2015 Legislative Session

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In 2015, the Legislature was in session from January 12 through April 2.

AIA Georgia’s government affairs team works closely with Peachtree Government Relations, who provide us with weekly updates on all of the going-on at the Capitol.

Click here to see past reports from PGR.

HB 255: Green Building Systems and the Forestry Industry

The last half-decade has seen an ongoing battle between the Southern forestry industry and the USGBC.  The crux of the issues is that the latter has chosen the most rigorous green ratings system for how it gives its single point for wood products.  The Georgia forest industry has not met the USGBC standard, and instead uses an industry-developed green standard – which is considered less rigorous by many sustainability experts.

The forestry industry approached most Southern states with its own legislation that attempts to get all wood products ratings systems to treat Southern wood the same as that grown under other systems. It was Georgia’s turn in 2015.

Georgia House Bill 255 was introduced into the 2015 Session and moved incredibly quickly. AIA Georgia met with numerous Senate and House members, and sent letters regarding our position to key members of the Senate Committee that heard the bill. \ AIA also testified in opposition, citing our strong belief that the legislation would have a negative impact on non-timber Georgia industries that participate in Green Building Certification systems. This of course includes architects. AIA recommended that the state defer a vote on the bill until 2016, and instead use the time to conduct a due-diligence cost-benefit analysis. At this time the State has no idea what the impact of this bill will be on jobs and economic development. Unfortunately, our alternative did not meet with approval from the Senate committee, which passed the bill to the full Senate along partisan lines.

AIA Georgia

Click here to read the bill.

Click here to check the most up to date status of the bill.

 

HB 308: A Robust Historic Building Tax Credit

HB 308 provides a strong package of state-supported tax credits that would level the playing field for redeveloping buildings and homes that qualify as historic structures.  Interestingly, the legislature actually increased the fiscal limits on the total amounts that this bill would provide (both per project and overall) from the original version.

Rep. Ron Stephens (R – Savannah) introduced this bill for the 3rd year in a row.  Where it found little support in previous years, it found substantially more success in 2015.

AIA Georgia has been a strong supporter of this bill, and met with Rep. Stephens both before the Session, and by our AIA Savannah chapter on our Advocacy Day in February.

Rep. Ron Stephens (R – Savannah)

Click here to read the bill.

Click here to check the most up to date status of the bill.

 

SB 59: Public Private Partnerships (P3)

This bill, championed by Hunter Hill of Atlanta, provides a framework for encouraging and administering unsolicited proposals to county and municipal governments in Georgia for vertical developments.  Essentially, the idea is that the private sector will bring innovative construction and funding solutions to cash-strapped governments, and bring developments earlier than conventionally possible.

P3 arrangements have been used in transportation and the Board of Regents for many years, and solicited P3s are already possible under current law.  SB 59 focuses on the unsolicited, innovation-driven proposals that the private sector can deliver outside of the traditional government planning process.

Most relevant to architects, the bill will create a P3 Guidelines Committee, with one of those positions reserved for an architect (appointed by the Speaker of the House).  This Committee will be charged with developing the guidelines for how a local government will manage, evaluate and take action on unsolicited proposals.

Sen. Hunter Hill (R – Atlanta)

Click here to read the bill.

Click here to check the most up to date status of the bill.

HB 57: Solar Financing

After nearly two decades of conflict between Georgia Power and the EMC’s, and the growing distributed solar industry – it appears that there is finally a solution that all parties are supporting.  The bill would provide financing solutions to both residential and commercial buildings, but also have a cap on the total amount that could be developed each year.

Click here to read the bill.

Click here to check the most up to date status of the bill.