Rep. Hamilton’s Legislation Signed Into Law by Governor
ATLANTA – State Representative Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming) commented today on Governor Nathan Deal signing into law House Bill 714, legislation which corrects a loophole in Georgia’s unemployment system. Sponsored by Rep. Hamilton, HB 714 passed the General Assembly during this year’s legislative session and received the support of business groups across the state.
“This new law will create uniformity in administering unemployment benefits across Georgia, ultimately saving businesses $8-10 million annually because of the elimination of a loop-hole that benefited a small group of employers and employees,” said Rep. Hamilton. “The other part of the bill will allow the Georgia Department of Labor to be more efficient in their processing of claims while preserving an additional $80 million annually in the Unemployment Trust Fund. I want to thank all the businesses, organizations, GDOL staff, my colleagues and Governor Deal for working so hard and for supporting this measure that will continue to help keep Georgia the “Number 1” place to do business.”
Governor Deal signed HB 714 on Thursday, April, 24, 2014 at a bill signing ceremony in the Governor’s office at the State Capitol. Also in attendance at the bill signing was Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) Commissioner, Mark Butler; Georgia Chamber Senior Vice President, David Raynor; Georgia Chamber Public Affairs Director, Sally Kilpatrick; National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) State Director, Kyle Jackson; and President of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, James McCoy; Forsyth County resident and business owner, Joyce Abernathy; and Georgia Child Care Association Executive Director, Carolyn Salvador.
“I would like to thank Rep. Hamilton for his outstanding work on sponsoring and helping pass HB 714,” said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Because of his hard work we will be able to stop some companies from gaming the unemployment system, which was costing other Georgia businesses millions of dollars every year.”
“Georgia’s businesses provide the funding for the state’s unemployment insurance, and it is important that qualifications for benefits are uniform,” said Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark. “Enacting HB 714 will help ensure that all Georgians meet the same qualifications to collect unemployment benefits, saving our state’s businesses between $8 million and $10 million annually.”
HB 714 corrects a loophole in Georgia’s unemployment system, which has allowed a handful of companies to abuse the unemployment system. These companies and employees use unemployment benefits to supplement the salaries of seasonal workers; a practice that is estimated to cost the unemployment system approximately $8 to $10 million each year. Some of the worst offenders of this abuse are contractors who hire school bus drivers and cafeteria workers on behalf of local school systems. Unemployment benefits are not intended for seasonal workers whose jobs are expected to resume at the end of the break. The bill asserts that local school boards should choose contractors who pay their workers a livable wage, without needing assistance from unemployment during the summer months.
“Small business is grateful for Rep. Hamilton’s work on this important piece of legislation,” added Kyle Jackson, State Director, NFIB. “For too long, small employers have been forced to subsidize the business practices of a handful of companies to the tune of roughly $10 million per year. With Governor Deal’s signature, small employers will be freed from this harmful and job killing surtax.”
“HB 714 sponsored by Representative Hamilton will create an important cost savings for Georgia businesses and will help us keep Georgia number one for doing business,” said James McCoy, President of Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce. “On a local level, the bill is important for companies in Forsyth County and ultimately will mean that companies can use the cost savings to create to new jobs and expand.”
For more information on HB 714, please click here.
Representative Mark Hamilton represents the citizens of District 24, which includes portions of Forsyth County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2006 and currently serves as Chairman of the Industry and Labor Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations, Energy, Utilities, & Telecommunications, Governmental Affairs, Rules, and Transportation committees.
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