New COVID-19 Bill Waives Legal Liabilities, Angers Georgia Democrats


Members of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus are displeased that their colleagues in the state house passed a bill that waives liability for employers if and when an employee contracts COVID-19.

State house members passed the bill, HB 112, this week by a vote of 99 to 69.

House Minority Leader James Beverly (D-Macon), in an emailed press release, said the bill, despite what Republicans say, does not protect small businesses.

“HB 112 would attack our hardworking neighbors and families who are forced to work in hazardous environments that show blatant disregard for their safety and well-being by removing their opportunity to have a day in court,” Beverly said.

“Our country has long stood by our workers’ rights to have their voices heard in our justice system through civil cases; HB 112 silences that right and their voice. Voting against HB 112 was not a vote against Georgia’s small businesses. Instead, it was a vote in favor of a worker’s rights that are put into danger by bad-actor employers who have no standard for treating their workers properly.”

Beverly went on to say that “Georgia Republicans are only pretending to help our small businesses while they send millions of our tax dollars to out-of-state special interests.”

According to the Georgia General Assembly’s website, State Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) sponsored HB 112.

As The Georgia Star News reported this week, Georgia State Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans) introduced a bill that she says will incentivize people to manufacture medical devices inside state lines. Sponsors say that this legislation, if enacted into law, would limit Georgia’s need to compete with other states or foreign nations for critical supplies.

Legislators describe this bill as the Georgia Made Medical Manufacturing Act.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he supports Lott’s legislation. The governor, in a press release, described it as one of his administration’s key initiatives.

During the 2019-2020 legislative session, Georgia enacted a PPE Tax Credit to incentivize manufacturers of Personal Protective Equipment. That included Georgia manufacturers who did not traditionally manufacture PPE but began doing so while responding to COVID-19.

Also as reported this month, the people who work for Georgia’s film and television studios are not only working again but working more frequently than their counterparts at competing studios in California and the United Kingdom. That’s because officials in Georgia’s state government have a more lenient COVID-19 policy. Georgia studios opened back up not long after the start of the pandemic.

This, according to Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office as she spoke at the Georgia General Assembly.

“The reason they have returned to work more quickly than the competition is [because of] the state’s decision to let the industry regulate itself and get back to work,” Thomas told members of the House Creative Arts & Entertainment Committee.

“They [the studios] have stringent safety protocols. They have a tremendous amount of testing. Because of that, their positivity rate on all of their tests is less than 1 percent.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Small Business” by spurekar. CC BY 2.0.








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