Capitol Update: Week 9
The General Assembly was in session last week Monday through Thursday for Legislative Days 28 through 31. They will be in session this week Monday through Thursday for Legislative Days 32 through 35. Currently, both the House and Senate are passing bills out of the committees but holding them up in their respective Rules Committees (the House and Senate Rules Committees are the committees that decide which bills make it onto the floor for a vote on final passage). Neither the House nor Senate Rules Committees have shown any signs that they are ready to put bills from the other chamber on the floor for final passage. This is an annual ritual at the General Assembly.
HB 476 – The Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Act of 2021
HB 476 by Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) passed out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee unanimously on Thursday, March 11th. Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) made the motion to pass and was seconded by Sen. Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain), the leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus. The bill is now pending in the Senate Rules Committee and will be eligible to be called later this week. Sen. Albers is our Senate sponsor.
The Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Board voted on Tuesday to unanimously support this legislation and GSPE and SAMSOG had both also previously passed resolutions in support of HB 476.
HB 476 was introduced at ACEC Georgia’s request and is also supported by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers (GSPE) and the Surveying and Mapping Society of Georgia (SAMSOG). If passed, it will make the PELS Board an independent state agency, with its own separate budget, its own executive director and staff and its own attorney and investigators to investigate and enforce violations. This legislation was modeled on the existing arrangements in place for the Georgia Real Estate Commission and the Georgia State Board of Accountancy and will provide the financial and operational independence needed for the PELS Board to properly serve the 23,000 Professional Engineers and 1,200 Land Surveyors whose licensure is critical to protecting the health, safety and welfare of Georgia’s citizens and our built environment.
HB 81 – The FY 2022 Budget
The “Big Budget” is in the Senate and the various Senate Appropriations Subcommittees met throughout last week. We expect to see some movement on the Budget this week in the Senate so that House and Senate conferees will have time to negotiate a final bill.
Legislation ACEC Georgia is following
By Rep. Carl Gilliard (D-Garden City), would exempt public mass transit, campus transit, and public school system buses from paying Georgia’s motor fuel excise tax. This bill would undermine the premise underlying the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170) – that all users of Georgia’s roads and bridges should contribute toward their upkeep. ACEC Georgia is opposed to this bill. STATUS: Assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee.
The Week Ahead
The General Assembly will be in Session on Monday through Thursday this week, taking us through Legislative Day 35.