Legislative Update
Volume 9 , Issue 3        
January 26, 2018
ACCG Priority Legislation on the Move This Week
The pace picked up this week at the Capitol as legislators had a full week of budget hearings and committee meetings. Several ACCG priority issues were introduced through bills that are now in committees, including legislation on 911 and access to sales tax information. As legislation starts to move, it is extremely important to read ACCG's legislative updates, watch the weekly Facebook Live sessions and connect with your legislators to let them know how these bills will impact your county.

This week the General Assembly also passed Senate Resolution 631, setting the remaining calendar for the 2018 legislative session. Currently Crossover Day (Day 28) is set for February 28 and adjournment is set for March 29 (Day 40).
911 Legislation Back in Action
House Bill 751, the 911 legislation that includes many of ACCG's legislative priorities, in the hopper today and is expected to be discussed in committee next week. This legislation mirrors the 911 legislation that was introduced last year. For a summary of the bill, click here.
Sales Tax Information Bill Moves Forward
On Wednesday of this week, the Senate Finance Committee voted in favor of House Bill 181, which addresses an ACCG legislative priority. That bill (which was approved by the House of Representatives last year) provides local governments with the ability to obtain certain sales tax information from the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). Currently, local governments have no way to double-check whether the sales taxes they receive from DOR are correct, due to confidentiality rules. In several instances, this has resulted in counties and cities having dramatic decreases in sales tax receipts due to unforeseeable refunds when DOR discovers errors.

In an effort to allow local governments to assist DOR in spotting problems sooner rather than later, HB 181 allows a designated local government official to obtain names and addresses of entities that are currently filing sales tax returns with DOR. That information would be subject to strict confidentiality requirements in the hands of the local government. Please contact your Senators to urge them to support HB 181.
Urge Legislators to Appropriate Funds for New Tag and Titling System
The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) is updating the equipment and connectivity requirements for its tag and titling system. The GRATIS system will be phased out and no longer supported and counties will be required to use a new system called DRIVES.

This memorandum was sent to tax commissioners notifying them of additional equipment costs that the counties will have to pay for if funds are not added to the state budget. 

As part of the DRIVES initiative, DOR sent out a survey to counties to learn about the equipment being used as well as internet connection speeds. While this information was used to request a budget appropriation, for the legislature to consider, the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 included no appropriations to fund the equipment and network connectivity.

County officials should contact their legislators to ask them to appropriate the funds to implement this new, required system to process tags and titles at the county level on behalf of the state.
House Ways and Means Committee Moves to Create True Trust Funds in Georgia
Georgia counties have long pained over the redirection of “trust fund” fees from their designated purposes to the state’s general fund, particularly when counties either pay said fees or are meant to receive funds for public purposes (e.g. Hazardous and Solid Waste Trust Funds).  House Resolution 158, by Rep. Jay Powell, is a proposed constitutional amendment that authorizes the General Assembly to create, or redirect, trust funds via the legislative process, adding more transparency and certainty to the process.  

This week's media coverage provides more information on this issue:
Daily Citizen News - January 23, 2018
Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) - Application Deadline March 22, 2018
The Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) is a grant and low-interest loan program administered by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) that provides financial assistance for transportation projects that improve mobility and enhance economic development.

New for 2018: LMIG may be used as a match and repayment source for loans that address closed, posted, temporarily shored and/or deficient bridges. Using LMIG as a GTIB match/repayment source was an ACCG 2018 legislative agenda item. We appreciate SRTA and GDOT allowing counties this opportunity to maximize the use of LMIG funds.

All Georgia counties, cities, CIDs and regional commissions are eligible and encouraged to apply.  Learn More
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. 
Register for County Days at the Capitol
County Days at the Capitol are dedicated to connecting Georgia's county officials with state legislators and other key decision makers. Join us on March 7 for County Day at the Capitol following 'Crossover Day,' to learn more about which bills are continuing to progress through the Georgia House and Senate. (Note: The February 28 County Day at the Capitol - which now coincides with Crossover Day - is currently full; however ACCG is working to add some additional seats. Watch the ACCG website for more information.)

County leaders can also 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 connects Georgia's county leaders with their state counterparts. Attend a meeting to do your part to help advance Georgia's counties!

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 – January 22, 2018

AJC’s Politically Georgia – January 22, 2018

AJC - January 25, 2018

AJC - January 26, 2018
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!