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Georgia Representative Creates Group to Boost Georgia's Film Industry

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LAS VEGAS, NV, USA - SEP 20, 2017: Iron Man costume (from 2010 movie) at the Tony Stark base at the Avengers experience in Las Vegas. (Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com)

Georgia Speaker Ralston creates a group to support Georgia’s film industry.

According to the AJC, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced on Wednesday he’s starting a legislative effort to boost the state’s film, TV and entertainment industry. Ralston created the House Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainment, which will review the state’s 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.

Black Panther LOS ANGELES - JAN 29: Michael B. Jordan arrives for the 'Black Panther' World Premiere on January 29, 2018 in Hollywood, CA (DFree / Shutterstock.com)

Currently, businesses related to the film industry employ about 200,000 people in Georgia and have a $60 billion a year impact on the state’s 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.”

Ralston’s 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 don’t really buy the film industry leaving, you know. There may be some Hollywood actors that do that. But quite honestly, they’re taking advantage of the film tax credits and they don’t even live here," Kemp told WSBTV. 

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