Legislative Update
Volume 9 , Issue 1        
January 12, 2018
General Assembly Kicks Off 2018 Legislative Session
The Georgia General Assembly convened the 2018 legislative session on Monday, January 8. With the session underway, ACCG encourages all members to review how to use the Association's legislative tracking database to stay informed on the various bills as they move through the legislative process. A brief tutorial can be found here.
Facebook Live Legislative Update Continues During the 2018 Session
ACCG will host the Facebook Live Legislative Update every Friday at 8:30 a.m. during the 2018 Legislative Session. The live version of the Legislative Update is an interactive session that provides counties an opportunity to hear directly from the ACCG policy team and to ask questions. The staff will provide updates on pressing issues and address any concerns county officials may have.

Counties are strongly encouraged to use this as an opportunity to ask questions about developing legislation with potential impacts on local governments. 

Be sure to like and follow ACCG's official Facebook page, ACCG Georgia Counties, if you haven't already! If you are not on Facebook, you can view the weekly live Legislative Updates at the following link: http://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaCounty/.
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. 
State and Local Governments' Sovereign Immunity Could Be Waived with HB 674
In late November, Gov. Deal’s Court Reform Council issued its final report on several issues relating to the court system. One of the topics covered in that report is sovereign immunity, which generally provides broad protection for the state and local governments from various types of lawsuits – protections that have been significantly expanded in favor of governments via several recent decisions of the Georgia Supreme Court. Following up on the Court Reform Council’s recommendations, HB 674 would waive the immunity of the state, counties, and cities with respect to particular types of lawsuits where monetary damages are not sought. Because this is a significant topic for all counties, please have your county attorneys review HB 674 and provide comments to ACCG Deputy General Counsel Larry Ramsey at lramsey@accg.org or (404) 589-7824. 
Greater Percentage of TAVT Revenues will Shift from the State to Local Governments in 2018
On Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) announced the state and local percentage shares of motor vehicle taxes - remaining ad valorem taxes on older vehicles plus Title Ad Valorem Taxes (TAVT) - that will apply beginning in February 2018. Under the TAVT law, local governments as a whole are guaranteed a certain total amount of motor vehicle tax dollars. In order to maintain that amount, DOR annually sets the percentage shares in a manner designed to maintain the guaranteed amount based on the prior year’s total collections. Last year’s local share was 45.6 percent of total collections. Likely as a result of declining vehicle sales in 2017, the 2018 local share will be 51.58 percent. This may or may not result in more total revenue to your county. DOR’s Bulletin can be viewed here.
House Rural Development Council Issues Final Report
The House Rural Development Council, co-chaired by Representatives Terry England and Jay Powell, and including numerous House committee chairs, held 18 meetings across the state in 2017 to learn about the issues impairing the stabilization and growth of rural Georgia. The Council also worked to find solutions to move the entire state forward. While the Council exists for two years, it issued a final report of recommendations to pursue during the 2018 legislative session in the areas of general workforce, broadband, economic development, education and healthcare. Many of the specific recommendations directly impact county governments and will be discussed among ACCG’s 2018 Policy Agenda items. To view the entire report, please click here.
COPS Task Force Final Report
In 2017, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle created a special Senate task force, Compensation for Police and Sheriffs (COPS), to study the issues surrounding law enforcement pay, recruitment and retention. The task force's final report is available for review here.
Joint House and Senate Transportation Committee Meeting - Video Available
The Joint House and Senate Transportation Committee met on Thursday, January 11, 2018. During the meeting, the Georgia Department of Transportation presented its 10 year plan. A video of the committee meeting can be found here
Capitol News
Sen. Butch Miller Elected Senate President Pro Tempore
Sen. Butch Miller was recently elected to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Georgia Senate. Click here to read the official announcement.
House and Senate Calendars Set for January
Both chambers have set their legislative calendars through the month of January. The calendar is available in the adjournment resolution.
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.

AJC's Political Insider - January 9, 2018

Gainesville Times - January 9, 2018

GOVERNING - January 9, 2018

AJC - January 10, 2018
Don't Forget to Register for County Days at the Capitol 
The 2018 County Days at the Capitol are quickly approaching! Join ACCG, state leaders, and your fellow county officials on February 28 or March 7 for this immersive learning experience.

County Days at the Capitol are dedicated to connecting Georgia's county officials with state legislators and other key decision makers. County leaders can experience the daily processes that the ACCG policy staff, state legislators, and state agency heads endure during the 40 days in which the General Assembly is in session under the Gold Dome. County officials and staff are encouraged to attend this annual event to strengthen ties with their state legislators, receive updates on important issues, and hear firsthand from state agency leaders and the ACCG policy team about their plan of action to address countywide concerns.

Don't miss this dynamic opportunity 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 County Days:

February 28
March 7
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 2018 Legislative Toolkit when conversing with your state legislators!