Updated: Wed, 01/16/2013 - 11:11

State chamber announces legislative priorities

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The Georgia Chamber of Commerce formally introduced its 2013 legislative priorities Wednesday during the annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast in Atlanta – identifying several key issues to be addressed during the 2013 General Assembly deemed vital to strengthening the state’s business community and growing Georgia’s economy.

“Georgia enjoyed one of the most business-friendly sessions in history last year, but in today’s global marketplace you need to constantly evolve and improve in order to stay competitive,” said Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark. “To ensure that Georgia stays on the right path to economic prosperity, we need to give companies already here in Georgia every resource possible to grow, and at the same time create an environment that will attract new business and investment. We look forward to working with Governor Deal and the General Assembly this session to get these important issues addressed.”

“The Port of Savannah expansion will be the biggest economic development opportunity of our generation. To take advantage of the job growth it will bring, we need to be sure that Georgia is ready to offer companies the most pro-business climate possible,” said the Chamber’s 2013 Board Chair Steve Green. “We feel strongly that by working with lawmakers to concentrate on these legislative priorities, we will put Georgia in an even better position to compete both domestically and globally, create jobs, attract investment, and strengthen our overall business climate."

The Georgia Chamber 2013 Legislative Priorities include:
Economic Development
· Lessen regulations and improve incentives that facilitate expansions, capital investment, new recruitment, small business creation and hospitality growth
· Expand access to venture and seed capital by offering incentives to attract venture capital firms to Georgia

Education
· Encourage school improvement through a more flexible, accountable and transparent system tied to a new school rating system
· Pursue a new school student-based budgeting funding system that would tie the majority of the state’s educational spending directly to student need

Employment
· Enact workers’ compensation system reforms that promote a balanced and equitable system that is fair to the employee and employer and designed to return the employee to work as soon as medically appropriate
· Preserve Georgia’s employment-at-will doctrine and strengthening the state’s right-to-work status

Environment
· Pursue funding sources for continuation of Regional Water Councils and their work to implement regional water plans

Health Care
· Support a health care financing program through which providers can continue to care for patients without compromising the current delivery system

Legal Reform
Pursue civil justice reforms that provide confidence of equitable and predictable treatment of business in the courts:
· E-discovery
o Create a judicial process for scoping electronic discovery requests that provides for cost sharing
· Duplicative recovery reform
o Permit introduction of evidence to the jury of third party payments for consideration of damages
· Seat belt evidence
o Permit introduction of evidence of seat belt use for determining proportional liability
· Bad faith
o Extend the time for response to demand letters and clarify who the third party insurer must pay

Transportation
· Protect the “Transportation Investment Act” to ensure the benefits of the law as passed are not diluted in any way

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