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Opinions

Opinion In Reference To
2000-3

A local law cannot extend the tenure in office of an elected official who would otherwise immediately vacate that office, as required by the Georgia Constitution, when qualifying to run for another elected position.

2000-2

Under the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 47-3-92, only days of sick leave accrued while a member of the Teachers Retirement System may be credited towards retirement under the Teachers Retirement System.

2000-1

The First Offender Act, O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60 et seq., is applicable to misdemeanor offenses.

99-17

Updating of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.

99-11

Limitations placed upon municipal home rule powers by O.C.G.A. § 36-35-6 expressly preclude a municipality from providing by either ordinance or charter amendment, for a fine or forfeiture in excess of $1,000.

99-10

The Board of Regents is within its statutory and constitutional authority in establishing a supplemental retirement plan at the Medical College of Georgia in consideration of continued service by employees during significant institutional change.

99-16

While neither the United States nor the Georgia Constitution contains a per se prohibition against teaching about the Bible in public schools, there are very strict legal limitations on how, and in what context, such courses may be taught.

99-8

Where a vacancy is created by the prospective resignation of a member of a local board of education, the board may move to fill that vacancy prior to the effective date of the resignation.

99-9

Interest from cash bonds transferred by a sheriff to the appropriate clerk of court is not required to be remitted to the Georgia Indigent Defense Council unless the statute governing the particular clerk of court requires that the clerk remit interest to the Council. Also, since O.C.G.A. § 15-16-27(b) applies to cash bonds held by the sheriff, it does not apply to bonds posted by professional bondspersons.

99-7

Members of a county board of education may be employed by a separate school system even if the county board of education contracts with that system for use of its middle and high schools.

99-5

Persons sentenced to community service may be utilized to assist counties or municipalities in preserving and protecting abandoned cemeteries or burial grounds.

99-6

A probate judge may not employ an attorney to prosecute criminal cases in the probate court.

99-15

A licensed real estate broker who is not licensed as a real estate appraiser may provide a real estate brokers price opinion to a lending institution for financing purposes.

99-14

While misdemeanants may only be referred to probation detention centers upon initial sentencing pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 42-8-35.4, misdemeanants may also be referred to such facilities pursuant to probation revocation proceedings under O.C.G.A. § 42-8-34.1, and housed in detention centers by the Department of Corrections after a probation revocation proceeding pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-10-1(a)(3)(A).

99-4

A teacher at a charter school, which is operated by a non-profit corporation as permitted by the Charter Schools Act of 1998, shall be a member of the Teachers Retirement System.

99-13

Decisions of the Office of State Administrative Hearings are public records unless they contain information from evidence received in the course of a hearing which has been sealed pursuant to a confidentiality provision.

99-12

Inmate labor may not be used to work for a solid waste management facility that is operated by a private, for-profit entity, where the inmate labor inures to the benefit of that private, for-profit entity.

99-11

Beginning July 1, 1999, 1999 Ga. Laws 798, amending O.C.G.A. § 28-5-85 and O.C.G.A. § 28-5-104, prohibits the Claims Advisory Board from recommending compensation to an inmate injured while in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

99-10

The right to receive an actuarially reduced retirement allowance upon attaining twenty-five (25) years of service, provided for in O.C.G.A. § 47-2-120(e), is not a new "benefit" that has accrued and, therefore, is not proscribed by O.C.G.A. § 47-2-70(c).

99-3

There is no general prohibition against a teacher employed by a local board of education serving as a county commissioner. However, such a prohibition could arise under the terms of a local law or because the county commission is able to directly affect the terms or conditions of the teachers employment.

99-9

The Adjutant General cannot delegate his discretionary power or authority regarding the signing of state contracts but he can implement guidelines regarding routine contracts and then delegate to the Director of Strategic Resource Management the ministerial function of signing contracts which fall within those guidelines. The delegation should be in writing to set forth clearly the responsibility the Adjutant General has delegated.

99-8

A church that accepts donations of used motor vehicles and resells the vehicles must be licensed as a used motor vehicle dealer in the State of Georgia, unless the church would otherwise qualify for a statutory exemption.

99-7

"Registered" or "exempt" peace officers who otherwise meet the certification requirements of Chapter 8 of Title 35 have the same authority as that of certified peace officers.

99-6

Special policemen, appointed pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 35-9-1 through 35-9-14, have and may exercise the powers of a peace officer "only upon the property or in connection with the property" to which they are appointed for the purpose of "protecting and preserving."

99-5

The Private Colleges and Universities Authority is not a "state authority" for the purposes of the Ethics in Government Act and, therefore, its members need not file the financial disclosure forms required by O.C.G.A. § 21-5-50.

99-4

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority is the owner of the "GEORGIA MUSIC HALL OF FAME" and "GEORGY" marks. Additionally, the Georgia Constitution may prohibit the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority from delegating the exclusive right to select inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to any private entity.

99-3

The requirement that amendments to the budgets of local governments be adopted by ordinance or resolution is not satisfied by the adoption of a "blanket amendment" in the local government's budget resolution.

99-2

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.

99-2

Standby letters of credit issued by a Federal Home Loan Bank do not meet the statutory criteria for collateral for deposits of public funds.

99-1

School systems in counties with a population of less than 100,000 may not authorize their school security employees to carry firearms. However, law enforcement personnel who are authorized to carry firearms from some source other than the school board may provide security at school functions.

99-1

Under O.C.G.A. § 46-2-5(b), a commissioner on the Public Service Commission who defers serving as chairman, will resume his place, in the following year, at the head of the order rather than behind the other otherwise eligible commissioners.

98-21

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 48-5-304 permits the Department of Revenue to accept an ad valorem tax digest submitted for review by a county in a revaluation year if either (a) the disputed assessed value of property involved in arbitration or appeals is 5% or less of the total assessed value of all property reflected on the taxable tangible digest, or (b) the number of parcels of property involved in arbitration or appeals is 5% or less of the total number of parcels shown on the digest.

98-22

ROTC faculty members are not eligible to receive benefits pursuant to the Board of Regents Tuition Remission and Reimbursement Program, as the Board of Regents does not employ them as full-time employees.

98-20

Updating of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.

98-16

The General Assembly is within its power to require information of the Board of Regents under Code Section 45-12-88 so long as its exercise of the power does not infringe upon the constitutional power of the Board to govern the University System, particularly its power to receive and allocate as a lump sum "[a]ll appropriations made for the use of any or all institutions in the university system."

98-15

Under current precedent the Georgia Constitution does not permit direct grants to private persons solely to induce economic activity for the general welfare.

98-18

Official Code of Georgia Annotated ¿ 20-2-306(a) does not authorize the State Board of Education to include home-schooled students in the Governor's Honors Program.

98-19

Georgias real estate transfer tax applies to easements acquired by public utilities through condemnation.

98-14

Local school system employee suggestion programs do not violate the constitutional prohibition against gratuities.

1998-14

Local school system employee suggestion programs do not violate the constitutional prohibition against gratuities.

98-13

A superior court judge who was a member of the Superior Court Judges Retirement System and who paid the requisite contribution to obtain spousal benefits under that system may not recoup those spousal contributions if she subsequently chooses to reject spousal benefits under the new Georgia Judicial Retirement System.

98-17

The Insurance Commissioner has the authority to tax HMO receipts of Medicaid premium payments.

98-12

The governing authority of a county may supplement the salary of a state judicial employee without separate local legislation. Further, a state employee may not contract with a county to perform services during the same forty-hour work week.

98-16

Unless the General Assembly otherwise provides, state agencies should presumptively consider college courses as being beyond the scope of the ordinary training agencies may provide employees in state government, but, in certain narrow circumstances, agencies may train employees in college courses which provide job-specific instruction.

98-11

The City of Atlanta Solicitors office does not have the authority under O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37(d) to approve the expungement by an original agency of a criminal arrest record involving a felony or misdemeanor state offense which is dismissed in municipal court and for which no indictment or accusation has been drawn.

98-15

The criminal investigation records of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are also part of the prosecutorial file and, therefore, any discovery requests involving those records should be coordinated with the prosecuting attorney who should be the primary source for determining the response.

98-10

Cities that are located in more than one county may be consolidated with a county government. However, in the absence of a change in county lines or some additional general legislation to provide for consolidating governments of a city and more than one county, the city would have to give up some of its territory.

98-14

A licensed used motor vehicle parts dealer can transfer salvage titles without being licensed as a used motor vehicle dealer provided that the used motor vehicle parts dealer complies with Chapter 3 of Title 40, the "Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title Act" and the rules and regulations of the State Revenue Commissioner relating to salvage vehicles, including the requirement that a motor vehicle with a title marked "salvage" be titled in the name of the business prior to the sale of the salvage motor vehicle unless the sale is made to a licensed dealer.

98-13

Counties and school districts have authority to enter into intergovernmental contracts in which the county leases real property to the school board for use as a site for a public school or other educational purpose.

98-9

In light of the 1997 amendments to the School Safety and Juvenile Justice Reform Act limiting the exclusive jurisdiction of the superior courts to the trials of juveniles charged with offenses enumerated in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-5(b)(2)(A), judges of the magistrate court may issue arrest warrants for juveniles charged with such offenses.

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One of the duties of the Attorney General is to give his legal opinion, when required to do so by the Governor, on any question of law connected with the interest of the state or with the duties of any of the departments. O.C.G.A. § 45-15-3(1). However, to avoid having the Governor endorse all requests for opinions originating within the departments of the state, the Attorney General receives requests for opinions directly from the heads of the executive departments.

The Attorney General will also provide opinions to other state officers, such as legislators, judges or district attorneys. The Attorney General does not generally provide legal advice, opinions or representation to county or municipal governments or officials, but will on request review the written legal opinions and conclusions of counsel for local governments.

Opinions issued to the Governor and the heads of the executive departments are classified as "Official Opinions." Those issued to other state officers (such as legislators, judges or district attorneys) are classified as "Unofficial Opinions." Additionally, from time to time the Attorney General will approve interstate compacts or issue position papers on questions of state law. Those documents are published along with the opinions of the Attorney General.

This presentation of the opinions of the Georgia Attorney General is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice to the general public. From time to time, opinions may be withdrawn, revised or otherwise made obsolete.

Opinions of the Attorney General
1994 - Current

For a copy of a pre-1994 opinion, please contact the Georgia Attorney General's Office at (404) 651-5825 or by e-mail at opinions@law.ga.gov.