Carpenter bills see movement

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Jan. 16—Just a few days into the 2024 Georgia General Assembly session, District 4 state Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, has seen some motion on a handful of bills he sponsored in the previous legislative cycle.

On Jan. 8, House Bill 835 was sent to the House Retirement Committee.

Introduced in 2023, the bill would amend Georgia code pertaining to the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia.

"On and after July 1, 2024, to the extent and under the conditions provided for in this subsection, an employer may employ a beneficiary of the retirement system in a full-time capacity, provided that such beneficiary retired after attaining normal retirement age and at least one year has expired from the effective date of such beneficiary's retirement and such beneficiary did not accept paid employment with or render service for pay to any employer," the latest version of the bill reads, "including, without limitation, services directly or indirectly as or for an independent contractor, during such year."

Under the proposal, if employers obligated to make contributions or reimbursements to the retirement system fail to do so, "any unpaid amounts shall be deducted from any funds payable to such employer by the state, including without limitation the Department of Education and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and shall be paid to the retirement system."

The sponsors of that particular bill are four Republican lawmakers and one Democratic legislator.

House Bill 404, alternately known as the Safe at Home Act, was Senate recommitted on Jan. 8.

Another carryover from 2023, the bill would amend Georgia code pertaining to landlord duties.

"Any contract, lease, license or similar agreement, oral or written, for the use or rental of real property as a dwelling place is deemed to include a provision that the premises is fit for human habitation," the text of the bill reads. "The landlord shall keep the premises in repair and shall be liable for all substantial improvements placed upon the premises by such landlord's consent."

Another tweak would prevent landlords from demanding security deposits exceeding the equivalent of two months' rent.

"In all cases when a tenant fails to pay the rent, late fees, utilities or other charges owed to the landlord when it becomes due, if the tenant refuses to pay the amount due or fails to deliver possession when so demanded after being provided with a notice to vacate or pay all past due rent, late fees, utilities and other charges owed to the landlord within three business days," the proposed bill continues, "the owner or the agent, attorney at law, or attorney in fact of such owner may immediately go before the judge of the superior court, or the judge or the clerk or deputy clerk of any other court with jurisdiction over the subject matter, or a magistrate in the district where the land lies, and make an affidavit under oath to the facts."

Four Republican lawmakers sponsored the bill, as did two Democratic legislators.

Also Senate recommitted on Jan. 8 was House Bill 170.

Introduced last year, the proposal adds several new definitions to a Georgia code section related to revenue and taxation.

"There is levied and imposed a tax on the retail purchase or retail sale of specified digital products, other digital goods, or digital codes sold to an end use in this state, provided that such end user receive the right of permanent use of such products, goods or codes and the transaction is not conditioned upon continued payment by the end user," the latest iteration of the bill reads. "The tax levied under this paragraph shall apply regardless of whether possession of the specified digital goods, or other goods, or digital codes is maintained by the seller or third party."

Under the proposal, digital goods would entail a broad array of electronically transferred media — including video games, audio greeting cards and newspapers, among other products.

"A sale of any specified digital product, other digital good or digital code shall be considered a sale for resale if the specified digital product, other digital good or digital code is subsequently sold, licensed, leased, broadcast, transmitted or distributed — in whole or in part — as an integral, inseparable component part of a service or another such product, good or code by the purchaser of the specified digital product, other digital good or digital code to an ultimate consumer," the bill text reads. "The purchaser of the specified digital product, other digital good or digital code for resale shall maintain records that substantiate such resale in a manner consistent with this subsection, as determined by the commissioner."

All six sponsors of the 2023 legislation were Republican lawmakers.