Legislative Update
Volume 9 , Issue 6       
February 16, 2018

Wireless Industry’s Public Right-of-Way Preemption Legislation Reintroduced 
Senate Bill 426 is a complex and lengthy bill, otherwise known as the Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BUILD) Act, which provides as close to unfettered access to county and municipal rights of way (ROW) as possible for wireless providers to construct wireless support structures/poles (50 feet high, or 10 feet taller than any existing pole within 500 feet), antennas (up to 6 cubic feet), equipment boxes (up to 28 cubic feet) and other infrastructure in order to roll out 5G service. The bill limits or preempts a broad range of county decisions regarding the management of the public ROW. 

Please have your county staff review this legislation and be prepared to share any concerns you may have with your senators.   
Catch Today's Facebook Live Legislative Update on accg.tv

Weren't able to catch today's Facebook Live Legislative Update? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Head to accg.tv to view today's Update.
The FAST Act, SB 2, Suddenly Springs Back to Life in Committee

On February 15, the House Small Business Development Committee convened on short notice and passed SB 2, a Senate leadership priority from last session. This bill mandates that cities and counties which issue permits establish a schedule of such fees, include time lines necessary for processing completed applications, and punishes those not meeting permit timelines by reducing fees. Furthermore, local governments are required to set up a second, expedited process for processing all applications and permits and must study how to share applicants' information with other local, state and federal agencies, among other provisions.  

Please click here for a summary of the bill. 

Please click here for ACCG’s concerns with the bill.    
Senate Introduces 5 Percent Pay Raise Mandate for Constitutional Officers and Magistrates 

Sen. Matt Brass introduced SB 430 on Thursday, February 15. This bill will automatically increase constitutional officers' (probate judge, tax commissioner, clerk of court and sheriff) and magistrates’ salaries by 5 percent in 2021. In negotiations, ACCG asked to restructure the bill to authorize an optional 5 percent pay increase for constitutional officers. Once authorized, in order for the pay increase to apply to a respective constitutional officer, he or she would have to place a notice in the county’s legal organ once a week for three consecutive weeks, specifying the fiscal impact of the compensation increase, and hold two public meetings to receive public feedback. This request was rejected by the Constitutional Officers’ Association of Georgia.  

Please share any concerns about this bill with your senators. Please click here for a county-by-county analysis of constitutional officers' salaries.
Truth in Trust Funds Legislation Passes the House

Rep. Jay Powell’s HR 158 passed the House this week on a vote of 166 to 1. This proposed constitutional amendment authorizes the General Assembly to, by statute, truly establish dedicated trust funds whereby fees collected for a specific purpose (e.g. Hazardous Waste Trust Fund, Solid Waste Trust Fund, Joshua's Law, etc.) must actually go to that purpose rather than be redirected to the state's General fund. 

ACCG fully supports this bill and commends Rep. Powell for his continued commitment to this worthy cause. 
House Transit Bill Introduced

House Transportation Chairman Kevin Tanner introduced HB 930 this week that includes recommendations from the House Commission on Transit Governance & Funding

Highlights from the current version include transit governance and funding options for the Metro Atlanta region (Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties). The bill creates a new regional governing board, Atlanta-region Transit Link (ATL), that will lead the planning and coordination of transit in Metro Atlanta as well as control state and federal transit funding.

Two new funding revenues would be created to support transit:
1) a 50-cent charge per trip on rideshare, taxi and limo providers
2) a 1 percent airport tax on concessions at the Atlanta airport.

Lastly, counties in the Metro Atlanta area (and counties outside of Metro Atlanta who partner with a neighboring county) would be able to call for a referendum to levy a 1 percent Transit SPLOST for up to 30 years.  

On Tuesday, February 20, the Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled to discuss SB 386 (transit bill authored by Sen. Beach) and on the same day HB 930 will be heard for the second time in the House Transportation Committee. Amendments are expected to be included in both bills. 
Click on "This Week's Bills" to review the bills included in this week's Legislative Update.

Access the Legislative Tracking Database for a compilation of all bills ACCG is following. 
TAVT and Trash Lien Bills Set for House Vote Tuesday

On Tuesday February 20, the full House of Representatives will vote on two bills of county interest. HB 327 addresses several issues regarding the Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT). One of those changes is to the state/local distribution formula, to ensure that TAVT is first distributed to individual local governments in an amount to equal those governments’ ad valorem tax receipts on vehicles in 2012 (the year before the TAVT system commenced). The remaining proceeds would be split between the state and local governments on a graduated scale through 2024; in 2025, total motor vehicle tax receipts (remaining ad valorem taxes plus TAVT) would be split 30 percent to the state, and 70 percent to local governments. The current annual adjustment of percentages that is tied to prior year collections would be eliminated. Additionally, HB 327 would result in TAVT on used car sales to be treated the same as TAVT on new car sales - the TAVT would be calculated based on sales price, rather than the lower “book” value that is currently used for used car sales. This change is expected to generate substantial additional revenue for the state and local governments. Finally, HB 327 would lower the TAVT rate from its current 7 percent to 6.75 percent. ACCG supports this legislation. Please contact Larry Ramsey ( lramsey@accg.org) with any questions.

The second bill is HB 693, which would repeal the state law that permits local governments to place liens on properties for unpaid trash fees without going to court first. Local governments would still have other collection options, including filing a claim in Magistrate Court; a judgment from Magistrate Court can still be filed as a lien against the property of the debtor. Because direct filing of trash liens provides another tool for local government collection of unpaid fees, ACCG opposes this legislation. Please contact Kathleen Bowen ( kbowen@accg.org) or Larry Ramsey ( lramsey@accg.org) with any questions.

ACCG encourages county officials to contact their House members to express their position on these two important bills.
NACo's Trump Administration Infrastructure Plan Analysis

President Trump unveiled his 10-year, $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal this week. The proposal was released as expanded principles (as opposed to legislation) entitled “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America.” NACo’s complete analysis of the plan can be found here. To see the President’s plan in full, click here.

News You Can Use - Articles Related to ACCG Policy Issues
The following are pertinent articles regarding some of the major policy issues that ACCG is covering. The full article can be accessed by clicking on the title.

AJC - February 15, 2018

AJC's Politically Georgia - February 14, 2018

SaportaReport - February 13, 2018
Lt. Gov. Cagle Confirmed for March 7 County Day at the Capitol

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is confirmed for the March 7 County Day at the Capitol. He, along with the state's 911 Authority Director Michael Nix and DOR Commissioner Lynne Riley, will provide county officials with updates about pressing issues as they move through the legislative process.

There is ample time and space for you to register for the March 7 County Day at the Capitol. Registration for the February 28 County Day at the Capitol has reopened, but register soon as there are only a few spots left!

ACCG looks forward to hosting Georgia's county officials at the capitol. Please click here for more information.
To learn the latest about what's happening at the Capitol, register for an upcoming County Day:

February 28
March 7
ACCG is YOUR county association here to advance all Georgia county governments. Please feel free to let us know when you're visiting the State Capitol this session, and a member of the policy team will gladly assist you as needed. Don't forget to use your 2018 Legislative Toolkit when conversing with your state legislators!