The 2022 Legislative Session wrapped up business on April 4 and the final few days (and hours!) were filled with tons of action and excitement. Here are the results of some of the bills that we were following most closely:
- HR 70 by Rep. Kim Schofield (D) dealt with clean energy and climate change. The bill establishes a state goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1487 – by Rep. Spencer Frye (D) dealt with power bills, energy efficiency, and solar. This bill requires that Georgia Power be more transparent with who is impacted by rate increases and power shut-offs. The bill also establishes a Georgian’s First Fund to help low-income customers improve energy efficiency and make clean energy investments. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1503 by Rep. Becky Evans (D) and SB 607 by Sen. Nan Orrock (D) dealt with power bills and nuclear energy construction. The bills repeal a provision that allows Georgia Power to recover their financing costs for constructing nuclear generation plants from Georgia’s electric service customers. Read more about it in the official house press release. The bills did not pass this year.
- SB 299 by Rep. Jeff Mulls (R); SB 583 by Senator Anavitarte (R); HB 1083 by Ed Setzler (R); and HB 1491 by Martin Momtahan dealt with solar energy and rooftop solar in Georgia. These bills make changes to the Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act of 2001 that promotes rooftop solar expansion in Georgia. The bills did not pass this year.
- SB 421 by Chuck Hufstetler (R) dealt with power bills, nuclear energy construction, and coal ash cleanup. The Georgia Utility Rate Reduction Act (GURRA) provides Georgia Power with a lower-cost financing option that can significantly reduce the burden on customers from cost overruns, delays, and environmental clean-up. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 176 by Rep. Debbie Buckner (D); SB 230 by Sen. Jen Jordan (D); and HB 647 by Vance Smith (R) all addressed the problem of coal ash “disposal” or “storage.” HB 647 was passed in the House this year but did not pass in the Senate.
- SB 472 by Sen. John Kennedy (R) dealt with redistricting and energy. The bill redraws the boundaries of Public Service Commission districts where candidates must reside to be elected. The bill directly targeted and removed a declared candidate challenging an incumbent that has voted repeatedly to raise power bills. The bill was passed this year and signed into law.
- HB 1342 by Rep. Don Parsons (R) dealt with energy and cryptocurrency. The bill attempts to attract and expand the bitcoin mining industry. Bitcoin mining requires heavy use of electric power and cooling for computers and is the first significant new use for large volumes of electric power in a long time. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1301 by Rep. Don Hogan (R) dealt with gasoline-powered leaf blowers and attempts to stop local governments from regulating their use or banning them. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 279 by Rep. Regina Lewis Ward (D) dealt with the environment and public health. The bill requires local governments to post environmental effects reports on their official websites to keep the public informed about matters that impact their health. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1272 by Rep. Tyler Paul Smith (R) dealt with landfills. It fights against locating a landfill within one mile of any pipeline. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1338 by Rep. Tyler Paul Smith (R) dealt with landfills. The bill protects state and local historic sites from landfills and prohibits them from being too close to significant groundwater recharge areas. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1150 by Rep. Robert Dickey (R) dealt with the right to protect your property from nuisances. All urban and rural farms that operate for at least one year are saved from nuisance lawsuits brought by newcomers. Existing neighbors & farmers can protect their property rights and values if a new nuisance operation moves to them. This Bad Neighbor Bill repeals and replaces protections that have been in place for 30+ years. Please contact your legislators opposing this bill today. The bill was passed this year and awaits the governor’s signature.
- HB 1133 by Rep. Mike Cheokas (R) dealt with Electric Vehicle charging. HB 1133 removes the fee on commercial charges that HB 776 proposes, relieves the Public Service Commission of any regulatory control over EV charging and charging locations, and allows resale of electricity by kilowatt-hour instead of the current sales by the minute. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1322 by Rep Alan Powell (R) and SB 492 by Jeff Mullis (R) dealt with Electric Vehicle charging. They require the PSC to assure that electric vehicle charging is neutral in investment and rates charged to the public. The bills are designed to ensure that the process and rates are consumer-friendly to assure rapid deployment of an electric auto fleet as soon as practicable. The bills did not pass this year.
- SR 463 by Sen. Steve Gooch (R) dealt with transportation electrification. It establishes a study committee to explore the topic of the growing shift to electric cars, trucks, trains, and other vehicles. The bill was passed this year and awaits the governor’s signature.
- SB 513 by Sen. Elena Parent (D) dealt with electric vehicles. The bill removes the alternative vehicle fee of $200 per vehicle, imposed during the GDOT’s big refinancing bill of 2015, and will help expand the adoption of electric vehicles. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 776 by Rep. Mike Cheokas dealt with Electric Vehicle charging. The bill relieves the Public Service Commission of any regulatory control over EV charging and charging locations, imposes a fee on EV charging, and allows resale of electricity by kilowatt-hour instead of the current sales by the minute. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1289 by Rep. Darlene Taylor (R) dealt with the Okefenokee Swamp. The bill prohibits the director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division from issuing, modifying, or renewing any permit or accepting any bond to conduct surface mining operations on the geological feature known as Trail Ridge between St. Marys and Satilla Rivers. This bill will help protect the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The bill did not pass this year.
- HB 1355 by Rep. Katie Dempsey (R) dealt with childhood lead exposure. The bill revises lead exposure control and lays out key lead prevention provisions. This includes lowering allowable blood lead level limits; instituting abatement plans for educational facilities; and developing specific abatement procedures that ensure awareness of lead poisoning hazards. The bill does omit water as a source of lead contamination but is a step in the right direction. The bill was passed this year and awaits the governor’s signature.
- HB 748 by Rep. Jesse Petrea (R) dealt with coastal marsh protection. The bill makes changes to the Coastal Marshlands Restoration Act of 2021 that threaten the health and well-being of the marsh by allowing the transfer of property titles to marshland for “conservation” profiteering by selling “easements” as “conservation credits.” The bill did not pass this year.