From the Capitol Steps

 

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March 2018
 
Tracking Legislation

Friday completed Legislative Day 32 of the 40 day Legislative Session. Monday is scheduled as day 33. Day 40 or "Sine Die" will be on Thursday, March 29.

Transit Governance and Funding Legislation

SB 386 and HB 930, the Senate and House versions of Transit Governance and Funding legislation, passed their respective bodies on Day 28 of the Legislative Session, which was "Crossover Day," the day by which legislation must pass out of its chamber of origination or the bill is dead for the session. SB 386, authored by Senator Brandon Beach, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, passed 51-4 and HR 930, authored by Representative Kevin Tanner, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, passed 162-13. This week Senator Beach and Representative Tanner appeared before each other's committees and presented their legislation. The House Transportation Committee passed SB 386 on Tuesday, March 6 by substituting the bill with HB 930 language. The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee. On Wednesday, March 7 the Senate Transportation Committee heard HB 930 but took no action on the bill. We anticipate the Senate Committee taking action on the bill during their meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. on Monday, March 12.

Both bills seek to create an integrated transit planning agency for the 13 county metro Atlanta region with the goal of a unified and seamless transit experience for the end user. SB 386 creates the Atlanta-region Transit Link "ATL" Commission and HB 930 creates the Atlanta-region Transit Link "ATL" Authority.

Solving our transit and mobility needs is the top priority focus for the Cobb Chamber, and these bills align with our policy position on regional transit investment:

    The Cobb Chamber supports the State of Georgia playing a strategic role in transit investment as well as transit expansion in order to provide a world class, regionally connected system that serves citizens and businesses.

SB 386 and HB 930 will ultimately head to a Conference Committee where the Speaker of the House will appoint three House members and the Lieutenant Governor will appoint three Senators to reconcile the differences between the bills. The Cobb Chamber will continue actively monitoring and providing support, as the conference committee process gets underway.

Opportunity to Engage in the Transit Discussion

The Cobb Board of Commissioners will hold a work session on Monday, March 12 at 1:30 p.m. in the BOC Room on the second floor of 100 Cherokee St., Marietta. The topic of discussion will be Senate Bill 386, House Bill 930 and the formation of a committee to represent community and business concerns about transit, as well as methods to communicate these concerns to the General Assembly for inclusion in the final legislation. Public comment will be welcome during the work session. To email your thoughts and comments about the transit bills, email transitbillcomments@cobbcounty.org.

We would strongly encourage Chamber members with an interest in transit and mobility to attend and potentially speak in favor of Cobb’s transit future. Individual public comments will be limited to 3 minutes.

Military Base Support

SB 395 creates a Georgia Joint Defense Commission (JDC), which will coordinate a state-wide effort to better enhance and strengthen our state's military footprint. The JDC will provide for greater collaborative efforts among federal and state elected officials, military leaders and the communities in which they serve. Georgia has eight military bases, Dobbins ARB being among them, and they are tremendous state assets and represent a massive contribution to our state's economy.

SB 395 passed the Senate and has been favorably reported out of the House Committee on Economic Development and Tourism. We expect this legislation to easily pass the House. The Cobb Chamber is very supportive of this legislation and the state-wide approach it represents.

Lowering Time for Alcohol Sales on Sunday

SB 17, also known as “The Brunch Bill,” provides counties and municipalities the ability to authorize on premise sale alcohol for consumption at an earlier time on Sundays. Currently state law is 12:30 p.m. and the current version of this bill, as passed by the Senate, would lower that to 11:00 a.m. This legislation was assigned and favorably reported out of the House Committee on Regulated Industries. This is very positive legislation, which will provide greater flexibility for many of Cobb’s restaurants to better serve their clientele. The Chamber fully supports SB 17.  

Joint Study Committee on School Start Date

SR 953 is a resolution to create a Joint Senate and House study committee to take an in-depth look at the school calendar and school start date issue. The Cobb Chamber has been a supporter of a uniform school start date for the state for a number of years. Our stated position on the issue reads:

    The Cobb Chamber supports a uniform state school start date that would begin no sooner than the fourth Monday in August. Travel and Tourism is the second largest industry in our state and number one industry in Cobb County. Providing a uniform start date for our schools will allow communities like Cobb and our entire state to maximize the economic benefit of a longer summer season. An added benefit will be greater job and career training opportunities for youth and students.

We would like to thank Senator Lindsey Tippins, Chairman of the Cobb Legislative Delegation and Chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Youth, for being a co-sponsor of this legislation. SR 953 has been assigned to the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee and we are working with our state-wide partners at the Georgia Chamber to ensure this measure moves forward.

 

The Cobb Chamber’s advocacy efforts are supported by our Government Affairs Committee, which is led by its Chairman, Mark Mathews of Henssler Financial. This is a great group of individuals representing a cross-section of diverse business interests. If you would like to participate in future meetings, please contact Slade Gulledge at sgulledge@cobbchamber.org.

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