GBAN Legislative Update- March 9, 2018

Legislative Calendar

This week, the Georgia General Assembly convened Monday, Wednesday, Friday completing 32 legislative days of the 40-day session. Next week, the Georgia General Assembly will reconvene on Monday, March 12 and also work Wednesday and Thursday.

Action Alert:

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

Chamber Position: SUPPORT; SCORECARD

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. The hearing for House Resolution 993 will be held on Monday, March 12.

TAKE ACTION TODAY by contacting the Senate Judiciary Committee members and encourage their support of HR 993. Without the passage of HR 993, 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 and encourage them to vote “Yes” on HR 993 with NO amendments. Click here to view members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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 will be heard next week in Senate Finance Committee.

Legislation of Interest

Senate Bill 386:  Sales and Use Taxes; exception to the ceiling on local sales and use taxes; transit special purpose local option sales and use tax; provide; Atlanta-region Transit Link “ATL” Commission
Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Senator  Brandon Beach (Alpharetta)

Senate Bill 386 aims to address the transit needs of 13 metro counties within the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) service area, and will create an Atlanta-region Transit Link (ATL) and, -transit funding for that governance structure. 

SB 386 would authorize GRTA to oversee the creation of the ATL board. Counties under the ATL would be empowered to propose a ballot measure for a 30-year, sales tax in increments up to 1%. The “ATL” Commission will develop, manage, and execute regional transit strategies throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area. The ATL Commission will consist of the Georgia Commissioner of Transportation, Mayor of Atlanta, Chief Executive Officer of MARTA, and County Commission Chairmen from each member-county. On Thursday, SB 386 passed the state House Transportation committee. To learn more about SB 386, view Chairman Brandon Beach’s live interview here.
To view the Georgia Chamber and Georgia Transportation Alliance legislative update, click here.

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. Creates a Rural Center for Health Care Innovation and Sustainability to be housed at an academic institution. Creates a new category of “micro hospitals” which would be authorized in rural counties with hospital closures. Creates a new incentive program to increase number of healthcare providers in rural communities. HB 769 passed Senate Health and Human Services committee on Thursday, March 8. To learn more about HB 769, view Representative Jasperse’s live interview here.

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 Senate Finance subcommittee on Tuesday, March 6.

House Bill 888: Ad valorem tax; certain reporting requirements

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Author: Representative David Knight (Griffin)

HB 888 clarifies and preserves the intentions of previous freeport exemption legislation by exempting tangible personal property inventory from ad valorem taxes. Freeport exemptions are a county option. The state gives counties the authority to exempt certain goods from local property taxes. These exemptions can exist to allow manufacturers to not pay property taxes on “finished goods” if they are being assembled as part of another bigger piece of equipment. HB 888 passed Senate Finance Committee Wednesday.

Senate Bill 89Transportation Department Officers; railways and railroad facilities and equipment


Bill Author: Senator David Shafer (Duluth)

SB 89 creates the Georgia Freight Railroad program to streamline state investment in a critical area of infrastructure. Additional freight rail capacity will be needed to provide highway congestion relief and accommodate Georgia’s growing economy; to that end, the program established through SB 89 will ensure state funds are effectively appropriated. SB 89 passed the state House Railway & Transit Subcommittee on Thursday. Recognizing the importance of a continued commitment to our transportation infrastructure for economic development, the Chamber supports this legislation.

Political Affairs Update

Qualifying for statewide offices and all State House and State Senate seats ends today, March 9. Click here to view the qualifying candidate information.

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. 

Georgia Chamber Public Affairs Staff

David Raynor
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs 

Kyle Jackson
Vice President, State & Political Affairs 

Jason O’Rouke 
Vice President, Public Policy & Federal Affairs

Cosby Johnson 
Senior Government Affairs Manager

Chelsey Ruppersburg 
State and Political Affairs Manager 

Alexandra Coffey 
Government and Political Affairs Coordinator

Daniela Perry
Public Policy Coordinator 

Please follow us on Twitter @GAchamber and like us on Facebook to stay up to date with what’s going on under the Gold Dome!

Contributions to the Georgia Chamber Political Affairs Council PAC are not tax deductible. Paid for by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce State PAC, Inc.

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