GEORGIA BUSINESS ACTION NETWORK LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
This week, the Georgia General Assembly convened Monday through Thursday completing fourteen legislative days of the 40-day session.The General Assembly will reconvene on Monday, February 5, and work through Thursday.
Legislation of Interest
This week, the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council (GAC) convened several committee meetings to vet and take positions on bills that impact the state’s business community.
Senate Bill 315: Computer Crimes; create a new crime of unauthorized computer access; penalties
Chamber Position: SUPPORT
Bill Author: Senator Bruce Thompson (White)
SB 315 seeks to amend the existing “Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act” to include the crime of accessing a computer or computer network with the knowledge that such access is without authority. The new crime of unauthorized computer access would become a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
House Bill 735: Income tax credit; expenditures on the maintenance of a railroad track owned or leased by a Class III railroad
Chamber Position: SUPPORT
Bill Author: Representative Patty Bentley (Butler)
HB 735 creates an income tax credit for expenditures on the maintenance of railroad track owned or leased by a Class III or short-line railroads. This bill comes directly from the House Rural Development Council recommendations, and mirrors the structure of the now expired federal 45G rail tax credit program by creating a tax credit in the amount of 50% of the qualified railroad track maintenance expenditures incurred during the taxable year with a $3,500 per mile cap.
House Resolution 993: Constitutional Amendment to create business court with state-wide jurisdiction
Chamber Position: UNDER CONSIDERATION
Bill Author: Representative Chuck Efstration (Dacula)
HR 993 proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would establish a business court with state-wide jurisdiction. A state-wide business court would provide specialized resolution of complex business litigation matters.
As the state’s largest business advocate, the Georgia Chamber understands the importance of reforming the state’s current civil justice system. Establishing a business court would create a reliable and effective forum for litigants throughout the state. By removing complex, time-consuming business cases from the general docket, non-business cases will be resolved more efficiently.
As a priority for the Georgia Chamber in 2018, HR 993 will be discussed in greater detail during an upcoming Government Affairs Council Judiciary committee meeting.
House Bill 150: State Road and Tollway Authority; failure to pay tolls; place hold on motor vehicle registration
Bill Author: Representative Alan Powell (Hartwell)
In 2015 the General Assembly passed HB 170 (The “Transportation Funding Act” of 2015) which reformed the gas tax formula and tied the gas tax to an index. Over a 20-year period, the index will provide GDOT with almost $11 billion in revenue that will help keep up with material and labor costs tied to inflation. HB 170, as passed in 2015, included language that would have caused the consumer price index to sunset on July 1, 2018. This week, the General Assembly passed HB 150 that will extend the sunset to July 1, 2022. This will enable GDOT to continue to manage the construction program in a way that is commiserate with economic changes. HB 150 now awaits the Governor’s signature to become law.
Click here to learn more about the Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Priorities.
Political Affairs Update
Early voting for Special Election House District 175 will end Friday, February 9. Election Day will held be on February 13. If you are a resident of this district, we strongly encourage you to get out and vote for Chamber-endorsed candidate John LaHood. To learn more about John and his campaign, visit www.lahoodforgeorgia.com. Visit the Secretary of State website to locate your polling place.
The Georgia Chamber Political Affairs Council, Inc. (PAC) is continuing to support candidates for office who will champion business-friendly, job-creating initiatives. Your support of the PAC is essential as we work to keep Georgia the number one state in which to do business. To make a donation to the PAC, click here. For additional information regarding the Chamber’s Political Affairs Council, Inc., contact Chelsey Ruppersburg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View all previous GBAN Legislative Updates here.
Contributions to the Georgia Chamber Political Affairs Council PAC are not tax deductible. Paid for by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce State PAC, Inc.