Policy and Advocacy Committee (PAC) Update:: February 2022

The PAC meets weekly during the Georgia General Assembly (GGA) Regular Session to stay abreast of state policy initiatives that may impact local planning. Below are a few of the bills and topics that are important for planners to be aware of:

  • Design Standards Preemption Bill: This proposed legislative action would require that local governments include language about design standards within their Comprehensive Plans if they intend to adopt design standards. If the local government desires to implement design standards outside of the usual five-year Comprehensive Plan update cycle, a formal Comprehensive Plan Amendment would be required. This bill is backed by the Home Builders Association.
  • Rural Development Report: This report by the House of Representatives Rural Development Council (RDC) makes a number of recommendations in policy areas related to planning, such as agriculture, broadband, and economic development. It includes a call for regional commission structural reform to ensure that all regions of the state receive the same level of support. The RDC also proposes that a commission be assembled to study incentives for county government consolidation.
  • Cityhood Movement: The Buckhead Cityhood Movement is facing challenges. The House of Representatives filed legislation that says that Buckhead could leave the City of Atlanta only with a citywide, supermajority vote (not a local one, and not with a traditional 50 percent-plus-1 majority). HB 901 and SB 348 may also be roadblocks for Buckhead’s secession. These bills prohibit the de-annexation of territory from an existing municipal corporation. 

The PAC would also like to provide an update regarding the Special Legislative Session that occurred at the end of 2021. Governor Kemp signed new redistricting maps into law. Opponents, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, have filed lawsuits on the basis that the new congressional districts weaken the power of voters of color. 

If you are interested in joining the Policy & Advocacy Committee, please contact Jim Summerbell to learn more.

The next committee meeting will be on February 4, 2022, at 10:00 am.