Capitol Connection E-Newsletter – December 2018
Save the Date: 2019 Capitol Connection Conference
Mark your calendars for the Capitol Connection Conference on February 27- 28 at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta/Fulton County. This two-day conference is intended to provide a better understanding of the role ACCG plays during the legislative session and to connect county officials to their state legislators and state agency leaders. This event is open to all county and city officials.  Remember to contact your state legislator and encourage them to join you for breakfast on February 28 at the Freight Depot. Registration will be available soon.

All questions and concerns should be directed to Jeff Christie ( ) or Nicole Logan ( ). 
Reminder: Review Your Toolkit to Get Prepared for the 2019 Legislative Session
As the 2019 legislative session approaches, Georgia counties should be in full gear to stay informed, get involved, and make a difference in helping craft sound public policy for the State of Georgia. ACCG’s Legislative Toolkit is designed to inform individuals about major concerns that counties share in an effort to spark dialogue among communities and promote awareness of the Guiding Principles and the Policy Agenda ACCG will actively pursue on their behalf. Before the legislative session begins, county officials are encouraged to take time to review the Toolkit and discuss their top priorities with their state legislators. County officials are also encouraged to use the Toolkit as a guide throughout the session.

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

Don't Forget to Update Your CLC Network
ACCG is asking for your assistance with updating the list of county legislative coordinators (CLC). The CLC network is a communication tool that helps county commissioners and county management stay updated on legislation of importance to counties and provides county-specific information to ACCG to help legislators assess the impact of proposed legislation. Further details on the responsibilities of a CLC can be found here.

Please contact Todd Edwards ( if you have any questions.
The Department of Revenue Releases Policy Bulletin on Collection of E-911 Fees Beginning January 1, 2019
The Georgia Department of Revenue recently posted a Policy Bulletin providing guidance on the state's non-prepaid 911 charge and prepaid wireless 911 charge and supersedes the guidance entitled Prepaid Wireless 9-1-1 Charge . To review the Bulletin click   here .

House Rural Development Council Releases 2018 Report
On December 5 th , the House Rural Development Council released its recommendations for the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Among their proposals are creating a statewide, streamlined process for permitting small cell/5G equipment in local government right-of-way; creating and incentivizing multi-county regional development authorities; replacing telecommunications franchise fees with a communications service tax, with state revenues to help fund rural broadband efforts; revising Georgia’s certificate of need laws for health care delivery; and increasing the Rural Hospital Tax Credit to $100 million. To view this distinguished Council’s report in its entirety, please click here .

Georgia Trend Article Highlights Georgia’s Rural Broadband Efforts
In its December 2018 issue, Georgia Trend Magazine ran an article providing a background and summary of Georgia’s ongoing efforts to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the state. The article aptly summarizes the issues and challenges involved; updates progress in implementing SB 402 (the “Achieving Connectivity Everywhere” Act) from the 2018 legislative session; includes input from several county officials on the importance of connecting their communities; and incorporates the wireless industry’s perspectives on this front.
To read the article, please click here.

New Voting Machines at Forefront of Georgia Counties' Legislative Priorities
ACCG's policy team has made replacing Georgia's voting machines a top legislative priority. Although replacing the state’s voting equipment has been a discussion in the statehouse for years, timing and funding has been a major concern. If legislation is passed, the next step for lawmakers is to address how to cover the costs of equipment on a local level and getting county employees and voters acclimated with the new equipment.

More details regarding this legislation can be accessed in an article released by WJCL News.

New Rules for Tax Assessment of Forestland
With the passage of Amendment 3 (HR 51) in November, changes will be coming in 2019 to the Forestland Protection Act (FLPA) grant program as well as the tax assessment rules for other “qualified commercial timberland.” More information can be found here.

Time to Create Your Local Complete Count Committee
The 2020 Census will be here before you know it. The best way to make sure that you have the most accurate count is to create a local complete count committee to ensure that all residents in your county are motivated and educated about the importance of participating in the Census. These committees should include representatives from county and city governments, faith-based groups, nonprofits, schools, local businesses, the media, community groups, and any other organization that can help spread awareness.

There are many resources available to help you get started. The U.S. Census Bureau has detailed information on its website and the Atlanta Regional Office can assist by hosting a workshop or meeting with your county to help you create a local committee. Don’t miss out on counting everyone in your county!  
Recycling Infrastructure Grant Program
The Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) is offering a grant opportunity to help local governments in the Southeast improve their recycling infrastructure. Helping to close the loop for packaging, investments in physical infrastructure and communications are key to dramatically increasing material recovery and connecting material generation with hungry end markets in the Southeast. Recycling carts, material recovery facility (MRF) upgrades, recycling trucks or transfer stations to unlock investments in curbside recycling infrastructure are the types of projects that will be considered.

For more information on the recycling infrastructure grant program, click here.

Apply Now: EPA Announces FY 2019 Brownfields Program Grant Opportunities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially opened the FY 2019 Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment and Cleanup competitive grant competitions. EPA anticipates awarding 100 grants for an estimated $50 million to help communities address sites contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. Access the full article here .

Next Generation Local Zoning Authority: 5G Wireless Broadband 101 
NACo recently released an article discussing 5G as the next generation of mobile networks which builds on today’s 4G wireless broadband infrastructure. This next generation of wireless service uses higher-frequency wavelengths transmitted through a network of “small cell” devices – roughly the size of a backpack – scattered throughout communities. More details regarding the future of 5G and the impact it will have on counties can be found here.

Register for the NACo Legislative Conference
Registration is open for the 2019 NACo Legislative Conference. The conference will take place March 2-6 at the Washington Hilton in D.C. located at 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20009 (tel: 202.483.3000).

Early bird pricing ends December 20, 2018. Click here to register for the conference and to secure conference housing.
Questions? Email the
ACCG Policy Team:

Capitol Connection Conference