State Rep. Ron Stephens, Guest writer.
The 2022 Georgia General Assembly has completed 31 days of the 40-Legislative Day session that is authorized by the Georgia Constitution. This week included the pivotal Day 28 or known by many as Crossover Day.
That is the day when all House of Representative bills must pass the House to be considered by the Senate and vice versa.
Another effort on our part to return confidence and sanctity to the privilege of being a republic, we passed House Bill 1464, legislation that will provide that any private person or non-governmental entity seeking to provide a grant or donation to the state or an election superintendent for any purpose related to election administration must file an application for approval with the State Election Board.
This bill also allows the State Election Board to appoint members of county boards of elections or county boards of elections and registration to performance review boards. In addition, for statewide general elections, each precinct with optical scanning voting systems, the county election superintendent is required to provide at least one voting booth for each 250 electors who have not yet voted in the current election. The legislation also requires drop boxes to be locked when advance voting is not being conducted at that location or when the advance-voting period ends. Completion of the ballot transfer form must serve as an initial chain of custody document for absentee ballots collected from drop boxes. This is a very comprehensive bill that we trust will return control of the voting process to a level of trust with the average voter and eliminate many of the questions that evolved from the 2020 election debacle.
I had several bills that I authored pass the House and now head to the Senate for approval. The first was H.B. 1053 extends the movie post-production tax credit through December 31, 2027 and reducing the carry forward time of the tax credits earned from five years to three years. The bill also requires each company that claims the post-production tax credit or film tax credit to be subject to Georgia income tax for income that is derived from residual payments due to employment, trade, business, profession, or other activity performed within Georgia with respect to a state-certified production. This bill passed overwhelmingly as we have made Georgia one of the leading places in the United States to film and produce many movie and television shows.
A House Resolution of mine, H.R. 822 was unanimously passed. Because of the coastal area that makes Southeast Georgia a great place for boating and fishing, this resolution announces Georgia’s opposition to the shark fin trade. The resolution announces to the federal government that the Georgia House of Representatives’ is opposed to the practice of shark finning and its support for requiring standards for importers of shark fins that are equal to or stricter than those imposed by the United States.
I also received overwhelming support from my colleagues in passing H.B. 1382, legislation that requires specified directors or members of development authorities to complete continuing training on development and redevelopment programs each year. The required training will serve as a prerequisite for the authority to receive specified funding.
Because of the recent growth in mobile food trucks with specialty menus, we assisted that industry with legislation that will allow these trucks to operate in county of origin or other counties without an additional permitting. H. B. 1443 allows for a mobile food establishment that is permitted in one county to operate in other counties in the state. This bill also passed unanimously.
In our area, Tybee Island is our beach playground and many of us go to the beach for fun with friends and family. One of the many sites we may visit is the Tybee Light House. In legislation I co-sponsored, we unanimously passed specialty tag legislation, H.B. 203, granting the Tybee Island Historical Society to be supported from a specialty plate thus helping in the preservation of the Tybee Light House.
I will continue to be your voice in dealing with problems or questions about your state government. I encourage you to contact me with your input and thoughts on proposed legislation or current events that may impact our community. I am in 226-A of the State Capitol. My office phone number is (404) 656-5115 and my email is email@example.com. I look forward to continuing this session and serving all of you.