Advocacy Highlights

COVID-19
  • Contacted all local governments and got over 80 local governments to allow for beer & wine to-go sales

  • Contacted all local governments and had at least 40 governments extend certain fees and deadlines

  • Worked with the Office of the Governor and other agencies to create a list of rules to allow restaurants to operate and aid their community (i.e. allowing restaurants to sell raw products)

  • Successful allowance for restaurants to have take-out and curbside pick-up capabilities during shelter-in-place orders

  • Created a robust website that has received over 82,000 users and more than 129,000 unique pageviews since March 16

Local
  • Defeated $.25 per transaction fee (City of Savannah, 2018)

  • Elimination of bard cards and background checks; replaced with online alcohol training (City of Savannah, Macon-Bibb County, City of Statesboro, 2018)

  • Defeated the bundling of alcohol permits, which would have tripled the price (City of Atlanta, 2018)

State

Alcohol

  • Brunch Bill (SB 17, 2018)

  • Defeat of "Social Host" bill (HB 542 & HB 860, 2018) 

  • Supported allowance of brewpubs to sell growlers to consumers (2016)

  • Successfully lobbied to increase brewpub production barrel amounts from 5,000 to 10,000 (2012)

  • Merlot to Go (SB 55, 2008)  Allows customers to take home purchased bottles of wine when dining in restaurants. 

Legal

  • Co-Founders of Citizens for a Prosperous Georgia, a coalition for state tort reform. 

  • Defeat of Electronic Discovery Bill (HB 1017, 2016)

  • Supported the creation of Georgia Business Court, which streamlines business litigation court proceedings. (SB 110, 2019)

Regulatory

  • Rate Case (2019) Successful passage of most recent Georgia Power rate case that allows independent restaurants to utilize lower Georgia Power rates that had been restricted to chains of 50 or more units. Average saving projected at $24,000,000.00 annually.

  • Supported passage of legislation requiring that all counties in the state operate by the FDA Food Code (HB 885, 2016)

  • Successful obtaining of variance that allows pizza restaurants or pizza carry-out kitchens to forgo a glove requirement when handling ready-to-eat food ingredients that would be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds (2012)

  • Prevented mandatory posting of letter health scores on front doors of restaurants (2007)

Sustainability

  • Supported Georgia Grown Commission creation, increasing brand awareness (HB 298, 2013)

  • Supported permit by rule composting facility with Food Well Alliance

Tax

  • Provided commentary to GA DOR with regulation of third-party delivery/”marketplace facilitators” in ensuring restaurants were not responsible for sales tax when using these service providers.

  • Food Donation Tax: Removed sunset tax provision (HB 763, 2016)

  • An employer can get a tax credit if they pay for their employee to get a GED (HB 63, 2015)

  • Sales Tax Refund (2014) Successfully worked with GA DOR to allow for a three year sales tax refund for disposable food packaging, item for (re)sale and single-use items provided with meals. DOR clarified that the customer was the end user and the restaurants had been double taxed on sales and use tax.

Wage/Hour Labor

  • Since 2004, Georgia has prohibited its cities and counties from establishing local minimum wages above the federal minimum wage, which applies in Georgia because its state minimum wage is below the federal minimum.

  • Preemptive Scheduling (HB 243, 2017)

    • Local governments may not create or adopt minimum wage laws or laws that require "additional pay to employees based on schedule changes."

Federal | National Restaurant Association

Wage/Hour Labor

  • QIP/Restaurant Depreciation (2020): Successful fix to QIP/tax code to allow for 15-year depreciation rather than 39 years.

  • Tip Credit (2019): Supported the defeat of the proposed 80/20 rule that would have required employers to pay the full minimum wage to tipped employees as well as for any non-tipped "side work" that exceeded 20% of their normal duties (instead of taking the tip credit which counted tips towards minimum wage).

  • Joint employer (2019): Successful update of joint employer regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rule simplifies the regulations and imposes a four factor test for determining joint employment.

  • WOTC (2015): Supported an extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for 5-years in encouraging businesses to hire individuals receiving government assistance.