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Friday, May 27, 2016

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, MAY 27, 2016

LEGISLATION AFFECTING GEORGIA'S NATURAL RESOURCES

HB 1028-Sponsored by Tattnall's Rep. Bill Werkheiser, requires owners and operators of a solid waste landfill to notify local governments of any release of a contaminant which is likely to pose a danger to human health. The notice is required to be made within 14 days of that release. Notice of the release is required to be published in the legal organ of the county where the landfill is located.

HB 172-While the press headline is "Not illegal to float drunk on the water," this might be a little misleading until you think back and remember when there was no legal charge for piloting a boat under the influence. The legislature passed BUI legislation a few years ago and hopefully that action has saved lives. But a person floating down a river in an inner tube is not putting anyone in danger maybe except him or herself. And there are other charges that can be brought for drunk and disorderly conduct. But that is not Boating under the Influence and that is what this bill does - separates the two actions.

HB 736-Allows for a special license plate to support the law enforcement division of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Proceeds are to be used for protection of natural resources, education of the public on natural resources, game management and safety training. Also creates a new plate promoting marine habitat conservatism, restoration and enhancement. Proceeds go to the Coastal Resources Division.

HB 769-Makes a current ad valorem tax exemption permanent for dealer's watercraft floor inventory and includes a new exemption for all-terrain vehicle floor inventory of dealers.

HB 840-Requires filmmakers to get a permit from DNR before utilizing any wildlife in a production. Fee is $300 for GA residents and $600 for non-residents.

HB 987-This bill allows a carve-out from the Conservation Use Valuation Assessment (CUVA) property tax exemption for a non-profit rodeo.

HB 1036-Suspends the use of eminent domain in the location of petroleum pipelines in the state, creates a commission to study and make recommendations and restricts EPD from issuing permits until the moratorium ends June 30, 2017.

BONDS LEAD THE WAY IN FUNDING FOR NATURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES

$5 million in bonds to Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) for State Funded Water and Sewer Construction Loan Program

$10 million in bonds to GEFA for the Federal State Revolving Fund Match for the Clean and Drinking Water Programs

$4 million in bonds for shoreline erosion mitigation at Jekyll Island

$3.71 million in bonds for DNR for vehicles, communications equipment for Law Enforcement, one patrol boat and one oceangoing research vessel

$19.25 million in bonds for DNR for new construction and major facility improvements

$1.5 million in bonds for DNR facility repair and sustainment

$350,000 in bonds for DNR for construction of two new boat houses for Law Enforcement

$18.8 million in bonds to DNR for land acquisition

$6.7 million in bonds for Soil and Water Conservation Commission for rehabilitation of flood control structures

$25,000 to DNR for raising sunken boats causing navigational hazards in Lake Lanier

$100,000 to Coastal Regional Commission for Coastal infrastructure grants

$55,000 Increase in funding to the Resource Conservation and Development Districts

$50,000 Funding increase for the Rural Water Association

Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx. Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. The FY 2017 budget (H.B. 751) may be found at http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.

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