Legislative Update
Volume 9, Issue 9         
March 9, 2018
9-1-1 Bill Passes out of Committee, Heads to Senate Rules
HB 751, this year's 9-1-1 legislation and an ACCG priority, passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee this week. The bill is now in Senate Rules which will determine whether or not it makes it to the floor for a vote. As the bill could move at the beginning of next week, ACCG urges county officials to contact their Senator and continue to emphasize the importance of this legislation.

Click here for a detailed summary of the bill.
Click here for talking points.

Please contact ACCG Associate Legislative Director Debra Nesbit ( dnesbit@accg.org) if you have any questions.
ROW Preemption Bill Gets Hearing, No Action Yet Taken

SB 426, Sen. Gooch’s legislation preempting local government management of the public’s right-of-way for small cells, poles and adjacent equipment received a hearing in the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee on Thursday. No vote was taken on the bill. 

ACCG began expressing its numerous concerns with the wireless industry’s language before being asked to end testimony. To view Todd Edwards’ testimony (pictured above), please click here  and scroll to the 42 minute and 15 second mark.

To view ACCG’s SB 426 Action Alert to the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, please click here.

Rural Broadband Bills Received Hearings This Week
Sen. Gooch’s rural broadband bills, SB 232 and SB 402, received their first hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, March 8, but no action was taken. Similarly, the Senate Regulated Industries Committee had a hearing on Rep. Jay Powell’s HB 887. All of these bills will likely be revised, consolidated, and rolled into one omnibus broadband bill by sessions’ end.    
SB 2, the FAST Act, Remains Alive but with New Language

On Monday, March 5, the full House voted to reconsider, amend once again, and pass SB 2. In its current form, now back before the Senate, the bill charges the Department of Community Affairs to establish a council and develop a voluntary “Ready for Progress Georgia” program. To meet this certification, local governments would have to adopt certain streamlined permitting procedures. While ACCG supports this version, the Senate is likely to reinstall its initial language, the House may well disagree, and then SB 2 would go to conference committee to be worked out between the chambers.      
SB 430, Constitutional Officer Pay Raise

SB 430, legislation which would have mandated a 5 percent pay raise for constitutional officers and magistrate judges, was heard by the Local Government Subcommittee of the House Governmental Affairs Committee this week. The Subcommittee amended the bill to remove the 5 percent pay raise for constitutional officers and magistrate judges in 2021. The bill currently updates the statute to reflect the COLA's that have been awarded to the officers since 2006, and updates the language to have salary tiers conform with the 2020 census.

For more information on the bill, click here. Any questions about SB 430 can be directed to Debra Nesbit ( dnesbit@accg.org).
CUVA Bill Pending in Senate Finance Committee

HB 373 (Rep. David Knight), currently pending in the Senate Finance Committee, would make it easier for owners to qualify for Conservation Use Valuation Assessment (CUVA) of real property. In exchange for the owner placing the property under a covenant restricting the use of such property, CUVA designation results in assessment of property at less than fair market value, thereby resulting in lower taxes for the owner.

By making qualifications for such preferential tax treatment easier, HB 373 could negatively impact counties’ tax digests. Additionally, this legislation would require county boards of assessors to pay the property owners’ attorneys’ fees if a court rules against the board regarding:
1) whether a CUVA application should be granted or
2) whether a CUVA covenant has been breached by the owner.

ACCG is working with the author in an effort to address counties’ concerns with this bill. Please contact Larry Ramsey ( lramsey@accg.org) with any questions or concerns regarding HB 373.
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. 
2018 County Days at the Capitol Photo Highlights

ACCG thanks all county officials that attended the 2018 County Days at the Capitol. Your active engagement is greatly appreciated and is what helps the association thrive. A special thank you is also extended to our state leaders who attended, whether as a guest speaker or to simply use County Days as an opportunity to connect with their local officials. The involvement of all is what helped make this year's County Days at the Capitol a success.

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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.

Gainesville Times - March 8, 2018

Gov. Deal's Press Office - March 9, 2018
Register for the 2018 ACCG Annual Conference!

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!