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Opinions

Opinion In Reference To
95-40

Within certain parameters and with diligent, good faith supervision of the enterprise, a member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority acting within the scope of his or her authority in carrying out the Authority's stated powers, may rely upon O.C.G.A. ¿ 50-26-6 for protection from imposition of personal liability.

95-21

Lumpkin County may not enter into a long-term lease with the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee Indians under the intergovernmental contract provisions of 1983 Georgia Constitution, Article IX, Section III, Paragraph I.

95-39

The Department of Administrative Services' policy prohibiting commercial advertising on state vehicles prevents the Department of Education from operating a donated Toyota van with the slogan "Another Toyota Vehicle Serving the Community" stenciled on the side.

95-38

A Regional Development Center is not authorized, pursuant to O.C.G.A. ¿ 45-9-21, to pay one of its employee's attorney's fees which were incurred prior to the commencement of a civil, criminal, or quasi-criminal action against the employee arising out of the performance of the employee's duties.

95-20

A magistrate judge may issue an arrest warrant for someone charged with the offense of deposit account fraud, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-20, based on the affidavit of a person working for a company in the business of collecting worthless checks for merchants, provided that the collection company has legally acquired possession, and is entitled to receive payment, of the instruments, or that the company is an agent with express authorization from its principal.

95-18

In the absence of clear legislative authority, a local school board may not appoint a new school superintendent for a term beginning after the terms of a majority of the current board expire.

95-19

A sentencing court may not require an offender to make restitution on those counts of a multi-count indictment which are dismissed pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement. However, where an offender voluntarily agrees to make restitution in a certain amount, even if such amount exceeds the victim's "damages," the sentencing court may incorporate that agreement into its restitution order.

95-37

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

95-17

Under certain circumstances, the Environmental Protection Division may authorize special environmental projects in lieu of unimposed or unaccrued monetary penalties; however, the modification of the Consent Order here in question so as to reduce the amount of unaccrued stipulated penalties and require that an amount equal to the reduction be spent on development of a proposed Chattahoochee River Recreational Park would not appear to be authorized.

95-16

Resolution 70, 1986 Ga. Laws 529, adopting English as the official language of the State of Georgia has the force and effect of law.

95-36

The statutory proviso negating a "conflict of interest" situation for Board of Regents' employees who serve on the governing boards of the various private, nonprofit, educational, athletic and research foundations and associations affiliated with University System institutions is both express, and contained in legislation dealing specifically with "conflicts of interests" in government. This specific proviso in public sector legislation is in no way affected, limited or modified by a more recent amendment of Georgia's general corporation code placing certain "conflict of interest" disclosure requirements upon the directors and officers of private non-profit corporations.

95-34

An "approved school" for purposes of tuition equalization grants must have been in existence in Georgia for ten years prior to being eligible to receive grant funds in addition to satisfying other statutory criteria. Further, eligibility also depends upon a school being a baccalaureate degree granting institution on or after July 1, 1995.

95-35

Registration to vote may not be conditioned upon an applicant supplying his race on a registration application, though race may be requested as an optional part of the registration process.

95-15

A school board may not close to the public any meeting devoted to the airing of grievances about school personnel by interested members of the public. Further, should the school board conduct an inquiry into the actions of school personnel any evidence or argument presented to the board must be held in an open meeting, but the board may close that portion of the meeting consisting of deliberation or discussion of disciplinary action upon proper compliance with the statutory meeting closure provisions.

95-14

Forsyth County did not establish a county police force when it created a county marshal's office in 1985 and, therefore, the county governing authority must comply with the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 36-8-1(b) before creating a county police force.

95-13

A hospital authority may apply for a certificate of need outside its area of operation and without the permission of the affected governing authority or hospital authority board in the planned service area, provided however that in order to implement the certificate permission to pursue the health care activity would be required.

95-33

Companies providing alternative insurance coverage in lieu of workers' compensation insurance may be required to participate in the Workers' Compensation Insurance Plan by a rule properly promulgated under the Administrative Procedure Act.

95-12

The City of Tifton may not transfer real property by deed of gift to the Tift County Recreation Department for recreational use but may transfer real property pursuant to a valid inter-governmental contract.

95-32

The statutory phrase "to procure insurance coverage for participants in its programs," found in O.C.G.A. ¿ 50-12-44, grants the Commission the power to procure insurance only for those actively taking part in the athletic competition, and thus, the Commission has no power to procure insurance for its sponsors.

95-11

A hospital authority may not own or operate a business corporation consistent with the mandate of the Georgia Hospital Authorities Law, O.C.G.A. § 31-7-70 et seq. Further, a member of a hospital authority board has an impermissible conflict of interest where he has any financial interest, not de minimis, in an entity conducting business with the authority notwithstanding the existence of an intermediary between the board and the entity.

95-31

Certified financial statements, financial audits and summary statements of nonprofit contractors who seek to contract with and obtain reimbursement through the Office of Planning and Budget based upon the recommendation of the Georgia Council for the Arts must be made available for public inspection.

95-30

The Georgia Housing and Finance Authority's power to continue to make loans pursuant to the United States Department of Agriculture's Farmers Home Administration Intermediary Relending Program until reaching the monetary limit of the existing promissory note is not affected by the "sunset" provision of O.C.G.A. ¿ 50-26-10(i)(2).

95-29

The National Guard is a law enforcement agency within the contemplation of O.C.G.A. § 16-13-48.1 and -49(u)(4)(B) and is eligible to share in proceeds of drug-related forfeitures with respect to activities under O.C.G.A. § 38-2-10 or a duly declared emergency.

95-29

The National Guard is a law enforcement agency within the contemplation of O.C.G.A. ¿¿ 16-13-48.1 and -49(u)(4)(B) and is eligible to share in proceeds of drug-related forfeitures with respect to activities under O.C.G.A. ¿ 38-2-10 or a duly declared emergency.

95-29

The National Guard is a law enforcement agency within the contemplation of O.C.G.A. ¿¿ 16-13-48.1 and -49(u)(4)(B) and is eligible to share in proceeds of drug-related forfeitures with respect to activities under O.C.G.A. ¿ 38-2-10 or a duly declared emergency.

95-27

A judicial determination that a person is incompetent is required before a person may be denied the right to vote.

95-28

Under O.C.G.A. ¿ 42-8-112(b), the Department of Public Safety is required to deny reinstatement of a driver's license or issuance of a probationary license for failure to provide proof of the installation of an ignition interlock device only when the installation of such a device has been imposed as a condition of probation by a court in a county or municipality which has established a provider center as defined in O.C.G.A. ¿ 42-8-110(b).

95-26

Expenditures made independently of a candidate, including expenditures in favor of or opposing a candidate, are not subject to the dollar limitations and reporting and registration requirements of the Ethics in Government Act.

95-10

A court reporter is required to make the disclosure of the complete arrangements for the reporting of a deposition required by O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28(d) at the beginning of the deposition. The requirement of disclosing the complete arrangements includes disclosing the costs to be charged to the person making the arrangements for the court reporter's services.

95-25

Regents may lease its lands in return for the endowment of a research chair if the endowment is equal to the fair market value of the lease and the term of the lease is reasonable.

95-24

The Georgia Housing and Finance Authority does not have statutory power to provide marketing, fund management and underwriting services to a private, nonprofit lending entity

95-23

The Office of Consumer Affairs has jurisdiction under O.C.G.A. § 10-1-391 et seq. to address violations of O.C.G.A. § 43-21-16 arising out of direct transactions between "hotel operators" and consumers.

95-9

The School Safety and Juvenile Justice Reform Act grants exclusive jurisdiction to the superior court over any matter concerning any child 13 to 17 years of age who is alleged to have committed certain serious felony offenses; therefore, a magistrate court judge must be designated to serve as a superior court judge in order to issue arrest warrants, conduct a first appearance hearing, and conduct a preliminary or committal hearing for juveniles covered by the Act.

95-22

The forgiveness of loans made by the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority under the Economic Development Incentive Loan Program violates state law.

95-21

The Georgia State Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies is not required by federal law to modify the frequency of background checks conducted on individuals issued weapon permits pursuant to O.C.G.A. ¿ 43-38-10, but the Armored Car Industry Reciprocity Act of 1993 does preempt licensing requirements for armored car crew members who are carrying weapons based on a federal reciprocity agreement.

95-20

Places of worship are not exempt from the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 30-3-1 et seq.

95-18

Absent a constitutional amendment, a program to assess the testing of equines for equine infectious anemia cannot be established under the authority of the Georgia Agricultural Commodities Promotion Act or through statutory amendment thereto.

95-19

Insurance companies which are exempt from federal taxation pursuant to Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code are subject to premium tax liability unless specifically exempted.

95-8

Court records concerning juveniles should be afforded the same treatment as any other superior court records when the superior court retains exclusive jurisdiction over a case involving a juvenile thirteen to seventeen years of age who is accused of committing any of the seven offenses specified in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-5(b)(2)(A).

95-16

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

95-17

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

95-15

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

95-14

The City of Atlanta may charge the Board of Regents for permitting a fiber optic cable to lie under city owned streets.

95-13

A person employed in Georgia who has been penalized for being absent from work for the purpose of attending a judicial proceeding in another state under the conditions set forth in O.C.G.A. § 34-1-3 has a civil cause of action against the employer. Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 34-1-3 does not create a separate criminal offense.

95-12

Flood insurance premiums collected by private insurance companies pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Program are not subject to municipal and county taxes as provided in O.C.G.A. § 33-8-8.2(a).

95-11

The authority to sit on various state boards may not be delegated to a Deputy Commissioner of Insurance, unless the statute creating the appropriate board provides for a designee.

95-7

Petitions for relief under the Family Violence Act and petitions for divorce may be combined in one action; however, the procedures governing the divorce action must comply with the Civil Practice Act. Furthermore, the filing fees for such a combination action would be governed by the general civil action filing fees provisions; only if a petition for relief under the Family Violence Act is filed separately would the unique lesser filing fee in O.C.G.A. § 19-13-3(a) be applicable.

95-10

When a public agency is assembling more than one parcel of real property for a public project, records relative to that "transaction" and "property" as a whole are exempt from public inspection under O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(a)(6) until all the property to be acquired is acquired or is abandoned or terminated from the project.

95-9

A public relations agreement whereby a private company permanently acquires the preeminent right to associate its name commercially with the property of the state violates the "joint ownership" prohibition of the Georgia Constitution.

95-8

Request for an Official Interpretation of O.C.G.A. § 43-9-16(b).

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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.