Published on: Feb. 22, 2016
Savannah Area Chamber Legislative Update 2/22/16

Key Pro-Business Policy Positions:
Abrupt Property Assessments:

HB 982, introduced by Rep. Ron Stephens, was heard and received favorably in the Ad Valorem Tax Subcommittee of the House Ways & Means Committee last week. It was then sent back to incorporate suggestions, particularly the addition of language to ensure actual data provided by the property owner will be used when the income approach is utilized. The newest version is expected to be favorably voted out of committee this week.

Religious Freedom:

While in the Georgia Legislature it is uncommon that a chamber considers a bill from the other chamber prior to crossover day, on Friday, Feb. 19, the Pastor Protection Act, HB 757, was merged with SB 284, the First Amendment Defense Act. After a lengthy floor debate, the newly engrossed House Bill 757 passed the Senate Friday by a vote of 38-14.

Other Bills of Interest:

HB 1017: E-Discovery:

HB 1017, sponsored by Rep. Barry Fleming, is proposed legislation governing the discovery process in civil litigation. There are concerns that the bill as currently written will result in increased costs and burdens of all kinds of discovery for all litigants, particularly in the business community. HB 1017 will be in Rep. Fleming’s Subcommittee of House Judiciary early this week.

SB 277: “Protecting Georgia’s Small Business Act”:

SB 277 passed the Senate last week by a vote of 39-14. The bill states that neither a franchisee nor a franchisee’s employee will be considered employees of the franchiser. The bill seeks to provide small businesses with the ability to maintain control of their operations without excessive and onerous federal overreach.

Key Dates:

Feb. 29, 2016 will be Crossover Day. This day typically occurs on the 30th day of the session. All bills in each chamber must be approved by this day so that they can then move to the other chamber for discussion and review. If a bill does not pass its initial chamber, it can no longer move forward this year, but its hopes for passage may lie for another year.

Don’t forget to vote March 1, 2016 for Chatham County Sheriff as well as to cast your vote in the Presidential Primary. For information regarding where to vote and to see a sample ballot, click here.

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