Friday Facts: February 24, 2023

It’s Friday!

Craft brewing is a cultural phenomenon that has progressed from a niche hobby to a ubiquitous growing industry for many Americans over the course of only a few years. We see that here in Georgia, where the number of craft breweries increased from 45 to 155 between 2015 and 2021.

However, Georgia’s craft brewing industry is still hampered by outdated laws and regulations.

The General Assembly is considering a measure to free the brewing industry from some of those regulations. Senate Bill 163 would, among other things, further deregulate the craft brewing industry by granting brewers a limited right to distribute their own products to retailers, rather than contracting exclusively with distributors to sell at wholesale prices.

This is worthy of consideration, as past deregulations have been good for entrepreneurs, consumers and the economy.

How can Georgia expand craft brewery freedom?

Friday’s Freshest

Atlanta streetcar: Grand plans and failed ambitions

The Atlanta streetcar is a bad public transportation option for commuters and an expensive investment for taxpayers. Our public transit focus should offer solutions that help consumer mobility in the most efficient manner.

📺 WATCH: Some bad ideas never go away

Georgia’s cautious handling of unexpected budget windfall the right approach

When record revenues are rolling in, it’s tempting to spend every dollar. But as those revenues show signs of slowing, we see why Georgia leaders were right to take a more cautious approach.

A large gap between Metro Atlanta counties’ impact fees with questionable differences in results

Government fees can make the cost of building a new house in Cherokee County roughly $5,500 more than a house in neighboring Cobb County. This is because impact fees, which are charged to new developments to offset the increased need for infrastructure due to their construction, make the difference.

📺 WATCH: What role do regulations play in the cost of housing?

Government-funded broadband makes matters worse, experts warn

The feds recently spent hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in several states, including Georgia, to do what they say private internet service providers will not — connect rural and unserved areas to high-speed internet.

Time to reform Certificate of Need laws

The debate over Georgia’s “certificate of need” laws has raged since the 1980s. Is this the year lawmakers finally resolve it? We have seen some positive action in the legislature to this point.

At the Capitol

Here is your recap of the seventh week of the 2023 legislative session in Georgia.

– Lawmakers are continuing their rush to move legislation as they concluded Day 23 on Thursday, with Crossover Day coming up on Monday, March 6. 

– A bill to create a $6,000 scholarship account that could be used for private school tuition or other educational expenses was introduced in the Senate. Senate Bill 233 is sponsored by Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming.

– The Senate Regulated Industries Committee advanced two bills to reform Certificate of Need laws on Tuesday. Senate Bill 99, sponsored by Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, would remove CON requirements for rural acute care hospitals. Senate Bill 162, sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, would replace the state’s CON requirement for new health facilities and services with a special health care services license. Both bills advanced to the Senate Rules Committee.

– The Foundation’s Chris Denson provided testimony in support of eliminating the state’s certificate of need requirement during the hearing this week. 

– House Bill 557, sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, would expand prescription authority for physician assistants (PAs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) while also expediting the process to enter into an agreement with a supervising physician.

– Rep. Dale Washburn, R-Macon, introduced two housing bills this week to address issues that were discussed during the House Study Committee on Regulation, Affordability and Access to Housing.  House Bill 517 would prohibit local governments from implementing or enforcing aesthetic design standards, while House Bill 514 would reduce bans on local zoning moratoriums for no more than 180 days. 

– Sports betting is working its way through the Senate. This week the Senate Economic Development Committee approved Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Sen. Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro, which would allow sports betting both online and in person at kiosks. The Georgia Lottery Corporation would oversee sports betting, and, according to bill supporters, implementing this change would not require a constitutional amendment. The issue of a new constitutional amendment to address this issue has been and remains a sticking point.

– Senate Bill 170, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, would allow a student to serve as an advisory member of the State Board of Education and local boards. This legislation was approved by the Senate Education and Youth Committee.

– House Bill 440, sponsored by Rep. Karen Mathiak, R-Griffin, would allow certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) to work pursuant to an order from a physician, rather than under direct supervision of a physician. Under current law, surgeons often fulfill the requirement and provide onsite supervision despite a lack of anesthesiology training. 

– Senate Bill 102, sponsored by Sen. Larry Walker, R-Perry, which would allow CRNAs to work pursuant to an order from a physician, rather than under direct supervision of a physician, failed to make it out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.


Senate mid-year budget hints at slowdown in tax revenue

The Senate approved a $32.5 billion mid-year budget that signals leaner times likely lie ahead in the coming fiscal year. The House and Senate must now work on differences before sending a final bill to Gov. Brian Kemp.

Wholesale inflation surges 0.7% in January

Inflation at the wholesale level rose more than expected in January, the latest sign that painfully high consumer prices could take some time to dissipate. On an annual basis, prices are up 6%.


Georgia Tech among colleges and universities with best-paid employees

Georgia Tech made the list of 100 universities with the best-paid employees for the 2021-2022 academic year, coming in at No. 98. Stanford University had the highest average salary for all staff in the nation.

Oklahoma latest state to advance school choice

Oklahoma’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed school choice legislation to allow parents to pay for private school, homeschooling and other educational options.

Government accountability

Georgia should ease up on its ‘permission to work’ regulations

Despite regularly being ranked a top state for business, Georgia has a history of making it difficult both to get a job and to address workforce deficiencies.

Georgia businesses needed PPP loans, but fraud rampant in federal program

While business leaders say the Paycheck Protection Program was invaluable to businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now clear the initiative was ripe for fraud.


Existing home sales unexpectedly fall in January for 12th straight month

U.S. existing home sales slowed for the 12th consecutive month in January as high mortgage rates, surging inflation and steep home prices sapped consumer demand.

Georgia lawmakers work to reduce housing wait times for military families

Georgia legislators are leading a bipartisan effort to shorten the housing wait times for military families. The group requested a full report detailing data on housing inventory and wait times at each Georgia military base.

Quotes of the Week

“A tax is a fine for doing well, a fine is a tax for doing wrong.” – Mark Twain

“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.” – Jonathan Swift

“Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive.” – Ayn Rand

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