GBAN Legislative Update – February 16, 2018

Action Alert:

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

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Chuck Efstration (Dacula)

HR 993 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.

Without the passage of HR 993, Georgia’s excellent business climate will be in jeopardy. 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.  

TAKE ACTION TODAY by contacting the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Wendell Willard (Sandy Springs) and encourage him to hear and support HR 993. Contact his office by phone at 404-656-5125 or by e-mail at Georgia cannot continue to be the number one state for business unless we protect our business-friendly environment and provide a positive legal climate. 


Legislative Calendar

This week, the Georgia General Assembly convened Monday through Thursday completing twenty-two legislative days of the 40-day session. The General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, February 20, and work through Thursday. 

Legislation of Interest

Senate Bill 315:
Computer Crimes; create a new crime of unauthorized computer access; penalties

Chamber Position:

Bill Author: Senator Bruce Thompson (White)

On Tuesday, the Senate passed SB 315 which 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 789: Labor and industrial relations; marketplace contractors to be treated as independent contractors under state and local laws

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Barry Fleming (Harlem)

On Wednesday, the House passed HB 789, which seeks to codify existing case law in Georgia to provide better clarity to employers the factors that distinguish an employee from an independent contractor. The Georgia Chamber believes this legislation is good public policy that will help maintain our state’s pro-business reputation, and we appreciate Rep. Fleming’s work on this important issue.

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 395: Georgia Joint Defense Commission; create

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Senator Ben Watson (Savannah)

SB 395 creates a joint military commission focused on strengthening, protecting, and growing our military community. As all of our military installations prepare for possible base realignment and closure discussions, we believe it is paramount to have a cohesive state centered strategy to protect Georgia bases. SB 395 includes leadership from the House of Representatives, Senate, Governor’s office, as well as industry experts in a state funded effort focused on our growing military communities.

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.

House Bill 787:
Education; certain provisions relative to charter schools; revise

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Scott Hilton (Peachtree Corners)

HB 787 increases funding for state authorized charter schools.  These schools are currently funded at the average of the five lowest funded districts in the state.  HB 787 would increase funding to the state average.

House Bill 769: Health; recommendations from the House Rural Development Council

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative Rick Jasperse (Jasper)

HB 769 implements recommendations from the House Rural Development Council related to healthcare. This proposal would create a Rural Center for Health Care Innovation and Sustainability to be housed at an academic institution in rural Georgia. It also creates a new category of “micro hospitals” which would be authorized in rural counties with hospital closures. Finally, the bill would create a new incentive program to increase the number of healthcare providers in rural communities.

House Bill 827: Income tax; increase value of rural hospital organization tax credit to 100 percent

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative  Trey Kelley (Cedartown)

HB  827 increases the value of the current rural hospital tax credit to 100% of the donation, an increase from the current level of 90%.  The bill also extends the sunset date of the tax credit from 2019 to 2021.


Political Affairs Update

The Georgia Chamber would like to congratulate Chamber-endorsed candidate, John LaHood on winning State House District 175. We look forward to working with him in our pursuit to keep Georgia the #1 state in which to do business.

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

Click here
to learn more about the Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Priorities.

View all previous GBAN Legislative Updates here.

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