Atlanta Office News

July 7, 2011

Pardon Our Dust

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Former State Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson Named To The State Board of Economic Development
McGuireWoods Consulting’s own Eric Johnson has been appointed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the state Board of Economic Development. Senator Johnson was also named co-chair of presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty’s Georgia operations.  Senator Johnson will focus his energy raising money for Tim Pawlenty’s presidential bid in the hopes of winning the Republican primary and ultimately the White House. 
Georgia’s Controversial Immigration Bill Is Heard In Court
U.S. District Judge Tom Thrash has ruled that 21 of the 23 sections of the Georgia’s new illegal immigration law are constitutional. Judge Thrash blocked parts of the bill that would allow police officers to verify the immigration status of people who cannot provide proper identification. He also blocked provisions that would penalize people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens plans to appeal the ruling that these sections of the law are preempted. Another section of the Georgia law set to be phased in starting in January will require many businesses to check the immigration status of new hires. An Arizona law with the same requirement was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Georgia Wins Victory in Tri-State Water War
A federal appeals panel has overturned a lower court ruling stating that Metro Atlanta would have limited rights to drinking water from Lake Lanier. In that lower court ruling U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled that drinking water from Lake Lanier would be returned to levels last seen in the 1970’s when Atlanta was much smaller. Judge Magnuson said he would uphold his ruling unless the Governors from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia could reach a compromise. The ongoing legal feud centers around how much water metro Atlanta can take from the headwaters of a watershed that serves the three states. Alabama and Florida have argued that Atlanta’s consumption leaves too little water for communities downstream.
Georgia Ranks High Nationally In Best For Business Study
Georgia ranks as the 4th best state to do business in a nationwide study conducted by CNBC. The study ranks states based on 43 measurements that are grouped into 10 different categories including: access to capital, cost of doing business, economy, quality of life, business friendliness, cost of living, education, technology & innovation, infrastructure & transportation, and work force. Georgia’s highest ranking came in infrastructure and transportation. In 2010, Georgia was ranked 10th best for business in the CNBC rankings. 
New Laws Take Effect On July 1
The most notable law that took effect July 1 in Georgia is the often-debated and controversial immigration bill. But several other bills that affect the everyday lives of Georgian’s also became law:   
HB 179: Gives billboard owners the right to clear state-owned roadside trees that block their signs view.
HB 101: Requires drivers to pass cyclists at a 3-foot distance.
SB 57: Enforces the law prohibiting passing a school bus while it is stopped and unloading children through the use of video surveillance cameras.
SB 88: Increases the age requirements for child restraint systems in vehicles from 6 years old to 8 years old.