December 2022
Review the Legislative Toolkit to Get Prepared for the 2023 Legislative Session

Don't forget to review the 2023 Legislative Toolkit prior to the start of the legislative session in January. The Toolkit includes policy briefs on ACCG's top three Legislative Priorities, information on the association's Guiding Principles, and the Policy Objectives. The top three Legislative Priorities for 2023 are Funding for Mental Health ReformEmergency Medical Service (EMS) Medicaid Reimbursement, and Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) Program.

The 2023 Legislative Toolkit is a resource that will aid Georgia's county government officials in becoming more engaged in the state's policy-making process while asserting the collective voice of county commissioners in legislative affairs. County officials are encouraged to share this information with their legislative delegations ahead of the 2023 session.  

Access the 2023 Legislative Toolkit by clicking here.  

Questions regarding any issues outlined in the Toolkit should be directed to a member of the policy staff.

ACCG Hosts Federal Funding Webinar - Recording and Resources

On Wednesday, Dec 14, 2022, ACCG hosted a webinar for Georgia local governments on the planning and implementation of federal funding via the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CLFRF) under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and programs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Panelists from Hagerty Consulting, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) shared their insights. 

Click here to view the webinar recordings and presentations.

Update Your County’s ACCG County Legislative Coordinator (CLC)

Annually, ACCG asks counties to update their county’s designated CLC to ensure the most accurate data is reflected in our records. The CLC’s primary responsibilities are to relay pertinent information about current legislation to county commissioners and county management, to maintain an open line of communication with ACCG to ensure county-specific information is readily available for legislators. ACCG encourages all counties to participate and designate a CLC prior to the legislative session. 

Click here to see your county’s current CLC. To change or appoint your county’s CLC for 2023, please contact Tottianna Davis at [email protected] or (404) 522-5022.
State News
Behavior Health Reform and Innovation Commission Provides Recommendations for 2023 Legislative Session
On November 16, 2022, the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission held a meeting to discuss their recommendations for the 2023 legislative session. The commission heard recommendations from all of its subcommittees. The Mental Health and Corrections Subcommittee shared recommendations geared at how Georgia could reduce the number of “familiar faces” or frequent re-offenders in county jails, since a significant portion of that population are those with mental health and substance abuse challenges.

The Children and Adolescent Behavioral Health Subcommittee recommended establishing a position within the Department of Behavioral Health and Human Services (DBHDD) that is primarily responsible for overseeing treatment and services for children and adolescents. They went on to recommend an extensive list of suitable treatments and services.

The Hospital and Short-Term Care Facilities Subcommittee recommendations proposed resources to address challenges with workforce and infrastructure. Incentives are needed to increase the workforce and funding is needed to establish more crisis beds.

The Involuntary Commitment Subcommittee recommendations sought to ensure that the legal framework for assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) was tailored more to the specific needs of Georgia. The Workforce and System Development Subcommittee provided recommendations to remove unnecessary barriers and requirements for therapist in Georgia. This subcommittee also recommended a better strategy for data sharing amongst state agencies. New legislation may result from the recommendations given by each subcommittee.

To view the full report, click here.

Senate Study Committee on Unsheltered Homelessness Issues Final Report
On November 23, 2022, the Senate Study Committee on Unsheltered Homelessness concluded with its final meeting. The final list of recommendations included approaches for data collection on the unsheltered homeless population; fair allocation of state funding across Georgia counties dependent on needs and homeless population; increased funding for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities for treatment and services; creating an easier pathway for the unsheltered homeless population to obtain a state ID; and create housing opportunities for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

To view the full list of recommendations, click here.

House Study Committee on State and Local Law Enforcement Salaries Delivers Final Recommendations

On December 13, 2022, the House Study Committee on State and Local Law Enforcement Salaries held its last meeting in which final recommendations and findings were discussed. At the top of their list of recommendations it mentions exploring an optional state-wide retirement plan for public safety officers (law enforcement and firefighters). This statewide plan would move with public safety officers as long as they remain in public safety in the state of Georgia. Their other listed recommendations involve enhancements to the training system for law enforcement officers.
To view this final committee hearing, click here.

Department of Public Health Proposes Rules for Food Truck Bill (HB 1443)

House Bill 1443, which passed during the 2022 Georgia legislative session, made changes to the permitting process for food trucks. This bill only requires food trucks to have an operating permit from their county of origin. This means that county boards of health are required recognize the operating permit from a food truck’s county of origin. An outside county boards of health can refuse to recognize a food truck operating permit if the permit is not in good standing with county of origin or if there are public health concerns. Outside counties can still perform periodic and unannounced inspections, as well as administer inspection fees.

The Department of Public Health (DPH), which is responsible for the implementation of this law, is currently beginning the rulemaking process. The proposed rule is posted for public comment on the DPH website under the Regulation/Rulemaking tab. This notice includes the proposed rules, information on a public hearing to be held on January 5, 2023, and instructions on submitting written comments. Please review the notice of proposed rulemaking for more details. Please note that written comments will be accepted until January 6, 2023, and the public hearing is virtual. To submit any written comments please click here.

House Study Committee on Housing Issues Final Report

The House Study Committee on Regulation, Affordability and Access to Housing committee was created to study how to provide more affordable housing in Georgia. While many complex factors impact home prices, presenters representing the state’s real estate, development and homebuilder interests focused on local government regulations as the primary reason for the state’s affordable housing shortage. Gauging from the study committee’s final report, there will likely be several bills introduced next session that preempt local governments’ land use, zoning and building code regulations. ACCG has formed a subcommittee to stay on top of this issue during the legislative session. 

To view the full report, click here.

GA Certified Landfill Operator Training 

The Georgia Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) conducts a course on behalf of Georgia EPD twice per year in January and July in Athens – Clarke County. The next training opportunity is January 24 – 27, 2023.
Details on this training can be found below or at this link.
The State of Georgia Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act requires that all solid waste landfills in the state be staffed at all times by trained and certified landfill operators.
Please make sure your landfill operators are being re-certified in time!
Questions? Contact SWANA President Kevin Barley ([email protected]). 
Immigration Reports Due December 31

The Immigration Report Collection System managed by the Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA) opened on November 1st for the reporting period of December 1, 202­1 through November 30, 2022. The due date to complete the report is December 31, 2022. Please start preparing early to ensure that you have all the information needed to file the report by the deadline. More information can be found here.
Federal News
NACo Accepting Policy Resolutions

In preparation for the National Association of Counties (NACo) 2023 Legislative Conference, held in Washington, D.C. on February 11-14, NACo members are invited to submit interim policy resolutions.

The NACo resolutions process provides members with the ability to participate in national policy decisions affecting county governments. During the Legislative Conference, NACo’s 10 policy steering committees and Board of Directors consider legislative and policy resolutions that will guide NACo advocacy until the NACo Annual Conference in July 2023.

Click here for more information.

FCC Helps Promote Affordable Broadband with New Grants

The Federal Communications Commission recently kicked off the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 appropriated $14.2 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides qualifying low-income households discounts on broadband service and connected devices. This outreach program will provide up to $60 million in grants to outreach partners, including local governments, to develop innovative strategies to reach out to historically unserved and underserved communities in the pursuit of these ACP funds. Eligible applicants must submit applications for the National Competitive Outreach Program by January 9, 2023. 

For more information, please click here.  

Reminder: FEMA Opens Applications for Over $3 Billion in Mitigation Grant Funding

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity for over $3 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants. State and local governments are eligible to apply for funding through FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs. The application period will close at 3:00 p.m. ET on January 27, 2023. 

Click here for more information.
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ACCG is YOUR county association. We are here to advance all 159 Georgia county governments. Please feel free to contact a member of the policy team if they can assist in any way.