The Session is past the half-way point and we are closing in on Crossover Day which is scheduled for March 15th. House and Senate Committees are winding up their work on the bills that have been introduced in those respective chambers, and floor debates are lasting longer (and getting more heated) as the issues get more contentious. Most committees will have one or two more committee meetings prior to Crossover Day but that doesn’t leave much time for issues that are struggling to gain traction.
Over 30 bills that would have negatively impacted labor and employment practices such as raising the minimum wage, making changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act and other issues have been filed this Session. While these bills have not received a hearing and are not likely to get one prior to the 15th thanks to Georgia’s pro-business political climate, they demonstrate that the retail industry cannot take its eye off the ball during Session. It also points to the importance of the industry continuing to support legislators from both parties who are willing to listen to the retailers’ point of view.
PROHIBITION AGAINST LOCAL REGULATIONS OF EMPLOYEE HOURS AND SCHEDULING MOVING FORWARD
SB 331 by Sen. John Albers (R – Roswell) prohibits local governments from passing ordinances which would place restrictions on an employer’s ability to set an employee’s schedule as best meets the needs of the business. Local governments will retain the ability to set operating hours for businesses inside its limits. The bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House Insurance and Labor Committee.
APPORTIONMENT OF DAMAGES IN SINGLE-DEFENDANT LAWSUITS PASSES HOUSE
HB 961 by Rep, Chuck Efstration (R – Dacula) authorizes the apportionment of damages in single-defendant lawsuits for injury to person or property and allows evidence of the fault of nonparties in a case to be presented in those cases. Apportionment is available in current law in cases with multiple defendants, but single-party cases where another party may bear partial responsibility were being treated as if the defendant held all of the responsibility for the injury. Providing this evidence during trial may help limit the awards in these cases. HB 961 passed the House of Representatives this week by a vote of 168-0.
The General Assembly has now completed 24 Legislative Days of the 40 Day Session.
Next week’s schedule is as follows:
- Monday (3/7)– Out of Session
- Tuesday (3/8) – Legislative Day 25
- Wednesday (3/9) – Committee Work Day
- Thursday (3/10) – Legislative Day 26
- Friday (3/11) – Legislative Day 27