Published on: Feb. 27, 2015
Georgia Chamber Legislative Update – Feb. 27

Legislative CalendarThe Georgia General Assembly completed legislative day 23 of 40 the week of Feb. 23-27. They will be in session Monday through Thursday the week of March 2-6.

Action on Key Business Legislation

The General Assembly took action on the following Georgia Chamber priorities. You can stay updated on the status of Georgia Chamber scorecard legislation by visiting our scorecard tracker webpage and see where we stand on bills important to the business community on our bill finder webpage.

HB 170: Transportation Funding Act of 2015
Chamber Position: Support; Scorecard
March 2-6, the House is expected to consider HB 170, sponsored by Representative Jay Roberts (Ocilla).  The Georgia Chamber supports this bill as it will provide nearly $1 billion in much needed funding for our state’s transportation infrastructure. Safe, efficient, multi-modal transportation is critical to the success of our economy and our communities. As a business community, we need to let our elected leaders know that we hope they will vote yes when the bill comes to the floor. Click here to email your legislators and let them know that you support transportation infrastructure funding. Find out more about HB 170 on the Georgia Chamber’s Transportation Funding Act of 2015 resource webpage.

HB 412: Workers’ Compensation Reform
Chamber Position: Support; Scorecard
HB 412, sponsored by Representative Mark Hamilton (Cumming), was favorably reported by the House Industry and Labor Committee. HB 412 is the annual workers’ compensation update 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. Click here to view this bill.

HB 63: Georgia Employer GED Tax Credit Act of 2015
Chamber Position: Support
The House passed HB 63, sponsored by Representative Kevin Tanner (Dawsonville), by a vote of 170-1. HB 63 would revise the amount and training requirements of the adult basic skills education program tax credit for employers who help employees get their GED. It would increase the current tax credit of $150 per employee to a possible $1,200 for each employee who takes the proper training classes and successfully passes the skills education test. Click here to view this bill.

SB 88: Establishing Payroll Card Program 
Chamber Position: Support
The Senate favorably reported SB 88, sponsored by Senator Burt Jones (Jackson), by a vote of 43-8 . SB 88 would give employers another option in paying their employees by allowing companies to enroll them in a payroll debit card program. Payroll cards would give employees who may not have access to traditional bank accounts another way to receive their wages electronically. The bill now moves to the House for consideration. Click here to view this bill.

SB 101: Coastal Marshland Buffers
Chamber Position: Support
The Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee favorably reported SB 101, sponsored by Senator Ben Watson (Savannah). SB 101 seeks to establish a 25 foot buffer along coastal marshlands and provide variances for activities associated with existing infrastructure, proposed new activities within the buffer zone and the activities of utilities. The bill clarifies permitting requirements for business and private activities within the marshes and will reduce permitting time, complexity and costs for businesses and utilities with infrastructure and other developments located within the marsh environment. Click here to view this bill.

HB 76: Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget
The House passed its budget, sponsored by Speaker David Ralston (Blue Ridge), by a vote of 171-2 . HB 76 is the $21.7 billion state budget plan for Fiscal Year 2016 beginning July 1, 2015. In the budget, 55 percent of state revenues are designated for education, 22.2 percent to health and human services agencies, and 8.7 percent to public safety agencies. The House bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. Click here to view this bill.

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