On January 1, 2017, a new Department of Labor (DOL) rule went into effect requiring many federal contractors to provide their employees with up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers who contract with the federal government should take steps to ensure that their current leave plans meet the new rule’s requirements or be prepared to issue new plans compliant with the rule. The rule allows for contractors to use existing sick time, vacation time, or other paid-time off policies to satisfy the Rule’s requirements. However, there are some requirements which will be at odds with many current employer policies. One such requirement is that employees must be able to carry over any unused paid sick time into the following year, subject to a few exceptions. Another such requirement is that contractor may only require certification of an employee’s illness or injury if the employee’s sick leave…       Read More

A significant number of “non-career” positions in the new Trump administration will be filled over time this year. That includes appointed federal positions in Georgia and the Southeast. HBS Governmental Affairs Chairman Matt Towery is a liaison to Trump Chair Rayna Casey, who is assessing and forwarding resumes to the new Trump administration. To learn about the process, or to begin the process, forward an applicant’s name, resume, and contact information to mtowery@hallboothsmith.com.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted privacy rules that will require Internet service providers, including Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, to obtain consent from consumers before they can share web-browsing data and other private information with advertisers and third parties. The new requirement includes information concerning websites visited, mobile location information, apps used and other sensitive details collected from computers and smartphones. The rules separate the use and sharing of information into three categories and include clear guidance for both ISPs and customers about transparency. Here are the new rules: Under the regulations ISPs are required to obtain affirmative “opt-in” consent from consumers to use and share sensitive information. Those categories range from Social Security numbers to browsing histories. But, ISPs would be allowed to use and share non-sensitive information unless a customer “opts-out.” For example, email address or service tier information would be considered non-sensitive as well as the…       Read More

The Georgia General Assembly will begin its new session the second week of this month. But even before the session starts, anyone with an interest in proposed legislation should take note of a crucial procedural change that could impact new proposed legislation. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “A bipartisan panel of Senate leaders signaled Thursday that they would move crossover day – the final day for a bill to move from one chamber to the other – up from the 30th day of the legislative session to as early as the 25th day. And the Senate seems poised to weaken a rule that requires conference committee reports – House-Senate legislative compromises – to be printed and delivered to senators at least two hours before they vote on them.” HBS is now hearing a compromise is in the works that would move crossover day to the 27th official day of the legislative…       Read More

One proposed bill to be considered be the Georgia General Assembly seemingly has little impact on most Georgians. State Rep. Jeff Jones, R-Brunswick, has announced introduction of legislation designed to tax wire transfers to locations outside of the state. His two main points: The legislation is not aimed at the Hispanic immigrant community. And though he slipped in his own remarks, he prefers the term “fee” over “tax.” The bill would create a $10 fee on cash-o-grams of $499 and under, and a 2 percent tax on those $500 and over. Those who pay the tax could seek reimbursement each year when they file their state income tax. Businesses and corporations would be exempted. However, the “devil” truly is in detail. Many high-net worth individuals use wire transfers to quickly move funds into and out of investments. Whether those transfers will qualify as exempt under the “business” exception to the…       Read More

The popular television show Shark Tank and non-equity crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter have piqued the interest of entrepreneurs looking for investors and has founders dreaming of easy capital-raising through the sale of stock. Unfortunately, until recently there was no regulatory framework for private companies to raise money by selling stock to the general public. This changed in May when the SEC rolled out the latest of its highly anticipated equity crowdfunding regulations under the JOBS Act.  Title III allows anyone to invest in an early-stage company regardless of their net worth– and has resulted in tremendous growth in the pool of eligible investors.  With this increased opportunity for funding, however, come regulatory restrictions.  First, Title III only permits a company to raise up to $1 million.  Second, the offering must be conducted through an intermediary, either an approved online portal or a registered broker-dealer.  Third, before being listed on…       Read More

A re-worked version of the casino gambling bill is in the hands of legislative counsel under the Gold Dome. Insiders tell us that the new bill once again will have a healthy slice of casino revenue going to the HOPE scholarship. But expect changes in who controls the handing out of limited licenses. A new gaming commission might have the sole authority over the process. Of course, a lot must happen before casino gambling or local option pari-mutual wagering (horse racing) actually comes to fruition in the state. But with 2017 an off-election year, the betting is that the first step— placing a referendum for the public to vote on— will take place in this coming year’s legislative session.

Georgia’s Senior U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson is working his way around a challenging Donald Trump presidential race in hopes of crossing Georgia’s requirement that he win his November contest by over 50 percent of the vote– even if it is just by a single vote. Isakson has generally pulled support from across political lines and his opponent Jim Barksdale has no experience in elected office. But Barksdale has dropped several million dollars on TV ads and Isakson is currently still polling at about 47 percent. Insiders tell us that Isakson should be able to take Barksdale in November, but if Trump underperforms in Georgia the entire Republican ticket might suffer and that could force the GOP incumbent into a much dreaded January election runoff. Should that happen and control of the Senate (which expected to be very close) still be in question, Georgia could become the political “ground zero” for…       Read More