FROM Georgia News, Legislative Updates · Mar 23, 2018

Georgia Business Action Network Legislative Update- March 23, 2018

Georgia Chamber Announces “8 for 18” Launch

On Wednesday, March 21, the Georgia Chamber launched its “8for18” website. In anticipation of the upcoming 2018 elections, the Chamber issued its eight-question statewide candidate assessment to Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Governor candidates. Candidate responses and additional information about the “8 for 18” initiative can be found on the official website, at www.8for18.com. Follow the Georgia Chamber on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to receive the most up-to-date news about “8 for 18.” “Being named the best place to do business 5 years in a row is a true testament to Governor Deal’s leadership,” said Georgia Chamber President & CEO, Chris Clark. “As Georgia transitions to a new administration in 2019 we must do all possible to maintain this momentum.”

Legislative Calendar

This week, the Georgia General Assembly convened Monday, Wednesday, and Friday completing 38 legislative days of the 40-day session. Next week, the Georgia General Assembly will reconvene for legislative day 39 on Tuesday, March 27, and Thursday, March 29, for Sine Die which concludes the 2018 legislative session.

Action Alert:

House Resolution 993: Constitutional Amendment to create business court with statewide jurisdiction

Chamber Position: SUPPORT; SCORECARD

Bill Author: Representative  Chuck Efstration (Dacula)

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed HR 993 as amended.  The resolution proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would establish a business court with statewide jurisdiction. If enacted and approved by voters in November, this court would provide specialized resolution of complex business litigation matters. HR 993 will enhance predictability, increase speed, improve case management, lower costs, and provide judicial expertise in complex commercial litigation. It will also provide relief to the demands placed on the state’s superior and state courts, making our judicial system more efficient.

TAKE ACTION TODAY by contacting your state Senator to encourage their support of HR 993. Without the passage of this bill, Georgia’s excellent business climate will be in jeopardy, as businesses may decide to incorporate in neighboring states with a more favorable legal climate; that means fewer jobs, less economic growth, and less opportunity for all Georgians. Contact your Senator today and encourage them to support HR 993. Click here, to take action today! To locate your state Senator, click here.

Other Chamber Scorecard Legislation

House Bill 696: Sales and use tax; certain computer equipment sold or leased to certain entities for use in high-technology data centers; create exemption

Chamber Position: SUPPORT; SCORECARD

Bill Author: Representative Trey Kelley (R- Cedartown)

HB 696 allows for state sales and use tax exemptions for certain computer equipment sold or leased for use in high-technology data centers.  This is a modernization of existing tax law relative to data centers.  The new proposal incentivizes large investments by data centers in the state that will ultimately serve businesses across various industry sectors among other entities. HB 696 passed the state Senate by a vote of 42-3 on Friday, March 23. HB 696 will now be sent to the state House for further consideration.

Legislation of Interest

House Bill 930: Georgia Regional Transportation Authority; creation of certain community improvement districts

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Kevin Tanner (Dawsonville)

HB 930 creates the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (the ‘ATL’): a new structure for coordinated and integrated transit planning for the 13-County Metro Atlanta region. The bill establishes the governance and accountability of the ATL, as well as outlining new and enhanced transit funding; including through optional local taxes (TSPLOST) which counties may apply to raise transit funds.

HB 930 creates a new regional governance and funding structure for transit in Metro Atlanta. Metro Atlanta is defined as the 13-County region currently under GRTA’s jurisdiction, namely: Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale Counties. The bill intends to improve the coordination, integration and efficiency of transit in the region, to promote a seamless and high-quality transit system for Metro Atlanta. On Friday, the state Senate passed HB 930 by a vote of 47-3. HB 930 will now be transmitted back to the House for further consideration. To learn more about HB 930, or to view The Georgia Transportation Alliance’s Seth Millican’s interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting, click here.

House Bill 739: Tracy Rainey Act

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Al Williams (Midway)

HB 739 creates licensure reciprocity for military spouses moving to one of Georgia’s military installations. The Georgia Chamber continues to work diligently to support legislation that strengthens our military community as we prepare for another round of Base Realignment and Closures.

HB 739 seeks to create a smoother transition into our state for military families.  In addition, the bill provides for a stronger relationship between local communities and our military installations by allowing spouses to quickly integrate themselves into our growing job market. HB 739 unanimously passed the state Senate by a vote of 50-0.  The bill now goes to the governor for his consideration.

Senate Bill 793: Sales and use tax; certain aquarium construction

Chamber Position: SUPPORT
Bill Author: Representative Dominic Lariccia (Douglas)

HB 793 extends the sunset from 2018 to 2022 on a sales tax exemption on tangible personal property used to renovate or expand an aquarium and for a museum in Cartersville. HB 793 passed the state Senate on Monday by a vote of 45-9. HB 793 will now be sent to the governor for further consideration.

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. HB 735 passed the state Senate by a vote of 47-5 on Friday, and will now go back to the House for further consideration.

Political Affairs Update

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 cruppersburg@gachamber.com.

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