Friday, March 18, 2011
The General Assembly will reconvene on Monday, March 21, for day 31 of the 40 day legislative session. Lawmakers are scheduled to meet through Wednesday of next week.
Bills of Interest
SB 10, which will allow local communities to decide for themselves whether to allow Sunday sales of beer, wine or spirits, passed the Senate by a vote of 32-22. The Georgia Chamber has designated this as a scorecard issue this year as it would remove an unfair restriction on commerce and afford local communities throughout the state a viable new source of much-needed tax revenue.
We want to thank those who contacted their senator about this issue earlier this week. Click HERE to see how senators voted .
SB 102, introduced by Sen. Jeff Mullis (Chickamauga), which would change current law to allow for the carry of concealed weapons in certain public places, passed the Senate by a vote of 41-11. The Georgia Chamber is watching this bill closely to ensure that it is not amended in a way that would negatively impact the rights of private property owners to determine whether or not guns are allowed on their property.
HB 232 was passed by the Senate last Friday and signed by the Governor this week. The bill addresses two issues important to Georgia’s business community. First, it clarifies provisions regarding bona fide salespersons and their exclusion from the state’s lobbying laws. Second, it clarifies who must register as a lobbyist – an issue that was the subject of an opinion issued last week by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission at the request of the Georgia Chamber. This legislation was effective upon the Governor’s signature, and is retroactive to January 10, 2011. This legislation was designated as a scorecard issue. Click HERE to see how senators voted and HERE to see how the House voted on the motion to agree.
Governor Deal also signed HB 326 into law this week. Under the new statute, students with at least a 3.0 grade point average will receive annual awards based on lottery revenue, projected to be 90% of current tuition for fall 2011. Students with at least a 3.7 GPA and 1200 SAT reading and math score, as well as all valedictorians and salutatorians, will receive 100% of their tuition each year. The legislation also includes provisions for low-interest loans, reduces private college scholarship awards, and eliminates funding for books and fees. The Georgia Chamber supported this bill as a means to build and maintain a high-quality workforce.
SB 151 passed the Senate last Friday by a vote of 45-5. This legislation would --mitigate the pending surcharge increase on employer-paid unemployment insurance taxes. The current rate of 35% is scheduled to increase to 100% on January 1, 2012, and this bill would cap that increase at 50%. The Georgia Chamber supports this bill as it will limit costly tax increases on employers. Click HERE to see how senators voted.
While no legislation providing for comprehensive tax reform moved before crossover day, this effort is not subject to the 30-day rule. The Chamber continues to work with legislative leadership and the Joint Committee on Revenue Structure to craft a tax reform package that will improve Georgia’s economic competitiveness in a revenue-neutral manner.
2011 Georgia Chamber Scorecard Issues
The following bills have all been designated scorecard issues this year: