 or 2019 will also be eligible.

 

A list of counties that received qualifying hurricane declarations and designations is available at farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus. The U.S. Drought Monitor is available at droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

 

Because livestock losses are covered by other disaster recovery programs offered through FSA, these losses are not eligible for WHIP+.


COMMODITY ADVISORY COMMITTEES MEET IN MACON 

Georgia Farm Bureau’s (GFB) Commodity Advisory Committees (CAC) provide guidance on topics relating to their commodities, including crop-specific government regulations, production practices, and promotional approaches. Each 10-member committee, made up of producers from GFB’s 10 districts, gathered this week for the GFB Spring Commodity Meetings, March 4-5, at the home office in Macon.

 

Jeffrey Dorfman, State of Georgia Fiscal Economist, presented a forecast of the Georgia’s tax revenue along with economic trends expected to impact the state. Jeffrey Harvey, GFB Director of Public Policy, spoke on House Bill 545 and updated committee members on the status of the bill which is currently in the State Senate. Additionally, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue outlined 8 trends that will shape our world in coming years: high healthcare costs, U.S. national debt, climate variability, urbanization, declining birth rates, demographic shifts, emerging diseases & farm bankruptcies. During the 20 individual commodity meetings, discussions were held about current commodity related issues, legislative activities, and priority policies were set. 


YF&R GROUP ADVOCATES FOR GEORGIA FARMERS IN DC

Members of Georgia Farm Bureau’s (GFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) program visited our nation’s capital this week for their annual DC fly-in. Shortly after arriving in DC, the group received briefings on federal issues from GFB’s National Policy Counsel and several lobbyists from American Farm Bureau. On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Agriculture policy advisors met with the group over breakfast to provide an update on various federal farm programs. The group spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and staff from the Georgia delegation, before heading over to the Environmental Protection Agency for a briefing about pesticides and other important agency initiatives like the new Waters of the U.S. rule. On Thursday morning, Georgia native and Commander of the Old Guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Army Captain Harold Earls, met with the group to share his personal story, which includes graduation from West Point, successful completion of Army Ranger School, and leading a team of soldiers to the top of Mount Everest. Captain Earls then spent some time with our young farmers at Arlington National Cemetery where he provided information and answered questions about the historic site and the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. It was a wonderful, informative week for our young farmer group, many of whom had never had an opportunity to visit Washington, DC. If you would like to learn more about the YF&R program, we encourage you to contact Erin Nessmith in our Macon office.


ACTION THIS WEEK

HB 545: Right to Farm
Reps. McCall, Burns, England, Watson, Pirkle, and Dickey
This legislation seeks to strengthen and protect farmers from loopholes in our states right to farm laws. This clarification in language helps producers by clearing up language that is vague and could be interpreted in ways detrimental to agriculture.
Passed the House on 3/7/19. Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported By Substitute on 2/5/20.

 

HB 105: State Income Tax Exemption for Disaster Payments
Reps. Watson, Powell, Meeks, McCall, Pirkle
In an effort to provide further relief in the wake of Hurricane Michael, this bill exempts payments from USDA as part of a disaster relief payment or program in connection to Hurricane Michael from state income tax.
Passed the House on 2/25/19. Senate Finance Committee Favorably Reported on 2/27/20.

  

HB 777: Tall Mass Timber Construction
Reps. Corbett, Burns, McCall, England, Smith, LaRiccia
This bill would allow for the Department of Community Affairs to review the 2021 International Building Code so as to consider amending the state minimum standard codes to allow tall mass timber construction types.
Passed the House on 2/20/20. Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Favorably Reported on 3/05/20.

 

HB 829: Authorize Reduction of Residential Homestead Property Assessment
Reps. Stephens and Harrell
This bill would allow for local governments to hold a referendum to reduce the 40% assessment of residential homestead property owned by those aged 65 or older to only 20%. This would only apply to local school district taxes for educational purposes. 
Passed the House by Substitute on 3/03/20. Assigned to Senate Finance Committee on 3/04/20.

 

HB 847: Hemp Regulation Updates
Reps. Corbett, McCall, Dickey, Pruett, and Gilliard
This update to the hemp legislation that was passed last legislative session makes technical adjustments to comply with federal rules, creates a new license for a hemp nursery grower allowing sale to another permittee, sets the initial processor permit fee at $25,000, increases the automatic renewal fee from $10,000 to $50,000 after the first calendar year, and establishes a sampling test requirement prior to harvest.
Passed the House by Substitute on 3/05/20.

 

HB 897: Uniform Timber Harvest Ordinance
Reps. Burchett, Burns, McCall, Corbett, Rhodes, Watson
This would provide for a uniform timber harvest ordinance statewide and establish a statewide notification process by the Georgia Forestry Commission. 
Passed the House on 3/04/20. Assigned to Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/05/20.

 

HB 926: Waste Management Tire Disposal Restrictions and Fees
Reps. Rogers, Lott, LaRiccia, Corbett, Reeves
This would increase certain solid waste disposal surcharges, particularly relating to waste management tire disposal restrictions and fees and would increase certain tire disposal fees.
Natural Resources and Environment Favorably Reported by Substitute on 3/05/20.

 

HB 882: Tax Exemption for Food Banks
Reps. Houston, Rich, Corbett, Greene, Cheokas
This bill would eliminate the sunset period for the exemption from state and certain local sales and use taxes for the sale of food and food ingredients to qualified food banks and for the use of food and food ingredients donated to qualified nonprofit agencies. It would also expand the exemption for the use of food and food ingredients donated to qualified nonprofit agencies to include disaster relief.
Passed the House on 3/04/20. Assigned to Senate Finance Committee on 3/05/20.

 

HB 966: Regulating the Harvest and Sale of Palmetto Berries
Sens. Burchett, Corbett, Pirkle, McCall, Ridley, Rhodes
This bill would regulate the harvest, sale, and personal home use of palmetto berries. 
Passed the House by Substitute on 3/03/20. Assigned to Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee on 3/04/20.

 

HB 1015: Georgia Carbon Sequestration Registry Tax Credits
Allows for building materials and timber products to be included in the Georgia Carbon Sequestration Registry for tax credits.
Assigned to Natural Resources and Environment on 2/27/20.

 

SB 338: Animal Protection
Sens. Kirkpatrick, Black, Walker, Cowsert, Anderson, Sims
This bill would require licenses for pet dealers, kennels, stables, etc., and would also allow the Commissioner to promulgate rules and regulations for animal protection. 
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 3/05/20.

 

SB 346: State Board of Veterinary Medicine
Sens. Black, Burke, Anderson, Harrell, Payne
This bill would allow for the addition of a veterinary technician to the State Board of Veterinary Medicine as well as provide a professional health program for impaired veterinarians.
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 2/26/20.

 

SB 358: Muscadine as State Grape
Sens. Harper, Sims, Burke, Walker, Black, Karinshak
This bill would designate the muscadine grape as the official state grape.
Withdrawn from Government Oversight and recommitted to Agriculture and Consumer Affairs on 2/24/20.

 

SB 362: Livestock Straying
Sens. Wilkinson, Anderson, Harper, Burke, Rahman
This bill would change the fees for impounding animals and disposing of impounding animals that are running at large or straying.
Passed the Senate on 2/28/20. Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/02/20.

 

SB 381: Georgia Food Act
Sens. Kirkpatrick, Burke, Black, Walker, Wilkinson, Rahman
This would deem certain information obtained by the Department of Agriculture from the Federal Food and Drug Administration confidential and not subject to disclosure.
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Favorably Reported on 3/05/20.

 

SB 396: Pecan as State Nut
Sens. Walker, Wilkinson, Black, Anderson, Hill, Burke
This bill would designate the pecan as the official state nut.
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 2/26/20.

 

SB 407: Regulating the Harvest and Sale of Palmetto Berries
Sens. Harper, Heath, Burke, Harrell, Ginn
This bill would regulate the harvest, sale, and personal home use of palmetto berries. 
Natural Resources and Environment Favorably Reported by Substitute on 3/04/20. Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on 3/05/20.

 

SR 867: Recognizing Abit Massey
Sens. Miller, Wilkinson, Walker, Hill, Mullis
SR 867 recognizes friend of Farm Bureau and Georgia poultry legend, Mr. Abit Massey for his vast accomplishments and contributions to the state of Georgia.
Read and Adopted on 3/03/20. 

 

SR 896: Recognizing the Georgia Cattlemen's Association
Sens. Wilkinson, Gooch, Miller, Walker, Sims
SR 896 recognizes the Georgia Cattlemen's Association for uniting and advancing Georgia's cattle industry.
Read and Adopted on 3/05/20.


IFARM. IVOTE.

This year is a significant one in Georgia as we are positioned to elect a President and not one, but two, U.S. Senators, as well as a number of U.S. Representatives. As Election Day nears, Georgia Farm Bureau's Public Policy team will keep you up to date on what is happening in the political arena to ensure that you are prepared to make well-educated, informed decisions at the ballot box. 

 

Aspiring Lawmakers Qualify

Current and aspiring state and national lawmakers flocked to Atlanta this week to officially kick off their campaigns for the 2020 election cycle. Qualifying took place Monday through Friday under the Gold Dome.

As expected, the most notable race in 2020 is looking to be for the highly contested U.S. Senate seat previously held by Sen. Johnny Isakson and currently held by Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Governor Kemp in December. Both Sen. Loeffler and current U.S. Representative Doug Collins were on hand Monday to qualify. A poll, conducted by the University of Georgia's School of Public and International Affairs, has Loeffler and Collins neck-and-neck.

In addition to Loeffler and Collins, qualifying for the seat are: Republicans Derrick E. Grayson, Annette Davis Jackson, A. Wayne Johnson and Kandiss Taylor; Democrats Deborah Jackson, Tamara Johnson-Shealey, Matt Lieberman, Joy Felicia Shade, Ed Tarver, Raphael Warnock and Richard Dien Winfield; Libertarians Brian Slowinski, Al Bartell, Allen Buckley, Michael Todd Greene and Valencia Stovall; Green Party Candidate John "Green" Fortuin; and Write-In Rod Mack. Each candidate will be on the ballot in November where the seat will be determined in a "jungle primary."

 

New Senator Elected in District 13
On Tuesday, March 3, Carden Summers (R) of Crisp County was elected to represent Senate District. 13 for the remainder of the seat's term. Summers beat out Jim Quinn for the seat with a 51.96% majority.

The race came down to a runoff after a special election was held in the district in February to fill the seat. Senate District 13 was previously held by Sen. Greg Kirk, who passed away in December following a battle with cancer. The district includes parts of Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Lee, Sumter, Tift, Worth, Turner, and Wilcox counties. 

Like all other seats in the Senate and the House, following his election, Summers had to qualify to run once again in the upcoming election. The general primary election will be held on May 19.

 

Presidential Primary
Georgia's Presidential Primary will be held on Tuesday, March 24. The deadline to register to vote in the primary was February 24, 2020. Visit the Georgia Secretary of State's website to check your voter registration status. Other key dates related to Georgia's Presidential Primary are below.

  • March 2: Early Voting Begins
  • March 14: Saturday Voting
  • March 24: Georgia's Presidential Primary

KEEP UP WITH WHAT'S "GROWING ON" IN GEORGIA AGRICULTURE

Hosted by John Holcomb, Jay Stone, and Katie Duvall, "Growing On" is a new podcast produced by Georgia Farm Bureau, covering agriculture related issues and topics to help promote and advocate for Georgia agriculture as well as educate consumers about the production of food and modern farming practices. 

Listen Now


BILLS OF INTEREST

HB 13: Livestock & Rodeo Sales Tax Exemption
Reps. Williams, Mathiak, McCall, Blackmon, and Jones
This bill will provide an exemption from sales tax on the entry fee or admission of non-profit livestock, horse shows, or rodeo events and exhibits. This exemption will apply to any participation fees paid for entrants and any admission paid by the public.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.

 

HB 22: Telephone Cooperatives Authorization for Broadband Services
Reps. Houston, Powell, England, Watson, Corbett, and Greene
House Bill 22 is a bill that comes from a recommendation of the Rural Development Council. This bill will authorize telephone cooperatives and their broadband affiliates to provide broadband services to its members, as well as, apply for federal grants to provide broadband.
Assigned to House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.

HB 23: EMC Authorization to Provide Broadband Services
Reps. Houston, Powell, England, Watson, Corbett, and Greene
House Bill 23 is another bill to come out of the Rural Development Council. This bill authorizes electric membership corporations (EMC) to establish or partner with another entity to provide broadband services to its members independent from its electrical services. This bill will also allow for EMCs to apply for federal grants to provide broadband.
Passed the House on 2/11/19. Assigned to Regulated Industries and Utilities.

 

HB 49: Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Interbasin Transfers
Reps. Morris, Jones, Tanner, Lumsden, Powell, and Carpenter
House Bill 49 relates to water supply and water conservation plan in the Metropolitan Georgia Water Planning District to allow for certain interbasin transfers on rivers with an annual flow of at least 15 billion gallons per day at the withdrawal point.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
 
HB 104: Boll Weevil Eradication Tax Exemption
Reps. Watson, Powell, McCall, Meeks, and Pirkle
This bill would propose a constitutional amendment to provide the Boll Weevil Eradication program an ad valorem tax exemption for all of their supplies used for trapping, baiting, luring, and pesticides, as it regards to detecting and preventing the return of boll weevils.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.
 
HB 286: Right to Repair
Reps. Turner, Pirkle, and Dickey
House Bill 286 is known as the Right to Repair Act. This bill would require a manufacturer to provide documents, tools, and parts that are necessary for diagnostic, maintenance, or repair services on digital electronic equipment to independent service providers.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.
 
HB 371: Securing Animals in the Back of Motor Vehicles
Reps. Drenner, McCall, Powell, Williams, Trammell
This bill would require a person to secure or contain a live animal in the back of a motor vehicle if the vehicle is within the arc of Interstate 285 and on any portion on Interstates 20,75 or 85 or Georgia Highway 400.
Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.


HB 455: Georgia Agriculture Marketing Authority
Reps. Houston, England, McCall, Gilliard, and Stovall
This bill creates the Georgia Agriculture Marketing Authority, the purpose of the authority is to manage the facilities and activities of farmers markets. The Authority will market and promote agricultural products to agribusinesses and the public in an effort to boost the state's economy.
Passed the House on 3/5/19. Assigned to Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.

HB 592: Surface Mining in FLPA
Reps. Meeks, Corbett, England, and Rhodes
House Bill 592 would provide for under certain circumstances for short-term mineral surface mining to not be considered a breach of FLPA. The property would remain under the covenant only if they return the property to premining condition within three years.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment.

 

HB 709: Daylight Savings Time
Reps. Cantrell, Burns, Trammell, Gravley, McCall, Caldwell
House Bill 709 would allow for a referendum election to determine whether or not the state should continue to observe Daylight Savings Time or observe Standard Time year-round.
Assigned to State Planning and Affairs.

 

HB 829: Authorize Reduction of Residential Homestead Property Assessment
Reps. Stephens and Harrell
This bill would allow for local governments to hold a referendum to reduce the 40% assessment of residential homestead property owned by those aged 65 or older to only 20%. This would only apply to local school district taxes for educational purposes. 
Assigned to Ways and Means.

 

HB 847: Hemp Regulation Updates
Reps. Corbett, McCall, Dickey, Pruett, and Gilliard
This update to the hemp legislation that was passed last legislative session makes technical adjustments to comply with federal rules, creates a new license for a hemp nursery grower allowing sale to another permittee, sets the initial processor permit fee at $25,000, increases the automatic renewal fee from $10,000 to $50,000 after the first calendar year, and establishes a sampling test requirement prior to harvest.
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported by Substitute on 2/18/20.

 

HB 850: Uniform Referendums for Local Option Sales Taxes
Reps. Ridley, Harrell, Jasperse, Tarvin, Gravley, Gullett
This would require all referendums on local option sales tax to be held in November general elections.
Assigned to Ways and Means.

 

HB 882: Tax Exemption for Food Banks
Reps. Houston, Rich, Corbett, Greene, Cheokas
This bill would eliminate the sunset period for the exemption from state and certain local sales and use taxes for the sale of food and food ingredients to qualified food banks and for the use of food and food ingredients donated to qualified nonprofit agencies. It would also expand the exemption for the use of food and food ingredients donated to qualified nonprofit agencies to include disaster relief.
Assigned to Ways and Means.

 

HB 886: Animal Microchips and Reporting
Reps. Welch, McCall, Knight
This bill would require veterinarians or veterinary technicians that provide treatment to animals to scan such animals' microchips and to report ownership information under certain circumstances.
Assigned to Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

 

HB 919: Tax Deduction on Timber Casualty Losses
Reps. Hatchett, Jasperse, Burns, England, McCall, Watson
This bill would provide a deduction from Georgia taxable income for casualty losses of timber in an amount based on the diminution of value. 
Assigned to Ways and Means.

 

HB 926: Waste Management Tire Disposal Restrictions and Fees
Reps. Rogers, Lott, LaRiccia, Corbett, Reeves
This would increase certain solid waste disposal surcharges, particularly relating to waste management tire disposal restrictions and fees and would increase certain tire disposal fees.
Assigned to Natural Resources and Environment.

 

HR 930: Endorse Stand4Forests Platform and its Objectives
Reps. Gilliard and Clark 
House Resolution 930 encourages the State of Georgia to endorse the Stand4Forests platform and its objectives.
Assigned to House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

 

SB 45: "Rural Georgia Jobs and Growth Act"
Sens. Beach, B. Jones, Mullis, Harbison, E. Jones, Sims
Senate Bill 45 would provide for pari-mutuel horse racing in the state at a limited number of licensed equestrian centers, create the Georgia Horse Racing Commission, and provide for the comprehensive regulation of pari-mutuel horse racing and related activities.
Assigned to State Institutions and Property.

 

SB 76: Veterinary Nurses
Reps. Black, Wilkinson, Harper, Anderson, Burke, and Karinshak
This bill has been proposed in order to change terms used by the State Board of Veterinarians. This bill would change the term veterinary technician to veterinary nurses.
Assigned to Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

 

SB 211: Meat Labeling
Sens. Harper, Wilkinson, Black, Anderson, Walker, Heath
This bill will prohibit the sale and advertisement of nonanimal and non-slaughtered animal flesh from being called meat.
Passed the Senate on 3/7/19. Assigned to House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

 

SB 338: Animal Protection
Sens. Kirkpatrick, Black, Walker, Cowsert, Anderson, Sims
This bill would require licenses for pet dealers, kennels, stables, etc., and would also allow the Commissioner to promulgate rules and regulations for animal protection.  
Assigned to Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

 

SB 362: Livestock Straying
Sens. Wilkinson, Anderson, Harper, Burke, Rahman
This bill would change the fees for impounding animals and disposing of impounding animals that are running at large or straying.
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Favorably Reported on 2/18/20.

 

SB 381: Georgia Food Act
Sens. Kirkpatrick, Burke, Black, Walker, Wilkinson, Rahman
This would deem certain information obtained by the Department of Agriculture from the Federal Food and Drug Administration confidential and not subject to disclosure.
Assigned to Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

 

SB 407: Regulating the Harvest and Sale of Palmetto Berries
Sens. Harper, Heath, Burke, Harrell, Ginn
This bill would regulate the harvest, sale, and personal home use of palmetto berries. 
Assigned to Natural Resources and Environment

 

SR 84: Propose Pari-mutuel Betting on Horse Racing
Sen. Beach
Senate Resolution 84 proposes an amendment to the Constitution so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by law for pari-mutuel betting on horse racing and to provide for the disposition of licensing and taxation revenues from such activities.
Assigned to Economic Development and Tourism.

 

SR 818: Right to Register and Vote
Sens. Dolezal, Brass, Robertson, Miller, Gooch, Harper
SR 818 proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Georgia so as to clarify that only citizens of the United States shall have a right to vote in elections in this state.
Assigned to Government Oversight on 2/26/20.


CENSUS 2020: YOU FARM. YOU COUNT.

In late March, you will begin receiving requests to complete the 2020 Census. Georgia Farm Bureau is proud to be partnering with the Governor's Complete Count Committee to encourage our members to complete the census in a timely manner. The 2020 Census will be the first year you can fill out your census online.

 

The census website is safe, secure and confidential. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

 

In addition to shaping legislative districts, the census dictates how key funds are distributed. The federal government distributes over $675 billion dollars to states based on the population for healthcare, food, education, and roads. Key programs using census data to drive funding include:

  • Federal Medical Assistance Programs (FMAP)
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Medicare Part B
  • Highway Planning and Construction
  • The Federal Pell Grant Program
  • Cooperative Extension Service

 

Georgia’s rural assistance programs received more than $1.4 billion annually in the federal FY 2016.

 

Census Dates to Remember:

  • March 2020: The Census Bureau will begin mailing invitations to participate in the 2020 Census to homes. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.
  • April 1, 2020: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. When you respond to the census, you tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
  • April 2020: Census takers begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
  • May 2020: The Census Bureau begins visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census to make sure everyone is counted.
  • August 2020: The online form of the Census will close.
  • December 2020: The Census Bureau delivers apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.
  • March 31, 2021: By this date, the Census Bureau will send redistricting counts to states. This information is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.

 


DATES TO REMEMBER
  • March 11: Steak Biscuit Day at the Capitol
  • March 12: Crossover Day
  • March 24: Georgia's Presidential Primary
  • March 24: National Ag Day
  • March 31-April 2: GFB Presidents' Trip to Washington
  • April 2-4: Georgia Cattlemen's Convention, Perry

 

 

Public Policy Department Staff

Jeffrey Harvey, Director
Joe McManus, Assistant Director
Alex Bradford, State Affairs Coordinator
Raynor Churchwell, Agricultural Programs Specialist
Tripp Cofield, National Policy Counsel
Katie Duvall, Advocacy and Policy Development Coordinator
Renee Jones, Office Coordinator
Blake Raulerson, Governmental Affairs Specialist
Jeremy Taylor, Agricultural Programs Specialist

 

 

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