Legislative Update
Volume 8, Issue 4                 
February 3, 2017

Adjournment Resolution Set through Day 40
Curious to know what the state legislature did during week four of the 2017 session? Well, you're in the right place! The ACCG policy team was hard at work as many more bills of significance to counties  were introduced. Be sure to access "This Week's Bills" on the right for a complete list of legislation included in this issue of the Legislative Update. 

As legislators were busy this week drafting legislation, they also passed an adjournment resolution establishing the calendar through Legislative Day 40. Click here to view the adjournment resolution which includes key dates such as Crossover Day (March 3) and Sine Die (March 30). ACCG would like to remind counties that Crossover Day, the last day for a bill to pass out of the chamber in which it was introduced, is now Legislative Day 28.
More on Firefighter Coverage 

Last week, the House introduced two bills regarding the issue of firefighters and cancer -  HB 146 and HB 152. Last year's measure on this subject, HB 216, was vetoed by Governor Deal. Both HB 146 and HB 152 passed out of committee this week, and ACCG expects HB 146 to be on the House floor for a vote on Tuesday with an amendment.  

 At the request of House Leadership and the Governor’s Office, ACCG has worked with the firefighters and the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) to develop an alternative supplemental insurance product to cover firefighters that contract certain types of cancer. HB 146 provides an immediate medical benefit of $25,000 if a firefighter were diagnosed with a serious cancer or $6,250, if diagnosed with certain, less serious forms of cancer.  Furthermore, it provides income benefits for three years after a six-month waiting period. The benefits prescribed under HB 146 could be insured by a commercial insurance product at a cost to the local governments that is significantly less than workers’ compensation.  In addition, if firefighters were to be covered under workers’ compensation, the cost could be further impacted if eligibility were later expanded to include other occupations, additional types of cancer, or other diseases such as heart and lung disorders, high blood pressure, etc.  The estimated cost to insure each firefighter under the coverage in HB 146 is $400 annually.

 In comparison, the workers’ compensation benefits in HB 152 are estimated to cost between $400 and $1,080 per firefighter annually, based on actuarial projections.  For these reasons, ACCG prefers HB 146 over HB 152. Please contact Associate Legislative Director Debra Nesbit at dnesbit@accg.org with any questions or concerns. 
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. 
HB 181 Allows Local Governments to Obtain Sales Tax Data from DOR 
Rep. Jodi Lott and others introduced HB 181, which allows counties and cities to obtain sales tax data applicable to their specific jurisdiction from the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). If passed, this legislation would be a valuable tool as it would allow local governments to verify the proper allocation of sales taxes. More information is available here (link). Any questions regarding HB 181 may be directed to ACCG Deputy General Counsel Larry Ramsey at lramsey@accg.org
House Committee Revises Rules on Creating New Cities
The House Governmental Affairs Committee has revised its rules governing legislation on the creation of new cities.  Any bill to create a new city must be introduced in one year, studied over the interim, then voted on in the second year; the city’s proposed boundaries cannot change over this period, other than to account for existing cities’ annexations; “city lites” will no longer be considered; incorporation bills must be sponsored by a legislator whose district incorporates the proposed city and other governments affected by a new city can pay for and submit a separate study on the new city’s impacts.  ACCG fully supports these changes and commends Chairman Ed Rynders for enhancing the new-city legislative process.  For a list of the committee’s rules, please click here
Watch This Week's Legislative Roundtable
Did you miss this morning's Legislative Roundtable? Don't worry, ACCG has you covered! Click here to access ACCG's Facebook page that features the second Legislative Roundtable broadcast. 

Please remember to tune in every Friday at 8:30 a.m. via Facebook Live as ACCG will regularly host these live broadcasts to inform county officials about significant issues as they move through the legislative process. Friend the association on Facebook (facebook.com/gacounty) to join the conversation. Feel free to ask questions and  share your concerns as you're watching. You may also send inquiries to the ACCG policy staff via email once the Roundtable has concluded.
    Don't Forget to Register for District Days at the Capitol  
    The 2017 District Days at the Capitol are quickly approaching! This year's District Days will allow county commissioners and county staff from all across Georgia to explore topics such as broadband access, E-911 Funding, and Tax Reform. 

    County officials are encouraged to attend one of three scheduled District Days - February 22, March 1, or March 8 - to get fully engaged in the legislative process and to let the collective voice of county government be heard.  The first District Day is now under one month away, so contact your county clerk to register for the day that best fits your schedule. Furthermore, ACCG is hosting the first-ever Newly Elected Commissioners Day at the Capitol for Georgia's newest county elected officials on February 9. New county commissioners will receive an introduction to the legislative process along with significant information from the ACCG policy staff. Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to hear directly from Georgia House Speaker David Ralston as he will serve as the keynote speaker during breakfast.

    Don't miss these dynamic opportunities that connect Georgia's county leaders with their state counterparts. Attend a meeting to do your part to help advance Georgia's counties!

    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
    ACCG is YOUR county association 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 2017 Legislative Toolkit when conversing with your state legislators!