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Unofficial Opinions

Opinion In Reference To
2014-2

A member of the Georgia General Assembly may not serve as a municipal court judge.

2014-1

A local Historic Preservation Commission does not have the authority to regulate the alteration of the exterior paint color of a building within a historic district.

2012-4

Disposition of surplus proceeds from the sale of forfeited or abandoned weapons pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-5-52.1 should be made to the general fund of the political subdivision that disposed of such weapons.

U2012-4

Disposition of surplus proceeds from the sale of forfeited or abandoned weapons pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-5-52.1 should be made to the general fund of the political subdivision that disposed of such weapons.

2012-3

Costs collected under O.C.G.A. § 9‑11‑55 as a condition precedent to opening cases in default should be held in the court registry pending disposition of the case, and then the monies should be disbursed to the prevailing party based on the judgment or dismissal.

2012-2

The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act provides authority for Columbia County to assume jurisdiction over matters of juvenile delinquency occurring on the Fort Gordon military installation, except under those circumstances where the federal authority makes a certification under 18 U.S.C. § 5032 that the state system cannot assume such jurisdiction.

2012-1

An absent municipality cannot be forced under O.C.G.A. § 48-8-89 to accept a smaller percentage of the local option sales and use tax proceeds distributed to all qualified municipalities in the county than the percentage the absent municipality’s population is of the total population of all such qualified municipalities.

2010-3

The “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights,” O.C.G.A. § 17‑17‑1 through ‑16, has only limited application to juvenile court proceedings.

2010-2

O.C.G.A. § 35‑3‑37(d)(1) permits both the original arresting agency and the Georgia Crime Information Center to recover reasonable fees for the actual cost of expunging arrest records and accompanying documents up to $50.00 each.

2010-1

The Open Meetings Act, O.C.G.A. § 50 14 1, applies to the Drug Utilization Review Board created by the Georgia Department of Community Health.

2009-3

A lawyer/legislator may represent the legal interests of a Georgia company on matters in other states, including political consulting and the drafting of legislation.  However, even where there may not be a per se conflict of interest, a lawyer/legislator must always vigilantly guard against such conflicts developing depending upon the facts and circumstances of each situation, especially where matters arise involving the lawyer/legislator’s own actions in the consideration of legislation within the General Assembly.

2009-2

Because of the constitutional requirement that the branches of government must remain forever separate and distinct, an assistant district attorney, whether paid by a county or by the State, may not serve as a member of the General Assembly.

2009-1

The City of Snellville is preempted by the Georgia Air Quality Act from adopting a comprehensive ordinance that would impose air quality related regulatory requirements and emission limitations on the operation of a crematorium.

2008-3

Vacancies in the offices of mayor and council members for the City of Willacoochee should be filled by special election held on a statutorily authorized date and not by appointment of the remaining members of the city council.

2008-2

Georgia law prohibits the Office of Child Support Services from honoring a request from a custodial parent to disburse any portion of child support monies it receives to a private collection agency.

2008-1

A probate judge serving in a county with a population of over 96,000, where jury trials are authorized in the probate court, must have been both admitted to the practice of law and be a member of the Georgia Bar for seven years prior to his or her election.

2006-2

The documentation requirement in O.C.G.A. § 35 8 22, as amended, does not prevent a governmental unit from seeking reimbursement after July 1, 2003, for the training of a peace officer hired before July 1, 2003.

2006-1

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-9-12.1, a chiropractor, duly licensed and properly practicing in the state of Georgia, can refer a patient for X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging if the referral is needed to determine appropriate chiropractic care or for treatment for or evaluation of conditions which are outside the scope of practice of the chiropractor, assuming the referral is otherwise prudent and proper. This opinion supersedes 1993 Op. Atty Gen. 93-11.

2005-5

The clerk of superior court is mandated by law to file and record in the real property records of the superior court any plat meeting the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 15-6-67(b) and (d), whether or not such plat meets any other requirements which may have been imposed by a local government.

2005-4

The additional monetary penalties provided in O.C.G.A. § 15 21 73 may not be added to the civil monetary penalties imposed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 40 6 20.

2005-3

Drug offenders who are later pardoned are ineligible to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16 11 129, although they are permitted to possess a pistol or revolver inside their home, vehicle, or place of business without violating Georgia law.

2005-2

The 2004 amendment to O.C.G.A. § 36‑70‑2(5.2)[1] removes any sheriff, clerk of the superior court, judge of the probate court, or tax commissioner or the office, personnel, or services provided by such elected officials from the definition of “local government” with the result that those officials and the costs of their offices are not to be included in the deliberations of local government officials when formulating agreements between counties and cities regarding the delivery of local government services.

 

 

2005-1

Agencies covered by the Georgia Open Records Act may not by contract with a federal agency create an exception to the Act and make otherwise public documents in the hands of the agency confidential unless the contract provision is mandated by federal law or regulation.

2004-2

An impermissible conflict of interest arises when a member of the Walker County Board of Elections and Registration is also employed as the boards full time chief clerk.

2004-1

Legal entities and individuals who seek to obtain collegiate athletic scholarships for high school athletes do not fall under the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 20 2 317 and 20 2 318 or the 2003 amendments to Chapter 4A of Title 43.

2003-1

O.C.G.A. § 45-18-52 authorizes the Employee Benefit Plan Council to create an optional automobile or homeowner insurance program for state employees.

2002-8

Hospital authorities are subject to the gratuities clause of the Georgia Constitution but nonetheless may offer a prospective employee a signing bonus if the authority receives a substantial benefit in exchange for the signing bonus. However, a hospital authority may not assume payment of a prospective employees educational loan without explicit statutory authority to do so.

2002-7

A state paid assistant district attorney may not offer for and hold a part time elective office with a political subdivision of this state, as the duties of that office conflict with the performance of the official duties of assistant district attorney in the Northern Judicial Circuit of Georgia.

2002-6

Fulton Countys obligation to accord equal treatment to all superior court judges of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, already judicially determined with respect to county salary supplements, is equally applicable to all county funded support services, including staffing (e.g., law clerks, secretaries, court reporters, case managers, and the like) and the operating budget required for a superior court judge properly to perform his or her constitutional and statutory duties.

2002-5

The distance provisions of O.C.G.A. § 3-3-21(a)(1)(A) with regard to the location of church buildings require that the building containing the premises licensed for the sale of distilled spirits must be located no less than one hundred yards from any church building.

2002-4

O.C.G.A. § 3-7-2 does not apply to private clubs conducting sales of alcoholic beverages by the drink where the sales are authorized under a provision of law other than Chapter 7 of Title 3.

U2002-3

The additional eligibility requirements applicable to the office of judge of the probate court in counties having a population of 96,000 persons or more according to the most recent decennial census apply to all candidates for the office, including incumbents, as of the first election following the effective date of the applicable census except for those incumbents who held the office on July 1, 1994, and remained continually in office; these, and only these, incumbents are “grandfathered in” and may continue in office and seek reelection so long as they are otherwise qualified.

2002-2

O.C.G.A. § 20-2-506(b)(4) is not applicable to that certain contract dated July 1, 1997, between the City of Dalton and The City of Dalton Building Authority with respect to the currently outstanding $15,000,000 The City of Dalton Building Authority Revenue Bonds (Dalton Public School System Project), Series 1997.

U2002-1

The General Assembly's direct legislative command that an individual appointed to fill a newly created superior court judgeship shall receive the same salary supplement provided for the other judges of the circuit cannot be varied by a county ordinance or resolution.

2001-4

County jail inmates generally may not be utilized to clean graffiti from private property unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the use of such inmates for this purpose confers a substantial public benefit.

2001-3

Miscellaneous questions regarding residency requirements for the General Assembly in light of reapportionment

U2001-2

In a traffic misdemeanor case where a probate judge either has not requested the assistance of the district attorney or has requested assistance but the district attorney has refused, the county governing authority would be free to provide an attorney to prosecute the case unless otherwise provided by local law.  In a case under the jurisdiction of a probate court other than a misdemeanor traffic case, the county governing authority would also be free to provide an attorney to prosecute the case unless otherwise provided by local law.

2001-1

A citizen who served as a firefighter and was a member of the Firefighters' Pension Fund from 1971 through 1984 and then resumed service as a firefighter and applied for reinstatement to the fund in 1992 is not eligible to receive pension credit pursuant to O.C.G.A.§ 47-7-87 for his years as a firefighter prior to his break in service.

2000-12

Georgia counties may enact ordinances regarding enforcement of traffic control devices by the use of cameras. Such cameras may be erected at intersections of roads within the state highway system, provided their placement is approved by the Department of Transportation.

2000-11

In order for a search warrant or an arrest warrant to be valid, it must be signed by a magistrate who is authorized to hold a court of inquiry under O.C.G.A. § 17-7-20 and who is physically present in the county in which he or she serves.

2000-10

Disclosure of a public officers direct ownership interest in a tract of real property is required pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-5-50(b)(4) where the net fair market value of the interest exceeds $20,000.00 as of December 31 of a covered year, regardless of where the real property is located.

2000-9

A senior superior court judge, who is not being appointed in his senior judge capacity pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-1-9.1, may be appointed to serve as a part-time state-funded juvenile court judge and, so long as the hours worked annually do not exceed 1040 hours, there is no effect on the senior judges retirement.

2000-8

Several questions regarding rights under the Superior Court Judges Retirement System and under the appellate judges option of the Employees' Retirement System.

2000-7

Municipalities are not prohibited by Georgia's Constitution or laws from enacting ordinances regarding enforcement of traffic control devices by the use of cameras.

2000-6

A candidate for the position of local director of emergency management who has been convicted of a felony and fully pardoned is not eligible to hold that position under O.C.G.A. § 38-3-27(a)(2)(B).

2000-5

County criminal and traffic ordinance violations are covered by the Peace Officer and Prosecutor Training Fund Act of 1983, O.C.G.A. § 15-21-70 et seq.

2000-4

The billing and payment records of public employees and officials to a municipally owned and operated public utility system are subject to disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act, barring the proper application of any exception. Additionally, any special treatment of those public officials by such utilities may need to be disclosed under the Ethics in Government Act and the failure to do so could subject the recipients to legal action.

2000-3

Local legislation is not necessary to establish a juvenile court for Liberty County alone, but the powers of the juvenile court cannot be restricted to only that county.

2000-2

The Governor's power to veto individual appropriations does not include the power to reduce an appropriation.

2000-1

Under the Georgia Electronic Records and Signatures Act, departments, agencies, authorities, and instrumentalities of the State of Georgia and its political subdivisions have the legal authority to determine how and the extent to which they will create, send, receive, store, recognize, accept, be bound by, or otherwise use electronic records and electronic signatures, in situations where there is no other controlling law specifying a different type of record or signature.

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