On Friday, March 13, The Georgia General Assembly suspended the 2020 legislative session indefinitely due to concerns about COVID-19. This doesn’t end the legislative session, only postpones it. When they do reconvene, it will be for the thirtieth legislative day.
Legislators had until March 12, “Crossover Day,” to pass their bills out of their chamber and to the other chamber for consideration. There were a couple of bills that passed out of their respective chambers that have a directly related to the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda.
- SB 316: This bill expands on prior legislation allowing military spouses who have licenses to practice certain professions in other states to obtain that same license by endorsement to practice in Georgia (known as reciprocal licensing). Passed out of the Senator on February 24 and move to the House for consideration.
- HB 1037: Requires film productions to undergo mandatory audits of expenditures to make sure they are eligible for tax credits. This bill passed out of the House on March 12 and is now in the Senate for Consideration.
As for other items on the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda, will be working with the appropriate members and committees to help identify and support the proper legislation to address the issues.
Because of the unpredictability of the legislative process, not every issue that comes up during the legislative session is included in the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda, but they are still important to creating and maintaining a positive environment in which to do business in Georgia and Savannah. Below are a few bills that passed out of their respective chamber by crossover that we are currently tracking:
- HB 448: Requires 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. This bill passed out of the House on March 12 and is now in the Senate for Consideration.
- HR 935: Continues the work of the 2019 Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics task of developing a comprehensive, strategic business plan to promote state-wide freight and logistics infrastructure in order for this state to remain economically competitive. This resolution recently passed the House and is currently in the Senate.
- SB 374: Establishes reasonable parameters for settlement demand letters in civil cases. Currently, plaintiffs’ lawyers can make settlement demands so complex that when an insurance company asks for clarification or cannot fulfill every request, it is seen as a rejection of the settlement offer and the insurance company is said to be acting in “bad faith.” Claims of bad faith allow a plaintiffs’ attorney to sue an insurer for more than the policy limits of the defendant. This bill requires that offers of settlement be reasonable, limited in scope, professional, and clear so that bad actors cannot continue to issue specious and purposely complex offers of settlement. SB 374 passed out of the Senate and is currently in the House Insurance Committee.
Please feel free to reach out to the Chamber’s director of governmental affairs, Jared Downs, with questions about the Chamber’s legislative priorities.