SB 332, the Georgia INFORM Act, was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon where it received a unanimous Do Pass recommendation. The bill was presented by the sponsor, Senator John Albers (R-Roswell). Sen. Albers explained the need for the bill and then gave the committee a section-by-section description of the legislation. Sen. Albers noted that the bill was “98% the same” as the bipartisan federal INFORM Act currently making its way through Congress.
Georgia Retailers lobbyist Stephen Loftin led off testimony by noting the importance of the Organized Retail Crime bill passed by the General Assembly last year, and how the INFORM Act will work alongside that law to provide investigators and prosecutors more tools to track the fencing of stolen goods through online marketplaces. He also noted the importance of the consumer protections included in the bill such as the requirement that high volume sellers of new products provide a way for the consumer to directly contact the online retailer through an app or other electronic method once the sale is complete.
Representatives from Home Depot, Walgreens, Walmart and the Georgia Food Industry Association also spoke in support of the bill and highlighted the work the industry is doing to deter retail theft in their stores and the risk to consumers, particularly when consumable goods are stolen and sold anonymously to unknowing consumers. Amazon and eBay asked for changes in the legislation to include doubling the amount of time for an online retailer to share its information, but no changes were adopted.
SB 332 now moves to the Senate Rules Committee which will determine when the bill receives a vote by the full State Senate. Following that, the legislation will go the House of Representatives.