2024 Legislative Session Report Week 11

GFB Action Center

March 22, 2024

In this Issue: 

Photo Credits: House Media Servcies 

Protect Private Property Rights - Support HB 1172


HB 1172, by House Whip James Burchett (R-Waycross), passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 18th. It has been the top priority of GFB this legislative session to claw back property rights that were lost at the end of the 2023 session by SB 115. As we approach the final few days of session, we need your help to ensure the passage of HB 1172. It will provide a solution to the issue at hand, and we urge you to reach out to your senator to vote yes on HB 1172.


Click the button below to email your senators about the importance of passing HB 1172 and preserving private property rights in Georgia.

Click Here

Legislative Calendar Update


This week, the General Assembly convened for legislative days 36-38. The week began on Monday, March 18th, and concluded on Thursday, March 21st. They will return next week on Tuesday, March 26th, and convene for 2 legislative days and 1 committee workday. The General Assembly will adjourn Sine Die on Thursday, March 28th, marking the end of the 2023-2024 legislative session.

Photo Credits: Senate Press Office

Senate Boast Legislative Livestock Showdown Trophy


On Thursday, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Russ Goodman (R-Cogdell) took to the well to boast the Senate's victory in this year's Legislative Livestock Showdown. During the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia, legislators from around the state visit to compete in the livestock show. Each team is captained by the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Chairman with teams being divided by chamber. This year, the Senate took home the team trophy and Senator Larry Walker (R-Perry) took home high individual. We hope you join us this year for one of our favorite annual competitions!

Photo Credits: House Media Services 

Representative Richardson Sworn-In


On Wednesday, Rep. Gary Richardson (R-Evans) was sworn in to represent District 125. Rep. Richardson won a special election to fill the vacancy created when Rep. Barry Fleming received a judicial appointment. Rep. Richardson is a small business owner from Columbia County and served 8 eight years on the Board of County Commissioners. The GFB ImPACt Fund was proud to support Rep. Richardson in his runoff election for District 125. Rep. Richardson will have to run again in the 2024 elections, but we are looking forward to working with him the remainder of this year.

Photo Credits: House Media Services

GATE Bill Passes House


On Wednesday, SB 340 originally authored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta), passed the House by a vote 169-1. Last week, Rep. Joe Campbell replaced the bill's original language with his HB 1459, which makes diesel exhaust fluid, DEF, eligible for the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption, GATE, program. When the GATE program first began, the Environmental Protection Agency had not mandated the use of DEF in farm equipment. In order to modernize the GATE program with the current needs of farmers, we have worked with the Department of Revenue and the Department of Agriculture to create a bill that would allow DEF to become tax exempt.


SB 340 must now go back to the Senate for an agree vote before it can be sent to the Governor's desk for his signature.

Protecting Georgia Farmland from Foreign Adversaries  


Prohibiting the foreign acquisition of farmland has been a popular topic nationwide the past few years. During the 2023-2024 legislative session, the General Assembly introduced multiple different bills around this topic. SB 420, by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), has made it further in the legislative process than any of the others. SB 420 restricts a nonresident alien of a foreign adversary country, as determined by the federal government, from acquiring a possessory interest in any farmland or land within 10 miles of a military installation. This bill does include an exemption for residential property.


SB 420 will now head back to the Senate for an agree vote to the House amendments. This must happen before midnight on Sine Die for the bill to receive final passage. 

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY25 Budget 


On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed HB 916, the fiscal year 2025 budget. Under the leadership of Chairman Blake Tillery, the committee presented the Senate changes to the budget. The Senate funded several important capital projects that we are supporting but cut the $500,000 put in by the House to address deer nuisance. The Senate budget will be on the floor next week for a vote before the full chamber. There is still time to advocate for important funding measures in the FY25 budget, and we encourage you to let your legislators know about important budget items for agriculture important to you. See below for inclusions relevant to agriculture.


Department of Agriculture

  • $267,861 for two shellfish inspection and certification specialist positions.
  • $185,000 eliminated for new information security officer.
  • $700,000 for agricultural improvements.

Soil & Water Conservation Commission

  • $72,000 eliminated for development and implementation a Master Farmer program.

Department of Community Health

  • $2,000,000 eliminated for rural hospital stabilization grants.
  • $2,000,000 eliminated for hospitals with graduate medical education programs to support residency programs with priority to new and rural sites.

Department of Economic Development

  • $100,000 reduced from $200,000 for contracts to support the global export of GA manufactured and agricultural products.
  • $100,000 for a site development specialist position to support economic development in rural communities.

Agriculture Education

  • $96,000 for Peach Co. Young Farmer position, but eliminated Young Farmer position for Barrow Co.
  • $88,000 for eight extended day/year programs within Ag Education.

Department of Natural Resources

  • $259,307 to expand access to the Deer Management Assistance Program for conservation and management of wildlife resources.
  • Eliminated $500,000 for processing of venison donations to encourage deer harvests.
  • $350,617 for five additional ag water withdrawal positions.

University System of Georgia

  • $500,000 for projects at the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation.

Student Finance Commission

  • $35,000 for the Veterinary Loan Repayment Program service cancelable loans.

Capitol Project Funds

  • $10,656,142 one-time funds to purchase vocational and agricultural education equipment statewide.
  • $2,900,000 for renovation of Chambliss Hall, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
  • $4,470,500 one-time funds for design and renovation of Dept. of Ag building
  • $1,014,674 one-time funds for lab equipment at Tifton Lab.
  • $3,000,000 one-time funds for chiller and generator replacement at Tifton Lab.
  • $21,540,000 one-time funds for construction of new goat, sheep, and swine barn in Perry.

Public Input About State Deer Management Plan


Georgia farmers across the state have continually expressed challenges they face from increasing crop depredation from whitetail deer. It is important we make our voice heard to policymakers in order for them to set policy that addresses our needs and concerns. The Department of Natural Resources is currently taking public input from citizens and stakeholder groups to inform their decisions as they prepare the State Deer Management Plan for the next 6 years. It is important for farmers to participate and submit their input on this policy that will be in place for multiple years. Click below to learn more and submit input.

Click Here

2024 Ford Farm Bureau Recognition Survey


Ford needs your feedback! Please take a couple of minutes to participate in their annual survey here.  Did you know that members of Georgia Farm Bureau Member are eligible for an exclusive cash reward on the purchase or lease of eligible new Ford vehicles? Learn more here!

Action This Week


HB 827:

Reps. Smith, Dickey, Pirkle, Leverett, Hagan, and others

This bill increases the punishment for livestock theft by increasing both the penalty fines and the years of imprisonment. 

House Agreed to Senate Amendment 3/21/2024


HB 1015:

Reps. McDonald, Blackmon, Jones, Hong, Wade, and others

This bill would reduce the state income tax from 5.49% to 5.39% starting on January 1, 2024. This bill is a part of a plan to gradually reduce the state income tax over the next few years.

Passed House and Passed Senate 3/20/2024


HB 1023:

Reps. Williamson, Blackmon, Crowe, Silcox, Hilton, and others 

This bill decreases the corporate income tax rate. It matches the corporate income tax rate to the individual income tax rate applicable to all taxable years beginning January 1, 2024.

Passed House and Passed Senate 3/20/2024


HB 1172:

Reps. Burchett, Rhodes, Leverett, Smith, and Williams

This bill comes from the Chairman of the House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources. This bill is a priority of GFB this session. It fixes unintended consequences of SB 115 (2023) and removes the reference to public trust doctrine as it relates to navigable waters.

Passed House and Passed Senate Judiciary Committee 3/20/2024 


HB 1223:

Reps. Leverett, Petrea, Prince, Jackson, and Adesanya

This bill amends the Georgia Soil Amendment Act of 1976 and prohibits the application of soil amendments to a site currently subject to a consent order issued by EPD or an existing enforcement action of EPD.

Passed House and Passed Senate 3/21/2024


HB 1237:

Reps. Cannon, Corbett, Dickey, Meeks, Campbell, and others

This bill revises a definition within the Agricultural Commodity Commission code section. It does away with the provision requiring producers of citrus to operate at least 5 acres of fruit trees to be eligible for the Citrus ACC.  

Passed House and Passed Senate 3/20/2024


HB 1371:

Rep. Burchett

This bill is a part of this year's tort reform efforts and known as premise liability. It seeks to reduce liability from a landowner when there is a felony involving a third party.

Passed House and Passed Senate Judiciary Committee 3/21/2024


HR 96:

Reps. Williams, Petrea, Dickey, Corbett, Rhodes, and others

This resolution proposes an amendment to the state constitution that would reduce the rate of ad-valorem tax assessment on timber at the time of sale or harvest. The amended bill out of the Senate Finance Committee eliminates the local reimbursement measure, places a cap on the reduced harvest tax rate, and includes a provision to eliminate the modified breach of covenant under CUVA when developing solar projects.

Passed House and Passed Senate Finance Committee by Amendment 3/21/2023


HR 1505:

Reps. Dickey, Meeks, Campbell, Corbett, and Cannon

This resolution creates the House Study Committee on Solar Facility Development. As stated in the resolution, one of the main objectives is to study siting of solar projects away from productive agricultural lands onto marginal land.

Assigned to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 3/18/2024


HR 1554:

Reps. Smith, Dickey, Corbett, Rhodes, and Smith

This resolution creates the House Study Committee on Navigable Streams and Related Matters. This study committee will try to provide clarity around which waterways in Georgia are deemed navigable.

Passed House Natural Resources & Environment Committee 3/21/2024


SB 340:

Sens. Kirkpatrick, Albers, Hufstetler, Robertson, Anavitarte, and others

This bill would create a sales tax exemption for firearms safes and firearm safety devices. This bill was amended in House committee to include bill language from HB 1459 by Rep. Campbell to make DEF a GATE eligible purchase. 

Passed Senate and Passed House 3/20/2024


SB 352:

Sens. Anderson, Albers, Robertson, Williams, Payne, and others

This bill prohibits any motor vehicle from operating on any highway whose suspension has been elevated or lowered six inches above or below the manufacturer's recommendation for such vehicle. No motor vehicle may operate on any highway whose front frame is more than four inches above the rear of the vehicle.

Senate Agreed to House Amendment 3/18/2024


SB 420:

Sens. Anavitarte, Goodman, Beach, Cowsert, Gooch, and others

This bill would prohibit the foreign ownership of agricultural land by any non-resident alien, government, or business from a country considered to be foreign adversary as determined by the US Secretary of Commerce. It would also restrict ownership by those individuals, governments, and businesses of any land that is within a 10 mile radius of a military installation. Any violator would be convicted of a felony with up to two years in prison or a $15,000 fine.

Passed Senate Passed House 3/21/2024 


SB 426:

Sens. Tillery, Setzler, Burns, Walker, Albers, and others

This bill is a part of Senate leaderships efforts to address the legal climate in Georgia and provide relief to businesses and insurance companies. This bill is commonly known as direct action and prevents a plaintiff from suing only an insurance company in the case of an accident. Direct action directly benefits large commercial fleets and their insurers, but we are still excited to see the Senate begin to tackle this issue.

Passed Senate and Passed House 3/18/2024


SB 436:

Sens. Watson, Goodman, Anderson, Walker, Ginn, and others

This bill addresses farm use vehicles as it relates to right-of-way on the road. It changes the definition of "Implement of husbandry" requiring the main use to be primarily for agricultural operations, not exclusively.

Senate Agreed to House Substitute 3/21/2024


SR 786:

Sens. Kennedy, Anderson, Goodman, Watson, and Walker

This resolution creates the Senate Advancing Forest Innovation in Georgia Study Committee

Passed Standing Rules Committee 3/21/2024

Bills Eligible for Consideration


HB 73:

Reps. Gullett, Parsons, Thomas, Anderson, Meeks, and others

This bill deals with ensuring transparency between buyers and sellers of distributed energy generation systems, including solar energy procurement, and provides access to educational information surrounding contracts and agreements for such systems. It specifically looks to address deceptive business practices seen throughout the state by certain companies selling rooftop solar systems.

Passed House on 2/22/2023 and Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities 3/1/2023


HB 82:

Reps. Jackson, Hawkins, Cooper, Williams, Beverly, and others  

This bill would eliminate the current tax credit available for rural physicians and replace it with a new tax credit of up to $5,000 for each taxable year. The new tax credit would be available to a wider array of health care professionals including dentists, nurse practitioners, physical assistants and more. It also imposes certain restrictions such as a cap on the number of years it can be claimed (5 years) and restrictions on those who are already working in a rural area.

Passed House and Passed Senate Finance Committee 1/30/2024


Reps. Kelley, Williamson, Stephens, Blackmon

The bill aims to create state standards for utility scale solar facilities aimed at ensuring remediation, decommissioning, and disposal occur at the facility's end of life. Solar developers that lease land for facilities would be required to provide surety bonds to ensure remediation at the end of life. None of these requirements would apply if the solar developer owned the land. A change was added to allow for a modification to the land restoration requirements if both parties agree to these terms at the conclusion of the lease agreement.

Passed House and Passed Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee 3/13/2024


HB 514:

Reps. Washburn, Bazemore, Reeves, Lim, Ridley, and others. 

This bill is known as the "Housing Regulation Transparency Act." It seeks to limit the duration of time that a local government may enact a temporary housing moratorium on properties being developed for residential purposes to 180 days. It also requires that a local government must wait another 180 days before enacting any new temporary housing moratorium once the initial 180-day moratorium is expired. The bill allows for exemptions under certain circumstances including a declared state of emergency, when safety is of concern, a court order, or while a studied is being conducted investigating future development. This bill also grants local governments the power to collect fees associated with their zoning powers and issuance of permits. This is to create an equitable program for governments to finance the development and creation of local planning, land use, and zoning ordinances for orderly growth. 

Assigned to Conference Committee 3/29/2023


HB 808:

Reps. Cheokas, Yearta, Mathiak, Ridley, Powell, and others

This bill would increase a statewide ad valorem tax exemption limit for tangible personal property from $7,500 to $20,000. It also provides for a statewide referendum and a question to be placed on the ballot for the voters of Georgia to decide on making this change. 

Passed House and Passed Senate Finance Committee 2/27/2024


HB 912:

Reps. Anderson, Rhodes, Burchett, Smith, Williams, and others

This bill defines a multipurpose off-highway vehicle and ensures no multipurpose off-highway vehicle shall be returned for or subject to ad valorem taxation.

Passed House and Passed Senate Transportation Committee 3/13/2024


HB 1017:

Reps. Seabaugh, Reeves, Burchett, Crowe, Silcox, and others

This bill is known as the Georgia Squatter Reform Act. It seeks to strengthen the definition of criminal trespass to address issues with squatters. Squatters occupy an abandoned or unoccupied property without consent from the owner.

Passed House and Passed Senate Judiciary Committee 3/13/2024


HB 1031:

Reps. Blackmon, Knight, Martin, and Crowe

This bill requires all parcels to be reappraised in 2025. After 2025, every parcel must be reappraised every three years.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Finance Committee 3/4/2024 


HB 1048:

Reps. Carpenter, Huddleston, Cameron, Hilton, Vance, and others

This bill would designate cornbread as the official bread of the state of Georgia. This bill was amended in Senate Committee to know include the Georgia Statewide Music Office Act.

Passed House and Passed Senate Economic Development & Tourism Committee 3/14/2023


HB 1052:

Reps. Cannon, Dickey, Huddleston, McCollum, Meeks, and others

This bill would allow a non-eligible entity to lease property in a CUVA covenant as long as the ownership is only citizens of the United States and the primary purpose of the land is production agriculture. GFB policy supports this bill.

Passed House and Passed Senate Finance Committee by Substitute 3/13/2024


HB 1069:

Reps. Cannon, Pirkle, Corbett, Rhodes, Williams, and others

This bill authorizes the State Forestry Commission to access tax accessors reports on the assessment of standing timber.

Passed House and Passed Senate Finance Committee 3/13/2024


HB 1099:

Reps. Huddleston, Burchett, Cannon, Camp, Rhodes, and others

This bill is known as the "Purple Paint Law." It allows landowners to mark their property boundaries with purple paint marks on trees or post in place of typical signage.

Passed House and Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee 3/4/2024


HB 1114:

Reps. Wade, Gambill, Hong, McDonald, Jones, and others

This bill is known as the Data Analysis for Tort Reform Act. It is a priority of Governor Kemp and will help his administration gather information to help prepare for future tort reform efforts.

Passed House and Passed Senate Insurance Committee 3/14/2024


HB 1274:

Reps. Huddleston, Frye, Dickey, Pirkle, Thomas, and others

This bill amends the Veterinary Student Loan Repayment Program. Recipients of the loan repayment program would qualify for 3 payments of $25,000 over the course of 3 years. The program would be limited to applicants who have been practicing food animal medicine for less than 10 years in a rural community.

Passed House and Passed Senate Higher Education Committee 3/14/2024


HB 1459:

Reps. Campbell, Dickey, and Greene

This bill would add diesel exhaust fluid, DEF, to the list of sales tax-exempt products under the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption, GATE, program.

Assigned to House Ways & Means Committee 3/11/2024


SB 177:

Sens. Jones, Goodman, Butler, Hickman, and Sims

This bill is entitled the "Food Insecurity Eradication Act." It establishes the Georgia Food Security Advisory Council under the Georgia Department of Agriculture to advise the General Assembly on ways to alleviate food insecurity in the state. 

Passed Senate and Recommitted to House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 3/29/2023


SB 132:

Sens. Beach, Dolezal, Goodman, Summers, Anderson, and others

This bill would prohibit the purchase of agricultural land by a non-resident foreign alien who is subject to a government that is considered a foreign adversary as defined by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. It would also restrict the purchase of agricultural land by any government of, or business domiciled in a country subject to a government that is considered a foreign adversary. There are provisions within the bill that would also limit the foreign ownership of land near certain military instillations with an exemption to residential property.  

Passed Senate and Passed House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee by Substitute 3/13/2024


SB 355:

Sens. Robertson, Burns, Williams, Anavitarte, and Dolezal

This bill prohibits the use of rank choice voting in any elections in the state of Georgia.

Passed Senate and Assigned to House Governmental Affairs Committee 1/29/2024


SB 366:

Sens. Hufstetler, Tillery, Dolzeal, Albers, Still, and others

This bill is known as the Tax Expenditures Act of 2024. This bill creates the Joint Committee on Taxation and Economic Development to meet every other year evaluating the tax climate in Georgia. It also provides measures to ensure greater transparency through the appropriations process.

Passed Senate Finance and Passed House Ways & Means Committee by Substitute 3/13/2024


SB 542:

Sens. Watson, Kennedy, and Gooch

This bill removes public trust doctrine from reference of Georgia's navigable rivers and grants access for the public to float, fish, and hunt on all Georgia's navigable waters.

Passed Senate and Assigned to House Judiciary Committee 3/4/2024


SB 578:

Sens. Watson, Goodman, Anderson, and Echols

This bill would revoke a landowner's agricultural water withdrawal permit if the landowner turned permitted acres into a solar farm. There is an exemption for facilities less than 10 acres used for on-site energy production.

Assigned to Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee 3/13/2024