July 8, 2020

Southeast Policy Update - July 2020

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Despite the turbulence that hovered over Georgia’s 2020 legislative session, several major policy wins occurred that will help to improve affordability and access to opportunity for Georgia residents. In March, Kandice Allen Mitchell, our director of state and local policy, testified before the Georgia Working Families Caucus highlighting the importance of expanding resources for affordable housing preservation and development. More information on this work can be found here.

Enterprise and our partners led advocacy efforts to challenge a proposal in HB 1035 to cut the state’s low-income housing tax credit (SLIHTC) by 50% which has a $60 million impact to the state’s budget. We were able to preserve this valuable resource at 100% by highlighting the significant impact that the SLIHTC has on affordable housing development as the only state funding source and its multiplier effect on jobs and education.

Here are some other measures from the 2020 legislative session that passed or failed in favor of our policy agenda:

Passed

  • HB 426, legislation that issues heightened penalties for those convicted of violent crimes motivated by a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, mental disability or physical disability.
  • HB 969, legislation to bring amend Georgia’s Fair Housing Act to bring the state into compliance with HUD and qualifies the state for additional federal funding to investigate fair housing complaints.
  • HB 1167, legislation which extends the residential homestead exemption to those who own property under a community land trust.
  • HR 164, legislation that authorizes a statewide referendum for the dedication of revenue for a specific purpose. This legislation opens the door for the dedication of revenue for a statewide housing trust fund.
  • SB 408, legislation which authorizes the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor to implement a work-sharing program that allows employers to voluntarily adopt a plan to spread the loss of jobs by reducing hours for multiple employees rather than laying them off, keeping employees connected to work and retaining their health and retirement benefits.

Did Not Pass

  • HB 302, legislation which would ban local government control of the design elements of housing.
  • HB 523, legislation that would prohibit local governments from setting standards for short-term rentals in their jurisdiction.
  • HB 937, legislation which would prohibit local governments from setting standards for building materials and construction practices for developments in their jurisdiction.

We want to thank attorney and government affairs expert, Elizabeth Appley, for her diligent contributions in supporting efforts for the measures noted above. We also want to extend sincere thanks to our staff and partners for their advocacy, which helped to move key pieces of legislation forward despite the changes and challenges presented by working remotely. In addition, we are grateful to the legislators who heard our collective concerns and made choices that will lead to better outcomes for our communities.

While we acknowledge positive progress, we know there is still much work to be done to build thriving communities throughout the Southeast. Your continued partnership is welcome and needed.

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