LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR

This week, the legislature stood in recess to allow the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to conduct hearings for both the FY 2020 Amended and FY 2021 budgets. The General Assembly will reconvene on February 18, 2020 for legislative day 13 and work through Friday, February 21. To view the latest adjournment resolution click here.

ACTION ALERT: STATEWIDE BUSINESS COURT

Please join the statewide business community in urging your legislator to vote YES on the conference committee report to Senate Bill 110.

In 2019, the State-wide Business Court enabling legislation was passed and signed into law. The statute currently requires both parties to consent to the transfer of a case from superior or state court to the Business Court. This model has proved not only in the Atlanta-metro Business Court but also in other states to be inefficient, so there is legislation to remove the two-party consent provision and instead allow one party to file a motion to transfer the case to the Business Court. This important change is needed to make the Business Court accessible and successful.

To find your legislators, click here.

Statewide Business Court Facts

Do Business Court cases have to be heard in Atlanta?
No, the law provides for a number of location options: Atlanta, Macon, and pre-trial matters can be by video conferencing. A motion may be made by either party to hear the matter in the original venue chosen by the plaintiff. Finally, any jury trials will take place in the original filing location.
(Section 15-5A-2, Lines 49-64)

What types of cases are heard in Business Court?
Complex business litigation, mergers, high-level contract disputes, trademark litigation, securities litigation, typically between two or more businesses.  No personal injury, landlord tenant, family law cases will be heard by the business courts.
(Section 15-5A-3, Lines 89-155)

What is the threshold for cases before the business court?
The amount in controversy must be at least One million dollars ($1,000,000) involving commercial property or Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) if the claim does not involve commercial property.
(Section 15-5A-3, Lines 128-132)

LEGISLATION OF INTEREST

House Bill 538: Tax Tribunal Legislation 

Chamber Position: SUPPORT 

Bill Sponsor: Representative Todd Jones (R-South-Forsyth)

Legislation designed to level the playing field for taxpayers in disputes with the Department of Revenue, having passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote, is set to be voted on by the full House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 18th.  House Bill 538 allows judges more flexibility in taxpayer dispute cases and frees them from an administrative rule requiring them to defer to Department interpretations of ambiguous laws. If passed by the House of Representatives, the bill would move to the Senate for further consideration.

JANUARY NET TAX REVENUES UP 4.5%

On Monday, Governor Kemp reported that Georgia’s net tax collections for January totaled nearly $2.36 billion for an increase of $100.8 million, or 4.5 percent. The net tax collections from January 2019 totaled $2.25 billion. To see the press release overviewing last month’s increases please click here.

JUDICIAL CENTER DEDICATED TO FORMER GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL

On Tuesday, January 11, 2020 the new state judicial complex was dedicated to former Governor Nathan Deal. The event was attended by many notable Georgians to celebrate all that has been accomplished in our state’s judicial system. The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Governor Brian Kemp were among the many speakers to highlight Governor Deal’s tireless efforts around reforming our state’s criminal justice system.

In the 2019-2020 regular session House Resolution 1 was introduced by Speaker David Ralston to name the new state appellate judicial complex in honor of the former governor. The Nathan Deal Judicial Center will house the Georgia Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and the state’s new Business Court.

GEORGIA TRANSPORTATION ALLIANCE

“Georgia Can’t Wait for Freight” is an initiative promoted by The Georgia Transportation Alliance and the Georgia Chamber to raise awareness about the nearly 6 million tons of freight carried throughout Georgia each week.  This campaign highlights the opportunities and challenges for Georgia’s transportation network because of dramatic freight growth in Georgia’s future.

To learn more about the Chamber’s engagement on this critical issue, please visit www.cantwaitforfreight.com or follow us on Facebook at

GEORGIA CHAMBER PUBLIC AFFAIRS STAFF

David Raynor
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
404-223-2267 | draynor@gachamber.com

Cosby Johnson
Vice President, State & Political Affairs
404-223-2285 | cjohnson@gachamber.com

Daniela Perry 
Senior Director, Public Policy & Federal Affairs
404-223-2270 | dperry@gachamber.com

Nancy Palmer 
Director, Government Affairs
404-223-2489 | npalmer@gachamber.com

Allison Plummer
Manager, Government and Political Affairs
404-223-2295 | aplummer@gachamber.com

Jasmine King 
Manager, Government Affairs
404-223-2285 | jking@gachamber.com

Emily Pateuk 
Manager, Public Policy
404-223-2475 | epateuk@gachamber.com

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