Georgia Business Action Network – January 17, 2020

LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR

Monday marked the start of the 2020 Session of the Georgia General Assembly.  The legislature met Monday through Thursday, completing the 4th legislative day of 40. Next week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will meet jointly to hear from Governor Kemp and various state agency leaders regarding the FY 2020 Amended and FY 2021 Budgets.  Hearings are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 21. The General Assembly will reconvene on January 27, 2020 for legislative day 5, and work through Friday, January 31.

ANNUAL EGGS AND ISSUES BREAKFAST

On Wednesday, the Georgia Chamber hosted its annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at the Georgia World Congress Center. Over 2,500 elected officials and industry leaders from across the state were in attendance to discuss issues pertinent to Georgia’s ever-evolving economy. Special guests at this year’s sold-out event included U.S. Senator David Perdue, Governor Brian Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, Speaker of the House David Ralston, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Georgia Chamber President & CEO, Chris Clark, announced a number of new organizational initiatives, as well as unveiling our 2020 Legislative Priorities, and the 2020 Recommendations from the Chamber’s Rural Prosperity Initiative.

Click here to view photos from the event.

GOVERNOR KEMP GIVES SECOND STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

On Thursday, Governor Brian Kemp addressed the Georgia General Assembly along with other elected leaders in his second State of the State address emphasizing his top priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session. Governor Kemp opened by tipping his hat to the many political leaders who came before him and set forth a strong business environment to keep Georgia the number one state in the nation in which to do business for the seventh year in a row.  Highlights from his address included support for teacher pay raises; improving access to health care through the state’s pending ACA waiver proposals; reforms to the state’s adoption and foster care laws; cracking down on gang activity statewide; and upholding his commitment to tackling human trafficking.

In closing, Governor Kemp praised the strong business community, highlighted the 64,000 private sector jobs that were created this past year, and touted the 3.3% unemployment rate, the lowest in Georgia’s history.

Click here for the transcript and here for the video footage of Governor Kemp’s State of the State Address.

GEORGIA CHAMBER RECOGNIZED BY KEY HOUSE LEADER

The Georgia Chamber would like to thank Georgia House Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington) for his remarks on the House Floor highlighting the Eggs & Issues Breakfast and the long-standing partnership between the Georgia Chamber and the House of Representatives.

We look forward to our continued partnership in serving Georgia’s business community, and we thank you and all of our elected leaders for your friendship and support.

Click here to view footage of Leader Burns’ remarks.

This week, House Bill 276, a priority of the Chamber, was adopted by the General Assembly which aims to bring parity between online and brick and mortar retailers. This bill seeks to collect sales tax from online and third-party platforms selling retail products, thus leveling the playing field for Georgia-based retailers and increasing revenue for the state. A conference committee was appointed from the House and Senate to negotiate final changes to the carryover bill from the 2019 Session.  The report of this conference committee was adopted by both chambers yesterday by votes of 111-54 and 40-9, respectively.  The bill now moves on to Governor Kemp for his consideration.

POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

The Georgia Chamber is preparing for the upcoming 2020 election cycle. During the previous cycle, the Georgia Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) supported over 100 different candidates and hosted over 25 candidate fundraisers at the Georgia Chamber office.
This year, we will continue to grow and expand our political reach across the state. We will increase our involvement with members and local chambers on the political front as we prepare for the upcoming elections.Today, your personal or corporate commitment to the Georgia Chamber PAC will ensure that the organization is prepared to meet the challenges ahead. If you are interested in attending a PAC event, contributing to the PAC, or need additional information, please contact Allison Plummer at aplummer@gachamber.com. If you would like to donate online today, click here.

GEORGIA SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT COALITION

Wednesday’s release of a Georgia Tech study showed that the film industry’s direct spend in Georgia is $4.2 billion- significantly higher than previously reported, and asserts the industry’s investment and job creation is paying off for taxpayers.

The Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition responded, saying “Georgia Tech’s study puts to rest any doubts about the tremendous economic impact that film industry has delivered for the state. Researchers dug into the numbers to see that the industry’s spending was far greater than previously reported and actually hit $4.2 billion in the 2017 budget year. We can safely assume that the direct spending – which goes to local businesses large and small – has grown even more in the last two years. The bottom line is, this report from an esteemed academic institution proves that Georgia’s film tax credit is working as intended and that it’s benefiting Georgians and local businesses even more than we thought.”

To read GSEC’s full response, click here.  To read the Georgia Tech study, click here.

GSEC will continue working to promote and protect Georgia’s film, television and digital entertainment industry. If your company would like to join our efforts and show your support of this Georgia’s screen entertainment industry, please contact GSEC Executive Director, Kelsey Moore at kmoore@gachamber.com or 404.223.2261.

GEORGIANS FOR LAWSUIT REFORM

Following the report from the Senate Study Committee on how to make Georgia a better place to do business, Georgians for Lawsuit Reform (GLR) is gearing up for a major tort reform push this session. The GLR lobbying team will be strongly advocating for the tort reform omnibus bill which includes all of GLR’s legislative priorities for 2020. GLR will also be focused on fixing the business courts bill passed in 2019. Currently, for a case to be heard by the State’s business court, both parties must consent to the transfer from the original court. However, the proven best practice is for only one party to have to request a transfer to the business court. GLR will be advocating for this change during the 2020 session.

We welcome you joining all of our efforts on behalf of the business community this coming session. If you would like to be involved, please contact GLR Executive Director, Meagan Hanson at mhanson@galawsuitreform.com.

GEORGIA STATE OF TRANSPORTATION

Please join us for the 3rd annual State of Transportation Reception hosted by the Georgia Transportation Alliance, Georgia Highway Contractors Association, Georgia Construction Aggregate Association and Georgia Ready Mixed Concrete Association. This event will be held next Tuesday, January 21 at 5:30PM at the Atlanta History Center.

Special guests include Speaker of the House David Ralston, Senate Transportation Chairman Brandon Beach and House Transportation Chairman Kevin Tanner.

To purchase a ticket, please click here. If you have any questions, please reach out to Maddison Hendershot at mhendershot@gachamber.com.

GEORGIA CHAMBER PUBLIC AFFAIRS STAFF

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

Cosby Johnson
Vice President of 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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