Legislative Update


KEEPING YOU INFORMED…

The Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce and our Governmental Affairs Committee want to share information about pending state legislative issues that may affect your business. This weekly legislative review is provided by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and passed on as a service of your local chamber to empower our membership and guard our community’s welfare. Your comments or questions are welcome and will receive response.

March 8, 2010

The Georgia General Assembly reconvened today after a two-week recess during which legislators worked on the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. February 2010 revenue figures are expected this week and could significantly impact both budget-cutting and revenue-generating proposals as the budget process continues.

In addition to the budget, major issues that will be debated over the next 20 working days include transportation funding, water legislation and several tax and education proposals. The following bills are among those being watched by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce – for links to these bills and a complete listing of legislation being tracked, visit www.gachamber.com.


Education

  • SB84 would improve Georgia schools by ensuring effective school board governance. Based on recommendations made by the Commission for School Board Excellence, the bill passed the Senate in 2009 and was approved by the House of Representatives today. The Senate will either need to agree with changes made by the House or reconcile them in a conference committee before it can go to the Governor for his signature.
  • HB1195 would secure the future of the Georgia Work Ready program by codifying its purpose and governance structure. Originally created by executive order of the Governor, this program continues to connect employers throughout the state with the certified workforce they need, a key advantage for Georgia in attracting economic investment.
  • SB386 is Governor Perdue’s proposal to implement a performance-based pay option for teachers to both encourage and reward excellence in Georgia schools. If passed, the new system would go into effect in 2014, allowing the state Department of Education to fully implement Georgia’s student data system so that performance can be accurately tracked.
  • SB352 would institute a grading system for Georgia schools similar to one used in Florida that has resulted in stronger school performance throughout the state. Schools that see improvement under this new system would be eligible for financial bonuses.

For additional updates on legislation affecting Education, visit http://www.gsba.com/home.html.

Transportation

  • Both HB1218, which was proposed by Governor Perdue, and SB366, which was introduced by the Democratic leadership, would provide for regional T-SPLOSTs to fund local transportation projects. HB1218 received two House subcommittee hearings last week during which a number of amendments were proposed regarding how the regions would be defined and how projects would be selected. The bill will be heard at least one more time in subcommittee before moving on to the full House Transportation Committee.

Water

  • HB1094 and SB370 are based on the recommendations of Governor Perdue’s Water Contingency Planning Task Force with regard to the conservation, capture and control of Georgia’s water resources. Both bills have been passed by the respective Natural Resources Committees and are expected to continue to move towards passage.

Taxation

  • HB1023 and 1024 together form the Jobs, Opportunity and Business Success (JOBS) Act of 2010. The legislation is designed to stimulate the state’s economy and support businesses of all sizes through provisions including an angel investor tax credit, tax credits for hiring the unemployed, a reduction of the capital gains tax and a phase-out of the sales tax deposit for small business.
  • HB1008 would continue the current cap on sales tax for energy used during the manufacturing process, allowing Georgia to stay economically competitive with surrounding states.
  • HB951, 952 and 953 would preserve the sales tax holidays for school supplies and water and energy-efficient products.

Economic Development

  • HB995 is designed to help Georgia’s tourism industry by standardizing the start of the school year. As currently drafted, the earliest any school could start would be September 1 or Labor Day, whichever came first on the calendar.
  • HR178 would provide clarity in Georgia employment law by ensuring that reasonable agreements between employers and employees are enforceable in court. If passed, voters will be asked this November to vote on a constitutional amendment that will allow judges to make reasonable modifications to enforce the original intent of employment agreements. The resolution was passed by the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to receive a vote by the full House this week.
  • HB1016 has passed the House and would ensure that businesses receive the same identify fraud protections as individuals in Georgia.

Health Care

  • SR277 would create a $10 vehicle tag fee dedicated to funding a trauma care network capable of providing critical medical care in a timely manner for citizens throughout the state and saving as many as 700 lives each year.
This email was sent on behalf of Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce by ChamberMaster, 14391 Edgewood Drive, Baxter, MN 56425.

ChamberMaster is a registered trademark of MicroNet Incorporated.

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