June 19, 2020
Volume 11, Issue 10
Senate Releases FY 2021 Budget Recommendations
As the General Assembly resumed the 2020 legislative session on Monday, it wasted no time focusing on its number one priority - the state budget. Earlier this week, the Senate released its FY 2021 budget recommendations which include an additional 11% reduction to the Governor's initially proposed 6% reduction to most state agencies.

In addition to the overall reductions, other proposed recommendations include:

  • Full funding for the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund, Solid Waste Trust Fund, and the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program
  • Overall $98 million reduction to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Overall $4.5 million reduction to the Department of Community Affairs
  • Overall $10.9 million reduction to the Department of Revenue which includes a $1.5 million reduction to Forestland Protection Grants
  • Additional reduction in Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants of $26 million
  • $50 million in bond financing for bridge repair and replacement projects

Click here to review Highlights of the FY 2021 Senate Budget Recommendations compiled by ACCG. The official proposed budget can be viewed here . Contact Debra Nesbit ( dnesbit@accg.org ) with any questions.
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. 
More from the Gold Dome
Sovereign Immunity Waiver Adopted

On Tuesday of this week, the House gave final approval to the Senate’s version of House Resolution 1023 , a proposed constitutional amendment that will appear on the November statewide ballot. In response to several Georgia Supreme Court decisions over the past few years, HR 1023 would allow certain non-monetary lawsuits to be brought against the state and local governments, where the lawsuit alleges the government 1) has acted beyond its lawful authority or 2) has violated the U.S. Constitution or the Constitution or laws of Georgia. Such lawsuits could only be brought against the government and not against individual government officials or employees, and no damages or attorney’s fees could be awarded against the government in such lawsuits. Counties and other governments would still be able to assert any other defense to such lawsuits.

Please ask your county attorney to review HR 1023 and to contact ACCG Deputy General Counsel Larry Ramsey ( lramsey@accg.org ) with any questions.
Timber Harvesting Bill Advances

ACCG supports legislation related to timber harvesting. House Bill 897 , which passed the House in March and received approval from the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, establishes a framework for a statewide timber harvest notification web page housed by the Georgia Forestry Commission; increases the fine for harvesters who fail to notify the county that they are operating; and increases the bond amount due by harvesters who have previously been found to have cause damage to county roads and rights of way.

Click here for additional details.  Contact Kathleen Bowen ( kbowen@accg.org ) with any questions.
SB 342 Volunteer Firefighter Service Council

Senate Bill 342 passed out of the House Public Safety Committee and is now in the House Rules Committee. This legislation will set up a mirror Council to oversee and regulate volunteer fire departments. The new council will have rule making authority specific to volunteer fire departments and will be housed under the Firefighter Standards and Training Council. ACCG supports this legislation as it will allow for consideration of the challenges facing our rural volunteer fire departments.  

Please contact Debra Nesbit ( dnesbit@accg.org ) with any questions.
COVID-19 Liability Protection for Businesses and Counties

Several bills have been introduced that would afford businesses, local governments, and other entities with immunity from lawsuits related to COVID-19. "The Georgia Pandemic Business Immunity Act" can be found in various forms in HB 216 and HB 167 .
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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.

Georgia Recorder - June 19, 2020

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - June 18, 2020

Capitol Beat - June 15, 2020

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution- June 15, 2020

Questions? Email the
ACCG Legislative team:

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