Georgia Speaker Ralston creates a group to support Georgias film industry.
According to the AJC, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced on Wednesday hes starting a legislative effort to boost the states film, TV and entertainment industry. Ralston created the House Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainment, which will review the states tax incentives and other programs, which have led to Georgia becoming one of the top 3 filming locations in the world. Some of the biggest movies in the world have filmed in Georgia including Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Black Panther.
Currently, businesses related to the film industry employ about 200,000 people in Georgia and have a $60 billion a year impact on the states economy, Ralston explained.
The group could reportedly propose new legislation to support the film industry. 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.
Ralstons support of the entertainment industry comes after Hollywood A-listers threatened to boycott the state after Republican Brian Kemp won the election for governor. Film companies have also said they would stop working in the state in Georgia if the state passed a religious liberty bill they argued was discriminatory towards the LGBTQ community. Ralston said last December he was concerned about the religious liberty legislation.
However, according to a recent interview with WSB-TV, Gov. Kemp said, "My positions on religious freedom have been very clear. I feel like we should implement what is in the federal statute word for word. Many other states have that. It does not discriminate," he said.
Kemp added, "So I dont really buy the film industry leaving, you know. There may be some Hollywood actors that do that. But quite honestly, theyre taking advantage of the film tax credits and they dont even live here," Kemp told WSBTV.