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State Senate panel OKs electric vehicles bill

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ATLANTA – The General Assembly moved closer Thursday toward putting a framework in place to accommodate the growing popularity of electric vehicles in Georgia. The state Senate Regulated Industries Committee unanimously approved legislation that would pave the way for a planned network of public EV charging stations across the state. The bill passed in the Georgia House of Representatives early this month, also unopposed. Under House Bill 406, EV drivers would be charged by the kilowatt-hour for the electricity they purchase to power their vehicles, rather than the current system based on the length of time charging takes. The change is necessary in order for Georgia to qualify for $135 million in federal funding to build the public charging stations. The legislation calls for the state Department of Agriculture to inspect the charging stations for accuracy, as they do now with gasoline pumps. To offset the loss of revenue from the state’s sales tax on motor fuels as more motorists switch to EVs, the bill would impose an excise tax of 9 kilowatt-hours on purchases of electricity to power electric vehicles. Two speakers at Thursday’s committee hearing complained that’s too much. Mark Woodall, legislative chairman for the Georgia chapter of...