2019 GACVB Priorities & State Legislative Agenda 

(approved by the GACVB Board of Directors on August 8, 2018)

1.  Oppose legislation that allows discrimination

  • In Georgia, we do not discriminate for any reason, at any time, in any place. Period. 
  • Our history proves it. One of the reasons that Georgia’s economy outpaces our neighbors Alabama and Mississippi is because in the 50s and 60s we left the old ways of discrimination behind and through leadership found our way to new prosperity for our state.
  • There are some in our state that have promoted the concept of protecting our freedom of religion through what they call a religious freedom restoration act – also known as RFRA. In 2016 a bill was passed but Governor Deal vetoed it over complaints from many Republican office holders.
  • Don’t be confused by the rhetoric. It’s not necessary because our freedom to practice our religion is already protected and some promote RFRA because they want to use it as grounds for discrimination. We have not had one example within our state of anyone’s religious freedoms being violated, but we see many examples of other states having lost out on real economic investment due to their legislatures passing laws that were perceived as discriminatory. North Carolina and Indiana are the best examples of the immediate and significant negative impact that comes to the states that pass anything that allows for discrimination.
  • We want to keep that from happening here in the state named the best state in which to do business for the 5th year in a row. We want to support the Governor and others that have helped us avoid the same fate as North Carolina. 

2.  Protect Georgia's lodging taxes from redirection

  • Some communities have tried to stretch the definition of acceptable uses for those taxes and some have advocated for legislation to allow for its use for a wide variety of city services that have little or nothing to do with tourism. So far, we have defeated those, but they come up again every year, so we have to play whack-a-mole. We cannot allow the erosion of that revenue stream for the convention and visitors bureaus in this state and that is why this is one of our top legislative priorities.
  • Accomplishing this goal includes working with our friends at the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association and the Georgia Travel Association, among other allies, on issues like having Air B&B and VRBO pay their required hotel-motel taxes. We believe in a level playing field across all visitor accommodations. House Resolution 1398, adopted during the 2018 Legislative Session, established the House Study Committee on Short Term Rental (STR) Providers. View The Final Report of The Georgia House Study Committee on Short-Term Rental Providers. 

3.  Increase investment in Georgia's tourism marketing

  • Our state’s tourism marketing budget sits dead last in the whole southeast and has been there for over 15 years. This is a missed economic opportunity that would benefit all communities throughout Georgia. 
  • We continue to advocate that our state increases their investment in Georgia’s tourism marketing. When you consider the money spent by tourists in Georgia, especially those from out-of-state, the return on investment in the form of hotel motel taxes and sales taxes is tremendous from the State’s perspective. Revenues are up in Georgia, so we think that this could be a good year to advocate for more revenues being dedicated to tourism marketing. 

4.  Establish new school-start and school-end date policies

  • In 2018, GACVB served as a member of the Senate Study Committee on Evaluating the School Year Calendar of Georgia Public Schools (Committee) created with the adoption of Senate Resolution 1068 during the 2018 Legislative Session.  The Committee was charged with undertaking a study of the varied school start dates to determine its economic impact to the travel and hospitality industry. 
  • GACVB recommends that Georgia shift the start of the school year calendar to September and encourage local school systems to avoid extending the school year into June.
  • The shortened summer break that has developed in recent years has impacted students’ experiential learning opportunities and exposure to extracurricular community programming.
  • An extended summer would directly impact our business economy, but more importantly, allow for the vocational growth of our students and workforce in one of Georgia’s leading industries. Our state’s tourism-based economic development engine is not only a leading industry, but also a top five employer in Georgia with a continuous need for educating a solid and skilled workforce in hospitality and service – a quality that sets Georgia apart as a welcoming state for visitors and business recruitment.
  • Early August school start dates and end-of-school-year exams in June reduce the time high school students have for meaningful work and intern opportunities or to pursue extracurricular academic studies and activities over the summer– not to mention reduces the days to earn income for college savings or contributing to their families. Participating in summer jobs also shows higher education admissions professionals a level of dedication, maturity, and time management skills, and summer work experiences increase noncognitive skills such as responsibility, positive work habits, motivation, self-confidence, and interpersonal interaction.
  • View the Final Report of The Senate Study Committee on Evaluating The School Year Calendar of Georgia Public Schools (SR 1068)

2019 GACVB STATE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA (PDF collateral card)