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Official Opinions

Opinion In Reference To
2013-3

The state, its departments, agencies, and authorities, including the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission and its construction projects,[1] are not required to seek and obtain permits for post-development stormwater handling or to enter stormwater facility maintenance agreements; neither the issuance of land-disturbance permits nor connection to the local storm sewer may be conditioned on the state’s compliance with local post-development stormwater requirements.  Local governments may require payment by the state of a tap or impact fee as a condition of connecting the local storm sewer.

2013-2

Based on the relevant statutory language, the Jekyll Island State Park Authority does not have discretion to adopt the “65/35 Task Force” Recommendation to the extent that it uses a measurement reference point other than Mean High Tide.

2013-1

While the Immigration Enforcement Review Board should act with due diligence and hold hearings within a reasonable period of time from the date that a complaint is received by the Board, the Board is under no statutory deadline to hold a hearing on the merits of a complaint filed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 50‑36‑3 within a specified period of time from the date that the complaint is received.

2012-7

Intergovernmental agreements for the provision of misdemeanor probation services

2012-6

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

2012-5

The images and data in the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority’s statewide online information system for deeds, liens, and plats are subject to disclosure under the Open Records Act, but the Authority may charge fees in accordance with a fee schedule adopted pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15‑6‑94.

2012-4

Inmate firefighters should be considered volunteer firefighters as defined in O.C.G.A. § 25-4-3(9) (Supp. 2011) and not a separate category. The Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council has the authority to set minimum requirements for volunteer firefighters, the category to which inmates belong, serving as firefighters on fire departments as defined in O.C.G.A. § 25-3-21(2)(B) and to establish and modify by rule and regulation minimum requirements for such fire departments generally, regardless of whether they are staffed solely or partially with inmate firefighters.

2012-3

Investigators of the Enforcement Division who are certified as peace officers may enforce the new statute of aggravated identity fraud, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-121.1, by arrest and the execution of search warrants provided that it is the result of a criminal investigation of an alleged violation of the workers’ compensation laws of Chapter 9 of Title 34.

2012-2

The five percent limitation on alternative investments for the Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund is to be based upon the assets’ aggregate historical cost.

2012-1

In compliance with applicable statutes and the policies of the State Depository Board, the Office of the State Treasurer is empowered to enter into repurchase agreements and reverse repurchase agreements in connection with fulfilling its role related to managing the investment and liquidity needs of the State.

2011-5

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

2011-4

A member of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission may serve no more than one complete four year term of office, as set by law, and may for a period of less than a complete term hold over in office until his successor is duly appointed and properly takes office.

2011-3

The Georgia Aviation Authority is not a law enforcement agency within the meaning of O.C.G.A. § 16‑13‑49 for the purpose of sharing in forfeiture funds

2011-2

Regional and county library employees paid solely with local funds are required to be members of the Teachers Retirement System.

2011-1

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

2010-6

Updating of crimes and offenses for which the GeorgiaCrimeInformationCenter is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.

2010-5

Unless and until the General Assembly adopts clarifying legislation, it is within the sound discretion of the TRS Board of Trustees to determine whether teachers who are employed not less than half-time by commission charter schools must be members of the Teachers Retirement System.

2010-4

Investigators employed by the Georgia Forestry Commission and by the Georgia Department of Agriculture are not eligible for membership in the Peace Officers Annuity and Benefit Fund.

2010-3

The judicial operations fund fee imposed by O.C.G.A. § 15-21A-6.1(a) applies to the fee to be remitted to clerks of superior court for the issuance of certificates of appointment and reappointment to notaries public.

2010-2

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

2010-1

When the General Assembly extends a sunset date in subsection (h) of Code section 48-8-67 in the manner of 2009 Ga. Laws 723, the extended authority to process unidentifiable sales tax proceeds pursuant to the Code section applies to undisbursed, unidentifiable proceeds of a preceding period of time, which began with the earlier sunset date and ended with its extension (the ¨gap period¨).

2009-7

The Georgia Department of Transportation’s authority to enter a binding contract pursuant to the former Public Private Initiatives law was revoked by the 2009 Public Private Partnership law; those projects or portions of projects which were not formalized by an executed contract with the selected firm before May 11, 2009, must be re-procured under the authority and provisions of the 2009 law.

2009-6

The state and its departments, agencies, and authorities, including the Georgia Department of Transportation and its construction projects, are not subject to the “post-development stormwater runoff” regulations or other ordinances adopted by a local government, local authority, or regional authority, including the model ordinance promulgated by the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.

2009-5

The director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council has broad authority and is responsible for the day to day operation of the agency.   The Council’s limited responsibilities, to be carried out concurrently with the director, include setting standards, conducting audits, making financial disclosures, receiving funds, providing for legal education, reporting to the General Assembly, and providing procedures for the appointment of conflict council.

2009-4

Code section 46‑2‑5 is constitutional; the Commission does not have the authority to declare the statute unconstitutional; the Commission is not free to disregard the statute; the Commission may not select a chairman for a two-year term; and a chairman whose term commences on July 1, 2009, may serve beyond January 16, 2010, only if there are no other commissioners eligible to serve as chairman under O.C.G.A. § 46‑2‑5(b)(2).

2009-3

Under general law, Georgia boards of education are not empowered to share services by creating and utilizing a nonprofit corporation such as the Consortium for Adequate School Funding in Georgia, Inc., for the purpose of challenging state school funding by litigation or otherwise.

2009-2

The General Assembly was authorized to place the GPDSC in the executive branch and a suit by GPDSC, whether by pro bono counsel or otherwise, against the State for so placing the GPDSC in the executive branch (or for any other reason) would be ultra vires and illegal.

2009-1

Updating of crimes and offenses for which the GeorgiaCrimeInformationCenter is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.

2008-7

The enforcement provisions of O.C.G.A. § 40‑6‑253 remain in effect, including for bottles of wine resealed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 3‑6‑4, and the 2008 changes in Georgia law were not intended to and did not authorize carrying open alcoholic beverage containers in the passenger area of vehicles.

2008-6

Fingerprinting in regard to 2008 legislative amendments to O.C.G.A. § 40‑5‑20 and O.C.G.A. § 40‑5‑121.

2008-5

The Department’s probation staff may assist prosecuting attorneys in obtaining necessary reports and files and in creating delinquency petitions but may not conduct an accusatory proceeding.  The Department’s probation staff must also comply with valid court orders issued pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15‑11‑24.2(6).

2008-4

The amount required to be withheld and paid over to the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund in criminal or quasi-criminal cases for violation of state statutes, county ordinances, or municipal ordinances is not required to be withheld and paid over in cases involving the failure to wear a seat safety belt in a motor vehicle under O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76.1(e).
 

2008-3

Members of the Teachers Retirement System who performed active duty military service while serving in a reserve component may establish service credit within the System, and they may do so even though that service time has also been used to establish service credit for a military retirement.

2008-2

The Department of Revenue is authorized to provide access to the information contained in the Georgia Registration and Title Information System only for the purposes mandated by the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994, or to those state agencies designated in O.C.G.A. § 40-2-130(c), O.C.G.A. § 40-3-23(d), and O.C.G.A. § 33-34-9.

2008-1

Updating of crimes and offenses for which the GeorgiaCrimeInformationCenter is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.

2007-6

Miscellaneous questions concerning the procurement of goods and services under the set aside provisions of Georgia’s State Use Law.

2007-5

A county may not borrow from county Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) proceeds to fund expenditures other than voter-approved capital projects authorized in the SPLOST statutes. 

2007-3

All-terrain vehicles operating on the roadways in the State of Georgia are motor vehicles and as such are governed by the Uniform Rules of the Road as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-1 through 40-6-397.

2007-4

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not prevent the release of information on copies of death certificates about the cause of death of an individual, as well as conditions leading to the persons death and information regarding surgical proceedings conducted on the deceased, if any, that are released under the Georgia Open Records Act.

2007-2

A consumer reporting agency or a credit reporting business that is exempt from licensure requirements as a private detective business under O.C.G.A. § 43-38-14(a)(2) nevertheless must obtain a license from the Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies to perform private detective business activities as defined in O.C.G.A. § 43-38-3(3) that do not fall within the scope of this exemption or some other exemption.

2007-1

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

2006-5

The Georgia Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority is not empowered to contract to sell real estate images that are in its possession that are records of the clerks of superior court.

2006-4

O.C.G.A. § 47‑20‑50(a), which requires generally that retirement bills be concurrently funded, and section 2 of 2006 Ga. Laws 117, which requires a specific determination of concurrent funding regarding O.C.G.A. § 47‑17‑71 (Supp. 2006), do not repeal O.C.G.A. § 47‑17‑71 (Supp. 2006), which allows for the grant of creditable service to peace officers for service prior to January 1, 1976, if the officer was denied membership to the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund because of race or ethnicity.

2006-3

Absent explicit statutory provisions to the contrary, the Merit System Act does not generally authorize the State Personnel Board or the commissioner to promulgate rules or adopt policies that would be binding on agencies or departments that are not covered, nor can such rules or policies be promulgated pursuant to a gubernatorial executive order.

2006-2

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

2006-1

The additional penalty imposed under O.C.G.A. § 15-21-131 should be collected in traffic cases, unless there is a specific exception, in which the accused posts a cash bond that is subsequently forfeited and applied as a fine in lieu of the accused appearing in court.

2005-8

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

2005-7

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

2005-6

The Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs, through its criminal law enforcement investigators, is authorized to conduct investigations of possible violations of O.C.G.A. § 16-9-4 if there is reason to suspect that the manufacturers of false or fraudulent identification documents are using computers or computer networks in the creation of documents intended to deceive or be used in fraudulent schemes, including but not limited to identity fraud, or other species of theft.

2005-5

State law does not permit the Georgia Department of Corrections to delegate to the Georgia Correctional Industries Administration the administration and management of the voluntary inmate labor program authorized pursuant to the Working Against Recidivism Act under O.C.G.A. § 42 5 120 through 125 (Supp. 2005), nor is GCIA authorized to expend funds or efforts in publicizing the program.

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