The Georgia General Assembly will convene next Monday (day 26) for two consecutive days. There are only two legislative days left until Crossover Day on March 12. Follow this link for the Georgia General Assembly schedule. 

Last Chance in the Senate to Lower Finance Costs for Facilities & Equipment Needed by Taxpayers

SB 309 would authorize the creation of two authorities to issue tax-exempt bonds for pooled financing of local governments. Since 2000, GMA has closed over $980 million in Direct Lease and Bricks & Mortar transactions combined. Using the authority’s lower interest rates could have saved local governments over $45 million in reduced interest costs for these projects.

Benefits of Pooled Financing for Local Governments:
  • Reduce the cost of issuance and underwriting for access to the municipal bond market.
  •  More favorable interest rates (other states already enjoy this savings).
  • Pooled project financing helps all local governments, particularly smaller ones, get bond financing at lower rates.
  • Saves taxpayers money by lowering the interest costs paid Georgia’s cities.  For example, on a $5 million project, taxpayers could save over $225,000 in reduced interest expenses over the life of the transaction. 
  • Will NOT impact the State of Georgia’s AAA credit rating in any way. 
  • Will create opportunities for bond counsel and financial institutions to work with the Authority on future transactions.  
GMA encourages city officials to ask for support of SB 309 from their Senator and Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan.
Scroll down for detailed information on these legislative priorities and visit GMA's 2020 Legislative Session web page for bills tracked during session.

Coin Operated Amusement Machines – SB 397: This legislation reduces the number of machines permitted per site from a maximum of nine to three machines.  Pending in Senate Rules Committee. 

Short-Term Rental Preemption – House Bill 523: This legislation would allow the unregulated business of short-term rental properties to operate in your communities. Pending in the House Rules Committee. 

TAVT Distribution Adjustment – House Bill 779: This legislation would recoup some of cities’ lost revenue from the July 1, 2019 allocation distribution change. Pending in the Senate Finance Committee. 

Residential Building Material and Design Standards Preemption – House Bill 937: This legislation would prohibit cities and counties from regulating any building material, product or construction practice for single-family homes if approved in the state minimum standard codes. Pending in House Rules Committee. 

Municipal Gas System Regulation – House Resolution 1037: This bill would grant authority to the state to regulate municipal gas rates outside of incorporated areas. Pending in the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.

Additional Active Legislation
HB 937 Would Prohibit
Local Governments from Creating a Unique Sense of Place

HB 937 would prohibit cities and counties from regulating any building material, product or construction practice for single-family homes if approved in the state minimum standard codes. Click the video below to hear from Charlotte Davis, GMA Senior Governmental Relations Associate, on why this new legislation would be detrimental to the unique sense of place created by individual communities across Georgia. 
You can also find a full list of cities that have adopted resolutions supporting local decision making for residential building design standards here.
GMA opposes this bill. Citizens, not special interests, should retain the authority to make these decisions locally.
GMA opposes HB 937, and is strongly encouraging members to reach out to your House Members and ask them to vote “NO” on this design standard preemption legislation AND it's not too late to make an even stronger impact by visiting the Capitol.
Bill Gives Cities More Control Over Coin Operated Amusement Machines  
Currently, local governments have limited local control over Class B Coin Operated Amusement Machines (COAMs), due to regulations by the Georgia Lottery Corporation. One measure of the current law is the ability for cities to adopt an ordinance to reduce the total number of COAM games in a location from nine to six. SB 397 would further empower local governments by allowing them to reduce the number of machines from nine to three by ordinance.
GMA supports this bill and encourages city officials to contact their Senators and ask that they support SB 397. 

Short Term Rental Preemption Legislation Limits Citizens’ Say 
Imagine if a motel with no management staff, security or rules was operating directly across the street from your home. Many short-term rental operations are like unregulated motel rooms for rent, lacking oversight and resulting in a decline in safety and the ability to enforce code violations. This is just one of the several consequences to short-term rentals, and HB 523 would preempt cities from regulating these properties. GMA is working to affirm the powers of local governments to regulate these businesses and ensure that they are subject to all taxes and fees due from similar businesses, such as hotels and motels. 
GMA opposes this bill and encourages city officials to contact House Members and ask that they vote “NO” on HB 523. Click here for valuable talking points to use with your Representatives. 

TAVT Legislation Would Increase City Share of Distribution
HB 779 would change the distribution of the TAVT fee between local governments to allow cities to recoup some of this lost revenue by changing their distribution from 23% to 28% in a city with a county school district. The legislation would change the allocation for cities from 23% to 34% in cities with a city school district.
GMA supports this bill and encourages city officials to contact their Senators and ask that they support HB 779. 

Proposed State Regulation of City Utility Rates
Constitutional amendment House Resolution 1037 would grant the General Assembly power to regulate and fix charges for municipal gas services provided to customers who live outside municipal boundaries. Currently, municipal gas system rates are not regulated by the state. GMA opposes this bill.
Local Legislation Update: If you are interested in seeing if local legislation has been introduced that impacts your city, or surrounding local governments, subscribe to GMA's Local Legislation Update and receive an email when any local legislation has been introduced and assigned to a committee. 

Visit the Capitol, GMA Staff Can Guide You: Let GMA help you navigate the Gold Dome and provide you a personalized legislative briefing. Contact Kenyetta Williams at (678) 686-6206 to schedule your visit.
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