Georgia Legislative Update for Jan. 30

Date: January 30, 2015

In the first real
week of legislative activity, the House and Senate have started deliberation on
a number of bills.  The supplemental appropriation budget or the “little”
budget cleared the House this week and will move to the Senate. That is
the bill that provides for the funding of state government through the end of
the year.

HEALTH CARE: As for small business bills, the Senate, over the opposition of
NFIB/Georgia, passed a new mandate bill to expand autism coverage in insurance
plans in Georgia. SB 1 (Bethel) passed 54-0 and was named as the number one
priority of the Senate Republican Caucus. NFIB testified against the bill in the Senate Insurance & Labor Committee and was able to
improve upon a version of the bill which passed the Senate last year. 
While it is disappointing the Senate passed an anti-small business bill,
improvements to the legislation include:        

  • An exemption for businesses with 10 or fewer employees
  • An annual benefit cap of $35,0000
  • Opt-out language for any employer who has their premium
    increase more than 1% as a result of the bill


The bill moves onto the House where it died last year and where the House
leadership remain wary of saddling small business with a new unfunded
mandate.  NFIB/Georgia will continue to oppose this and other mandates.

EDUCATION: Legislation was passed out of the Senate Education & Youth
Committee this week, SB 2 (Tippins) to address the skills gap many Georgia
employers are experiencing. NFIB/Georgia testified in support of the
measure
, which would pair high schools with technical schools to give students
the option of pursuing a “dual track” of high school and post-secondary
courses.  If the bill becomes law, students would be able to graduate high
school on time with both a high school degree and a two-year associates or
technical degree. This is the innovative type of legislation that should
yield more student success and also create more a more employable graduate for
Georgia’s small employers.

TRANSPORTATION: The big “transportation funding” legislation was introduced
this week as well.  HB 170 (Roberts) is designed to address the estimated
$1 billion shortfall for transportation and infrastructure funding in
Georgia.  Expect a lively and lengthy debate on this legislation as the
House and Senate each have different ideas as to what extent and how to fund
transportation.  NFIB/Georgia is currently working on a special member
survey to get feedback from its membership on this important piece of
legislation.  

Related Content: Small Business News | Georgia

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