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Election security, small businesses earn focus
burns jon 2015
State Rep. Jon Burns


Last week was a busy week at the Capitol! Now that Committee assignments are finalized, and Chairmen have been appointed, our House Committees have begun their work in earnest. 

Last Saturday, I enjoyed a great visit with some leaders from Screven County and Senator Max Burns. Several wide-ranging topics were discussed in great depth, and I appreciated the insight these leaders provided as we continue our work in Atlanta. 

Speaker Ralston has created a committee that will be focused solely on our election process, the Special Committee on Election Integrity. At least twenty bills have been assigned to this Committee so far. If you are interested in reviewing legislation that has been assigned to this Committee, visit the Special Committee on Election Integrity and click “Assigned Legislation.” 

House Bill 270 was taken up in Committee and passed last week. This bill would prevent election officials in Georgia counties from sending out absentee ballots in the final ten days before an election. HB 270 would help streamline the voting process in the days leading up to elections. 

The Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System also passed a bill that will update the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act that was passed last year as Senate Bill 359 and signed by Governor Kemp. House Bill 112, will extend the bill’s protections through July 14, 2022. As you may recall, last year’s bill provided certain immunities from liability claims that arise from COVID-19. 

It protects healthcare facilities or providers, entities, or individuals from liability for damages involving COVID-19 unless the party making a claim shows gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm – very high standards. 

Businesses will be able to continue protecting themselves from liability by posting signage containing specific language stating that you are assuming the risk of contracting COVID-19 at an entry to the premises. Businesses will also continue to have the option to protect themselves from liability by providing similar language on a ticket or wristband distributed to people entering the premises as proof of entry. 

As all Georgians continue to deal with the problematic consequences of COVID-19, we must support small businesses that are making every effort to operate safely and provide jobs and paychecks for their employees.

As I mentioned in my prior week’s newsletter, if you have questions or concerns about Georgia’s elections, please email, and I will forward your comments to our House’s election committee.

As we engage in the 2021 Session, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me. 

Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly where he serves as the House majority lLeader.