Fulton County v. City of Atlanta

Court: Georgia Supreme Court
Case Number: S18A1156
Decision Date: March 04, 2019
Case Type: Single Subject Rule
The Supreme Court of Georgia held that a 1979 constitutional amendment violated the single-subject rule and was thereby, unconstitutional. In 1979, the Georgia General Assembly adopted a local constitutional amendment concerning the creation of an industrial district in Fulton County. Additionally, the amendment contained a paragraph which provided that the county was "prohibited from levying any tax for educational purposes." In 1983, after the enactment and adoption of the 1983 Georgia Constitution, the General Assembly passed legislation to continue the 1979 amendment but failed to include any language dealing with the tax for educational purposes. In 1986, legislation was passed to erroneously prohibit the county from levying an educational tax within the district. 

The Court held that the 1979 local constitutional amendment was governed by the 1976 Georgia Constitution, which specifically prohited changes to multiple articles of the constitution in one amendment but allowed changes within one article to be in the same amendment. The county argued that the 1979 amendment was within one article but the Court held that the amendment changed two articles of the Georgia Constitution. The Court held that the 1979 amrendment was never properly adopted, as a result, and that it violated the single-subject rule. As a result, an annexation ordinance from the City of Atlanta was held to not be barred by the 1979 amendment and the Court held that the trial court properly entered judgment for the city on the merits.