Legislative Update
Volume 8, Issue 1                 
January 13, 2017
General Assembly Kicks Off 2017 Legislative Session
The Georgia General Assembly convened the 2017 legislative session on Monday, January 9.  With the session underway, ACCG encourages all members to review how to use the association's legislative tracking database to stay informed of the various bills as they move through the legislative process. A brief tutorial can be found here

Governor Deal Releases Budget Recommendations in State of the State

Gov. Deal delivered his State of the State address on Wednesday, January 11, where he detailed his budget recommendations for the amended budget and upcoming fiscal year. Highlights from the governor's recommendations can be viewed here
ACCG Seeks County Feedback on the FAST Act 

Senate Bill 2 - also known as the Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency (FAST) Act -  requires cities and counties to establish a schedule for all the licensing and permitting fees they charge to start-up businesses, provide a timeline by which applications will be processed, then reduce said fees by 10 percent for each 10 days an application is not processed.  Additionally, local governments have to establish a fast-track permitting/licensing process and determine whether an applicant’s personal information can be shared between government agencies to expedite various licensing requirements.  Local governments have to submit another annual report to DCA, and DCA will establish an annual scorecard on local governments’ permitting and licensing processes.     

Read the summary of the bill here.   

Please have your licensing and permitting staff review this legislation and provide feedback on its implications as soon as possible to Todd Edwards, tedwards@accg.org.   
Bills to Watch This Week:
More News from the State Capitol
State Releases 2017 TAVT Allocation Percentage Between State and Local Governments

The local share will increase from 40.55 percent to 45.61 percent. Click here to review the official bulletin released by the Georgia Department of Revenue. 

Sheriffs Lobby for Mandatory Minimum Salaries for Local Law Enforcement

The Georgia Sheriff’s Association is pursuing the “Local Law Enforcement Compensation Reform.” In short, the proposal includes a mandatory minimum starting salary for local law enforcement, jailers and deputy sheriffs equal to the starting salary of the state patrol and state corrections officers; a special statewide sales tax dedicated to fund salaries and benefits of local officers; and a state income tax credit for full-time jailers, state correctional officers and Department of Juvenile Justice detention officers earning less than $40,000 annually from their primary agency.

Click here for more information and to access the official proposal from the Georgia Sheriff's Association.

Counties understand the importance of public safety and know that officers face danger each and every day, however it is vitally important to all local governments to adhere to ACCG’s guiding principles which specifically call for the preservation of local government’s home rule as conferred by the Georgia Constitution.  Fiscal and administrative home rule allow counties to develop and implement community based solutions to local issues, and as the government closest to the people, counties are the most appropriate authority to serve the needs and requirements of the communities.  Each local government should have the ability to set the salaries of all employees based on available revenue, taking into account all types of compensation including health insurance, retirement, paid time off and overtime paid.

Broadband Access Study Committee Releases Report 

On December 29, the High Speed Broadband Communications Access joint legislative study committee released its recommendations to expand broadband coverage across Georgia, particularly in rural areas.  Recognizing that this effort entails collaboration between state and local governments, many of the committee’s recommendations could significantly impact county broadband initiatives, right-of-way and cell tower permitting processes, land use policies, sales tax revenues and more. 

Expect some of these recommendations to be introduced as legislation during the 2017 session. The Committee's recommendations can be viewed here . The full report can be accessed here.
House and Senate Transit Committees Release Reports, New Committees Announced

Much attention and discussion at the General Assembly has centered around transit. This past fall, the House Study Committee on Regional Transit Solutions and the Senate Regional Transit Solutions Study Committee met. The Senate’s final report, found  here , includes language from ACCG’s legislative priorities regarding Single County T-SPLOST. The final House study committee report can be found  here .

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston recently announced the new  House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He later plans to introduce a bill creating  The Georgia Commission on Transit Governance and Funding.  Stay tuned for how the transit discussion develops.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle announced a new task force to consider Georgia's healthcare needs. Click here to learn more about the Georgia Health Care Reform Task Force.
    Former County Officials Named to House and Senate Committee Leadership

    Both the House and the Senate appointed their 2017-2018 committee chairs, vice chairs and other leadership positions this week.  While all have demonstrated commitment, experience and leadership in their respective areas, ACCG wishes to especially recognize and congratulate those newly-appointed leaders who have formerly served in county government.  


    Sen. Lee Anderson, Vice Chair, Senate Agriculture and Science and Technology Committees and Vice Chair, Science and Technology Committee - former Columbia County commissioner

    Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, Chair, Senate Finance Committee and Vice Chair, Retirement Committee - former Floyd County commissioner

    Sen. Blake Tillery, Vice Chair, Senate State Institutions and Properties Committee – former Toombs County chairman 


    Rep. Bubber Epps, Chair, House Motor Vehicles Committee – former Twiggs County chairman

    Rep. Kevin Tanner, Chair, House Transportation Committee – former Dawson County manager

    ACCG Welcomes 2017 Class of CLCs
    ACCG is proud to welcome the 2017 class of County Legislative Coordinators (CLCs) and appreciates their partnership in keeping county commissioners informed, involved and impactful with Georgia’s legislative process.  The primary and essential role of the county CLC, appointed by the county chairperson, is to:
    • Monitor ACCG’s Legislative Updates and related materials distributed by ACCG;
    • Disseminate this information to county  commissioners and staff regularly and in a timely manner;
    • Ensure that county commissioners and staff evaluate the impact of legislative proposals;
    • Provide ACCG feedback, and facilitate commissioners contacting your legislative delegation regarding the legislation impacting your county.   
    Together, ACCG, CLCs and county commissioners can continue to make a meaningful difference in helping craft sound public policy for the State of Georgia.   The current list of county CLCs, can be found here.   

    Please help us make any needed revisions to the CLC list by contacting Nicole Logan, ACCG, at 404-522-5022, or nlogan@accg.org.

    Weekly Friday Legislative Briefings Resume

    ACCG hosts weekly legislative briefings while the legislature is in session. The meetings take place every Friday at 10 a.m. and are held in room 328 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building across from the State Capitol. A notification will be sent in the event of a meeting cancellation. County elected officials and county staff members, including county legislative coordinators (CLCs), are welcome and highly encouraged to attend. Please RSVP to Nicole Logan at  nlogan@accg.org
     if you are interested in attending. 

      Broadband Access, 9-1-1 Funding, and Tax Reform Focus of 2017 District Days at the Capitol 

      Is internet connectivity a concern to you and your constituents?  What about access to broadband and/or the capacity of the system on which you rely?  Does your county want to know how to access transportation funding from the state’s Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB)?  Are you concerned about the future of E-911 funding for your county?
      County commissioners and county staff from all across Georgia have an incredible opportunity to explore these topics and to fully engage with the legislative process surrounding these issues at ACCG District Day at the Capitol.  With three options to participate in this action-packed day - February 22, March 1, and March 8 - every county elected and appointed official should be committed to taking advantage of this opportunity! Each of the three dayswill be similarly structured and will feature a chance to hear from representatives of the Executive branch, legislators, state agency leaders, and/or ACCG policy staff.

      To learn the latest about what's happening at the Capitol, register for one of the upcoming ACCG District Days:

      February 22
      March 1
      March 8