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Advocacy Report


[Advocacy ]


dvocacy is a major focus of the Georgia Restaurant Association’s (GRA) mission. We take pride in our responsibility to represent the best interests of the Georgia restaurant industry at the state and federal


Serving a strong network of restaurant and supplier members, GRA staff members—three of whom are registered state lobbyists— monitor the critical legislative issues. We also utilize a legislative tracking service, keep members up-to-date and serve as a reliable source of information for members, legislators and media representatives. Strategic communications with decision makers is one key to our success. Whether it’s writing letters, making phone calls or sitting down face-to-face, we serve as the voice of Georgia’s restaurants by communicating with our elected officials on a broad range of issues.

Karen Bremer, Governor Nathan Deal and Commisioner Gary Black welcoming the 2013 Georgia Grown Executive Chef Inductees at the Taste of Georgia Reception. Photo: Travis Taylor

We underscore the depth and breadth of our industry. Our industry is the state’s second-largest private sector employer and we are responsible for one sixteenth of state tax revenue. When our elected officials understand this impact, it becomes easier to explain the consequences and benefits. Over the course of the 2013 40-day Georgia Legislative Session, which wrapped up March 28th, the GRA reviewed 2,743 pieces of legislation, hard-tracked 59 (48 in House, 11 in Senate) and took action on 11 House bills – 36 (redfish), 43 (entrapment), 58 (breathalyzers), 101 (non-profit, permit), 125 (immigration), 141 (human trafficking), 193 (non-profit tax exemption), 275 (immigration), 290 (sick-pay), 313 (brewpubs), and 314 (growlers). Some bills we advocated for, like changes to workers’ compensation (HB 154), helps keep hard-earned dollars in your business while also protecting employees, thus creating a balanced, positive outcome. Others, like those that created “Georgia Grown” (HB 298) and “Invest Georgia” (HB 318), help businesses grow and expand. There were also bills that we successfully opposed, such as proposals to raise the minimum wage (HB 97 & HB 681), which would have hurt your bottom line.

Rep. Margaret Kaiser, Rep. Jason Shaw, Karen Bremer, Jay Swift and Speaker David Ralston gather as Jay Swift is honored as Georgia’s Restaurateur of the Year and recognized by the House of Representatives.

This session, the GRA focused on defending small businesses and minimizing red tape. In actuality, we spend more time defending restaurants from onerous legislation than we do suggesting new policies. By and large, we find a receptive audience, eager to keep our state business-friendly. Moving forward, we will continue to urge our Congressional delegates to pass legislation that fosters a vibrant restaurant industry in our state. All GRA restaurant members have dual membership in the National Restaurant Association, which means that we’re represented at our nation’s capital on the broad range of issues that impact our industry. This report highlights just some of our recent accomplishments.


Members of the GRA with Congressman John Lewis in Washington, D.C. for the 2013 NRA Public Affairs Conference.

Agriculture Agriculture, Georgia’s largest and oldest industry, has played a dominant role in Georgia's economy for almost three centuries, according to the Georgia Farm Bureau. Each year, agriculture contributes more than $71.1 billion to our state’s economy. The restaurant industry is intertwined with many other industries, but none more closely than agriculture.

HB 101 – Non-Profit Special Permit Exemption Supported | Passed; signed into law 05.06.2013


It’s now easier for non-profit organizations and government entities to hold fundraisers (like church suppers) without having to obtain a food service permit meant for restaurants. The legal definition of “food service establishment” includes restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias, short order cafes, taverns and other similar public and private institutions. With the passing of HB101, non-profits and government entities selling food at events that last five days or less are specifically exempted. Exemption permits can also be issued by the county board of health. Such organizations do, however, still have to comply with all local government permitting requirements.

HB 298 – Agricultural Commodity Commission for Georgia Grown Products Supported | Passed; signed into law 04.18.2013 To promote products that are grown and produced in the state of Georgia, this legislation establishes the Agriculture Commodity Commission for Georgia Grown products. It is completely funded by the producers and agribusinesses that voluntarily choose to use the “Georgia Grown” trademark. This bill also changes the Georgia Cotton Commission by increasing membership from five to seven and excludes the Commission from general provisions relating to agricultural commodities promotion.

Fishing, Georgia Sea Grant Project Support | Open Issue The GRA recently offered support to Emory University’s Environmental Studies Department in a current study investigating how marketing local seafood impacts inland restaurants. We will help members better understand this movement and how it can benefit our industry.


Fishing, Catch Share Initiative Support | Open Issue The GRA joined the South Atlantic Fishermen’s Association’s Southern Catch delegation in Washington, D.C. this past February to voice concerns about how the lack of adequate catch-share programs has a negative impact on Georgia’s fishing industry. The GRA seeks fishery management strategies that allow for fishing year-round, with direct accountability to stop fishing when a specific quota is reached in order to protect sustainability. The GRA goal is to establish catch share programs that would reduce excessive federal regulation, allow more local control in communities, improve fishermen’s safety, allow Georgia restaurants more access to local and sustainable fish year round, benefit menu flexibility and meet consumer demand for Georgia seafood.

Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act Support | Open Issue The GRA has asked state Congressional leaders to cosponsor the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act in a bid to help drive down food costs. The bill would lower the amount of corn used to produce corn-based ethanol, thereby devoting more crops to food and livestock feed. The GRA position is that responsible energy policy solutions should not pit energy needs against food sources.


Alcohol If the economic downturn has an upside, it may be that legislators have been more amenable to relaxing older alcohol laws in an effort to generate taxes to offset deficits. Expanding ease of and options available for responsible alcohol sales benefits our industry.

HB 99 - Malt Beverages Supported | Passed; signed into law 05.06.2013 This legislation doubles the amount of beer a home-brewer can produce (from 50 to 100 gallons a calendar year for individuals of legal drinking age, and up to 200 gallons a year if more than one person of legal drinking age lives in the household). It also allows special event permits to be issued so that product can be transported to licensed home-brew events, festivals and contests (up to six events in a calendar year). Since sales of malt beverages from a private residence are prohibited and home-brew events are often sponsored by brewpubs, the GRA supported this bill in which to celebrate innovation and validate the culture of responsible alcohol consumption.


HB 497 & SB 136 – Georgia Boat Safety Act / “Kyle Glover Boat 20 Education Law” / “Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law” Supported| Result: Passed; SB 136 signed into law 04.23.2013 and HB 497 signed into law 05.7.2013 The Georgia Boat Safety Act prohibits boating under the influence (BUI)—that is, operating any boat, sailboat, personal watercraft, water skis, sailboard or similar device while intoxicated. The state blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that defines BUI has been lowered to 0.08, which now matches the threshold for driving regular passenger vehicles. In addition, penalties for anyone caught boating while intoxicated have increased. As a result of these new laws, restaurants operating near boating areas should ensure proper alcohol training for staff and heightened awareness.

HB 313 & 314 – Growlers in Brewpubs Support | Exploratory Summer Initiative These companion bills would allow brewpubs to sell their product at a rate that is more in line with the current rights of wineries. HB 313 limits exceptions to the three-tier system and caps the amount that might be sold retail for off-premise consumption to a maximum of 288 ounces per person, per day (one case). This legislation would retain the 50 percent F&B sales/10,000 allotted brewing/5,000 distribution amounts, and would require that other manufacturers’ beers from licensed wholesalers be sold along with the establishment’s brews. HB 314 would allow brewpubs and breweries to sell malt beverages produced on their property (within the defined limits) for off-premise consumption. It would also allow for on-premise sampling. We expect to see this initiative on the docket again during the 2014 legislative session. In related news, Governor Deal recently appointed Georgia State Senator Jack Murphy to chair the newly formed Senate Brewpubs & Alcoholic Beverages Tastings Study Committee, which will be responsible for studying and evaluating any proposed legislation regarding brewpubs and alcohol tastings in the state.



National Transportation Safety Board & Blood Alcohol Concentration Opposed | Open Issue The NTSB proposed that the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level for driving should be lowered nationwide as a way to discourage drinking and driving. The current legal limit that defines driving under the influence (DUI) is a BAC of 0.08 or higher; the NTSB recommended lowering the BAC level to 0.05. While the restaurant industry has deep concerns about drunk driving, our position is that efforts to reduce fatalities and increase safety should be focused on chronic repeat offenders. The GRA was not in opposition to recent measures taken by the Georgia legislature to create legislation that mandates breathalyzer installation on the automobile ignitions of repeat offenders. We feel that these steps are more effective than punishing the many thousands of Georgians who enjoy an adult beverage with a meal in a responsible manner. The GRA offers ServSafe® Alcohol Training & Certification classes and represents members of our communities who follow state laws concerning the service of alcohol.

Economic Development & Tourism According to Georgia Tourism, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the tourism industry is the fifth largest employer in the state with a total economic impact of $51.2 billion, supporting more than 400,000 jobs directly or indirectly. 2012 marks the first year that Georgia’s tourism industry surpassed $50 billion, an increase of 4.6 percent according to the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics—which also reported that Georgia’s visitor impact now stands 12 percent higher than its pre-recession level in 2007. Visitor spending generated $2.8 billion in state and local tax revenue to Georgia. Each household in Georgia would need to be taxed an additional $767 per year to replace the tourism taxes received by state and local governments. The restaurant industry contributes to and is a beneficiary of a vibrant tourism economy.


HB 318 – Georgia Tourism Development Act Supported | Passed; signed into law 04.29.2013 A victory for job growth in Georgia, this act updates procedures of the Georgia Tourism Development Act, specifically the process of granting tax exemptions for certain tourism projects. The new law allows certain companies that build new attractions to maintain a portion of their sales tax revenues for 10 years. It also addresses a top business priority; identifying new sources of venture capital funding for high-tech and start-up companies by extending the current angel investor tax credit and creating a new public-private funding mechanism called Invest Georgia.




To help members understand and comply with the Affordable Care Act (also referred to as the Healthcare Reform Act), the GRA has hosted monthly educational seminars. We will continue to do so, and will keep members informed of any changes to healthcare legislation and requirements.


The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law. The act's provisions become effective over time.

Auto-Enrollment Opposes The GRA continues to ask Congressional leaders to repeal the auto-enrollment mandate for employers with at least 200 full-time employees.

Immigration Immigration is a federal issue with implications for each state. The GRA offers monthly industry updates for members on how to comply with employment reporting requirements, including E-Verify. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility.



SB 160 – International Passport as Valid ID Initial Support/Limited Support | Passed; effective 07.01.2013 This legislation was initiated as a way to clean up some loose ends but kept expanding with add-ons during session. One part of the bill that the GRA supported prevents people from using foreign passports to get public benefits in Georgia, unless they can present additional paperwork to prove that they are in the U.S. legally. The bill also amends codes relating to new employee eligibility verification and requires public employers to submit an annual compliance report. It streamlines the license renewal process through the Secretary of State’s office as well as certain requirements in the state’s immigration laws (passed in 2011) by creating a one-time filing system for affidavits proving authorized use of E-Verify. This law also improves the procedure by which Georgia entities can use the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program for public benefit verification. SAVE is a web-based service that helps determine the immigration status of benefit applicants.

New I-9 Forms A new I-9 Form is now in effect (as of May 8, 2013) and can be accessed on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration’s website: All employers must complete a Form I-9 for each individual hired (citizens and noncitizens) to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals in the U.S.



Comprehensive Immigration Reform The GRA continues to urge our Congressional delegates to pass sensible and comprehensive federal immigration reform.

E-Verify for Employers with 11 to 99 Employees Effective July 1, 2013 Many larger employers in the state of Georgia are already required to use E-Verify, and now, effective July 1, 2013, smaller, private employers with 11-99 employees must also E-Verify all new hires. Private employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from this law. This marks the final phase for employers to enroll and use E-Verify as part of Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (HB 87).

Labor & Workforce Georgia restaurants employ an estimated 378,200 people. The GRA strives for a balanced approach and workplace solutions that protect business owners as well as employees.


HB 97 & HB 681 – Minimum Wage Raising Proposals Opposed | Failed These bills propose raising the minimum wage to either $6.20 per hour or scheduling annual incremental increases up to no less than $9.80. Though these bills did not pass the House this session, both HB 97 and HB 681 are expected to show up again in 2014. The GRA will continue to urge our Congressional delegates to vote down these measures.

HB 154 – Workers’ Compensation Supported | Passed; Effective 07.01.2013 This legislation changes workers’ compensation rules in Georgia. Changes include a 400-week cap on medical benefits for non-catastrophic injuries (no cap had been in place before), a requirement that claimants have “suitable employment” for more than 15 days during a trial return-to-work period, and increases the maximum weekly benefit to $525 per week to the claimant. An employer may suspend benefits if the claimant does not attempt the job within terms set by the treating physician for at least eight hours or for a scheduled work day, whichever is greater. These changes will help restaurants keep costs down but still ensure that their employees have ample benefits in case of injury.

NRA Chair, Phil Hickey, and GRA Executive Director, Karen Bremer, at the 2nd Annual GRA Golf Invitational which was a fundraiser for the GRA-PAC. Photo: Spravka Imaging

Governor Nathan Deal, GRA Executive Director Karen Bremer and Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black at the 2013 Taste of Georgia Legislative Reception. Photo: Spravka Imaging



HB 290 – Sick Pay Opposed | Failed The GRA is opposed to placing mandatory requirements on voluntary benefits. This bill would have allowed employees to use sick leave in order to care for immediate family members. If passed, the law would apply to employers who currently offer sick leave to their employees. The bill did not pass the House but is expected to appear again in 2014. The GRA will continue to urge our legislators to vote down laws that place a burden on small businesses.

HB 361 – Labor Workers, Union Dues Supported | Passed; Effective July 1, 2013 While every employee’s right to choose whether or not to belong to a union is protected, auto-renewals are abolished by this legislation by requiring individuals’ authorization for union dues to be renewed. This bill also allows workers to opt out from union dues being deducted from their paychecks at any time. It also exempts any contract or collective bargaining agreement currently in place, as well as any professional association composed exclusively of educators, firefighters or law enforcement officers.

Minimum Wage


Legislation has recently been introduced to increase the federal minimum wage rate by 39 percent, from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour. The GRA will continue to urge our Congressional delegates to oppose this legislation.

Sick Pay Federal legislators and advocates continue to propose expanded sick pay packages that would allow workers to earn leave of up to seven paid days each year. The GRA will continue to urge our Congressional delegates to vote down this legislation and maintain sick pay as a voluntary benefit.

NLRB Posters The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) mandate that would have required posting employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The rule, which had been scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012, will not take effect until the legal issues are resolved. There is no new deadline for the posting requirement at this time. Employers should continue to post all required federal and state employment posters.

Menu Labeling & Obesity The NRA is working in cooperation with the FDA to propose rules that are consistent and easy to understand for restaurant operators. However, federal changes related to menu labeling as a way to combat obesity continue to stall. The GRA will keep members informed of any updates in the coming months.


Ways & Means HB 193 – Tax Exemption for Non-Profit Food Donations Supported | Failed Vetoed by Governor Deal this session, this bill would have reinstated three important sales and use tax exemptions for food banks which had expired in 2011. The GRA will continue to advocate for this tax exemption.


[Committees We Follow ] Agriculture and Consumer Affairs HOUSE Tom McCall (Chair) Buddy Harden (Vice Chair) Robert Dickey (Secretary) Patty Bentley Ellis Black Jon G. Burns Amy Carter Winfred Dukes Terry England Carl Von Epps Bubber Epps

SENATE Susan Holmes Rick Jasperse Margaret Kaiser Tom Kirby Regina Quick Jay Roberts Dale Rutledge Jan Tankersley Darlene Taylor Sam Watson

John Wilkinson (Chair) Tyler Harper (Vice Chair) Frank Ginn (Secretary) Dean Burke Bill Heath

Lester G. Jackson Nan Orrock Tommie Williams

Economic Development HOUSE Ron Stephens (Chair) Matt Hatchett (Vice Chair) Barbara Sims (Secretary) Paul Battles Karen Bennett Paulette Braddock Buzz Brockway Tyrone Brooks Bob Bryant Jon G. Burns Jeff Chapman Katie Dempsey Tom Dickson Winfred Dukes Hugh Floyd J. Craig Gordon


Micah Gravely Gerald Greene Michele Henson Susan Holmes Penny Houston Pete Marin Randy Nix Butch Parrish Jimmy Pruett Terry Rogers Jason Shaw Donna Sheldon Tom Taylor "Able" Mable Thomas Joe Wilkinson Al Williams

Frank Ginn (Chair) Steve Gooch (Vice Chair) Rick Jeffares (Secretary) Ronnie Chance (Ex-Officio) John Albers

Brandon Beach Hardie Davis Mike Dugan Lester G. Jackson Donzella James David Lucas Jeff Mullis

Industry & Labor HOUSE Mark Hamilton (Chair) Chad Nimmer (Vice Chair) Tom Kirby (Secretary) Bruce Broadrick Bob Bryant Dee Dawkins-Haigler Terry England

Barry Fleming Hugh Floyd Edward Lindsey Pete Marin John Meadows Jimmy Pruett

SENATE Tim Golden (Chair) David Shafer (Vice Chair) Judson Hill (Secretary) Charlie Bethel Ed Harbison

Burt Jones Joshua McKoon Ronald Ramsey, Sr. Renee Unterman


[Committees We Follow ] Judiciary - Non Civil HOUSE Rich Golick (Chair) Dustin Hightower (Secretary) Wendell Willard (Ex-Officio) Stacey Abrams Alex Atwood Mandi Ballinger Christian Coomer


Sharon Cooper Pam Dickerson Micah Gravely Matt Ramsey Nikki Randall Ed Setzler Brian Stickland Dar'shun Kendrick (House Subcommittee)

Jesse Stone (Chair) William Ligon, Jr. (Vice Chair) Curt Thompson (Secretary) Joshua McKoon (Ex-Officio)

Charlie Bethel John Crosby Vincent Fort Hunter Hill Ronald Ramsey, Sr.

Regulated Industries HOUSE Howard Maxwell (Chair) Tom Taylor (Vice Chair) Tom Dickson (Secretary) Karen Bennett Joyce Chandler Kevin Cooke Sharon Cooper John Deffenbaugh Carl Von Epps Virgil Fludd

SENATE Rich Golick Brett Harrell Chuck Martin Billy Mitchell Alan Powell Matt Ramsey Dale Rutledge Mickey Stephens Andrew J. Welch

Jack Murphy (Chair) Frank Ginn (Vice Chair) Joshua McKoon (Secetary) Steve Henson (Ex-Officio) David Shafer (Ex-Officio) Renee Unterman (Ex-Officio) Ronnie Chance

Ed Harbison Jack Hill Judson Hill Rick Jeffares Burt Jones David Lucas Cecil Staton

Rules HOUSE Meadows, John (Chairman) Golick, Rich (Vice Chairman) Smith, Richard H. (Secretary) Abrams, Stacey Benton, Tommy Casas, David Channell, Mickey Cooper, Sharon Dempsey, Katie M. Drenner, Karla Ehrhart, Earl Greene, Gerald E Hamilton, Mark Hugley, Carolyn Jackson, Mack Jones, Jan


SENATE Lindsey, Edward Morris, Greg O`Neal, Larry Parrish, Butch Peake, Allen Powell, Alan Ramsey, Matt Rice, Tom Roberts, Jay Setzler, Ed Sheldon, Donna Sims, Barbara Smith, Lynn Smyre, Calvin Stephens, Ron Weldon, Tom Willard, Wendell Williams, Al

Jeff Mullis (Chair) Ross Tolleson (Vice Chair) Bill Jackson (Secretary) Ronnie Chance (Ex-Officio) Steve Gooch (Ex-Officio)

Judson Hill (Ex-Officio) Butch Miller (Ex-Officio) David Shafer (Ex-Officio) Cecil Staton (Ex-Officio) Gloria Butler Steve Henson Jack Hill Fran Millar Jack Murphy

[Who We Are ] It is a pleasure to serve thousands of restaurants throughout Georgia. As a restaurant operator, you don’t have time to review thousands of pieces of proposed legislation. But as an industry, we cannot afford to let all bills go unchecked. That is why we are here. We work to remove barriers and create opportunities for restaurant industry businesses large and small across the state. To help your business succeed, we advocate on behalf of Georgia’s restaurant industry at all levels of government. We also bring you up-to-date industry news and host important events and educational seminars. We face real challenges and emerging uncertainties that threaten our livelihood and that of our employees. But one thing is certain: The Georgia Restaurant Association serves as one voice for our industry. By supporting your only industry association, you help the GRA to better serve Georgia’s Restaurants. With power in numbers, we create a vibrant presence across the state, enabling us to be as effective as possible.

Karen Bremer Executive Director, Georgia Restaurant Association

Advisory Board

Board of Directors

Philip Hickey—Jocks II, Inc. Pano Karatassos—Buckhead Life Restaurant Group Alan LaBlanc—Max Lager's Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery, White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails George McKerrow—Ted's Montana Grill John Metz —Sterling Spoon Culinary Mgmt., Marlow’s Tavern, Aqua Blue Nancy Oswald —Ruth's Chris Steak House Andy Piper —Chick-fil-A Jim Squire —Chairman Emeritus, Firestorm

Paul Baldasaro—The Buckhead Life Restaurant Group Tory Bartlett—Hooter's of America, LLC Archna Becker—Bhojanic Will Bernardi—OSI Restaurant Partners/Carrabba's Italian Grill Brian Bullock—Legacy Restaurant Group Kathleen Ciaramello—The Coca-Cola Company Coca-Cola Refreshments Cathy Colasanto—Turner Food & Spirits Co. Chris Coan —Gas South Paul Damico —Moe’s South Grill® Walt Davis —Retail Data Systems,Inc. Michael Deihl —East Lake Golf Club Executive Committee Dale Gordon DeSena —Taste of Atlanta/DG Publishing & Event Sponsorship Chair – Hank Clark—Sterling Hospitality/Marlow's Tavern Jo Ann Herold —The Arby's Foundation Vice Chair – Bob Campbell—TM Restaurant Group Past Chair – Patrick Cuccaro—Affairs to Remember Caterers Kelly Ludwick —Chick-fil-A, Inc. Perry McGuire —Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP Secretary – Ryan Turner—Muss & Turner's | Local Three Mick Miklos —National Restaurant Association Business Solutions Treasurer – Clay Mingus—La Cima Restaurants, LLC Steve Simon —Fifth Group Restaurants Executive Director – Karen Bremer—Georgia Restaurant Jay Swift —4th & Swift Association

23 Board Members Leading. 7 Staff Members Serving. 1 Voice for Our Industry. Meet the GRA Staff Karen Bremer, Executive Director Ryan Costigan, Manager of Membership Chris Hardman, Member Development Executive

Katie Jones, Public Affairs Coordinator Nina Kamber, Marketing & Communications Coordinator Rachel Mathews, Marketing & Communications Manager Yvonne Morgan, Administrative Services Coordinator


[Bill Tracking] Bill



HB 101

Non-profits and government entities can hold fundraisers without having to obtain a food service permit that is meant for restaurants.

Supported Signed into Law

HB 298

Establishes the Agriculture Commodity Commission for “Georgia Grown” products.

Supported Signed into Law

HB 99

Increases the amount of beer a home-brewer can produce and allows for transporting it to licensed home-brew events.

Supported Signed into Law

HB 497 & SB 136

Prohibits boating under the influence, lowers state blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 for boat operators and increases penalties for boating while intoxicated.

Supported Signed into Law

HB 313 & 314

Permits limited retail sales by brewpubs for off-premise consumption. Allows for onpremise sampling.

Supported Expected to reappear on 2014 docket

HB 318

Updates the process of granting tax exemptions for certain tourism projects; creates “Invest Georgia.”

Supported Signed into Law

SB 160

Prohibits using foreign passports to get public benefits in Georgia (without additional proof of eligibility). Amends new employee eligibility verification, streamlines processes related to E-Verify and improves access to SAVE.

Limited Support Signed into Law

HB 97 & HB 681

Proposed a higher minimum wage.

Opposed - Failed Expected to reappear on 2014 docket

HB 154

Changes workers’ compensation rules in Georgia, helping keep restaurants’ costs down.

Supported Signed into Law

HB 290

If passed, the law would have allowed employees to use sick leave in order to care for immediate family members.

Opposed - Failed Expected to reappear on 2014 docket

HB 361

Payroll deductions for union dues require employees’ authorization to be renewed and authorization may be revoked at any time.

Supported Signed into Law

HB 193

This bill would have reinstated three important sales and use tax exemptions for food banks which had expired in 2011.

Supported - Failed

Georgia Restaurants by the Numbers... Sales

In 2013, Georgia’s restaurants are projected to register $16.0 billion in sales.


In 2011, there were 16,295 eating and drinking places in Georgia.

Power of $1

Every $1 spent at restaurants generates $1.12 for the state economy.

Power of $1M

Every $1 million spent at restaurants generates an extra 26.1 jobs in the state.

Restaurants employ an estimated 378,200 people in Georgia.


2013 Jobs

2023 Jobs



Restaurant Jobs Are


Of Georgia’s Workforce

Piedmont Place | 3520 Piedmont Road | Suite 130 | Atlanta, GA 30305 p: 404.467.9000 | tollfree: 866.467.2201 | f: 404.467.2206 |


Job Growth

Over the Next Decade

Advocacy Report 2013  

Advocacy is a major focus of the Georgia Restaurant Association’s (GRA) mission. We take pride in our responsibility to represent the best...

Advocacy Report 2013  

Advocacy is a major focus of the Georgia Restaurant Association’s (GRA) mission. We take pride in our responsibility to represent the best...