Legislative Update
Volume 10 , Issue 11     
April 1, 2019
Final Day of 2019 Legislative Session is Tomorrow
Big Issues Still Under Consideration

Legislative Day 40, the final day of this year's session, is tomorrow April 2. Key county issues are still being considered by the General Assembly. Read on for further information on those bills. Please also watch for Action Alerts as session quickly comes to a close.
Marketplace Facilitator Bills Remain in Play
Two versions of a bill that would substantially increase state and local sales tax collections remain in play for the final day of this year’s session. Generally referred to as the “marketplace facilitator” bills, these bills would require each online sales platform such as Amazon, Google, AirBnb, etc., to collect and remit state and local sales taxes if the platform facilitates at least $100,000 in annual Georgia sales. While taxes are already owed on these transactions, in many cases they are not being collected. This proposed change is estimated to increase local sales tax collections to the tune of approximately $70 million per year.

HB 276 includes the above requirements but, as amended by the Senate, would exempt all ride-share transactions (Uber, Lyft) and taxi/limo services from all sales taxes. As amended by the House, SB 128 does not include that ride-share exemption. SB 128 is currently pending in the Senate, awaiting that chamber’s agreement or disagreement to the House version. Please contact your Senators and urge them to AGREE to SB 128 as amended by the House.
EMC Authorization to Provide Broadband Likely Headed to Conference Committee
SB 2, which authorizes Georgia’s EMCs to provide broadband, has passed both chambers, but has changed and will likely go to conference committee on the final day of session. Several safeguards on prohibiting EMCs from cross subsidizing broadband from their electric or gas divisions - or not being able to charge excessive amounts for other broadband providers to access EMC poles - have been incorporated, but language limiting EMCs to only serve unserved areas has been removed. The language from HB 499, authorizing broadband infrastructure in electric easements, has been included. The cable industry still has concerns with authorizing this competition.  ACCG supports SB 2.    
Constitutional Office Pay Raise Bill Remains in House Rules Committee
SB 171, which requires counties to provide an additional 5 percent pay increase for Georgia’s Constitutional Officers, remains in the House Rules Committee.  The Constitutional Officers Association had the bill recommitted to the Committee to overturn/revise several amendments that ACCG had worked to include in the bill. It remains to be seen if SB 171 will make it to the House floor, and what language the bill may include if it does.  ACCG opposes SB 171 as it doesn’t include the provision we had proposed allowing the pay raises to be optional for constitutional officers who wanted them.   
Revisions to Georgia Procurement Mandate Back in House
HB 322, making a few needed revisions to local governments posting bid and proposal opportunities on the Georgia Procurement Registry, has passed both chambers but the House needs to agree or disagree to the Senate changes to the bill. The Senate tacked on a controversial measure that authorizes Dalton Utilities to issue revenue bonds without first having to go to voter referendum, a proposal that has failed to pass on its own the last two sessions.  ACCG supports HB 322, but has no position on the Dalton Utilities provision.    

SB 131: Commercial Airport Oversight, Jet Fuel Exemption and Transit
A bill that started out as a state takeover of Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has morphed in to an all-encompassing transportation bill that includes HB 447 (jet fuel sales tax exemption), HB 511 (transit) and new language creating a legislative oversight committee that would be tasked with periodically inquiring and reviewing the operations, contracts, safety, financing, organization and structure of commercial airports in Georgia. SB 131 has passed the House and is expected to go to a conference committee.  ACCG supports the transit components of this bill and the increased funding to all Georgia’s airports including the option of imposing a local excise tax on aviation fuel. See the detailed bill description here . 
EMS Transparency Bill Heads to Conference Committee
HB 264 seeks to increase transparency in the process of choosing ambulance providers within the EMS zones overseen by local coordinating entities. ACCG had concerns with the original bill and the impact it would have on counties who operate their own county EMS services and the potential impact of National Standards on smaller rural county ambulance providers. The legislation was amended in the Senate to clarify that county Chairman could participate in discussions of EMS provider contracts and the references to national standards were removed. The House disagreed with the Senate changes and insisted on their position, and a conference committee was appointed. There is a bill, SR 267 that creates a joint study committee on the operations off the local coordinating entities. ACCG feels that HB 264 should be held and the issues be studied over the interim by passing SR 267.
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. 
Watch Friday's Livestream of the Legislative Update
Did you miss Friday's Facebook Live Legislative Update? Don't worry - we've got you covered! Just click on the ACCG Tv logo to start watching!
ACCG Legislative Communications Tools
As ACCG prepares to conclude 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!
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.

The Office of Governor Brian Kemp - March 28, 2019

AJC - March 26, 2019

Saporta Report - March 25, 2019

AJC - March 25, 2019

Athens Banner-Herald - March 25, 2019
Questions? Email the
ACCG Legislative team:

Registration for the 2019 Annual Conference is now available!
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!