News Releases

Friday, 04 March 2022 16:09

2022 Legislative Session: Week Eight

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.

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. 

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

Friday, 25 February 2022 16:02

2022 Legislative Session: Week Seven

It was a lighter week from a legislative standpoint as the House and Senate were in Session for two days with a committee day in between. Local redistricting issues continue to take much of the time on the calendar and the debate over certain maps in larger cities has grown quite partisan. Add in some hot-button social issues and the temperatures inside the Capitol have grown as warm as the afternoon temperatures we’ve been enjoying lately. 

That being said, there are priorities that the two sides can agree on such as the full funding of the state’s K-12 education formula, teacher raises and efforts to promote public safety like the Georgia INFORM Act. While we still don’t have confirmation on a hearing date in the House yet, the legislators who have been educated on the issue are enthusiastic in their support. Georgia Retailers is looking forward to a hearing being scheduled on the bill shortly after Crossover Day occurs on March 15th.

The General Assembly has now completed 20 Legislative Days of the 40 Day Session.
Next week’s schedule is as follows:

  • Monday (2/28) – Legislative Day 21
  • Tuesday (3/1)– Legislative Day 22
  • Wednesday (3/2)– Committee Work Day
  • Thursday (3/3) – Legislative Day 23
  • Friday (3/4)– Legislative Day 24

Friday, 18 February 2022 15:57

2022 Legislative Session: Week Six

The General Assembly continues to progress through its calendar and move legislation forward as the Session finishes its sixth week. While Crossover Day is still a month away, another date has been quietly looming in the background and is beginning to come into play. That date is Monday, March 7th, the first day of qualifying to run in the 2022 elections. Qualifying will end on Friday, March 11th. While that is still weeks off, the effect of an election year is already being felt both in the bills that are progressing, the tenor of the debates and in the decisions being made.

This week two notable legislators announced they are retiring – one in the Senate and one in the House.

On Tuesday, Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Lindsey Tippins of Marietta announced he was not running for re-election. Then another bombshell hit Thursday when House Appropriations Chairman Terry England revealed he was not running for reelection after serving 17 years, 12 as the Chair of the all-important budget writing committee. The reverberations of that retirement will be felt throughout the Capitol as he is universally respected.

They are not the only two legislators to announce retirements as at least 10 House members and almost as many Senators have already declared they are either running for different positions or retiring. Many more announcements are expected over the next three weeks before Qualifying ends. Rumors are circulating that 30 or more legislators may not come back in the House alone, that’s not counting any changes that may occur as a result of the elections themselves.  

Press Conference Supporting Georgia INFORM Act Draws Media Coverage 
A press conference held Tuesday by Sen. Albers and members of Georgia Retailerswas well attended by local media and resulted in a number of positive stories on the local news that evening as well as on the web. Fox 5 and WSB 2 both ran stories that helped explain the issue and why the GA INFORM Act is an important tool for law enforcement. Attorney General Chris Carr, State Senator John Albers, and Rep. Houston Gaines of Athens, the House sponsor of the legislation, all spoke on the importance of the legislation. 

You can see the stories and articles from Fox 5 here and WSB here.

The General Assembly has now completed 18 Legislative Days of the 40 Day Session.
Next week’s schedule is as follows:

  • Monday (2/21) – President’s Day
  • Tuesday (2/22)– Legislative Day 19
  • Wednesday (2/23) – Committee Work Day

Friday, 11 February 2022 15:30

2022 Legislative Session: Week Five

The General Assembly has had an active week with four legislative days and a number of bills moving through the committee process. The 56 members of the State Senate have filed 495 bills to date and 488 resolutions. The House, with 180 members, has seen 1315 bills filed so far in addition to 756 resolutions. As we move closer to Crossover Day (March 15th) the pace will continue to pick up in terms of both the number of bills filed and the amount of legislation working through the process.

Notable action this week includes expected passage of the Supplemental Budget for FY22 in the House today. The Supplemental budget includes significant investments in education including a $2000 pay raise for teachers. That bill will now go to the Senate for additional committee work and passage.

The FY23 budget is being worked on in the House Appropriations Committee and is expected to come to the floor in the next few weeks.

Sen. John Albers to Hold Press Conference Supporting Georgia INFORM Act

The sponsor of the Georgia Inform Act (SB 332), Sen. John Albers, is planning a press conference for next Tuesday to continue the public information campaign on organized retail crime (ORC) and how SB 332 helps protect consumers in the state. Georgia Retailers will be involved in the press conference to support the efforts and continue the momentum to pass this important legislation. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and Georgia Retailers and its members have been busy educating members of the committee. The response to the bill has been positive and a committee hearing is expected once the committee works through some more House bills.

The General Assembly has now completed 15 Legislative Days of the 40 Day Session.
Next week’s schedule is as follows:

  • Monday-Legislative Day 16
  • Tuesday – Legislative Day 17
  • Wednesday – Committee Work Day
  • Thursday – Legislative Day 18
  • Friday – Out of Session
Friday, 04 February 2022 15:15

2022 Legislative Session: Week Four

The General Assembly returned to action this week following budget hearings for the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to hear directly from agency heads on the Governor’s proposed budget. 

Notable action this week included a number of hearings and some floor votes on legislation creating new cities as well as an extended Adjournment Resolution which provides a calendar for the rest of the Session. The last day of Session, traditionally known as Sine Die, will take place on Monday, April 4th. The resolution laying out which days the General Assembly will be in session can be found here.

Georgia INFORM Act Receives Unanimous Yes Vote in Senate
The Georgia State Senate sent a strong message regarding the importance of deterring organized retail crime by passing SB 332 with a unanimous vote of 51-0 on Tuesday. The GA INFORM Consumers Act, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, will take away the anonymity that high volume sellers of unused items enjoy on some online marketplaces today. This change will help law enforcement keep tabs on groups that are using the online marketplaces to sell stolen goods as well as provide consumers with more information about who they are actually buying their products from when they shop online.

SB 332 now moves to the House of Representatives. Members of the GA Retailershave already begun reaching out to House members to educate them on the legislation and why it is needed.

Computer Data Privacy Bill Under Evaluation Georgia Retailers 

Members of the Georgia Retailers held a call Wednesday to discuss SB 394, the Georgia Computer Data Privacy Act. Among other issues, the bill puts new burdens on retailers regarding customer data that will cost millions of dollars for retailers to implement and creates a private right of action with little to no opportunity for “notice and cure” when problems are discovered. We currently are consulting with legal council to fully understand how applicable the bill is to the retail community. 

The General Assembly has now completed 11 Legislative Days of the 40 Day Session.
Next week’s schedule:

  • Monday (2/7)– Legislative Day 12
  • Tuesday (2/8)– Legislative Day 13
  • Wednesday (2/9)– Committee Work Day
  • Thursday (2/10)– Legislative Day 14
  • Friday (2/11) – Legislative Day 15 

Page 2 of 8