Georgia Business Action Network – February 7, 2020

LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR

This week, the general assembly reconvened on February 3, 2020 for legislative day 10, and worked through Wednesday, February 5th completing legislative day 12. The legislature will stand in recess until February 18, 2020 when it will reconvene for legislative day 13.  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 545: Right to Farm

Chamber Position: SUPPORT and SCORECARD 

Bill Sponsor: Representative Tom McCall (Elberton) 

HB 545 passed out of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The general assembly has long established Georgia as a “Right to Farm” state to protect agriculture operation from frivolous nuisance lawsuits. This bill addresses vagueness and ambiguity in the law that Georgia shares with other states whose farmers have fallen victim to undue litigation. The Georgia Chamber supports adding the protections included in HB 545 so that Georgia’s #1 industry can continue to expand and thrive in the future.  The bill is now eligible for a vote in the full State Senate.

Senate BIll 315: General Contractor Lien Law Legislation 

Chamber Position: SUPPORT

Bill Sponsor: Senator Lindsey Tippins (Marietta) 

SB 315 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday with unanimous support. This bill clarifies existing state law to allow tradesmen to sue for breach of contract in payment disputes without deference to a waiver of lien.  The Georgia Chamber joined the Associated General Contractors of Georgia and over 15 other statewide organizations in support of the bill. SB 315 is now eligible for a vote in the full State Senate.

Senate Bill 316: Military Spouse Licensure 

Chamber Position: SUPPORT 

Bill Sponsor: Senator Bruce Thompson (White) 

This week the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee held a hearing for Senate Bill 316. This bill would provide reciprocity to military spouses who are licensed in other states to practice certain professions and occupations in Georgia. The Georgia Chamber supports this bill as it currently awaits a vote out of the Senate committee.

House Resolution 935: Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics 

Chamber Position: SUPPORT 

Bill Author: Representative Kevin Tanner (Dawsonville) 

On Wednesday, the Georgia House of Representatives passed HR 935, 169-0, which reauthorizes the Freight and Logistics Commission for another year. The commission met four times across the state in 2019 to study Georgia’s future freight growth and its impacts on our economic future. The Georgia Chamber looks forward to partnering with the general assembly in their continued work on the Freight and Logistics Commission to provide transportation solutions to all Georgians.

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

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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