Week 4 of
the Legislative Session started Monday, January 29, 2018
Legislative Days 11 through 14~
We started our fourth week of the 2018 legislative
session under the Gold Dome Monday, January 29. The House of Representatives convened Monday
through Thursday to take up important issues and pass meaningful legislation
for the good of every Georgian. House
committees continued to hold hearings to review and discuss Bill proposals.
The Adoption Bill – HB 159:
House Bill 159 unanimously passed in the House chamber. This Bill would completely overhaul Georgia’s
current adoption laws. The Senate passed
their version of the adoption Bill and made several changes to the original
House version of the legislation. This week, the House collaborated with the
Senate and the governor’s office to reach a compromise on HB 159, and after
much deliberation, the House approved several of the Senate’s amendments and
made a few additional changes to the legislation.
version of the Adoption Bill would:
--update Georgia’s revocation period from a 10 days to
four days. In Georgia, birth mothers currently have 10 days to revoke the
surrender of their child. This 10-day revocation period is one of most rigorous
revocation policies in the nation, and the new version of HB 159 seeks to
strike the right balance between the rights of birth mother and the adoptive
parents by shortening this revocation period.
--the House version of the adoption Bill would allow
birth mothers to receive reasonable living expenses in both private and agency
adoptions. Under current law, only birth mothers in agency adoptions are
allowed reasonable living expenses, but this change would create a level
playing field and give all birth mothers equal access to reasonable living
expenses, regardless of which type of adoption they go through.
--the Bill includes several safeguards on temporary
powers of attorney. The updated adoption Bill is now back in the Senate. After the Bill has passed in the Senate – it
will then go to the desk of the Governor for final approval. This is the law in most states in the
Tax Liens - House Bill 661:
House Bill 661 unanimously passed in the House chamber. This Bill
--change the process for filing and removing tax liens
against real estate
--update legislation that Governor Deal signed into
Georgia law last year, which created a more efficient and transparent method
for filing tax liens with the Department of Revenue.
-- keep the efficiencies of the original legislation, but
would simply remove the current provision regarding statewide liens and revert
back to county specific liens.
--require every tax lien against realty to be filed with
the superior court clerk in the county where the real estate is located.
--not only simplify the process for filing and removing
tax liens, but it would also increase transparency for taxpayers by moving the
Department of Revenue’s process to electronic-based transactions and away from
Motor Fuel Tax Reports - House Bill 694
House Bill 94 unanimously passed in the House chamber. This Bill is aimed at modifying portions of
Georgia’s tax laws, and would:
way motor fuel distributors and wholesalers submit their monthly motor fuel tax
reports to the Department of Revenue.
requires motor fuel distributors to file these reports electronically if they
owe the department $500 or more, but the new measure would require all monthly
reports to be submitted electronically, regardless of the distributor’s tax
--modernize and streamline the filing process for our
state’s oil distributors.
the term “law enforcement officer” - House Bill
House Bill 135 passed in the House chamber. This Bill would:
--provide more law enforcement officers with important
state retirement benefits.
--expand the term “law enforcement officer” to include
Department of Driver Services (DDS) investigators.
Investigators would qualify to receive up to an
additional five years of creditable service in the state’s Employees’
Retirement System (ERS) for prior law enforcement service. DDS investigators
would only be eligible for this benefit if they are not receiving retirement
benefits from a local government for that same service and if they have been a
member of the retirement system for at least ten years.
The Governor signed a measure into law in 2016 that
allowed all other law enforcement officers to obtain creditable service through
the ERS, but the measure inadvertently omitted 16 investigators employed by
DDS. HB 135 would correct this oversight by ensuring that those officers who
are investigating fraudulent licenses are eligible to receive creditable
Georgia’s official state insect – House Bill
House Bill 671 unanimously passed in the House chamber - a
measure in support of Georgia’s official state insect, the honey bee. This Bill would:
--create a specialty license plate to promote the
conservation and protection of the honey bee.
--the license plate would display an image of a honey bee
and include the phrase “Save the Honey Bee.”
--these license plates would be available for purchase,
and all proceeds collected from the license plate sales would be distributed to
the Georgia Beekeepers Association. These funds would be used to raise
awareness about honey bee conservation and would fund and support several
associated programs, including beekeeper education and training, prison
beekeeping, grants to beekeeping nonprofit organizations and beekeeping
research facilities in our state.
Georgia is the third largest producer of bees and the
tenth largest producer of honey in the nation. The honey bee is absolutely
essential in sustaining our state’s ecosystems, and this measure would help to
ensure that our state insect and the beekeeping industry are preserved for
~ The House will be reconvene for Legislative Day 15
Monday, February 5th at 1:00pm ~
I encourage you to visit me at my Capitol office during
session. My office is located across
from the State Capitol, in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Suite
411. Feel free to call or email me with
any concerns regarding current or upcoming legislation: Sheila.Jones@house.ga.gov
Visit the House website, www.house.ga.gov
, for several
tools that might be useful to you throughout the legislative session:
• live stream of House proceedings
• live and archived committee meeting videos
• detailed information on all legislation we are
considering in the General Assembly.
You may also visit my Web page: www.SheilaJones.org
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your