In the early hours of the morning on March 25th, 2016 the Georgia General Assembly completed its 40-day legislative session and adjourned “Sine Die.” Upon adjournment, the Governor has 40 days to sign or veto bills (this year he will have until May 3rd). If the Governor does not sign a bill or veto it, it will automatically become law. The Governor has the power of line-item veto over the budget bills. Find a summary and comprehensive grid of the impactful legislation that the consultants worked to identify, analyze, and track throughout the session, here.
Both HB 1017 (an expansion of e-discovery laws) and SB 276 (data security bill) were identified early on as problematic for members of the ATPC and the business community at large. The consultants worked closely with stakeholders including AT&T, TSYS, FirstData, McKesson, and others to inform legislators and the Attorney General’s office of the potential catastrophic effect that the measures would have on the business community if approved. After a number of lengthy hearings neither bill went on to achieve final passage; the consultants reported to the ATPC in real time throughout the proceedings. The issue could easily return next year and the consultants will continue to monitor. Although neither SB 255 (a comprehensive update to Georgia’s garnishment laws) nor SB 389 (extensive revisions to TANF/SNAP laws) was identified as specifically problematic for ATPC members, the consultants monitored both pieces of legislation closely throughout the process because they could have easily been amended to include onerous language. The consultants provided real time updates on the numerous changes to each and worked with ATPC member companies to ensure that the changes would not negatively impact their business models.
In the waning hours of the legislative session, the language Senator Lucas had added was removed in the House Rules Committee and the original bill achieved final passage without further changes. After identifying SB 282, which would create a civil cause of action for firearms dealers who feel that a financial institution refused them service because of the products they sell, as problematic for ATPC member companies, the consultants worked closely with both Senator Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) and the financial community at large to educate elected officials about the issues the measure could create. After a House Banks and Banking Committee hearing in which committee members repeatedly questioned the author about the need for the measure, the bill was added to HB 1060 in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The consultants worked to prevent an amendment from being added that would have specifically applied the measure to payment processors, and worked with the financial community to ensure the addition of language clarifying that the state law is preempted by relevant federal law. The bill went on to achieve final passage to the satisfaction of ATPC.
Building off the success of the Payments 101 luncheon held with the Joint Economic Development Committees, the consultants worked with Senate Economic Development Chairman Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) to introduce a resolution creating a study committee to look at economic incentives for the financial technology and payments processing industry in Georgia. With help from champions Chairman Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and Lt. Gov Casey Cagle, the measure went on to achieve final passage on the last day of the legislative session. The House and Senate will appoint members to this committee during the interim, and the consultants will continue to keep the ATPC and its member companies at the forefront of the effort.