The General Assembly has had an active week with four legislative days and a number of bills moving through the committee process. The 56 members of the State Senate have filed 495 bills to date and 488 resolutions. The House, with 180 members, has seen 1315 bills filed so far in addition to 756 resolutions. As we move closer to Crossover Day (March 15th) the pace will continue to pick up in terms of both the number of bills filed and the amount of legislation working through the process.
Notable action this week includes expected passage of the Supplemental Budget for FY22 in the House today. The Supplemental budget includes significant investments in education including a $2000 pay raise for teachers. That bill will now go to the Senate for additional committee work and passage.
The FY23 budget is being worked on in the House Appropriations Committee and is expected to come to the floor in the next few weeks.
Sen. John Albers to Hold Press Conference Supporting Georgia INFORM Act
The sponsor of the Georgia Inform Act (SB 332), Sen. John Albers, is planning a press conference for next Tuesday to continue the public information campaign on organized retail crime (ORC) and how SB 332 helps protect consumers in the state. Georgia Retailers will be involved in the press conference to support the efforts and continue the momentum to pass this important legislation. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and Georgia Retailers and its members have been busy educating members of the committee. The response to the bill has been positive and a committee hearing is expected once the committee works through some more House bills.
The General Assembly has now completed 15 Legislative Days of the 40 Day Session.
Next week’s schedule is as follows:
The General Assembly returned to action this week following budget hearings for the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to hear directly from agency heads on the Governor’s proposed budget.
Notable action this week included a number of hearings and some floor votes on legislation creating new cities as well as an extended Adjournment Resolution which provides a calendar for the rest of the Session. The last day of Session, traditionally known as Sine Die, will take place on Monday, April 4th. The resolution laying out which days the General Assembly will be in session can be found here.
Georgia INFORM Act Receives Unanimous Yes Vote in Senate
The Georgia State Senate sent a strong message regarding the importance of deterring organized retail crime by passing SB 332 with a unanimous vote of 51-0 on Tuesday. The GA INFORM Consumers Act, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, will take away the anonymity that high volume sellers of unused items enjoy on some online marketplaces today. This change will help law enforcement keep tabs on groups that are using the online marketplaces to sell stolen goods as well as provide consumers with more information about who they are actually buying their products from when they shop online.
SB 332 now moves to the House of Representatives. Members of the GA Retailershave already begun reaching out to House members to educate them on the legislation and why it is needed.
Computer Data Privacy Bill Under Evaluation Georgia Retailers
The General Assembly has now completed 11 Legislative Days of the 40 Day Session.
Next week’s schedule:
Senate Bill 332 INFORM Consumers Act Passes Committee- Set for Floor Vote Next Tuesday
SB 332 by Sen. John Albers, the Georgia Inform Consumers Act, was passed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday despite objections from a few prominent online marketplaces. The marketplaces claim that they want a federal solution rather than a “patchwork” approach by the states. That argument was brushed aside by members of the committee as they had been briefed before and during the meeting that the bill was almost identical to the federal legislation. Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Strickland noted that if the federal bill passes, it will supersede the state legislation.
SB 332 continued to move forward on Thursday when the Senate Rules Committee put it on the calendar for a floor vote by the full Senate next Tuesday, February 1st.
Georgia Computer Data Privacy Bill Introduced in Senate
SB 394, introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Greg Dolezal, has quickly become a hot topic for the entire business community. Georgia Retailers has started reviewing the legislation and will work in conjunction with other business groups to provide legislators with feedback on the impact the legislation may have on business operations.
The General Assembly has wrapped up 8 days of the 40 Day Session. Next week's legislative days will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Earlier today, State Senator Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) filed SB 394 entitled “The Georgia Computer Data Privacy Act”. It is extremely notable that almost every Republican member of the Senate has signed on as a co-sponsor. We are still reviewing the details of the bill, but early indications are that it largely mirrors some of the more imposing proposals that have been seen in other states and includes a private right of action.
Much more to come as we analyze the bill and determine the potential impact on Georgia’s retail industry.
SB 332, the Georgia INFORM Act, was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon where it received a unanimous Do Pass recommendation. The bill was presented by the sponsor, Senator John Albers (R-Roswell). Sen. Albers explained the need for the bill and then gave the committee a section-by-section description of the legislation. Sen. Albers noted that the bill was “98% the same” as the bipartisan federal INFORM Act currently making its way through Congress.
Georgia Retailers lobbyist Stephen Loftin led off testimony by noting the importance of the Organized Retail Crime bill passed by the General Assembly last year, and how the INFORM Act will work alongside that law to provide investigators and prosecutors more tools to track the fencing of stolen goods through online marketplaces. He also noted the importance of the consumer protections included in the bill such as the requirement that high volume sellers of new products provide a way for the consumer to directly contact the online retailer through an app or other electronic method once the sale is complete.
Representatives from Home Depot, Walgreens, Walmart and the Georgia Food Industry Association also spoke in support of the bill and highlighted the work the industry is doing to deter retail theft in their stores and the risk to consumers, particularly when consumable goods are stolen and sold anonymously to unknowing consumers. Amazon and eBay asked for changes in the legislation to include doubling the amount of time for an online retailer to share its information, but no changes were adopted.
SB 332 now moves to the Senate Rules Committee which will determine when the bill receives a vote by the full State Senate. Following that, the legislation will go the House of Representatives.