Legislative Update Feb 17

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.

GA-Business-Action-NetworkGeneral Assembly Schedule
The General Assembly met on Monday and Tuesday last week, adjourning early as a result of the severe weather.  On Tuesday the House and Senate adopted resolutions setting the last day of session for 2014, Sine Die, for March 20. 

The General Assembly will be in session Monday through Friday this week.

Georgia Chamber Joins Partnership for a Better Energy Future
The Georgia Chamber joined with more than 40 partners, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturing, as part of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, an effort to ensure the continued availability of reliable and affordable energy for families and businesses in our state and throughout the nation.  Efforts like these have become even more important as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has continued to move toward the implementation of new regulations that threaten the use of coal as a viable source of energy in our state.

The Georgia Chamber is also supporting a nationwide effort to send over 1 million messages to the EPA regarding their proposed Green House Gas regulations.  Please visit www.TellEPA.com to send this powerful message to EPA about Georgia’s need for reliable and affordable energy.

You can hear what Chris Clark had to say about this issue here: www.gachamber.com/energy-video.

Legislative Action on Chamber Priorities

Providing Uniformity in Unemployment Benefits
Chamber Position: Support; Scorecard
Monday, the House passed House Bill 714 sponsored by Rep. Mark Hamilton (Cumming) by a vote of 111-60. See how your representative voted HERE.  This bill seeks to ensure uniformity in unemployment benefits qualifications for educational institution employees statewide. Under current law, public educational institution workers are not allowed to receive unemployment benefits during the summer, holiday and other temporary breaks. However, some private companies, as third-party vendors, encourage and train their employees to file for unemployment benefits during such breaks. The Chamber supports 714 to prevent these select companies from using the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system to supplement employee salaries, while all other Georgia employers pay for it.

Expanding Zell Miller HOPE Grant Tuition for Technical College Students
Chamber Position: Support
House Bill 697 passed the full House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The proposal expands the Zell Miller HOPE Grant program to provide full tuition for technical college students in technical certificate and diploma programs with a GPA of 3.5 or greater.  This will allow more Georgians to receive the training they need to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.

CALL TO ACTION: Seat Belt Evidence and E-Discovery

The House Judiciary Committee meeting scheduled this week to consider two Georgia Chamber legal reform priorities has been rescheduled for next week.  House Bill 504 by Rep. B.J. Pak (Lilburn) would permit a defendant to show that a plaintiff was not wearing a seat belt when involved in an automobile accident, and how this may have contributed to the injuries sustained in the case.  Georgia law currently prohibits a jury from hearing seatbelt use evidence in civil cases.

House Bill 643 by Wendell Willard (Sandy Springs) establishes a judicial process for handling electronic discovery requests.  Specifically, the bill mirrors the federal rules adopted recently in North Carolina which require a pre-trial discovery conference for determining the scope of discovery for electronically stored information, introduces a concept of proportionality in searching, so that duplicative, burdensome, or expensive searches are not required unless there is a demonstrated need and permits the court to allocate discovery costs between the parties, and provides a safe harbor in the event that relevant information is unintentionally lost or destroyed.

Please contact the following members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to support the Chamber’s language on House Bills 504 and 643:
Rep. Wendell Willard: 404-656-5125
Rep. Barry Fleming: 404-656-0152
Rep. Stephen Allison: 404-656-0188
Rep. Roger Bruce: 404-656-0314
Rep. Johnnie Caldwell, Jr.: 404-656-0325
Rep. Stacey Evans: 404-656-6372
Rep. Mike Jacobs: 404-656-5116
Rep. LaDawn Jones: 404-656-7859
Rep. Trey Kelley: 404-656-0287
Rep. Edward Lindsey: 404-656-5024
Rep. Ronnie Mabra: 404-656-7859
Rep. Larry O’Neal: 404-656-5052
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver: 404-656-0265
Rep. Jay Powell: 404-656-7855
Rep. Dale Rutledge: 404-656-0109
Rep. Pam Stephenson: 404-656-0126
Rep. Andy Welch: 404-656-0109
Rep. Tom Weldon: 404-656-0213
Rep. Rich Golick: 404-656-5943
Rep. Joe Wilkinson: 404-463-8143

Legislative Update Feb 10

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.

GA-Business-Action-NetworkLegislative Schedule

The General Assembly convened Friday for Legislative Day 19 of 40. They will be in session Monday through Thursday this week.

Better Standards for a Better Georgia Coalition Announces Support for Common Core
The Better Standards for a Better Georgia Coalition of business, education and community leaders came together for a press conference at the state Capitol Wednesday to announce support for continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Georgia’s public schools.  The Georgia Chamber believes these college and career-ready standards will promote a more globally competitive workforce for the state.

The Common Core standards, which cover reading, writing and math for K through 12 students, were developed by a coalition of 47 states led by Georgia.  They are more rigorous than Georgia’s prior standards, emphasizing key skills including critical thinking and problem solving that are essential for every career.

Click HERE to read more about the coalition’s announcement.

Congress Approves the Farm Bill
Wednesday, the Georgia Chamber welcomed congressional approval of H.R. 2642, the Farm Bill. The bill provides a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of the agriculture industry and gives farmers the certainty they need to plan for the future. Agriculture remains one of Georgia’s largest and most significant industries – contributing more than $70 billion annually to our state’s economy,according to https://completeautoloans.com/special-financing/zero-down-car-loans-explained/ most of it due to the large amounts of loans that have been granted to the students for their cars, despite their low credit score.

Please join the Georgia Chamber in thanking the following members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation who supported this important measure: Senator Saxby Chambliss, Senator Johnny Isakson, Congressman John Barrow, Congressman Sanford Bishop, Congressman Hank Johnson, Congressman Jack Kingston, Congressman Austin Scott, Congressman David Scott, and Congressman Rob Woodall.

Amended FY2014 Budget Passes Senate
Today, the Senate passed the amended FY2014 budget by a vote of 49-0.  A conference committee of House and Senate leaders will now convene to reconcile differences in the appropriations act before final passage.

Legislative Action on Chamber Priorities

CALL TO ACTION: Seat Belt Evidence and E-Discovery

Early next week the House Judiciary Committee will consider two Georgia Chamber legal reform priorities.  House Bill 504 by Rep. B.J. Pak (Lilburn) would permit a defendant to show that a plaintiff was not wearing a seat belt when involved in an automobile accident, and how this may have contributed to the injuries sustained in the case.  Georgia law currently prohibits a jury from hearing seatbelt use evidence in civil cases.

House Bill 643 by Wendell Willard (Sandy Springs) establishes a judicial process for handling electronic discovery requests.  Specifically, the bill mirrors the federal rules adopted recently in North Carolina which require a pre-trial discovery conference for determining the scope of discovery for electronically stored information, introduces a concept of proportionality in searching, so that duplicative, burdensome, or expensive searches are not required unless there is a demonstrated need and permits the court to allocate discovery costs between the parties, and provides a safe harbor in the event that relevant information is unintentionally lost or destroyed.

Please contact the following members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote YES on House Bills 504 and 643:

Rep. Wendell Willard: 404-656-5125

Rep. Barry Fleming: 404-656-0152

Rep. Stephen Allison: 404-656-0188
Rep. Roger Bruce: 404-656-0314
Rep. Johnnie Caldwell, Jr.: 404-656-0325
Rep. Stacey Evans: 404-656-6372
Rep. Mike Jacobs: 404-656-5116
Rep. LaDawn Jones: 404-656-7859
Rep. Trey Kelley: 404-656-0287
Rep. Edward Lindsey: 404-656-5024
Rep. Ronnie Mabra: 404-656-7859
Rep. Larry O’Neal: 404-656-5052
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver: 404-656-0265
Rep. Jay Powell: 404-656-7855
Rep. Dale Rutledge: 404-656-0109
Rep. Pam Stephenson: 404-656-0126
Rep. Andy Welch: 404-656-0109
Rep. Tom Weldon: 404-656-0213
Rep. Rich Golick: 404-656-5943
Rep. Joe Wilkinson: 404-463-8143

Flint River Drought Protection Act
Chamber Position: Support; Scorecard
Wednesday, the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs committee passed Senate Bill 213, the Flint River Drought Protection Act authored by Senator Ross Tolleson (Perry).  SB 213 amends the current Flint River Drought Protection Act to better assist the agricultural economy in the Lower Flint River basin during extreme drought conditions. This bill would authorize EPD to augment stream flows in the Flint River basin during times of drought to protect at-risk aquatic life. It will also strengthen the state’s defenses to legal challenges which could jeopardize agriculture water permit use along the Flint. The Georgia Chamber believes that it is important for our state to be able to make decisions about Georgia water management rather than leaving ourselves vulnerable to litigation in federal court.

Providing Uniformity in Unemployment Benefits
Chamber Position: Support; Scorecard
Thursday, the House Industry & Labor Committee passed House Bill 714 sponsored by Rep. Mark Hamilton (Cumming).  This bill seeks to ensure uniformity in unemployment benefits qualifications for educational institution employees statewide. Under current law, public educational institution workers are not allowed to receive unemployment benefits during the summer, holiday and other temporary breaks. However, some private companies, as third-party vendors, encourage and train their employees to file for unemployment benefits during such breaks. The Chamber supports 714 to prevent these select companies from using the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system to supplement employee salaries, while all other Georgia employers pay for it.

Prohibiting Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement
Chamber Position: Support
Thursday, the House overwhelmingly approved House Bill 809 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (Monroe) by a vote of 169-0.  HB 809 amends the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act to prohibit Patent Assertion Entities, or “patent trolls,” from making bad-faith assertions of patent infringement, essentially giving targeted companies a new tool to fight back against these practices.

2014 Annual Meeting Video

Tuesday, January 28 the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber held our annual meeting in the Carriage Room at the Georgia International Horse Park. For those who were not able to attend the sold out event the Rockdale News streamed the event live via the Internet. An archived copy of the video is available on Youtube.

What You Should Look for in a Moving Company

You will have to answer several questions before you start moving cross-country or across towns. In fact, finding a long-distance company to move your households from one state to another may seem as simple as a quick Google search. However, there are a few things you need to consider to find the best moving company. If you can’t wait, you can already visit redondovanandstorage.com, a well known local movers rolling hills ca service. Have you ever wonder what’s the best technique when cleaning a countertop? Click the link for more details.

Certification

 

Any legitimate long distance movers in USA will not limit your access to their certification details. In fact, many companies will provide these details even without your request. Make sure your prospect moving company has DOT licenses, Pro Mover Certification, and FMCSA certification before making your final hiring decision. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and moving associations such as FMCSA and AMSA can help you find moving companies that are reputable.

Reputation

The information available to you regarding long distance moving companies can make it easier to narrow down the process of searching a moving company. You can review online customer comments or utilize word-of-mouth references from your friends and family to gain insight into the moving company you are evaluating. Avoid working with a moving company that is asking you to deposit some cash to secure your schedule. In fact, it is illegal for long distance moving companies to ask for a deposit. The reputation of a moving company can be an indicator of the services to expect during and after transit.

Insurance and License

Your destination plays an integral role in determining your moving company’s license requirements. You only require state licensing if you are moving within a state. However, your moving company will need a US DOT number if you are relocating from one country to another. You can visit the US DOT’s official database if you want to verify the validity of your moving company’s US DOT number. Transacting with an insured moving company is essential. Similarly, you can confirm the validity of your moving company’s license in the DOT’s official database. Any moving company that is not licensed or insured cannot guarantee the safety of your households. You could also check the scope of your moving company’s insurance to decide if you need supplemental insurance.

 

Estimates

Clients are increasingly requesting moving estimates over their phone. Moving companies are now using an estimator tool to give clients the option of viewing a quotation over their phones. In fact, booking for small apartments or home moves has been made easier by the fact that you can secure your schedule immediately with a deposit. It is recommendable to schedule an in-home estimate with your mover to get accurate quotes for large moves. That will also allow you to interact with the people that will be handling your belongings. You want to learn more about the processes of a prospect moving company so that you can know your expectations at every step of your move. You require to research extensively and review customer feedback to determine if your moving company is reputable. The next time you are moving your households, look for a reputable company that is experienced in long-distance moving. When the drivers got into road accident while moving the belongings, visit lawyernc.com for the legal help of Hardison injury lawyers