Georgia Senate passes Small Business Protection Act, other business measures



(The Center Square) — The Georgia Senate has passed a flurry of legislation as lawmakers approach Thursday’s Crossover Day, effectively the deadline for either the House or the Senate to pass a measure for consideration during this year’s session.

Among the bills lawmakers passed was Senate Bill 429, the “Small Business Protection Act.”

“Senate Bill 429 would let the governor or any member of the General Assembly ask the Office of Planning and Budget and the Department of Audits and Accounts to produce a report on the impact any bill would have on Georgia’s small businesses,” National Federation of Independent Business State Director Hunter Loggins said in a statement. The measure is one of NFIB’s top priorities in this year’s General Assembly.

“Main Street businesses are under tremendous economic pressure right now,” Loggins added. “Inflation continues to drive up the cost of doing business, and employers are still struggling to fill vacant positions. Senate Bill 429 would help lawmakers identify bad legislation and ensure that any [bills] that pass the General Assembly would do more good than harm.”

The measure is part of Lt. Governor Burt Jones’s Red Tape Rollback initiative.

“Our goal throughout this initiative has been to reduce the government’s strain on Georgia business owners,” Lt. Governor Burt Jones, a Republican, said in a statement. “In order to keep Georgia’s business community thriving, we must continue to empower our small businesses and ensure that regulations do not impede their opportunities for growth.”

State senators also passed SB 384 to develop and administer the “State of Georgia as Model Employer Program” to increase employment opportunities for Georgians with disabilities, SB 399 to encourage the Technical College System and the University System to coordinate efforts to expand transfer opportunities between the two systems and SB 440 to create the Accelerated Career Diploma Program.

They also passed SB 235 to create the HBCU Innovation and Economic Prosperity Planning Districts Commission.

The districts “will serve as catalysts for diversifying our workforce, driving innovation and economic impact, and anchoring community and economic development around their campuses, with our HBCUs driving those efforts,” Sen. Sonya Halpern, D-Atlanta, said in a statement. “This legislation is a testament to our commitment to inclusive growth and economic vitality for all.”

Lawmakers also passed SB 10, the “Safe Streets Act,” creating an offense for knowingly attending and facilitating illegal drag races or exhibitions of “laying drag.” It also increases the penalty for reckless stunt driving.

“This legislative milestone is a crucial step in our ongoing efforts to enhance road safety throughout the state,” state Sen. Emanuel Jones, D–Decatur, said in a statement. “By cracking down on illegal drag racing and reckless stunt driving, we are sending a clear message that such dangerous behaviors will not be tolerated. Our aim is to make roads safer for all Georgians, and this legislation is a significant stride towards achieving that goal.”

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