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Commission set to review legislative scorecard Wednesday
by Noreen Cochran
March 04, 2014 02:26 PM | 2208 views | 1 1 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
UPDATED WITH CLARIFICATION: The Fulton County Board of Commissioners will check in at its meeting Wednesday to see where the county stands on House and Senate bills with potentially devastating effects on finances and politics.

In-house lobbyist Christopher Boyd will likely present an update on the slate he reviewed at the Jan. 22 meeting shortly after the 2014 session began.

Last year, 12 out of 22 House bills opposed by the board, including four seeking to reestablish Milton County from the northern portion of Fulton, failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote.

But 10 of those 2013 bills were signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, including House Bill 171 creating another north Fulton commission seat; HB 347, changing the county election board appointee process; and HB 604, requiring five affirmative votes before Fulton commissioners can approve a millage rate increase.

Commissioners later repealed HB 604 under the county’s home rule provision.

The 2014 oppose list includes HB 704 allowing a referendum to create the city of South Fulton, which the House approved Feb. 20 by a 163-2 vote; and HB 875, the Safe Carry Protection Act, which among other provisions requires the county to install metal detectors at libraries and health centers, which passed the House 119-56 on Feb. 18.

Still alive from 2013 is HB 264, passed by the House 113-57, which changes how Fulton County appoints MARTA board members.

If passed by the Senate before the session ends, tentatively March 17, the bills go to Deal for his signature.

On other topics, discussions slated, from which action items may emerge for subsequent meetings and votes, will include an election update requested by Commissioner Liz Hausmann and south Fulton construction concerns from Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards.

The agenda includes zoning items, which are expected to pass, and contract approvals including an $8.6 million agreement with Turner Construction Co. to build the new 25,000-square-foot Milton Library.

Clarification: In the March 5 issue of the South Fulton Neighbor, Fulton County lobbyist Christopher Boyd was paraphrased as saying the county opposes House Bill 875, the Safe Carry Act, “which among other provisions requires the county to install metal detectors at libraries and health centers.”

His full and direct quote, spoken at the Jan. 22 meeting of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, was, “There are two competing bills moving forward on gun legislation, and they would allow concealed weapons in more public spaces unless we physically screen all entrance during business hours. So we’d have to hire security and install metal detectors or X-ray machines in 32 libraries, our four multi-purpose senior centers or seven out of eight of our health centers. This is an issue of local control. Fulton County, we believe, should be able to make its own decisions regarding the security of its facilities.”

Boyd was addressing the following provision of HB 875:

“A license holder shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building where ingress into such building is not restricted or screened by security personnel during the hours the government building is open for business.”


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