Opinions

Opinion In Reference To
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.

97-19

The salary of a sheriff may be supplemented by the General Assembly through local law or by the board of commissioners when the board has been delegated that authority through local law enacted by the General Assembly.

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.

97-18

A coroner may not serve as a deputy sheriff. A deputy coroner should not serve as a deputy sheriff. A coroner or deputy coroner also should not serve as a city police officer.

97-20

Applicability of the Open Records Act to records of the Fraud and Compliance Division of the State Board of Workers' Compensation.

97-19

The magistrate court relinquishes its authority to set and amend bonds when an indictment or accusation is filed in the superior court; however, the superior court may delegate its authority, as appropriate, under O.C.G.A. ¿ 17-6-1(h) or O.C.G.A. ¿ 15-1-9.1(e).

97-14

In order for a publication to become a countys official legal organ, under the recently amended O.C.G.A. § 9-13-142, an independent audit must show that the publication has had an 85% paid circulation rate for the twelve months prior to its being declared the official legal organ.

97-15

The one mill tax limitation of O.C.G.A. § 48-5-220(20) limits the amount of ad valorem tax funds a county may pay to a county development authority for certain purposes.

97-18

The executive directors and members of the State Examining Boards, as well as other public officers defined in O.C.G.A. ¿ 21-5-3(15)(A)-(E), must file the financial disclosure reports required under the Ethics in Government Act, O.C.G.A. ¿ 21-5-50.

97-17

The effect of the statutory provisions regarding involuntary separation retirement benefits on consolidation and redirection efforts of the state agencies.

97-17

The effect of the statutory provisions regarding involuntary separation retirement benefits on consolidation and redirection efforts of the state agencies.

97-16

The Department of Agriculture's authority to inspect scales used exclusively for weighing packages to be shipped by the United Parcel Service, Inc. has been preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994.

97-15

The State may recover from local school systems any overpayments occasioned by the school system's inaccurate count of students eligible for the special instructional assistance program and for any other overpayment caused by an inaccurate student count.

97-14

The Department of Transportation must receive in return for the disposal of access rights under O.C.G.A. ¿ 32-6-133(b), the fair market value of such rights or other substantial benefit in aid of the performance of the Department's governmental mission. A gift of any portion of access rights to the property owner would be a prohibited gratuity under the Georgia Constitution, Article III, Section VI, Paragraph VI.

97-12

Local school board members may not provide professional services for compensation to the school systems they represent.

97-11

The State Board of Education has the authority to provide for exemption of students with disabilities from the graduation assessments. In addition, pursuant to a State Board rule, local school systems may modify the administration of the test to accommodate students with disabilities.

97-13

Under Georgia law, active duty military personnel are exempted from the requirement of a firearms permit. The exemption is not limited to the performance of military duty. These personnel may, upon request, obtain a firearms permit if otherwise qualified. Their dependents may be issued a permit if otherwise qualified only upon establishing residency in this state. Law enforcement officers are also exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit.

97-13

The Teachers Retirement System and the Employees' Retirement System of Georgia may seek, but are not required to seek, the assistance and approval of the Department of Administrative Services regarding custodian agreements for the Systems' investment securities.

97-12

All persons or entities who sell to or contract with state government and who give any gifts to public employees which in the aggregate exceed $250.00 in value must by February 1 of each calendar year file a disclosure report with the State Ethics Commission.

97-9

The Georgia Military College may not pledge real property to secure borrowing.

97-10

Application of the Ex Post Facto Clause of Art. I, Sec. X of the United States Constitution to the Sentence Reform Act of 1994.

97-10

Application of the Ex Post Facto Clause of Art. I, Sec. X of the United States Constitution to the Sentence Reform Act of 1994

97-11

A member of the General Assembly may serve as a member of the Albany-Dougherty County Planning Commission without there being a per se constitutional, statutory or common-law conflict of interest.

97-8

The Ethics in Government Act establishes a total dollar limit for contributions which may be given to any individual candidate within a calendar year, regardless of the number of campaign committees a person may have in existence or their purpose.

97-10

Restoration of all civil and political rights, excluding the right to receive, possess, or transport in commerce a firearm, is not determinative of whether an applicant for professional bondsperson "is a person of good moral character and has not been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude."

97-7

The term "capital outlay projects for educational purposes" set forth at Article VIII, Section VI, Paragraph IV(b)(1) of the Georgia Constitution includes school buses and equipment with an extended useful life.

97-6

The described use of appropriated funds violates the gratuities clause. For its expenditure or forbearance to collect, the State must receive something new, worth the money paid or let go, as determined by the appropriate state agency as a fiduciary of public funds.

97-9

The General Assembly must offer to qualified individuals with disabilities appropriate auxiliary aids or services when necessary to provide an equal opportunity to take part in programs and services during the legislative session.

97-8

Questions regarding charter schools.

97-5

Parties to a civil action to establish paternity are not entitled to a trial by jury.

97-7

Georgia statutes authorizing the Department of Public Safety to require applicants for a driver's license or identification card to submit fingerprints do not violate the constitutional rights of Georgia citizens.

1997-6

There is no irreconcilable conflict between the provisions of the credit repair law set forth at O.C.G.A. § 16-9-59 and the provisions of the debt adjustment law set forth at O.C.G.A. § 18-5-1 et seq. with regard to their effect on the operation of consumer debt counseling services by nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Although exempt from the credit repair law, such organizations are prohibited from engaging in the activities proscribed by the debt adjustment law

97-4

The State Patrol cannot be prevented from carrying out its duties on public roads and highways.

97-5

Under the Constitution, the General Assembly is responsible for appropriating federal funds, but federal funds are continually appropriated.

97-4

The definition of "emergency condition" found at O.C.G.A. § 31-11-81(1) would control over any contrary definition contained in any insurance policy issued in Georgia after the effective date of the Emergency Services Law; further, any managed care plan offered to a Georgia resident after the effective date of the Patient Protection Act of 1996 must contain, as a plan provision disclosed to participants, the definitions of "emergency services" and "emergency care" found at O.C.G.A. § 33-20A-3(2).

97-3

Neither a district attorney nor members of the district attorney's staff should be present for deliberations of the grand jury.

97-3

Paper ballots may be used as an alternative to voting machines where ballot questions contemplated by the constitutional amendment authorizing a 1% sales and use tax for educational purposes cannot be made to adhere to the 75-word limitation contained in O.C.G.A. ¿ 21-2-325(b).

97-1

Official Code of Georgia Annotated ¿ 16-10-9 prohibits an individual who is employed as a staff member in the judicial branch of state government or in the General Assembly from being employed as a graduate research, laboratory, or teaching assistant at any unit of the University System of Georgia.

97-2

When requesting a student's social security number, local school districts must tell the student whether disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, what use will be made of it, and by what authority the number is requested.

97-2

Notwithstanding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) interpretation to the contrary, the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) does not authorize another state to object to activities wholly within the geographical boundaries of Georgia. Also, Georgia's participation in the CZMA Program would not constitute consent to waiver of its Eleventh Amendment immunity or consent for other states to assert regulatory jurisdiction within Georgia.

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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.