Legislative Activity & Successes
Since 1976, Southeastern Legal Foundation has regularly intervened in the legislative process at the request of national and state lawmakers. Offering constitutional legal and policy analysis, as well as legislative drafting on key issues, SLF provides a steady, conservative voice for Americans seeking justice, fairness, and limited government in the halls of Congress and state legislatures. Our legislative work has proven an effective companion to our work in the courts of law.
SLF does not formally lobby in support of particular legislation; rather, the Foundation develops comprehensive policy initiatives and research on key issues, regularly testifies and submits testimony for Congress and state legislatures, and educates the public through media and publications.
Consider a few legislative highlights of SLF’s 30-year history:
1984: SLF responded to concerned Georgia taxpayers by drafting a proposed amendment to the state constitution, which closed costly loopholes in the public pension system. The amendment was overwhelmingly approved by the state’s voters.
1996: SLF authors study and promotes concept of tax reductions for five SE states in the Unemployment Insurance tax paid by employers on all employees. In response, the State of Georgia cuts its Unemployment Insurance tax by $65 million.
1997: Five SE states slash Unemployment Insurance taxes by a total of a half-billion dollars in response to legislative and public pressure based on SLF’s tax study and sample legislation.
1998: SLF Unemployment Insurance tax cut efforts top $750 million in five SE states, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.
1999: The Georgia Governor signs into law the largest tax cut in state history, a $1 billion, four-year moratorium on Unemployment Insurance taxes. SLF authors a bill prohibiting cities from filing class action lawsuits against legal industries, such as gun manufacturers and automobile manufacturers.
2002: SLF authors Ten Commandments legislation introduced in the Georgia General Assembly by now-U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and now-Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson authorizing contextual display of the Ten Commandments with other historical documents. The legislation was designed to consolidate potential ACLU challenges into one challenge against the state, thus protecting local governments and taxpayers.
2003: SLF submits testimony to Congress in support of immigration reform measures.
2005: SLF co-authors, testifies, and participates in the consideration of Georgia Senate Bill 3, the state’s first comprehensive civil justice and tort reform legislation. The legislature passes the legislation, which levels the playing field for litigation defendants and makes Georgia more attractive for economic expansion and job creation. SLF shares the Georgia legislation as a model for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national association of state lawmakers, and encourages tort reform in Florida, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
2005-2006: SLF provides legal analysis, testimony, and legislative drafting to address constitutional property rights issues related to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, CT, which allowed local governments to seize private property through the power of eminent domain for financial gain and private development. SLF also participates in Georgia legislative efforts to limit stream buffers, overreaching tree ordinances, and inverse condemnation issues.