Speaker of the House David Ralston delivers his remarks at this year's Eggs & Issues breakfast, hosted by the. Georgia Chamber of Commerce, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Georgia Speaker Ralston creates group to support entertainment industry

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced Wednesday he’s starting a legislative effort to further boost the state’s booming film, TV and entertainment industry.

Ralston created the House Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainment, which will evaluate the state’s tax incentives and other programs that have led to Georgia becoming a prime location for entertainment-related jobs.

The working group could propose legislation to  support the entertainment industry, which includes film, TV, music and video game production. 

Those businesses employ about 200,000 Georgians and have a $60 billion annual impact on the state’s economy, Ralston said.

“The House Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainment will work to encourage the growth of these industries and the creative economy,” said Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, at the state Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues forum. “They will work to ensure Georgia has a workforce ready for the jobs these industries are creating throughout our state.”

Ralston’s support of the entertainment industry comes after some Hollywood executives threatened to boycott the state after Republican Brian Kemp won the election for governor — a threat opposed by his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams.

Film companies have also said in previous years they would stop productions in Georgia if the state passed a “religious liberty” bill they view as discriminatory against the LGBTQ community. Ralston said in December he has “serious concerns” about “religious liberty” legislation.

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