That's the selling point from the author of House Bill 402, Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah.
"The main reason is to give filmmakers and others who want to temporarily use, for the purpose of non-disturbing - they'd like to put down some tracks that they put these cameras on," he said. "They can ask for a temporary permit that lasts for a very short time that isn't disturbing at all." Savannah was used as the backdrop for Miley Cyrus' film "The Last Song" that was shot on the beach at Tybee Island in 2010, one of the early productions here that has led to a $3 billion industry. Filmmakers have been lured to Georgia since passage of a package of tax breaks that Stephens supported as chairman of the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee.
The Department of Natural Resources asked for HB 402. It allows the department's commissioner to simply issue a letter for temporary use rather than the six-month process required for a permanent permit.
"Like any statute, every so often you have to go back in and update it and make it relevant and maybe make some improvements along the way," said Lauren Curry, spokeswoman for the department.
The bill maintains safeguards for assuring the filmmakers don't harm the environment because the work would be done by licensed marine contractors who are required to be bonded, according to Neill Herring, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club.
"The problem with it, I have not been able to identify an appeal process," he said, either if the filmmakers don't get all they wanted in the temporary permit or if members of the public object to the filming.
The bill also removes what Stephens describes as "gotchas" in how the Shore Protection Act works. Currently, shoreline that is protected is determined to be as far inland as the first "vegetation." He said that opens the door to abuse because someone could own property that's well inland but only has a single tree as the first vegetation, allowing the loss of that tree to suddenly expand the protected area.
Stephens' bill limits the protected shoreline to 100 feet above the ordinary high-water mark.
Follow Walter Jones on Twitter @MorrisNews and Facebook or reach him at email@example.com and (404) 589-8424.