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Opinions

Opinion In Reference To
98-8

Dual service as a volunteer firefighter and a member of a city council or county commission does not appear to violate the prohibitions of either O.C.G.A. § 36-30-4 or § 45-2-2. However, cities and counties confronted with this situation must determine for themselves, based on the unique circumstances presented by dual service in their particular jurisdiction, whether a common law conflict of interest exists.

98-7

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 15-21-90 does not prohibit a county from considering a reduction on a citys inmate housing bill in the amount equivalent to the ten percent add on monies paid to the county pursuant to the statute.

98-12

Bonds may be issued by county school boards under applicable provisions of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated for school system administration facilities, bus maintenance and storage facilities and warehouse facilities, including facilities for the storage of equipment, paper products, school lunch supplies and food products, upon compliance by the county school board with the notice of purpose and other requirements set forth in O.C.G.A. ¿ 36-82-1 et seq.

98-6

The proposed Columbus ordinance regulating the manner and location in which a firearm may lawfully be placed in a home, building, trailer, vehicle, or boat would be ultra vires in that the ordinance conflicts with the general laws of the State of Georgia and because the regulation of firearms, with exceptions not relevant hereto, has been preempted by the General Assembly.

98-11

Under O.C.G.A. ¿ 21-5-30.1(d), individuals who hold licenses issued by examining boards under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State are permitted to make campaign contributions from their personal funds to the Secretary of State or a candidate for that office.

98-10

The Development Authority of Fulton County has the power under the Development Authorities Law (O.C.G.A. ¿ 36-62-1 et seq.) to enter into lease transactions and pay the cost of tenant improvements for a project as defined by the Development Authorities Law. A State local assistance grant and the use of such grant by the Development Authority for such a project does not contravene the provisions of Article VII, Section IV, Paragraph VIII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia of 1983.

98-9

State incentive grants under O.C.G.A. ¿ 20-2-290 may be awarded for sixth grades only where they are housed in middle schools also containing the seventh and eighth grades.

98-9

State incentive grants under O.C.G.A. § 20-2-290 may be awarded for sixth grades only where they are housed in middle schools also containing the seventh and eighth grades.

98-8

A Community Service Board that has a contract with the Georgia Department of Human Resources may subcontract with a provider who is a General Assembly member only where there is no impermissible conflict of interest.

98-5

Marriage ceremonies in Georgia may be performed by any judge, including those from outside the state.

98-7

Under the Ethics in Government Act, a public office holder or candidate therefor, who owns more than a 10% or $20,000 interest in a corporation, must disclose that interest but only must disclose an interest in corporately owned real estate if he has a legally enforceable right to use the land for his own personal enjoyment or profit and his interest therein has a fair market value of more than $20,000.

98-6

An employer has the discretion to accept or refuse a letter of resignation that is tendered prior to the effective date of a proposed dismissal.

98-5

It is constitutional for the Board of Regents to prohibit its employees from seeking or holding state or federal elective office while they are actively employed by the University System.

98-4

Corporations which are not otherwise engaged in business activities or professions regulated by the Secretary of State are not regulated entities under O.C.G.A. § 21-5-30.1. Examining boards connected to the Secretary of State which issue professional and business licenses are under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State for the purpose of the statute.

98-3

Members of the Professional Standards Commission may not continue to serve past their appointed three-year terms as they are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

98-4

The Chairman of the Newton County Commissioners has sole authority to hire and fire county employees. In the case of employees who do not work in the road and bridge department, his authority is limited by a provision requiring the approval of the entire Commission.

98-3

The Open Meetings Act generally requires agencies to make official meetings open to the public, but portions of such meetings may be closed or conducted in executive sessions under certain specific circumstances if the proper procedures are followed.

98-2

The Georgia Constitution authorizes the General Assembly to create special schools. Pursuant to that authority the General Assembly may create a statutory mechanism by which one school could serve a multi- district area and provide for its governance by a governing board appointed by the local boards of the affected systems.

98-1

A municipal government may not create rules that make annexations effective prior to the time they are made effective by O.C.G.A. § 36-36-2.

98-2

A plea of nolo contendere to a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined under the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. ¿ 921 et seq., does not result in the imposition of a civil disability so as to prohibit the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms under the Act.

98-1

A prosecution for a misdemeanor violation of O.C.G.A. ¿ 16-9-20, deposit account fraud, is commenced when a citation meets all the requirements of O.C.G.A. ¿ 15-10-202(b) and O.C.G.A. ¿ 15-10-202(c) including the signing of the citation by a judge or clerk of the magistrate court and proper service of the citation by a law enforcement officer.

97-33

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

97-32

A state universitys recognition of a group of students as an official student organization that requires that its voting members profess its religious beliefs would not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and a state university's refusal to recognize such a group would violate the group founders First Amendment rights of expressive association.

97-33

The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a) does not apply to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 40-5-28, which authorize the Department of Public Safety to require, as a condition of licensing, that applicants submit to fingerprinting.

97-32

The Erosion and Sedimentation Act requires an applicant for a land disturbing permit to obtain certification that there are no past due ad valorem taxes owed on the property for which the permit is requested.

97-31

(1) The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 preempts state legislation concerning the training and licensing of security officers performing pre-departure screening under a contract with an airline or an aircraft carrier. (2) Security officers providing security to most federal facilities on an independent contract basis must comply with state legislation concerning the training and licensing.

97-31

Interpretation of O.C.G.A. 43-10A-7 regarding school counselors using the title "Professional School Counselors."

97-30

A referendum is required before a school board may borrow money for a term longer than twelve calendar months where the loan is to be repaid from expected STEP collections. A school board may, without such referendum, borrow money for a term of one calendar year or less, if certain legal requirements are met.

97-30

Georgia Military College is not a local school system as that term is defined in the Quality Basic Education Act and therefore is ineligible to be a member of a regional educational service agency (RESA). The State Board of Education is not authorized to waive the statutory definition so as to allow Georgia Military College to be a RESA member.

97-29

County school board members who act as subcontractors on school board construction projects generally cannot be criminally prosecuted under O.C.G.A. ¿ 20-2-505. However, under certain circumstances that practice could constitute the crime of bribery or otherwise create an impermissible conflict of interest.

97-29

For the purposes of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129, marijuana is a controlled substance such that a conviction arising out of the possession thereof should preclude an applicant from obtaining a license to carry a pistol or revolver.

97-28

Georgia law does not permit a certificate of title for a motor vehicle to be held in the name of a business trust.

97-28

The provisions of O.C.G.A. § 15-21-131 which impose an additional penalty of five percent for criminal offenses includes traffic offenses.

97-26

A first-term chief magistrate, who previously completed a four-year term as a magistrate after December 31, 1995, is entitled to a five- percent longevity increase under the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 15-10- 23(j).

97-27

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 45-2-1, which creates a one- year residency requirement for county office-holders, prevents a county from creating a more stringent residency requirement for its office-holders.

97-26

Commissions paid state agencies by telephone companies for the privilege of locating pay telephones on state property are not collected pursuant to revenue measures enacted by the General Assembly and are not required to be deposited into the state treasury.

97-25

Residency requirements for the election of local school board members cannot be established by board bylaws.

97-27

Official Code of Georgia Annotated 16-11-126(e) requires that this state recognize and give effect to firearms permits issued by other states whose laws recognize and give effect to a Georgia permit. Only the states of Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Texas do so.

97-23

Under O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12, as effective July 1, 1997, the sheriff must release relevant information relating to sexually violent predators and is given the authority to determine what information and in what manner such information will be released.

97-24

Covered multifamily dwellings are not subject to the 2% cap on fully accessible or adaptable rental apartment complexes of 20 units or more which is found in O.C.G.A. § 30-3-2(8).

97-25

The language of O.C.G.A. ¿ 50-13-4(a)(4) would not prohibit the Board of Natural Resources and the Director of the Environmental Protection Division from adopting regulations and taking such actions as are necessary to ensure that Georgia's regulatory authority to administer its environmental programs is at least as stringent as federal regulatory authority established pursuant to the federal environmental laws and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.

97-24

Owners and insurers are required to surrender to the State Revenue Commissioner license plates of vehicles which become salvage or total loss vehicles.

97-22

The geographic jurisdiction of a city housing authority established under the Housing Authority Law is governed primarily by the definition of "area of operations" in O.C.G.A. § 8-3-3(1).

97-23

The essential intent of Code Subsection 12-8-21(c) is the reduction of solid waste by 25 percent; this goal remains effective in applying related provisions of the "Georgia Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act," notwithstanding that the goal was originally expressed in terms of a calendar date which has passed.

97-21

When sheriffs hold cash bonds, and when clerks of superior court, state court and magistrate court hold funds paid in for security or judicial disposition, the funds must be placed in interest-bearing trust accounts, and the interest must be remitted to the Georgia Indigent Defense Council unless otherwise provided by law.

97-22

(1) Peace officers are exempt from licensure by the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies in very limited circumstances. (2) A peace officer engaged in the private detective or security business may not employ other peace officers, unless those individuals are licensed or registered by the Board. (3) All peace officers, licensed by the Board and intending to carry firearms, must obtain a Board-issued weapons permit.

97-21

A person may not be employed simultaneously with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Division of Forensic Sciences and as a county deputy coroner.

97-20

The Secretary of State, Attorney General, State School Superintendent, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commissioner of Labor must be elected by a majority vote.

97-16

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 27-3-1(a) applies to persons engaged in hunting who enter upon property of others without permission, but does not apply to intrusions by hunting dogs.

97-17

A chief clerk need not be reappointed after the reelection of the probate judge, but continues on as an employee of this county officer and is therefore eligible to assume the duties of the probate judge under O.C.G.A. § 15-9-11.1 should a vacancy occur in that office.

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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.