|Bill Title||Description||Chamber Position|
|2019: SB 148 Equipment of Motor Vehicles; safety belts required as equipment, safety restraints for children; provisions; revise||
SB 148 would allow evidence of an individual’s failure to wear a seat belt to be considered in a lawsuit to mitigate damages. This type of evidence is currently not allowed before juries. This bill would give jurors the ability to understand the potential contribution of failure to wear a seat belt in worse injuries and increased medical costs.
SB 148 did not receive a floor vote in 2019. The Chamber will continue to work on progressing this legislation forward in 2020.
|2019: SB 110 Statewide Business Court Enabling Legislation||
The House and Senate appointed a Conference Committee to work out the policy differences between the two chambers with respect to the establishment of a statewide business court. All conferees (Reps. Efstration, Fleming, and Oliver and Sens. Stone, Dugan, and Kennedy) signed on to the consensus conference report and while the House gave its final passage to the Conference Committee Report on SB 110 by a vote of 135-28, the Senate, in a fairly unprecedented move, failed to even bring the report for a vote, effectively killing the business community’s preferred model for a business court that has proven successful in Fulton and Gwinnett Counties.
Unfortunately, the personal injury lobby (expressly exempted from the legislation) weighed in in opposition to the bill swayed enough of members of the senate to keep the bill from having a vote.
*The vote reflected on the scorecard is the House vote on the Conference Committee Report.
|2019: SB 108 Competencies and Core Curriculum; computer science in middle school and high school||
On March 29, the House and Senate chambers both overwhelmingly gave approval to SB 108, which will mandate that computer science courses be taught in middle and high schools throughout the state.
The Chamber supports SB 108 as necessary to continue to fully educate and train Georgia students for the jobs and technologies of the future and to keep Georgia as a leader in technological innovation and business in the nation.
|2019: SB 106 Patients First Act||
On March 25, the House gave final passage of Senate Bill 106 by a vote of 104-67, after passing the Senate 32-20 on Feb. 26. SB 106 allows for the State Department of Community Health to apply for 1115 & 1332 waivers from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the U.S. Department of Treasury. SB 106 will help reduce private health insurance premiums for all Georgians and reform the state’s healthcare delivery system for those below the Federal Poverty Line. The Patients First Act is tailored to fit the needs of Georgia and will promote innovation and efficiency in healthcare throughout the state, and ensure our citizens enjoy a high quality of life.
|2019: HR 37 Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics||
On March 29, the Senate gave final passage to HR 37 by a vote of 51-1, after passing the House on Feb. 21 by a vote of 169-1. HR 37 creates the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics. By 2030, Georgia will experience an increase of 1.5 million cars traveling our roads and a 60 percent increase in cargo freight coming through the Georgia Ports Authority. HR 37 provides the necessary framework to study these growing demands and will provide the state with data-driven investment strategies to ensure Georgia’s future as a leader in freight infrastructure and business.
|2019: HB 545 Right to Farm||
On March 21, HB 545 passed the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee after passing the House on March 7 by a vote of 107-58. The Georgia Senate failed to act on HB 545 in the waning days of the session, making it available for action in 2020. The General Assembly has long established Georgia as a “Right to Farm” state to protect agricultural operations 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. HB 545 did not pass out of the Senate.
|2019: HB 447 Jet Fuel Sales and Use Tax Exemption||
As originally introduced, HB 447 would provide for a partial extension of the sales tax exemption on jet fuel through the end of FY2039 and would impose a half penny excise tax per gallon of jet fuel to be levied for the purposes of supporting general aviation airports. By exempting jet fuel from sales and use tax, we will increase Georgia’s competitiveness, leading to more flights coming in and out of the state and benefit existing statewide companies in addition to those looking to come to Georgia, whose businesses depend on global air service.
Unfortunately, HB 447 was unfavorably modified in the Senate and did not move forward in 2019.
*The vote reflected on the scorecard is the House floor vote on the original language of HB 447.
|2019: HB 353 Insurance; create the crime of staging a motor vehicle collision||
On April 2, the House gave final passage to HB 353 by a vote of 107-55, after passing the Senate on March 28 by a vote of 41-10. HB 353 seeks to stymie insurance fraud schemes stemming from staged motor vehicle collisions. HB 353 would make it illegal for individuals to intentionally cause a staged motor vehicle collision for the purpose of claiming insurance benefits or filing a civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages. Not only is HB 353 important to help curb these kinds of illegal insurance fraud schemes, but more so to promote public safety by reducing injuries to the perpetrators or to the public caused by these intentional motor vehicle collisions.
|2019: HB 224 Investment Tax Credit, Quality Jobs Tax Credit, & Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit||
On April 2, the Senate gave final passage to HB 224 by a vote of 49-3, after also passing the House on the same day by a vote of 158-5. HB 224 amends the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Quality Jobs Tax Credit (QJTC), and the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
Georgia provides ITC’s for a portion of qualified investments in manufacturing facilities with the credit amount increasing based on the county tier, with more rural counties receiving higher credits. Currently, ITC’s are restricted to application of 50% of the income taxes within Georgia, which is highly restrictive because many manufacturing companies are large exporters of their goods leaving them with credits that are earned but unable to be used. By allowing a portion of ITC’s to be used against payroll withholding liability, we will strengthen the incentive for Georgia investment in the state’s most rural areas. HB 224 also revises the job creation threshold for the QJTC in tier 1 and tier 2 counties with a population of less then 50,000.
The Chamber supports legislation that encourages both existing and potential Georgia companies to invest in rural areas. By expanding the use of ITC’s to apply to payroll withholdings and modifying the threshold to earn QJTC’s in rural areas, HB 224 is another tool to improve Georgia’s rural economies.
|2019: Amendment 3 of HB 171||
Amendment 3, authored by Sen. Jesse Stone, was essentially a “poison pill” to effectively kill the chances of passage of the underlying legislation.
The Chamber would like to thank the Senators who supported the business community by voting against this amendment.
*Amendment 3 was passed by the Senate and included in the final version of HB 171. The Senate did not pass HB 171, therefore there are no votes to be counted for House members.
|2019: Amendment 1 of HB 171||
On March 26, during the Senate floor debate on HB 171, an amendment was offered by Senator William Ligon (Brunswick) (Amendment 1) which would have removed the provision admitting the non-use of seat belts as evidence in civil court cases.
Amendment 1 would have stripped out in its entirety the pro-business language around the admissibility of seat belt usage or non-usage in a civil case. Georgia law requires front-seat passengers to wear seat belts as a proven method of reducing serious bodily injury or death, yet juries aren’t allowed to know whether an individual was or was not complying with the law at the time of an accident.
The Chamber would like to thank those Senators who supported the business community by voting against Amendment 1.
* Amendment 1 did not pass the Senate, therefore there are no votes to be counted for House members.