March 13, 2020
Volume 11, Issue 9
Click here to view the online version.
Crossover Day Recap
Unprecedented Local Land Use/Zoning Preemptions Fail to Make Crossover 
Crossover Day came and went, and neither House Bill 523 nor House Bill 937 passed the House before the final Crossover bell rang. HB 523, still in its original form, would have prohibited local governments from regulating short-term rental properties any differently from other residential properties within their communities. The legislation did make the House Rules Calendar late in the evening, meaning it was eligible to be voted on by the House; however, it was never called up for a vote. A special thanks to all Georgia county and city officials who contacted their House members on short notice to express concerns with the bill, and also to Rep. Kasey Carpenter, the bill’s sponsor, for ultimately not requesting that the bill be voted upon. ACCG staff will continue to work with Carpenter and other stakeholders to try to find a balanced solution to this complex and contentious issue.

House Bill 937 would have decimated a local government’s ability to enact any design standards on new subdivisions within their jurisdiction. While this was undoubtedly among the most lobbied and recognized bills of the 2020 legislative session, it failed to make the House Rules Calendar on Crossover Day.  
ACCG commends House members who realized the importance of allowing local governments to carefully balance the property rights of developers with the rights of existing residents who may be negatively impacted by minimum development standards.  
While these two bill numbers are dead, please keep in mind that these and all other concepts may be revived at any time during the remainder of the session through being amended to, or substituted for, other bills that did make the crossover deadline. ACCG will keep counties informed of any new developments in these areas.          
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
2020 Legislative Session Suspended Indefinitely

With Crossover Day in the rear view, the half-way point for the 2020 legislative session has passed. However, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston mutually agreed to suspend the 2020 session indefinitely due to COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety of all involved in the state's lawmaking process.

Click here to read the official press release from the General Assembly and for more information.
Modification of the County Legal Organ/Advertisement Process is Dead for this Session

Senate Bill 406 would have authorized cities and counties to post legal advertisements on their website, 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 publication on the county website, legal organ’s website or common statewide website would serve as adequate notice to the public. The bill failed to make it out of the Senate Rules Committee by the crossover deadline.  
Local Government Finance Authority Bill Fails to Reach the Senate Floor

Senate Bill 309 would have created two statewide authorities – one administered by ACCG and the other by the Georgia Municipal Association – that would have the power to provide long-term financing for county, city, and school infrastructure and equipment. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 309 never made it out of the Senate Rules Committee and is effectively dead for this year. ACCG appreciates the many county officials who urged their Senators to bring Senate Bill 309 to a vote.
Increase in Juvenile Court Jurisdiction Fails to Make Crossover

House Bill 440 , which would have raised the age from 17 to 18 for Juvenile Court jurisdiction, was substituted with additional language to create a Juvenile Justice Advisory Council to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding resources required to implement the change in jurisdiction. However, the counties were not given a seat on that advisory council and the language implementing the change in jurisdiction was left in the bill. Ultimately the bill failed to make it out of the House Rules Committee and onto the floor for a full vote.
Civil Forfeiture Bill No Longer In Play

House Bill 1086 , would have stayed all civil actions on asset forfeiture until the underlying criminal case was concluded. This would have resulted in law enforcement and District Attorney's holding assets for long periods of time while an underlying criminal case made its way through the court system and then only upon conviction could those assets held be forfeited. This bill did make in onto the House Calendar but the House adjourned before debating the bill on the floor.
Dedication of Trust Funds Legislation Receives Final Passage

House Resolution 164 , the “Putting the Trust in Trust Funds” legislation received final passage this week! ACCG would like to especially thank Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Rep. Andy Welch, Sen. Jack Hill and Sen. Chuck Hufstetler for their support in getting this legislation across the finish line. This proposed constitutional amendment (on the ballot in Nov, 2020), 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 allows the General Assembly to take steps in the right direction to "put the trust in trust funds". Additional details can be found here .
Lodging Facilitator Makes the Cut

House Bill 448 passed the House on Crossover Day. This bill will require online lodging marketplaces like Airbnb and VRBO to collect and remit county and city hotel/motel taxes. The bill also adds a $5 per night fee to short-term rental stays; this is a state fee and, like the existing $5 per night fee on hotel stays, is anticipated to be used for transportation purposes. Thank you to all county officials who contacted their House members to support House Bill 448, which allow for streamlined collection of hotel/motel taxes that are owed but, in most cases, not being collected currently.
Bill Capping Agriculture Inspection/Permit Fees Sails Through House 

House Bill 690 prohibits counties from charging a fee of more than $500 for permitting "agricultural structures", which include buildings and structures used for the commercial production of crops, livestock, animals, poultry, honeybees, livestock, timber, forest products, products used for commercial aquaculture or farm labor camps for migrant workers. 

ACCG opposes this legislation, believing that fees for permitting agricultural structures should approximate whatever a county’s costs are for administering the permitting service. Otherwise, if it cost the county more than $500 to conduct an inspection, other taxpayers (already feeling that they pay their fair share of taxes) will be responsible for picking up the tab, thus subsidizing the service. If you have concerns with this, please contact your Senators, particularly those on the Senate Agriculture Committee .
Bill Changing Regional Commission Council Makeup Emerges and Advances Late

House Bill 1122 significantly revises the makeup of Regional Commission (RC) Councils.  Removed from the current council make up are the three residents appointed by the Governor; one appointment by the Lieutenant Governor; one appointment by the House Speaker; and the ability for an RC to include additional members at its discretion. In return, each County Commission in the region will appoint one nonpublic resident of their respective county. Additionally, councils are no longer to establish committees as they see fit but will have to appoint an executive committee comprising no less than five but no more than nine members. The executive committee is charged with developing and overseeing the RC's budget and work program, nominate executive directors, oversee personnel policies, establish council committees and appoint committee members, and carry out other tasks assigned by the council.     
A List of Key Bills that Passed/Failed
To view the list of bills that passed the Crossover Day deadline, be sure to either click the "This Week's Bills" button above or click here .

Click here to view the list of key bills that did not pass.
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!
Thank You!
ACCG thanks all county officials for their hard work and active engagement to help us get through Crossover Day!
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 13, 2020

Georgia Recorder - March 9, 2020

Georgia Recorder- March 4, 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!