March 6, 2020
Volume 11, Issue 8
Crossover Day is Thursday, March 12
Bills of Importance to Counties in House and Senate Rules

Crossover Day is Thursday, March 12. This is the last day for a bill to pass out of the chamber (House or Senate) in which it originated. ACCG is asking for county officials' full engagement and asks that they closely monitor the bills that are still pending in the House and Senate Rules Committees. ACCG highly encourages county officials to have discussions with their legislators. See below for the bills of importance to counties that are currently in House and Senate Rules.
Design Standards Bill Could Make the House Floor Next Week

Special interests are mounting pressure on House Rules Committee members to place House Bill 937 on the House floor for a vote. This legislation prohibits cities and counties from limiting or prohibiting, either directly or indirectly, any state code-approved building material, product or construction practice for single-family homes unless permission is granted by DCA. Local residential building design standards for aesthetic purposes would be banned outright, since DCA only allows local building code amendments to be based solely on local climatic, geologic, topographic, or public safety factors. 

Please relay any concerns you may have with your House members, using ACCG’s revised talking points to guide your correspondence.  
Time Running Out for Government Finance Authority Bill

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

Senate Bill 309 is currently pending in the Senate Rules Committee, which must approve the bill to allow for a full Senate vote by Thursday, March 12th. For those counties with Senators who serve on the Rules Committee , please contact those Senators and ask them to vote to allow Senate Bill 309 to proceed to a floor vote. For a list of talking points on this bill, click here.

For questions about this bill, please contact Larry Ramsey ( ). 
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. 
Contact House Rules Committee Members on House Bill 448 - Require Airbnb and Similar Short-Term Rental Services to Collect Local Hotel/Motel Taxes

House Bill 448 – the “Lodging Facilitator” bill – would require online platforms like Airbnb to collect and remit county and city hotel/motel taxes on short-term rentals within those jurisdictions. House Bill 448 is pending in the House Rules Committee as next Thursday’s Crossover Day deadline approaches. Please contact your House Rules Committee members and ask them to move House Bill 448 forward for a full vote by the House.
Ask Your Senators to Support Dedication of Trust Funds Legislation

House Resolution 164 , the “Putting the Trust in Trust Funds” legislation could be voted on in the Senate on Monday, March 9th. Contact your Senators and ask them to support the House’s amended version of HR 164! This proposed constitutional amendment, would authorize the General Assembly to establish, by statute, true and dedicated trust funds whereby fees collected for a specific purpose would actually go to that purpose.

ACCG has advocated for the General Assembly to dedicate the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and Solid Waste Trust Fund for more than 10 years. HR 164 would allow the General Assembly to take steps in right direction to "put the trust in trust funds"!  Additional details can be found here .
More from the Gold Dome
New Bill Provides Coroners Full-Time Employment Status, Pay Raise and Treatment as Constitutional Officers

House Bill 1099 by Rep. Danny Mathis requires significant pay raises for coroners. It first removes the current statutory restriction that there be only one deputy coroner and authorizes the coroner to set the deputy coroner's salary at one-half the coroner's salary, or at one-quarter of the coroner's salary plus a fee of $250 for each case worked. It then sets up a state-mandated coroner base pay scale for all counties, throws in a substantial raise - similar to what's in statute for constitutional officers, and makes the office of coroner a full-time county position. Counties will have to provide coroners the same employment benefits as provided to other constitutional officers. Please e-mail any thoughts and concerns you may have with this bill to Todd Edwards ( ).  
Bill to Increase Funds for Peace Officer Annuity Benefit Fund Passes the Senate

Senate Bill 249 , an ACCG priority, recently passed the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration. It increases funds for the Peace Officer Annuity Benefit Fund. This legislation will also allow local jailers to join the Fund and should help with recruitment and retention of local law enforcement.
Legal Organ Bill Passes Senate Committee

Senate Bill 406 , an ACCG agenda item for the 2020 legislative session, passed the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee this week. It authorizes counties or the legal organ to post legal advertisements online in addition to the required paid posting in the county’s legal organ. The legal organ would still get paid to run the advertisement and all other current conditions in law would apply; however, should the legal organ delay or fail to post the notice in print, the online posting would serve as adequate notice to the public. The county’s business could continue even though, through no fault of its own, the legal organ delays or fails to run the advertisement as planned. Current state law allows for no other recourse if a legal organ fails to run a legal advertisement.        
Legislation that Moves the County General Fund Up Payment Priority List Passes the House

House Bill 576, which moves the county general fund up the priority for payment list for partial payments of fines, has passed the House and now moves to the Senate. This legislation moves the county from 10th on the priority list to 5th. 

ACCG thanks Rep. Rick Williams for working with the association to amend his legislation to move counties up the priority list!
Department of Revenue Seeks Comments Timberland Assessment Rules

In response to legislative changes that became effective last year, the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) has published Notice of its proposed rules and Assessment Manual for the valuing of “qualified timberland property”. Counties with significant amounts of timber properties should ask their assessors’ offices to review the proposal. As described in the Notice, comments on the proposed rules and manual are due by April 6, 2020.
Stay Connected and Engaged!
Policy Communication Tools

Don't forget about the various communications tools that will help keep you informed and engaged. Click here to read all about them!
Watch Today's Livestream

Did you miss today's Facebook Live Legislative Update? Don't worry - we've got you covered! Just click on the recap image to start watching!
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- March 4, 2020

Atlanta Journal-Constitution - March 2, 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!