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A look at bills that passed and failed during Georgias legislative session


(The Center Square) — Georgia lawmakers have wrapped up their whirlwind 40-day session and passed a slew of business-friendly bills and — perhaps surprisingly — failed to advance others.

Among the highest-profile measures lawmakers passed was House Bill 1339, which overhauls the state’s Certificate of Need laws. Additionally, HB 1015 reduces Georgia’s income tax rate to 5.39%, retroactive to the start of the year.

“Another measure, HB 1023, secured passage in the House to reduce the state’s flat corporate income tax rate from 5.75% to match the personal income tax rate going forward,” the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute said in an analysis. “In FY 2025, the corporate tax rate would be reduced to 5.39% at an estimated cost of $151 million, with the majority of the benefits going to out-of-state corporate shareholders.”

Lawmakers approved HB 581, the “Save Our Homes Act.”

“As part of our ongoing efforts to keep costs low for Georgia families, HB 581 limits increases in property taxes year to year, reforms the appeals process, and allows for more transparency in our taxation procedures,” Lt. Governor Burt Jones said in a statement. “With the passage of HB 581, we can continue to lower costs while eliminating confusion in Georgia’s local property taxation process.”

If signed into law, it takes effect on Jan. 1, 2025.

Senate Bill 189 requires the Secretary of State to develop a pilot program to audit paper ballot images using optical character recognition technology but not any QR code, bar code or machine coding printed on such ballots.

Lawmakers also passed SB 354, which exempts blow-dry styling and makeup services from license requirements.

“These licensing reforms make the beauty industry in Georgia more accessible and welcoming to budding entrepreneurs,” Americans for Prosperity-Georgia State Director Tony West said in a statement. “…We encourage Governor Kemp to sign this bill and hope that lawmakers in Atlanta will continue to eliminate barriers to entry across all industries in Georgia so that more hard-working Georgians can work and open businesses in the state.”

However, one measure that appeared headed for the finish line was SB 163, which would have allowed “small brewers” to distribute up to more cases per year to retailers in their area.

“It’s disappointing anytime good legislation fails to advance,” West told The Center Square via email after the bill’s failure. “But we’ll keep working to remove government barriers that inhibit entrepreneurship and keep prices artificially high for consumers.”

Lawmakers also killed HB 1104, which would have barred schools from allowing biological males to compete in female sports.