Legislative Update
Volume 10 , Issue 1       
January 18, 2019
2019 Legislative Session Begins
New Administration Welcomed, House and Senate Leadership Announced
The 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly began on Monday, January 14. The start of the 2019 session not only signified a new beginning for the state legislature but a new beginning for the entire state as Georgia welcomed Brian Kemp as its 83rd governor. In addition to Governor Kemp's administration, the state's new Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and a host of other key state leaders were welcomed as they embarked on the initial stages of their leadership legacies in new roles at the helm of state government.

Access the following links to learn more about the state's new leaders:

Governor Kemp Delivers His First State of the State Address
In his very first State of the State address, Governor Brian Kemp stood before members of the Georgia General Assembly, state constitutional officers, and other distinguished guests to outline his priorities for this legislative session. Weaved within his remarks was an emphasis on the significance of the solid foundation rooted in the state's thriving economy which will allow him to build upon past successes for even greater ones in the future.

The priorities outlined in Governor Kemp's address ranged from funding for public safety needs to pay raises for all public school teachers and merit increases for state employees. Highlights from his speech:
  • Creation of a gang task force within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • A 2 percent merit increase for all state employees
  • A $3,000 annual salary increase for all public school teachers
  • Emphasis on the continued prioritization of Hurricane Michael recovery efforts
  • Proposed allocation of $69 million for local school security initiatives
  • Proposed allocation of $1 million from the state's health department budget to develop a waiver for flexibility in using Medicaid - "to expand access without expanding a broken system"

To view the full transcript of Governor Kemp's address, access the story from Atlanta's 11Alive that is included below.
Governor Brian Kemp issues first State of the State...

ATLANTA - State of the State Address Governor Brian P. Kemp Thursday, January 17, 2019 Lt. Governor Duncan, Speaker Ralston, President Pro Tem Miller, Speaker Pro Tem Jones, members of the General Assembly, constitutional officers, members of the ...

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General Assembly Sets Legislative Calendar Through Day 11
The General Assembly has set the legislative calendar through Day 11 of the 40-day legislative session. The current legislative calendar can be accessed here.
Small Cell/5G Deployment Compromise Reached
During the past two legislative sessions, several bills have been introduced which would have significantly preempted local government rights-of-way (ROW) for the deployment of small cell (5G technology) poles, antennas, and equipment. ACCG opposed these bills with the posture that an appropriate balance had not been reached between the need for this deployment and the need for local governments to appropriately manage the public’s ROW. 

Such legislation overwhelmingly passed the Senate twice in the 2018 session but was held by the House on the last day of session. This allowed ACCG and the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) to work out a compromise with the wireless industry during the past eight months. These negotiations have concluded, compromise language has been reached, and the resulting small cell legislation will soon be introduced. For a joint ACCG/GMA summary of the issue’s background, some of the compromise’s major provisions, please click here.
Local Share of TAVT Revenues Increasing in 2019

The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is required by law to annually update the percentage share of Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) distributed to the State of Georgia and local governments. The local share for 2018 was 51.58 percent, but beginning in January 2019, the percentage of TAVT that will go to the state will be 47.56 percent and the percentage that will go to local governments will be 52.44 percent. These percentages became effective Jan. 1, 2019. However, the first distribution reflecting these percentages will occur in February 2019. 

Please note that HB 329, enacted in 2018, eliminates the current annual calculation once the bill becomes effective July 1 of this year and will fix the monthly TAVT allocations at 35 percent for the state and 65 percent for local governments, resulting in an increase in TAVT revenue for Georgia's counties.

TAVT reform has been an ACCG priority for the past few legislative sessions. The association is pleased to share the news of this success with our membership as your collective voice was a driving force behind making this a reality.

Click here to view the DOR bulletin that details the changes to TAVT.
Governor Kemp's Georgians First Commission
Governor Kemp signed three executive orders on his first day of office, including the Georgians First Commission. The Commission, made up of 18 members to be appointed by the Governor, will evaluate state government and identify regulations, policies or procedures which negatively or unnecessarily impact small businesses in the state. The Commission shall report its findings to the Governor on or before June 20, 2020.  

Click here for more information.
Special House Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare Appointed by Speaker Ralston

The creation of the Special Committee on Access to Quality Healthcare was a recommendation of the House Rural Development Council. The purpose of the special committee will be to review the regulatory environment for healthcare providers and facilities in the State of Georgia. The Special Committee will be chaired by Insurance Committee Chairman Richard Smith (R-Columbus) while Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) will serve as Vice-Chair. Click here to view the full press release.
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. 
Register for the 2019 Capitol Connection Conference
Registration for the 2019 ACCG Capitol Connection Conference is now available! Join your fellow county officials on Feb. 27-28 in Atlanta/Fulton County for an opportunity to connect with state leaders and to hear directly from Governor Kemp as he has been confirmed to speak at the Joint Legislative Breakfast on Feb. 28. Click here for more information. Contact your county clerk to register today!
ACCG Legislative Communications Tools
As ACCG prepares for another successful session as the official voice for Georgia’s 159 counties, we want to remind our county officials of the various communications tools that will help keep them informed and engaged. Click here to read all about them!
Watch Today's Livestream of the Legislative Update
Did you miss today's Facebook Live Legislative Update? Don't worry - we've got you covered! Just click on the ACCG Tv logo to the right to start watching!
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.

National Association of Counties (NACo) – January 15, 2019

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - December 13, 2018
To learn the latest about what's happening at the Capitol, register for the 2019 Capitol Connection 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 2019 Legislative Toolkit when conversing with your state legislators!