Tillery: Week Three Highlights
The pace of the legislature is picking up. This week, I filed two bills on smaller issues but issues I’ve heard from several of you on — the first slamming telemarketing and the second creating a cause of action against fraudulent practices affecting Georgia businesses. I also co-sponsored several other pieces of legislation to protect the 1st Amendment from “big tech” censorship, expand the 2nd amendment, support public safety, and prepare workers for the workplace. Here’s a little about each below.
Protecting the 1st Amendment from Big Tech Censorship: While social media platforms have skyrocketed to the forefront of the digital communications era, we have seen many of these platforms censor certain users and their content for simply expressing an opinion. Senate Bills 393 and 394 work in tandem to protect against this censorship and give Georgians the opportunity to voice their opinions freely without fear of shadowbanning. SB 393 provides defense against a common carrier who wishes to censor or discriminate against a user based on their expression on a social media platform, and SB 394 forces businesses to disclose what information they need to collect from the user and gives the user the opportunity to have the business dispose of their personal information if the user so chooses. Freedom of speech and thought is essential to the Republic. We must fight content censorship.
Expanding the Protections of the 2nd Amendment: Senate Bill 319 is commonly called Constitutional Carry. While most Georgians can open carry a firearm now, SB 319 would allow anyone who can legally carry a firearm to do so without having to pay for a concealed carry permit. Some may still wish to get a permit, though, because of other states’ reciprocity laws. I’m a co-sponsor of this legislation.
Criminalizing Riots and Supporting our Police: Recent years have been trying for our public safety officers. No amount of support for our law enforcement community and all that they have done to protect us will ever be enough. Senate Bill 171, known as the “Safe Communities Act” recognizes the various displays of unruliness we have witnessed and defines that activity as criminal behavior. This bill will continue to provide protection for Georgians who wish to peacefully assemble.
Crackdown on Telemarketing: Senate Bill 364 is designed to further fight harassing and misleading telemarketing calls. Right now, if you get a telemarketer call, it is likely coming from overseas or a “spoof ” number and you can’t reach them to enforce your rights under the Georgia Do Not Call List. This bill makes the companies they are calling for liable for the actions of these callers when calling on their behalf. There is literally no one I’ve found who didn’t support this, so I hope it moves through the legislature quickly.
Protecting Georgia Employers: Georgia LLC’s and corporations are required to file annual renewals. It’s a usually simple process and costs $50. Some unscrupulous companies have made a business out of sending forms that look official to Georgia businesses with bills for these annual services for hundreds of dollars more. Senate Bill 363 puts these companies in the crosshairs of a class action lawsuit if they continue to deceive Georgia employers.
Workforce: Despite the pandemic, Georgia has maintained its position as the leading state in the nation for attracting business and employment opportunities. Senate Bill 379 is designed to make sure our labor market can support these businesses by expanding opportunities for apprenticeship programs. More specifically, high-demand industries will work with schools to provide ample opportunities for students to enter the workforce through apprenticeship programs.
I want to recognize several visitors who made a trip up to the Gold Dome this week. Many of our area’s economic developers from Jeff Davis, Toombs and Wayne Counties as well as the Leadership Wayne class were able to visit here in Atlanta. It is always a pleasure to see hometown faces here at the Capitol. As always, please don’t hesitate to call if I can answer your question specifically and if you find yourself near the Capitol in the next few months, please stop in. I am humbled by the trust you have placed in me to represent you here in Atlanta. Thank you for allowing me to continue to work for you.
Sen. Blake Tillery serves as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Liberty and Tattnall counties. He can be reached by email at [email protected]
By Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia)