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Now or Later? Debate Emerges Regarding Effective Date of Recent Georgia Constitutional Amendment

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability

The question has been raised:  What is the effective date of Georgia’s new non-compete statute, O.C.G.A. § 13-8-50 et seq.?

The statute provides that it goes into effect on the day after the passage of an enabling Constitutional amendment. 

This Act shall become effective on the day following the ratification at the time of the 2010 general election of an amendment to the Constitution of Georgia providing for the enforcement of covenants in commercial contracts that limit competition and shall apply to contracts entered into on and after such date and shall not apply in actions determining the enforceability of restrictive covenants entered into before such date. If such amendment is not so ratified, then this Act shall stand automatically repealed.

Georgia’s electorate ratified Amendment 1 – the Constitutional amendment that enables the changes to Georgia’s restrictive covenant law – with 67.6% of the cast ballots

Article X, Section I, Paragraph VI of the Georgia Constitution, however, provides that amendments become effective on January 1 following an election “[u]nless the amendment or the new Constitution itself or the resolution proposing the amendment or the new Constitution shall provide otherwise.”  The enabling amendment and the resolution proposing the amendment are silent as to the effective date. 

Hence, already there is debate as to when the amendment will take effect. 

  • peter

    Doesn’t the language “on the day following the ratification” qualify as the enabling amendment providing otherwise?

  • Erika Birg

    The enabling amendment was contained in 2010 House Resolution 178 and the language “on the day following ratification” is in the statute (2009 House Bill 173).

  • Tom Sherman

    If the GA Constitution did not permit the General Assembly to adopt a “non-compete” statute prior to the amendment which was ratified by the voters on 11/2, how could the General Assembly constitutionally pass a non-compete statute prior to the Constitutional Amendment, even though there was a postponed/delayed effective date built into the bill? Can the Constitutional “sanctioning” of a prior passge be retroactive? Isn’t that what’s happening here?