Georgia legislature votes to refer two measures to the ballot during 2022 legislative session

Image of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Georgia State Legislature voted to refer a constitutional amendment and a state statute to the 2022 ballot during the final days of the 2022 legislative session. The legislature adjourned from its 2022 session in the early morning hours of April 5.

The constitutional amendment, passed unanimously in both chambers, would authorize local governments “to grant temporary tax relief,” with additional details to be defined in statute, to properties that are damaged or destroyed due to a disaster and located within a nationally declared disaster area.

The constitutional amendment was introduced as House Resolution 594 (HR 594). On March 11, the Georgia House of Representatives approved the measure in a vote of 150-0, with 29 members not voting or absent. On April 1, the Georgia State Senate passed the bill by a vote of 55-0 with one member excused.

The legislature also voted to refer a state statute to the ballot that would exempt timber equipment, defined as a timber business’ equipment that is used in the production or harvest of timber, from ad valorem property taxes.

Legislation for property tax exemptions requires a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the Georgia State Legislature and voter approval.

The property tax exemption measure was introduced into the state Legislature as House Bill 997. On March 15, 2022, the Georgia House of Representatives voted 171-0, with eight members not voting or absent, to approve the bill. On March 30, 2022, the Georgia State Senate voted 50-1 with five members absent or not voting to approve the measure. To be certified for the ballot, the governor’s signature is required.

Two other measures were also referred to the ballot by the state legislature during its 2021 legislative session: (1) a constitutional amendment to allow the suspension of compensation of certain public officials while the individual is suspended from office for being indicted for a felony and (2) a measure to expand certain property tax exemptions provided for agricultural equipment and certain farm products.

A total of 84 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Georgia from 1996 to 2020, of which, about 85 percent (71 of 84) were approved and about 15 percent (13 of 84) were defeated.

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