Judge weighing injunction in Georgia organized online retail crime bill

Judge weighing injunction in Georgia organized online retail crime bill

(The Center Square) — A federal judge is weighing whether to grant a preliminary injunction to halt a Georgia law targeting organized online retail crimes set to take effect on Monday.

Earlier this month, NetChoice filed a lawsuit over Senate Bill 472, the “Combating Organized Retail Crime Act.” Proponents of the measure, which Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed on May 6, say it protects businesses against organized online retail crimes.

While lawmakers said Georgia-based groups and businesses, including the Georgia Retail Association and Home Depot, backed the measure, NetChoice argues it is preempted by the federal Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers — or INFORM — Act and violates the First Amendment.

“We hope the Court will ensure Georgians and their businesses are protected and halt this law while our case proceeds,” Chris Marchese, director of the NetChoice Litigation Center, said in a statement to The Center Square. “Act 564 would create regulatory chaos for Georgia businesses, benefit particular market incumbents at the expense of competition and consumers, and constrain free expression, while doing nothing to actually stop organized retail criminals operating online.”

The group, which counts Amazon.com, Hotels.com and eBay among its members, said the measure does not ensure law enforcement has the resources needed to tackle retail thieves and instead hurts small, online businesses. It argues that if the Peach State succeeds, it will lead to a renewed “patchwork system for regulating online marketplaces.”

A spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, the named defendant in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a late Friday request for comment on the hearing.