Gold Dome Report - March 2020 #3

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Despite the pouring rain (again), lawmakers convened today for Legislative Day 24. Committee meetings began bright and early in an effort to move proposals forward in advance of the looming Crossover Day. One of the more hotly contested ideas, school vouchers, was up for discussion in the Senate Education and Youth Committee — more on that legislation is noted below. Meanwhile, tort reform efforts are alive and well with another proposal being offered in the House which we have accented in the new legislation section of our Report. Speaker David Ralston also announced the formation of a new Committee in the House to review legal reforms, the Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System. Ralston’s rationale for the formation of this Committee is apparently protecting Georgia’s spot as the number one state in the nation to do business and any legislation which might negatively impact that “must be carefully considered.” Read about this and more in today’s #GoldDomeReport.

In today’s Report:

  • House Speaker Appoints House Speaker Appoints Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System
  • Notable Floor Action
  • Committee Reports
  • New Legislation
  • Rules Calendars for Legislative Day 25

House Speaker Appoints Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System

Earlier today, House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) appointed a Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System. According to the House press release, this committee “will consider legislation which seeks to modify Georgia’s civil justice system and the ability of citizens to seek redress through the courts.” Members of the Special Committee include:

  • Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) – Chairman
  • Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton) – Vice Chairman
  • William Boddie (D-East Point)
  • James Burchett (R-Waycross)
  • J. Collins (R-Villa Rica)
  • Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula)
  • Barry Fleming (R-Harlem)
  • Houston Gaines (R-Athens)
  • Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert)
  • Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta)
  • Martin Momtahan (R-Dallas)
  • Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur)
  • Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee)
  • Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus)
  • Andy Welch (R-McDonough)

Notable Floor Action

The House acted on the following legislation of note today:

  • HB 897, by Representative James Burchett (R-Waycross), addresses the creation of a standing timber notification website in O.C.G.A. § 12-6-24. It passed unanimously 166-0.
  • HB 918, by Representative Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), addresses pharmacy practices and eliminates steering practices by pharmacy benefit managers to certain pharmacies in O.C.G.A. 26-4-119 and mail order and seeks to reign in audit processes on pharmacies by pharmacy benefit managers in O.C.G.A. § 26-4-118.  HB 918 passed with a vote of 169-0.
  • HB 946, by Representative David Knight (R-Griffin), seeks a comprehensive set of revisions to Georgia’s regulations of pharmacy benefit managers in Chapter 64 of Title 33. Representative Knight indicated that Georgia is leading on addressing the medical crisis by making reforms in Georgia as well as shaping what is happening nationally.  He contends that there is a corporate takeover of healthcare by publicly traded companies.  His bill, in part, attempts to address pharmacy benefit managers from denying payment when a patient is not utilizing one of the pharmacy benefit manager’s pharmacies.  It seeks to address steering in state contracts for healthcare as well.  The legislation also eliminates the use of spread pricing, which has cost Georgia $93 million in years 2018 and 2019. This bill passed with a vote of 165-1.
  • HB 947, another bill by Representative Knight, also addresses pharmacy issues and requires that the Department of Community Health engage a third-party actuary to conduct a study of the potential savings if the state were to carve out pharmacy benefits from the state’s Medicaid CMO contracts.  This bill also passed with a vote of 168-0.
  • HB 969, by Representative Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula), seeks to address Georgia’s laws on housing and unlawful practices in selling or renting of dwellings. The changes were asked by the Department and seeks to bring Georgia into compliance with HUD requirements.
  • HB 882, by Representative Penny Houston (R-Houston), seeks to lift the current expiration on the sales and use sales tax exemption for the sales of food and food ingredients to qualified food banks. By lifting this expiration this exemption becomes permanent.  The bill passed 159-0.

The Senate acted on the following legislation of note today:

  • SB 323, authored by Sen. Kay Kirpatrick (R-Marietta), would establish standards for sedation in dentist and physician offices. This bill passed 53-0.
  • SB 372, a Department of Public Health cleanup bill authored by Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Videlia), passed 52-0.
  • HB 792 containing the Senate’s changes to the AFY20 budget passed 52-1.
  • SB 395, authored by Sen. Ben Watson (R-Savannah), increases the standard of indigency for hospital authority trusts and also provides more flexibility in how investments by hospital authorities are made. This bill passed 52-0.
  • HB 105 which provides for an income tax exemption for Hurricane Michael relief payments was presented by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega). This bill had an additional provision added in the Senate Finance Committee which imposes a $0.50 fee on all Uber and Lyft trips in the state. This bill was approved by a vote of 51-2.

Committee Reports

Senate Education and Youth Committee

The Senate Education and Youth Committee, chaired by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), met twice today to consider bills. This morning, the Committee considered two bills:

  • SB 386, authored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), amends Title 20 to expand the Special Needs Scholarship Program. The Committee considered a substitute to the bill that was first heard last week, and chances include addition of a list of eligible conditions that must be the basis for a Section 504 Plan or “formal diagnosis” and removal of the prior-year attendance requirement for children who have previously qualified for a scholarship.

    Several public education advocates spoke in opposition, including the Georgia Education Coalition, Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Georgia PTA, Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, Georgia School Board Association, Georgia Association of Educators, and retired Senator Vincent Fort. Senator Steve Gooch publicly testified in support of the measure, along with one parent. This public testimony was in addition to the testimony from the prior meeting, which Chairman Martin reported included 9 speakers in support and 6 speakers in opposition. The Department of Education also spoke to the potential fiscal impact of the bill, which they estimate at $70M in the next fiscal year if the bill is adopted (approximately $30M more than projected if the program remains as-is). Currently, nearly 5,000 students receive a Special Needs Scholarship, and the demand has steadily grown in recent years.

    On a motion Do Pass, Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), proposed an amendment that would reinstate the reporting requirement in lines 88-90 of the bill draft and also require the Department of Education to report the annual cost of the program to the General Assembly. The amendment was adopted. Sen. Elena Parent proposed an additional amendment that would expand reporting requirements, but Chairman Martin recommended working on the details for a floor amendment. The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS by Committee Substitute (with Sen. Tippins’s amendment) and be sent to the Rules Committee.

  • SB 101, authored by Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), is the “Coach Safely Act.” The bill requires volunteer coaches with youth athletic associations to undergo training to reduce the likelihood of injuries to youth athletes engaged in high risk athletics. The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

The Committee also considered several bills this afternoon.

  • SB 387, authored by Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta), amends Title 20 to provide for the State Board of Education to promulgate rules and regulations for the distribution of surplus prepared food to students, including, but not limited to, students dealing with hunger or food insecurity issues. The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.
  • SB 343, authored by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), amends Title 20 to increase the age of compulsory education from 16 to 17. There was some question about the dropout rate numbers and cost of increasing the age. Buddy Costley of GAEL and Ursula Harris of the School Social Workers Association of Georgia expressed concern about the potential negative implications of keeping students in school beyond when they want to be there. The Committee took no action on the bill today.
  • SB 486, authored by Chairman Martin, amends Title 20 to require that public schools administer the SAT or ACT to all students in the eleventh grade. The bill is supported by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and GeorgiaCAN. Chairman Martin requested a substitute that makes it clear that a student would be allowed to take the test but not required. Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) suggested that the testing be funded by the savings from test reduction under SB 367. Chairman Martin stated that no vote would be taken, but the bill would be considered at tomorrow’s meeting if a substitute is ready.
  • SB 466, authored by Chairman Martin, amends Title 20 to remove the “needs development” rating from the group of performance evaluation ratings which may adversely impact an educator's ability to obtain a renewable certificate from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The bill also provides for a pilot program for a new teacher evaluation system. Margaret Ciccarelli of PAGE and Buddy Costley of GAEL spoke in favor of the bill. The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.
  • SB 447, authored by Chairman Martin, amends Title 20 to add several definitions to Code relating to work-based learning. This bill sets the table for a study committee on work-based learning. The bill is supported by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.
  • SB 398, authored by Sen. Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta), amends Title 20 to ban mandatory homework for children in grades K-2. Homework could still be assigned under the bill, but students could not be penalized or “shamed” for failing to complete it, and grades could not be assigned. The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

House Insurance Committee

The House Insurance Committee, chaired by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) met this morning to consider a few pieces of legislation.

  • HB 1070, by Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens), would allow for both condo unit owners and the condo associations to receive information related to insurance policy in the event of water damage to the condo. This bill received a recommendation DO PASS.
  • HB 1050, by Chairman Lumsden, would extend assurances from the state’s guaranty association for long term care to insurers with HMO and other health products. Rep. Lumsden explained that this bill would help individuals insured by a company that become insolvent and would act similar to the FDIC for insurance products. Rep. Lumsden was joined by representatives of the Department of Insurance and other insurers that all spoke in favor of the bill. Shea Ross-Smith and Kirkland McGhee from Kaiser spoke against the bill; explaining that Kaiser’s full HMO model would lead to them paying high fees into the pool without offering a proportional amount of products from which their members could face the insolvency issues the bill strives to prevent. Ultimately, the bill received a recommendation DO PASS.
  • Finally, Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry), presented SB 188 which would update Georgia’s insurance code to be in line with NAIC guidelines in order to maintain the state’s NAIC certification. This bill was awaiting a new substitute that was not ready in time for the meeting, therefore no action was taken.

Senate Public Safety Committee

The Senate Public Safety Committee, chaired by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), met this afternoon to consider a variety of measures.

  • SB 460, authored by Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), makes multiple changes to the state’s laws regarding taxis. Sen. Miller explained that many people in his district utilize taxi services for their daily transportation but there are people that are fraudulently acting as taxis. This bill increases penalties for these individuals and also contains other cleanup language for the state’s taxi laws. This bill received a recommendation DO PASS.
  • SB 418, authored by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), provides for payouts from the state indemnification fund for public safety officials that suffer heart attacks in certain instances. Under current law, only firefighters that suffer heart attacks 24 hours after responding to a fire are eligible for the payouts. This bill would extend these provisions to individuals responding to any emergency. This bill received a recommendation DO PASS.
  • SB 458, authored by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), would allow school districts to install speed detection devices in school zones. Sen. Tippins explained that this bill would provide for a limited time of day for which speed radar may be used in school zones. The bill would allow school systems with their own school districts to operate these radar devices. Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) raised a few concerns including what he described as an increased risk for officers making traffic stops. Cobb County Superintendent Chris Ragsdale explained that his district’s officers are well trained and equipped to handle these changes, including their existent relationship with cobb county police. Due to time constraints, this bill was held for a HEARING ONLY.
  • SB 446, authored by Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry), would reduce the period a court must hold on to cash bonds in situations where the individual that paid a bond cannot be reached from seven years to two years. The bill received a recommendation DO PASS.
  • SB 479, authored by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawerenceville), would make alterations to the state’s distracted driving laws. Sen. Martin walked the committee through the changes including an increase to fines and preventing any individual under 18 from using a device while driving. The bill also removes the “get out of jail free” provision contained in the current law. The committee recommended the bill DO PASS.

House Ways and Means Committee

The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) met to consider three bills.

  • Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) presented a substitute to HB 153 that dedicates collection of local regulatory fees to local government use, among other provisions related to occupational taxes. The bill passed unanimously.
  • Rep. Terry Rogers (R-Clarkesville ) presented HB 925 for updates of technical equipment available for Sales and use tax exemptions. It’s a department of economic development bill updating SIC codes for their 2017 version. Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville) Asked whether there is a fiscal big and Rep. Harrell explained there is no new type of equipment added to the exemption. The bill was tabled to answer member’s questions about the cost and applicability of the exemptions.
  • Chairman Harrell presented HB 864 for the author, Rep. Bonnie Rich (R- Suwanee), who is out sick. The bill revolves around taxes on certain vaping products. It taxes vape products under new special rates and establishes a state regulatory scheme requiring licensure for manufacture and sale of modified vaping. It raises the legal age to purchase to 21 from 18. After several questions about why the products were not being placed under the tobacco tax, the bill passed unanimously.

House Higher Education Committee

The House Higher Education Committee, Chaired by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), met today. The Committee held HB 995 as it is being reworked. There was no date certain when HB 995 might re-emerge.

  • The Committee also took up HB 16, by Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex), which seeks to help foster care and homeless youth. Her bill proposes to not allow the inclusion of foster care assistance in determining a youth’s financial status when applying for financial aid to attend a state college or university or technical college. The legislation was before the Committee in the form of a new substitute which received a number of questions as it posed as a qualifier that the youth had not been convicted of a crime for participation.  There were questions by Representatives Park, Clark, and Pirkle which led Chairman Martin to hold the legislation so that additional questions and language could be worked out. One question surrounded the “residency” of the homeless youth as those youth cannot prove a residency for 12 months just by virtue of being homeless.  Elizabeth Lyle spoke in favor of HB 16 as a volunteer who has worked with these youth for a  number of years.  She stated that many have experienced trauma and have moved high schools in their years in care. She also explained that only 11 percent of foster care youth actually graduate from Georgia high schools and 50 percent of youth in foster care end up being homeless after six months of leaving the foster care system.  This bill was held for further work; it is anticipated that a Committee meeting will take up the bill tomorrow.
  • A second proposal was heard; HB 736 by Representative Dave Belton (R-Buckhead) which seeks to provide assistance to teachers who are working in turnaround schools.  A new substitute was before the Committee to create a refundable tax credit for these teachers rather than providing a loan forgiveness program.  This tax credit would be for the 100 schools with the highest teacher turnover and capped at $3,000 for five years.  The annual credit to be permitted would be $3 million.  70 percent of schools have 90 percent graduation rate; Representative Belton believes this credit will help those 30 percent of schools who do not have that graduation rate. No action was taken on this bill today.

House Health and Human Services

The House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) met this afternoon.

  • Representative Houston Gaines (R-Athens) presented HB 1094, which will allow three weeks of paid leave for state employees for new children. This bill was announced by Rep. Gaines yesterday at a press conference with Speaker David Ralston. There was testimony from Georgia Life Alliance that this bill is of particular importance given the legislation passed last year to limit abortions. Representative Spencer Frye (D-Athens) reminded the speaker that that he hopes that Georgia Life Alliance will be there to protect the children who are alive in the state with other issues which are brought forward. A motion was made DO PASS. The bill moves forward to the House Rules Committee.
  • Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) brought forward SB 340 to anoint September 1st of each year as Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. Annually, there are 16,000 diagnoses for pediatric cancer. Sen. Beach testified that increased awareness will help get better public and private funding for clinical trials. The Committee had no questions and moved that the bill receive a DO PASS recommendation. Representative Deborah Silcox (R-Atlanta), a survivor of childhood cancer, made the motion do pass. Elizabeth Newcomb from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta rose in support of the bill. The motion carried without discussion.
  • Representative Silcox presented, HB 1090 which encourages employers to provide reasonable, private space to pump breast milk. The employer is to provide reasonable break times to pump breast milk along with, to the extent reasonably possible, cold storage of this milk. Her changes are imposed in Titles 34 and 45.  She was asked about accommodations for women who wish to transport her milk; the bill does encourage the woman to bring their own cold storage for that milk.  Representative Dexter Sharper (D-) raised a question about line 26 of the bill. Georgia Life Alliance said it should not be prohibitive for a woman to work and Georgia values life and Georgia Life Alliance supports this bill. Representative Hawkins inquired if the employer would be required to provide a refrigerator if the employee did not have a cold storage device; legal counsel said no. The bill received a DO PASS recommendation.
  • Representative Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) brought forward HR 1280 which is an effort to create a Joint Study Committee so as to look at new research from CDC which shows that even lower level lead exposures impact children’s brains. This study would look at working on adverse impacts to exposure to lead. A population is missed so the state cannot direct services to those in need. It will create a Joint Study Committee with 11 members – some appointees of the House’s Speaker and some appointees by the Senate’s President. The idea is very important to the Department of Public Health. There were no questions. Elizabeth Appley spoke to the bill which Healthy Housing Coalition supports HR 1280.  VOICES, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Georgia Academy of Pediatrics supported the Resolution. The Resolution received a DO PASS recommendation and now moves forward to the House Rules Committee.
  • HB 881, by Representative Cooper (R-Cooper), was presented by substitute to the Safe Place for Newborns Act 2002 changes originally proposed in Title 19. This bill seeks to add additional safe places for individuals to leave newborns. Individuals spoke to Chairman Cooper about the “HOPE Box” which would only be accessible on the other side and otherwise be locked. This would allow women to leave a baby anonymously. As we encourage women to have infants we need to allow them options. Initially, the bill was more simple.  Due to input, there have been revisions. There are safeguards provided in the legislation.  It creates a Committee to develop regulations for recommendations by the end of December; they would have to come back with proposals like what is important for installation for the newborn safety incubators.  Legislation would then be proposed next year to create these “incubators.” Representative Mark Newton (R-Augusta) indicated that the state did not want to do any harm; therefore an abundance of caution was good. Representative Shelly Hutchinson (D-Duluth) asked if this was about the safe haven law; she said folks were not educated and would that bill enhance that education on safe haven.  Chairman Cooper indicated that there were no funds but she encouraged that legislators put information out on their Facebook pages and thanked Representative Hutchinson about her morning orders on raising awareness to care available for adoption. Georgia Life Alliance also spoke out to support the bill – women need options which are safe, pointing out to the death of baby India last year. The substitute version of the legislation received a DO PASS recommendation, moving it to the House Rules Committee.

There may be a meeting of this Committee on Thursday, March 5.

New Legislation

The following legislation of interest was introduced in the House today:

  • HB 1089, by Rep. Tom McCall (R-Elberton), seeks to streamline the process of litigation and reduce costs for Georgia’s industries, small businesses and citizens.  This legislation amends various provisions in titles 9, 15, 36, 40, and 51. This bill is similar to SB 415. Some of the many changes offered include:
    • Amendment to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-99 addressing the tolling of limitations for tort actions while criminal prosecution is pending.  Presently the law allows for the tolling of the period of limitations with respect to any cause of action in tort that may be brought by the victim of an alleged crime; this makes it an “alleged felony.” It still limits such not to exceed six years from the time the alleged felony gives rise to such action in tort until the prosecution of the felony has become final or otherwise terminated.
    • Amendments to O.C.G.A. § 9-10-5(b) and (c) regarding charges to be written out on request, exception, filing of written charges and copies so that in response to any written question sent to the judge by a jury during its deliberation, the judge, after consulting with counsel for all parties is required to respond to the jury in writing.
    • Amendments to O.C.G.A. § 9-10-184 regarding the value of pain and suffering in the trial of a civil action for personal injuries so that counsel is prohibited from allowing to argue directly or by analogy a specific worth or monetary value of pain and suffering or the value of any life in any wrongful death action to the jury.
    • Amendments to O.C.G.A. § 9-11-42(b) regarding consolidation and severance of proceedings so that upon motion of any party in an action in tort wherein the plaintiff seeks damages exceeding $150,000.00 and the defendant disputes liability, the court is required to order separate trials for the issue of liability and the issue of damages, unless the court for good cause shown orders a single trial.  Evidence relating solely to compensatory damages is not admissible until the trier of fact has determined that the defendant is liable; the trier of fact which tries the issues relating to the liability is required to try the issues relating to damages.
    • Previously reserved Code section O.C.G.A. § 9-11-53 is amended so that in accordance with Code Section 51-12-33, court and counsel for any party is prohibited from informing the trier of fact that the total amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff is to be reduced by an amount based on the negligence of the plaintiff or a nonparty.
    • Amendments are made to offers of settlement in O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1- in part this change requires that “any” offer to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death is required to be in writing and contain certain material terms (there are five which are essentially what is in current law but does require that the type of release be described as either full or limited). When making the offer, it also requires the offer to provide certain information.
    • Amendments to O.C.G.A. § 15-12-135 regarding disqualification for relationship to interested party, so that jurors are not to be disqualified in open court regarding a relationship with any insurance company which may have a financial interest in the outcome of the case.  Rather, jurors, are required to complete a questionnaire that identifies their current employers and current insurance companies, if any.  The court is required to exclude any jurors for cause, after voir dire, if the questionnaire reveals a relationship to any insurance company that has a financial interest in the outcome of the case.
    • A definition is added in O.C.G.A. §31-36A-3 for “nursing home.”
    • A new Code section is proposed at O.C.G.A. §31-36A-6.1  so that  a person who is listed in O.C.G.A.  § 31-36A-6 who exercises the power to consent to a transfer, admission, or discharge to/from a nursing home is authorized to execute on behalf of the subject of such consent a binding arbitration agreement executed in compliance with Part 1 of Article 1 of Chapter 9 of Title 9.

This bill was referred to the House Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System.

  • HB 1091, by Rep. David Clark (R-Buford), seeks to require that all students attending secondary schools which receive state funds to complete and pass a separate semester course focused solely on economics and personal finance which would include general economic principles and concepts; personal financial literacy; true cost of credit; home mortgages; credit scoring and credit reports; and planning and paying for postsecondary education. If passed, this would be required to take effect for the 2021-2022 school year. This bill was referred to the House Education Committee.
  • HB 1095, by Rep. Chris Erwin (R-Homer), seeks to address the Quality Basic Education Act at O.C.G.A. § 20-2-200(c) to provide that a teacher who receives in two consecutive school years any combination of two unsatisfactory, ineffective, or needs development annual summative performance evaluations is not eligible for a renewable certificate from the Professional Standards Commission.  It does further propose at O.C.G.A. § 20-2210(b)(5) that a teacher who receives an annual performance rating of unsatisfactory, ineffective or needs development is required to be offered the opportunity to request a new evaluator for the following school year. This bill was referred to the House Education Committee.
  • HB 1096, by Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), seeks to amend O.C.G.A. § 48-8-111, regarding the procedure for imposition of SPLOST so as to authorize allocation of tax proceeds to maintenance reserve funds provided that such expenditures do not exceed five percent of the proceeds of the tax. This bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • HR 1367, by Rep. Kim Schofield (D-Atlanta), seeks to urge local boards of education to ensure that each of its schools has an operational wheelchair onsite at all times.  It further urges that parent-teacher organizations and public or private donors are encouraged to donate wheelchairs to local boards of education for use in their schools. This Resolution was referred to the House Education Committee.

The following legislation of interest was introduced in the Senate today:

  • SB 493, by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), seeks to amend Chapter 1 of Title 10 concerning Georgia’s unfair trade practice laws.  It provides standards for cybersecurity programs to protect businesses from liability and provides for affirmative defenses for data breaches of private information.

Rules Calendars for Legislative Day 25

The House is expected to take up the following measures on Thursday for Legislative Day 25:

  • HB 488 - Commerce and trade; prevent organized retail crime (Substitute) (JudyNC-Momtahan-17th)
  • HB 576 - Courts; distribution priority of partial payments of fines, bond forfeitures, and costs; provide (Substitute)(JudyNC-Williams-145th)
  • HB 641 - Georgia Bureau of Investigation; grant powers and duties to identify and investigate violations of the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act and other computer crimes (Substitute)(PS&HS-Lumsden-12th)
  • HB 815 - Sales and use tax; local authorities providing public water or sewer service; exempt (W&M-Gaines-117th)
  • HB 847 - Hemp farming; definitions, penalties and criminal background checks; provide (Substitute)(A&CA-Corbett-174th) (Rules Committee Substitute LC 44 1462S)
  • HB 855 - State Board of Education; determine eligibility criteria for foster care students to receive special education and related services; provisions (Substitute)(Ed-Wiedower-119th)
  • HB 859 - Motor vehicles; tinting of windows or windshields; provide maximum monetary penalty (Substitute)(PS&HS-Pirkle-155th) (Rules Committee Substitute LC 39 2591S)
  • HB 885 - Penal institutions; certain information within inmate files of the Department of Corrections shall not be classified as confidential state secrets when requested by the district attorney; provide (Substitute) (JudyNC-Petrea-166th)
  • HB 1054 - Health; newborn screening for various disorders; revise provisions (Substitute)(H&HS-Cooper-43rd)
  • HR 1094 - Property; granting of non-exclusive easements; authorize (SProp-Dunahoo-30th) (Rules Committee Substitute LC 50 0077S)
  • HR 1167 - Property; conveyance of certain state owned real property; authorize (Substitute)(SProp-Greene-151st) (Rules Committee Substitute LC 50 0078S)

The Senate is expected to take up the following measures on Thursday for Legislative Day 25:

  • SB 248 - Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund; monthly dues, tax on premiums and maximum monthly benefit amount payable; increase (Substitute) (RET56th)
  • SB 249 - Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund; amount of monthly dues paid; increase; amounts collected from fines; revise (Substitute) (RET-56th)
  • SB 306 - "Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact"; enter into compact; licensing provisions; revise (Substitute) (H&HS-34th)
  • SB 313 - Pharmacy Benefits Managers; regulation and licensure; extensive revisions; provide (Substitute) (I&L-11th)
  • SB 336 - License Plates; eligibility for certain members of the military to receive special license plates; expand (PUB SAF-51st)
  • SB 355 - Professions and Businesses; certain boxing, wrestling, and martial art associations and federations; provisions; change (RI&U-21st)
  • SB 370 - Public Utilities and Public Transportation; compliance with certain safety and permit requirements; electric easements are utilized for broadband services; provide (TRANS-51st)
  • SB 431 - Annual Performance Evaluation; definition of "on-time graduation rate"; provide (ED&Y-50th)

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at:

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.