Sen. Steve Gooch - Chamber Member Session 2015-2016
Letter Grade: A+Senate sponsor of Chamber-supported legislation.
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|Bill Title||Description||Support/Oppose Chamber Position|
|2016: HB 742 – IRS Update Bill||
Sponsored by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin), House Bill 742 aligns the Georgia Revenue Code with annual federal adjustments to the Internal Revenue Code. This legislation ensures the continued stability and compliance of the Georgia Revenue Code that is vital to the operation of businesses of all sizes. Of particular note, HB 742 increases the Section 179 deduction limit to $500,000 in state revenue code, which mirrors recent federal action and will provide valuable relief for small businesses as they expand in Georgia.
|2015: HB 303 – Uninsured Motorist Coverage||
Sponsored by Rep. Dustin Hightower (R-Carrollton), House Bill 303 increases the penalty for “bad faith” claims. Currently, an insurer has 60 days to process and fulfill a policyholders claim on uninsured motorist coverage. After 60 days, the policyholder can file a lawsuit claiming the insurer is acting in “bad faith” on their claim. If the court finds that the insurer did act in “bad faith”, the court can award a penalty up to 25% of the policyholders uninsured motorist coverage limit. HB 303 would increase the penalty for these types of claims with a minimum of $25,000 or 25% of the policy limits.
|2015: SR 287 – Opportunity School District||
Sponsored by Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), Senate Resolution 287 would create Opportunity School Districts (OSD), a mechanism that allows the state to take over persistently failing schools through a new system of governance that would be controlled under the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. Under the proposed model, OSD would only focus on the state’s poorest performing schools-those that are 60 or below on CCRPI for 3 consecutive years – and would operate by giving individual school leaders more flexibility to achieve better results in exchange for increased accountability. The state proposes to intervene in no more than 20 schools per year and in no more than 100 schools at any given time.
|2016: SB 277 – Protecting Georgia Small Business Act||
Sponsored by Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell), Senate Bill 277 protects the independence and integrity of franchisees and franchisors within our state. This bill states that neither a franchisee nor franchisees’ employees will be considered employees of the franchisor and is intended to provide small businesses with the ability to maintain control of their operations without excessive and onerous federal overreach after a contentious National Labor Relations Board ruling.
|2016: HB 821 – Military Spouses and Veterans Licensure Act||
Sponsored by Rep. Al Williams (D – Midway), House Bill 821 requires professional licensing boards and other boards to adopt rules and regulations implementing a process by which military souses and transitioning service members may qualify for certain licenses. This legislation assists in Georgia’s compliance with BRAC standards.
|2016: HB 922 – Quality Jobs Income tax credit||
Sponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), House Bill 922 is Georgia Chamber introduced legislation that clarifies the definition of taxpayer with regards to the Quality Jobs Tax Credit. Many companies, for varying business reasons, may choose to set up multiple LLCs with separate FEINs (federal employer identification number) under one parent corporation. Those separate legal entities are “disregarded” for tax filing purposes in Georgia. HB 922 ensures that corporations creating more than 50 jobs in the state through disregarded entities are eligible to qualify for the Quality Jobs Tax Credit as long as those jobs all roll up to one parent corporation.
|2016: HB 513 – Pleadings and motions; right of free speech||
Sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), House Bill 513 expands the existing Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) statute to matters of public interest and is a major deterrent in halting the filing of frivolous lawsuits. The bill would allow a judge to grant early dismissal of claims targeting exercise of First Amendment rights unless the plaintiff was able to establish a probability of prevailing on the claim. The right for immediate appeal is provided on a balanced basis for both sides and attorneys’ fees would be awarded to a defendant who prevails on anti-SLAPP motion, which deters lawsuits unfairly targeting speech protected by the First Amendment. Modeled from legislation in other states such as California, HB 513 will be a key component in supporting a large and growing movie, film and television industry in Georgia.
|2016: HB 801 – HOPE Provisions for STEM Classes||
Sponsored by Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton), House Bill 801 adds an additional .5 rigor score to students’ HOPE grade point average for taking approved STEM classes. By fractionally reducing the deterrent of preserving a 3.0 GPA while also taking highly rigorous courses that correlate to essential job markets, House Bill 801 is primed to create enrollment boosts in STEM courses around Georgia. Inventive, student-focused policies such as this will help keep many of our best and brightest here in Georgia and assist in growing a vibrant, robust workforce.
|2015: HB 170 – Transportation Funding Act of 2015||
The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 (HB 170) provides dedicated, predictable and sustainable revenue for the repair and maintenance of statewide roads and bridges by generating more than $900 million derived from new and existing transportation sources. This legislation streamlines, modernizes, increases, and indexes the motor fuel tax and establishes a new system of fees on heavy commercial vehicles and out – of – town travelers. It also closes several loopholes that formerly allowed motor fuel funds to be diverted to the state’s general fund. The legislation imposes user-fees upon the drivers of electric vehicles who do not currently contribute to the construction and maintenance of Georgia’s roads and bridges. Finally, the legislation sets up a mechanism for the levying of transportation special purposes local option sales taxes to meet project specific needs in local communities.
|2015: HB 412 – Workers’ Compensation||
HB 412 is a worker’s compensation bill that includes several important provisions developed and agreed upon by the State Board’s legislative advisory council. The most critical provision provides protection of the exclusive remedy for workers’ comp and strengthens Georgia’s workers’ comp system for employers and employees alike. Additionally, the bill extends the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund sunset which will maintain important stability and help to facilitate the settling of cases. The Georgia Chamber remains committed to improving upon the state’s workers’ compensation system in order to most effectively treat injured workers and reduce the burden on employers.
|2015: HB 237 – Angel Investor Tax Credit||
Angel groups in Georgia have seen an increase in angel activity, as well as partnerships with venture capital firms. Georgia is competing with other states for start-up companies, many of which get their start in our very own publicly funded research institutions. The program began in tax year 2011, was extended in 2013 and expires at the end of 2015. HB 237 extends the credit for three years and allows eligible investors to claim 35% of their investment against their taxable income, but no more than $50,000. The extension caps the aggregate statewide tax credit amount at $5 million per year.
|2015: SB 132 – Quality Basic Education Act||
SB 132 revises and updates regulations regarding dual enrollment options, giving students new opportunities to receive associate and technical degrees and certifications in high demand industries. It creates a revised funding system, subject to general appropriations, that finances student tuition and related costs for attending colleges through the program. It also authorizes the Department of Education to decide which courses offered by colleges are eligible for high school credit.
|2015: SB 2 – Career Education Dual Enrollment||
SB 2 would allow a high school student who has completed ninth and tenth grade requirements for coursework and assessments to enroll in a post-secondary institution (USG or TCSG) and work towards an associate’s degree, a technical college diploma, or a technical college certificate while counting that coursework towards high school graduation requirements. SB 2 will create a new tool to address many workforce needs of Georgia businesses. By further aligning our K-12 education system with our university and technical college systems and allowing students to simultaneously access both, Georgia will be in a better position to remain economically competitive.