3 Bills Georgia's Small Business Owner Should Know

Date: February 14, 2017

Greetings NFIB Georgia Members,

Session is in full swing, and we are hard at it advocating on behalf of Georgia’s small businesses. Our Small Business Day event, featuring speakers Neal Boortz, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, drew over 120 people and many legislators from around the state. 

There are many bills that have been dropped this year that we are monitoring through the committee process currently.  First, here are some that we are strongly supporting:

HB243

This legislation is in response to local ordinances adopted by cities across the country.  Some Cities have mandated that private employers set an employee’s schedule a minimum of 25 days in advance, and then, if the schedule changes, the private employer would be required to pay the employee.

For example, if a restaurant receives a booking for a large party, the restaurant will schedule additional waitstaff.  However, under the local ordinances, if the large party cancels and the restaurant no longer requires additional staffing, the restaurant would still be required to pay the wait staff.  Of course, all types of small business would be affected by this type of ordinance.

To ensure that this does not happen in Georgia, the proposed legislation simply adds “scheduling” to the list of issues that local government is currently prohibited from regulating, which includes health benefits, sick benefits, retirement benefits, etc.

SB2

Sen. Mike Dugan is carrying SB2, or the FAST (Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency) Act, would make it easier for small business owners to obtain and maintain government-issued business licenses and permits. The bill would require state and local licensing and permitting agencies to establish a fee schedule that includes turnaround times. If the agency is late in issuing a license or permit, the fee would be reduced 10 percent for every 10 days the license or permit is late. Agencies would also be required to offer expedited processing for a rush service charge, no more than twice the original fee. Additionally, SB 2 would create a Building and Infrastructure Transparency Score, or BITS, that would rank and compare the agency permitting processes.

HB192

Rep. Beth Beskin is sponsoring a pro-business legal reform bill, HB192 to address Georgia’s business judgment rule.  Most states, including Delaware, where most companies decide to incorporate, require a showing of “gross negligence” by directors and officers of corporations and banks before they can be held personally liable for corporate decisions.  In Georgia, due to a recent court decision, directors and officers may now be found personally liable for business decisions even for simple negligence.  With the lower standard of negligence in Georgia, companies are strongly encouraged to incorporate outside of Georgia and talented individuals are discouraged from serving as directors and officers of corporations and banks.  This legislation raising the standard to “gross negligence” is needed to encourage businesses to incorporate their headquarters in Georgia and to encourage talented individuals to serve as directors and officers in corporations.  The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association are lining up and fighting us hard on this legislation.  Please let members on the House Judiciary Committee to bring this bill up for a vote and to vote yes in support!

Bad Bills we are fighting!

We also have many bills we are watching that we are in opposition to, such as minimum wage mandates, insurance mandates, taxes, and legislation that would open up small businesses to increased legal liability.  Be on the look out this month for action alerts if we need to make the voice of Georgia’s Small Businesses heard loud and clear!

 

Nathan Humphrey

State Director for Georgia

National Federation of Independent Business

229 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 515

Atlanta, GA 30303

404-522-1290 (office)

678-316-4336 (Cell)

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