Whether for the state house or Congress, mayor or county commission, every candidate running for office this year is talking about creating jobs and improving our economy. That is what all voters want, what our communities, state and nation need, and what will ultimately help us recover from a seemingly endless recession.
While party lines may divide who wins and who loses come November — there are some critical non-partisan issues we can all agree on that will help us to achieve this important goal. One of those is Amendment 1, which was passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support by the General Assembly earlier this year.
Georgia is in a constant competition with not only our neighboring states, but the rest of the nation and even the world for jobs. We have to work hard to keep jobs from leaving our state and even harder to attract new ones. Today, rather than standing on equal footing with our economic competitors, Georgia is at risk of losing quality jobs because of how our employment laws are written.
If passed, Amendment 1 will close existing legal flaws, provide important protections and certainty to both employers and employees, and ensure that our state remains a place where companies want to do business.
Amendment 1 accomplishes these goals in a few key ways. First, in the case of a contract dispute, it allows judges to rule based on the original intent of both parties rather than throwing out entire agreements over minor or technical errors.
Second, it sets new parameters regarding who can be required to sign an employment contract so that only those employees who have access to truly proprietary information, trade secrets or intellectual property are subject to such agreements. This excludes the vast majority of employees in most companies.
Finally, it will put Georgia on an equal playing field by making our laws consistent with those of many of our economic competitors.
If passed, Amendment 1 will protect the business owner who has put their life’s work and savings into building a business as well as the employee whose boss is trying to change an agreement’s terms upon their departure. It will protect companies large and small and send a signal that yes, Georgia wants your business. Finally, it will provide piece of mind for employers and employees alike.
For all of these reasons, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce encourages all voters to say “yes” to Amendment 1 on Nov. 2. Keeping and attracting jobs is certainly something upon which we can all agree.
George Israel is the president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. For more information about Amendment 1, visit www.jobsoftomorrow.org.