February 28, 2020
Volume 11, Issue 7
Local Design Standards Preemption Bill Passes House Agriculture Committee
Please Contact Your House Members
House Bill 937 passed the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on Wednesday. This preemption legislation, similar to HB 302 and SB 172, prohibits cities and counties from regulating any building material, product or construction practice for single-family homes if these are approved in the state minimum standard codes - unless permission is granted from an advisory committee at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs through a lengthy building code amendment process. Residential building design standards for aesthetic purposes would not be allowed, period, since the only local building code amendments allowed under state law have to be based solely on local climatic, geologic, topographic, or public safety factors.  

ACCG opposes state preemption of local land use decisions, to include design standards, believing these decisions are best made at the local level by county commissioners elected by, and accountable to, the communities they serve. HB 937 is now in the House Rules Committee and could soon be on the House Floor.

Please click here to review the joint ACCG/GMA talking points on the bill.    

Action Now:   Please contact your House members immediately to let them know of any concerns you may have with this bill.   
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. 
Remember to Ask Your Senators to Support the Local Finance Authority Bill

Senate Bill 309 creates two authorities – one administered by the Georgia Municipal Association and one by ACCG – that will have the power to provide financing for local government capital projects (facilities and equipment). Under this legislation, the authorities will have the ability to pool purchases for multiple local governments, with the goal of lowering borrowing costs.

Please contact your Senators to let them know you support SB 309, which is pending in the Senate Rules Committee. For questions about this bill, please contact Larry Ramsey ( lramsey@accg.org ). 
More from the Gold Dome
Cyber Security Legislation Introduced

House Bill 1049 requires local governments to report (to the state director of emergency management) any cyber-attack incident, data breach or identified use of malware that creates a life-safety event; substantially impacts the security of data and information systems; or affects critical systems, equipment or service delivery. It also authorizes any portion of a local government meeting that discusses or votes upon a cybersecurity issue to be held in executive session. Lastly, it exempts local government records, data and information concerning cybersecurity from the Open Records Act. ACCG supports this legislation.         
Padsplit Preemption Bill Introduced

House Bill 980 , similar to HB 537 which prohibits local governments from regulating short-term rentals, preempts local government land use practices by redefining "family" in state law, mandating an opening in local zoning codes to permit all forms of co-housing, boarding houses and student housing in single-family neighborhoods statewide. It would supersede all local ordinances and redefine "family" to include any group of people, of any size, cohabitating a single residence.  

While this may be a great idea in some areas, ACCG believes that local governments should be able to define family for residential areas in order to protect the integrity of single-family neighborhoods within their communities.   
Governor's Legislation to Combat Gangs in Georgia is Introduced

Governor Brian Kemp's comprehensive gang legislation, House Bill 994 , was introduced this week. This bill adds a number of offenses to the Gang Statute and will classify juveniles 13-17 as adults for certain gang-related crimes. 

For a full summary of HB 994, please click here.
Bills to Abolish County Police Departments Seemingly Unneeded

Senate Bill 317 and House Bill 866 , aimed at a local situation in Glynn County, would allow local legislative delegations, statewide, to bypass county commissioners and abolish a county police department through local legislation and referendum. Encouragingly, and while anything could change, ACCG has learned that the county and the bills’ sponsors have reached an agreement to address this issue at the local level, thus avoiding the need for, and statewide impacts of, this legislation. 

ACCG commends Glynn County, Senator Bill Ligon and Representative Don Hogan for working together to address this issue locally.   
Stay Connected and Engaged!
Policy Communication Tools

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2020 Annual Conference - Everybody Counts!
Everybody Counts. Join ACCG for the 2020 Annual Conference in Savannah/Chatham County on April 24-27. Click here for more information.
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 - February 26, 2020

The Center Square (Georgia)- February 25, 2020

The Brunswick News - February 25, 2020

Albany Herald - February 25, 2020

Daily Citizen News - February 24, 2020

The Center Square (Georgia) - February 21, 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 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  2020 Legislative Toolkit and your Legislative Updates when conversing with your state legislators!