GHCC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE
Formally set-up in 2012, the GHCC Political Action Committee (“GHCC PAC”) will serve as an additional legislative tool to assist businesses in making a difference in the electoral process. Since its existence, the GHCC PAC has focused on ‘meet & greets’ where members have an opportunity to speak with elected officials and candidates. Beginning in 2015, the members will have an opportunity to participate in education forums on PACs generally in order to inform the members of how the tool can be utilized. After the educational phase is completed, the GHCC PAC intends to begin raising funds.
A schedule of educational forums will be posted in the coming months. Check back here for more details!
2016 LEGISLATIVE WRAPUP
by: The McDonald Firm, LLC
Lobbyists: Jimmy McDonald, Sean Donnelly, and Bethany Sherrer
During the 2016 Georgia Legislative Session, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce worked to represent the interests of its members. By advocating with the help of its lobbyists, the GHCC was able to prevent the following harmful legislation from becoming law:
HB 781 by Representative Raffensperger (R – Johns Creek) would have prevented an individual from serving on an authority, school district, commission, council, or board of a local governing body if he or she is not a citizen and has not been a legal resident of the jurisdiction being served for at least one year prior to appointment. Additionally, in order for an individual to serve on a state authority, board, council, or commission, he or she would have been required to be a citizen and have resided in Georgia for at least four years immediately preceding appointment. The bill was later amended to create an exception to the Georgia residency requirement for those persons who own a business in Georgia but live in a county of another state that abuts Georgia. Second, an exception to both the U.S. citizenship and Georgia residency requirements was created for those who are currently serving in the military or whose immediate family member is currently serving in the military. This bill passed the House but due to the advocacy efforts of GHCC and its lobbyists, a Senate committee hearing was never held.
SB 85 was amended in committee on March 15, 2016, to include certain language of HB 781 by Representative Raffensperger (R – Johns Creek), requiring individuals appointed to serve on state and local boards, authorities, commissions, councils, and school districts, to be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The House passed the new bill on March 16. However, efforts to prevent the bill from getting the agreement needed from the Senate in order to go to the Governor’s desk were successful.
SB 6 by Senator McKoon (R – Columbus) would have required any person currently receiving a grant of deferred action to obtain a Georgia driving safety card prior to operating a motor vehicle in the state. The bill passed the Senate but never received a committee hearing in the House. On Tuesday, March 22, Senator McKoon attempted to amend SB 6 onto HB 205, which dealt with drivers who refused blood alcohol concentration testing. This measure was successfully defeated and no further attempts were made to amend the language onto other relevant bills.
SR 675 by Senator McKoon (R – Columbus) proposed a constitutional amendment designating English as the official language of the State of Georgia. The bill passed the Senate on crossover day, the last day for passage in order for the bill to be viable. While the bill received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, it failed to garner enough votes to pass out of that committee in order to be eligible for a vote in the House.
All of these bills could have negatively impacted GHCC’s membership, but through strong advocacy and influence the Chamber was able to prevent those negative impacts. These bills and the Chamber’s ability to stop them are prime examples of the Chamber’s continued influence on state policy.