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.”

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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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