Legislation signed to protect the state’s natural resources


ATLANTA – Six laws have been signed to strengthen the forest industry, promote conservation and protect natural resources.

Governor Brian P. Kemp signed six pieces of legislation to strengthen Georgia’s premier forestry industry, promote conservation efforts, and protect the state’s natural resources. The legislation includes HB 997, which exempts forestry equipment from statewide ad valorem taxes, pending a statewide referendum question (agricultural equipment is already exempt); HB 1349, which updates Georgia’s no net loss requirement to encompass more than 200,000 acres of hunting and fishing land added since 2005; HB 343, which more severely punishes poaching; HB 586, which extends the sunset on Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA); HB 1147, which provides for a year-round hunting season on raccoons and opossums on non-public lands; and HB 1148, which implements stricter requirements for deer imported into Georgia from states with confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

“Georgia’s agricultural assets, beautiful natural wonders and wide open spaces have given my family and many others a livelihood and fond memories,” Governor Brian Kemp said. “We are not only proud to be champions of our state’s thriving agriculture, related industries and natural resources, we are also committed to ensuring that future generations can enjoy them as well. The bills I have signed into law will help us treat the forestry industry the same way we treat agriculture, as well as protect hunting, fishing and conservation lands, and more. I would like to thank the members of the Georgia General Assembly who passed these measures, as well as the Department of Natural Resources for their continued efforts to conserve our wild spaces and the Georgia Forestry Association for its work in supporting the first forest industry from Georgia.

Governor Kemp, in addition to the many members of the Georgia House and the Senate who voted in favor of these important measures, would like to thank the following sponsors of the bill for their roles in the respective legislation:

  • HB 997: Representative Sam Watson and Senator Larry Walker
  • HB 1349: Representative Jason Ridley and Senator Tyler Harper
  • HB 343: Representative Trey Rhodes and Senator Russ Goodman
  • HB 586: Representative Sam Watson and Senator Steve Gooch
  • HB 1147: Representative Trey Rhodes and Senator Tyler Harper
  • HB 1148: Representative Trey Rhodes and Senator Tyler Harper

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