Chamber leaders and lawmakers meet

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson addressing the crowd at the chamber breakfast / Romney Smith

In their annual meeting to kick off the legislative session they emphasized how the government, businesses, and schools have to work together. Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark says although the meeting covered many issues, they all boil down to one factor. "We ask business leaders the number one most important thing for you to be able to grow your company, add jobs, and invest in your community, and the number one answer repeatedly is a qualified workforce and a strong K -12 system in Georgia" says Clark.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings says a stronger education system is guaranteed to lead to a stronger economy. "The bottom line is that people need skills. Most of the jobs in this economy, in this global economy require a degree or a certificate. So business has a strong vested interest to make sure that people that come out of our schools have the skills necessary to help those businesses be successful" says Spellings.

Georgia jobs have been steadily growing as our unemployment rate has dropped, which is a trend Governor Nathan Deal says he wants to continue. Businessmen and women along with politicians outlined their priorities to get on the same page and leaders say they're focused. "The most important issue for Georgia right now is job creation, dealing with these competitiveness issues, and it's important for the elected leaders in the state to know that the business community cares, and that we're working together" says Clark.

The Georgia Chamber 2013 Legislative Priorities:

Economic Development

  • Lessen regulations and improve incentives that facilitate expansions, capital investment, new recruitment, small business creation and hospitality growth
  • Expand access to venture and seed capital by offering incentives to attract venture capital firms to Georgia


  • Encourage school improvement through a more flexible, accountable and transparent system tied to a new school rating system
  • Pursue a new school student-based budgeting funding system that would tie the majority of the state's educational spending directly to student need


  • Enact workers' compensation system reforms that promote a balanced and equitable system that is fair to the employee and employer and designed to return the employee to work as soon as medically appropriate
  • Preserve Georgia's employment-at-will doctrine and strengthening the state's right-to-work status


  • Pursue funding sources for continuation of Regional Water Councils and their work to implement regional water plans

Health Care

  • Support a health care financing program through which providers can continue to care for patients without compromising the current delivery system

Legal Reform

  • Pursue civil justice reforms that provide confidence of equitable and predictable treatment of business in the courts:
    • E-discovery: Create a judicial process for scoping electronic discovery requests that provides for cost sharing
    • Duplicative recovery reform: Permit introduction of evidence to the jury of third party payments for consideration of damages
    • Seat belt evidence: Permit introduction of evidence of seat belt use for determining proportional liability
    • Bad faith: Extend the time for response to demand letters and clarify who the third party insurer must pay


  • Protect the "Transportation Investment Act" to ensure the benefits of the law as passed are not diluted in any way

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