Last week’s Savannah-Chatham Day in Atlanta brought over 200 Savannah business professionals to the capitol for meetings with state and local officials. After the individual meetings, attendees and officials gathered at the Georgia Freight Depot for the Savannah Chatham Day Legislative Oyster Roast in celebration of partnership. This annual event is the most anticipated event of the legislative session and because of that, members are able to discuss the Savannah Area Chamber’s legislative agenda and pro-business policies with the government officials who make the decisions that help us stay the number-one state in which to do business.
Currently the State House and Senate have adjourned until February 18 for continued budget talks. As for the Savannah Chamber’s State legislative agenda, we are committed to working with our friends in the General Assembly to ensure that Governor Kemp’s $70 million budget request for the beginning phase of the Savannah Convention Center expansion remains fully funded in the final budget bill. We are also working with the members of the General Assembly to make sure the state budget provides the proper appropriations needed to fund the construction request from Georgia Southern University, Savannah State University and Savannah Technical College.
We are currently monitoring two bills concerning the short-term vacation rental market, HB 448 and HB 523. In its current form, House Bill 448 would require hotel/motel lodging tax and fees to be collected by the online platform, rather than the owner or operator when the reservation is made on a third-party platform such as VRBO.com or Airbnb.com. House Bill 523 would limit the local government regulation of properties used as short-term or long-term rentals to regulations that apply to all residential properties. We will continue to keep an eye on these bills as they make their way through the legislative process.
As far as the additional items on the Chamber’s legislative agenda, there hasn’t been any significant movement or progress and we are currently working with the appropriate members and committees to identify and support the proper legislation that will address the issues. If you have any specific questions or concerns during the legislative session, please do not hesitate to contact Jared Downs, director of governmental affairs, at JDowns@SavannahChamber.com.