Friday, March 02, 2012
The General Assembly adjourned Wednesday, February 29 and will reconvene Monday, March 5 for Legislative Day 29 of 40. Wednesday, March 7 – Legislative Day 30 – will be “Crossover Day,” the last day for bills in the Senate and House to be passed and sent to the other chamber for consideration this session.
Call your Representative and Senator and ask them to support the Energy Tax Exemption!
The Georgia Chamber has been a longtime advocate for the elimination of the sales tax on energy used for manufacturing, mining and agriculture. This January, Governor Deal announced this as one of his top priorities from the 2011 Georgia Competitiveness Initiative results as Georgia is one of the few states in the nation levying this tax – hindering the ability to attract new manufacturing facilities and keep current plants here.
The Chamber is urging the General Assembly to support the Governor’s proposal to remove this tax and help create permanent manufacturing jobs in Georgia. Please contact your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to support this top Chamber priority!
2012 Scorecard Update
A proposed Senate floor amendment to Senate Bill 350 would not only force a private business owner to allow guns on their property – regardless of safety or other concerns – but also expose them to increased litigation by striking Georgia’s employment-at-will doctrine from current law. Should the amendment pass, an employee subject to any form of disciplinary action – should they happen to store a gun in their car -- could bring suit against their employer claiming the action was based upon the fact they had a gun in their vehicle – even if the employer had no knowledge of that fact. This concern is reinforced by language in the amendment that directs it be “liberally construed to facilitate this purpose.” Georgia’s status as a right-to-work state is one of our most important economic development tools – one which supporters of this amendment are apparently willing to destroy at a time when we should be supporting job creation.
No matter what side of this issue you fall on regarding the balance of Second Amendment rights and property rights -- it is an important to understand that this amendment today does not limit itself to those principles. Please contact your State Senator TODAY and ask them to vote NO on the floor amendment to SB 350 that puts business owners at risk, threatens our right to work status, and weakens private property rights.
After nearly two hours of debate, the Georgia Senate tabled legislation that would place a constitutional amendment referendum before voters this November that would restore an alternative route for creating charter schools in Georgia. The Georgia Chamber supports public charter schools and other quality options for students that help create the educated workforce employers need to compete in our global economy.
The measure is eligible for a vote at any time during the remaining days of the 2012 General Assembly, and requires a two-thirds (38 votes) supermajority in the Senate. (HR 1162; SUPPORT)
Please continue to contact your State Senator and urge them to vote YES to this important legislation!
Please visit www.gachamber.com/scorecard to see the most up-to-date list of scorecard issues for the 2012 session.
Bills of Interest
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee passed legislation that would amend current Georgia law related to picketing, paycheck protection and notice rules regarding union organization –ensuring that employees have appropriate information readily available to them regarding their rights and that their safety is protected during union organizing efforts or demonstrations.
One of Georgia’s most important economic development tools is our status as a right-to-work state, which includes unions having a right to be in the workplace if employees so choose. But the exercise of those rights and information surrounding those rights need to be balanced. The Georgia Chamber believes this bill provides that balance and also ensures workplace disagreements are handled at work and not at private homes and neighborhoods. We also know that unions sometimes intimidate employees into joining or voting for them to be established. We believe that employees should know that they have a legal choice to not join a union. Along the same lines, we want to make sure that employees know they do not have to pay union dues if they do not want to.
This measure now heads to the Senate Rules Committee before a full vote on the Senate floor. (SB 469; SUPPORT)
State Sen. Ross Tolleson’s measure to enact regulatory reforms – aimed to increase transparency and efficiency in government – was passed by the Georgia Senate Wednesday. His legislation would create a real-time online tracking system for Environmental Protection Division permits so that applying businesses have access to permit status. (SB 427; SUPPORT)
The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would create a dedicated, independent tax body to oversee disputes involving the Georgia Department of Revenue.
The Georgia Chamber believes this would allow for an efficient, streamlined resolution process for many tax disputes and increase the uniformity and predictability of decisions in tax cases – taking away some of the unpredictability Georgia business owners sometimes face in this arena.
With committee passage, this measure now sits in the House Rules Committee before a full vote on the House floor. (HB 100; SUPPORT)
Congressman David Scott (GA-13) will host his 9th Annual Jobs Fair on Friday, March 30, 2012, at the Georgia International Convention Center.
More than 100 of Georgia’s top companies and employers will participate in the Jobs Fair, including AFLAC, AT&T, UPS, Lockheed-Martin, Lowe’s, Home Depot, CSX, AT&T, Douglas County Fire/ EMT, MARTA, Atlanta Police Department, and many others. These employers represent a diverse group of major corporations, small businesses, and government agencies offering a rich variety of job opportunities. Participation is free.
Employers looking to participate should register by March 23rd
With many veterans heading home from Iraq and Afghanistan, this year’s jobs fair will also include job assistance resources for veterans. All job seekers who plan to attend the Jobs Fair may call 770-210-5073 for more information or visit www.house.gov/davidscott for a complete list of participating employers. Attendees are encouraged to take MARTA to the Airport or College Park station.
Speaker’s “Red Tape Watch” Initiative Continues Next Week
The House Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation will continue its “Red Tape Watch" hearings next week at the State Capitol. The Initiative is aimed at helping Georgia’s small businesses grow through a comprehensive review of the state’s regulatory environment.
Click here to see video from previous Red Tape Watch meetings.
The next public hearing before the House Small Business Development & Job Creation Committee will be held Tuesday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 506 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. If you have concerns regarding current state regulations, and are unable to attend, click here to share your thoughts.