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Unofficial Opinion 99-2

Unofficial Opinion 99-2

February 24, 1999
To: 

State Senator
District 11

Re: 

Except as provided in O.C.G.A. § 43-14-12, a local government does not have the authority under O.C.G.A. § 48-13-9 to impose additional licensing requirements, including regulatory fees, upon state licensed electrical contractors who conduct business within the jurisdiction of the local government.

You have requested my opinion as to whether a local government has the authority under O.C.G.A. § 48-13-9 to impose regulatory fees on state licensed electrical contractors who conduct business within the local government’s jurisdiction. Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 48-13-9(a) states that “[a] local government is authorized to require a business or practitioner of a profession or occupation to pay a regulatory fee only if the local government customarily performs investigation or inspection of such businesses or practitioners . . . but no local government is authorized to use regulatory fees as a means of raising revenue for general purposes.” The statute specifically provides that a local government is not authorized to subject to regulatory fees a “business, profession, or occupation for which state licensure or registration is required by state law, unless the state law regulating such business, profession, or occupation specifically allows for regulation by local governments.” O.C.G.A. § 48-13-9(c)(20).

Georgia law provides that “[n]o person shall engage in the electrical contracting business as an electrical contractor unless such person has a valid license from the Division of Electrical Contractors.” O.C.G.A. § 43-14-8(a). Georgia law also provides that any person who holds such a license may engage in the business of electrical contracting “as prescribed by the license, throughout the state; and except as provided in Code Section 43-14-12, no municipality or county may require such person to comply with any additional licensing requirements imposed by such municipality or county.” O.C.G.A. § 43-14-13(b). Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 43-14-12(a) authorizes a local government inspection authority, after notice and a hearing on specified grounds, to suspend a license, including the license of an electrical contractor, within the jurisdiction of the local government. Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 43-14-12(b) authorizes a local government to adopt and enforce local codes.

The Genera1 Assembly intended O.C.G.A. § 43-14-1 et seq. to preempt local licensing schemes for, among other things, electrical contracting, in order to avoid a patchwork of local and state licensing requirements. See 1995 Op. Att’y Gen. 95-7; 1987 Op. Att’y Gen. 87-3; 1980 Op. Att’y Gen. U80-31. As provided in O.C.G.A. § 43-14-13(b), the only exception to this preemption against a local government creating additional licensing requirements is found in O.C.G.A. § 43-14-12.

Therefore, it is my opinion that, except as provided in O.C.G.A. § 43-14-12, a local government does not have the authority under O.C.G.A. § 48-13-9 to impose additional licensing requirements, including regulatory fees, upon state licensed electrical contractors who conduct business within the jurisdiction of the local government.

Prepared by:

 

KYLE A. PEARSON
Assistant Attorney General


 

2 This office has previously opined that, under the exception to preemption set forth in O.C.G.A. § 43-14-12, a local government would appear to be authorized to enact an ordinance requiring a code compliance bond, which is a method of enforcing local codes, for electrical and several other types of contractors. See 1995 Op. Att’y Gen. 95-7.