Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Connect Georgia 2012- Georgia's Economic Future Depends on Your Vote!
On July 31, Georgians will have the opportunity to say yes to job creation, safer roads and local control through the regional transportation referendum. This referendum is one of the most significant economic development opportunities the state of Georgia has ever seen and your help is needed to make this opportunity a reality. Your contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more will help reach voters throughout the state. To make a contribution, please click here. Also, please help the Georgia Chamber spread the word! Click here for sample letters and other information you can share with your employees. Don’t forget to vote on July 31, or take advantage of early voting starting on July 9 – and make sure your friends, family and neighbors do the same. For more information about what the TSPLSOT will do for your region, visit www.connectgeorgia2012.com.
Welcome New Premium Members
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize AFLAC, a new upgrade to the Pinnacle level of premium investors in our organization. Thank you again for your continued support and investment.
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July Webinar: National Labor Relations Board's Regulations and Impact
On Wednesday, July 11, Melvin Haas, III, of Constangy, Brooks & Smith LLP will present a webinar for Georgia Chamber small business members to learn more about the recent National Labor Relations Board's Regulations and Impact. Topics include the latest regulation developments, current NLRB election guidelines, appropriate employer countermeasures and policies, and an update on persuader regulations and more. Register here or for more information, contact Rebecca Jones at email@example.com or (404) 223-2473. Also, save the date for our next webinar on August 7 that will be presented by online marketing professionals from Google, Inc.
Upcoming Regional Power Lunches
The Georgia Chamber continues the 2012 Regional Power Lunches this summer around the state. Please plan to join us while we are in your region. The Georgia Chamber will visit DeKalb County on July 9, Augusta on July 12 and Athens on July 25. To register or learn more about upcoming Regional Power Lunches, please click here.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Federal Health Care Law
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court released its 5-4 decision to uphold virtually all of the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act of 2010, including the individual mandate requiring most Americans to buy health insurance. The majority of the justices agreed that although Congress could not impose the mandate based on its power to regulate commerce between the states, it could do so under its power to tax. The court also upheld the requirement that many companies either provide government-specified health insurance benefits for their workers or pay a financial penalty. The Georgia Chamber led a coalition of 15 state chambers supporting the case brought by the National Federation of Independent Business against the law. If the next President and Congress do not repeal the law, the Chamber will work with state and federal leaders to implement it in a way that takes into account the important role businesses play by providing this important benefit and the overall impact on Georgia’s economy. For a quick summary of other provisions in the law, read this analysis by Forbes.
Georgia Chamber Launches Smarter Funding, Better Outcomes
Despite spending $17.5 billion on K-12 education in 2010-2011, Georgia continues to lag the nation in key education performance indicators such as high school graduation and core subject competency. Because the quality of our education system impacts the quality of our workforce, these outcomes are a serious challenge to Georgia’s competitiveness -- our ability to create, attract and retain jobs. To help address this issue, the Georgia Chamber last week announced the launch of Smarter Funding, Better Outcomes, a new initiative funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative will complement the work of the State Education Finance Study Commission with in-depth research that explores the link between Georgia’s K-12 finance system and current student outcomes, as well as how the latter might be improved by updating the former. A formal report is expected this fall; for more information, please visit www.smartk12funding.com or follow the initiative on Facebook or Twitter.
New Immigration Reform Guidelines
On July 1, additional provisions of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 went into effect. At this time, employers with 100 or more employees will be required to sign an affidavit stating that the employer is authorized to use E-verify when applying for an occupational tax certificate (also known as a business license) as well as any other license required to operate a business, which may include certificates of occupancy, alcohol licenses and taxi cab licenses. Employers with 500 or more employees have been required to sign the E-verify affidavit since January 1. The affidavit requirement stating that the employer is authorized to use E-verify will be effective for employers with more than 10 employees on July 1, 2013. After July 1, 2013, if an employer has 10 or fewer employees then they must sign an affidavit stating the provisions do not apply to them. The number of employees is determined as of January 1 of the year the affidavit is submitted. To help companies around our state abide by the new policies, the Georgia Chamber has compiled a summary of the changes here.