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Guns on campus provision moves forward, cell towers proposal may be stopped

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Georgia General Assembly's annual crossover day last week was "a good day" for the county, a local official said.

Two provisions the county government opposes lost traction on Thursday's deadline, when bills have to pass one chamber in the legislature to remain under consideration. But a proposal to extend gun carry rights to churches and colleges went through despite the objections of Georgia Gwinnett College and other university officials.

"We don't think guns on campus is a good idea," said Merri Brantley, the external affairs director for the college.

Officials from the Lawrenceville campus are siding with the state Board of Regents to continue the current law, which allows guns in gloves compartments of vehicles but not in dorms, libraries or classrooms.

The issue is being debated after a string of robberies involving students at Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, both in Atlanta, who say they have been victimized because they are known to carry expensive electronics like laptops but are not allowed to carry guns to protect themselves.

Brantley said she was not aware of any student groups at GGC supporting or opposing the proposal.

Gwinnett government's liaison to the legislature said Thursday was "a good day" for the county, with two bills that have brought objections from county leaders failing to make the crossover.

"Crossover Day is always a bit of a relief," Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said. "The session is 75 percent complete and we have a better sense of what the rest of the session will be like. We are pleased that there will be more time to work with authors of some of the bills that concerned us."

Earlier in the session, county leaders were bracing for a controversial cell tower legislation, which would have impaired the government's ability to deny a request for a tower, even when neighbors object to the location.

Many said it appeared the bill couldn't be stopped in the House of Representatives, although Sen. Renee Unterman said she would attempt to stop it in the upper chamber.

But the bill never made it to the House floor Thursday, leaving it unlikely to come to fruition this legislative session.

"It's always a good sign when it doesn't cross over, but that doesn't mean the author can't attach the language to another bill," said Susan Lee, the county staffer charged with lobbying legislators. "We have to keep watch."

Leaders debated a proposal Tuesday that would have required governments to take non-tax fees off of property tax bills. But the bill, authored by Snellville Rep. Brett Harrell, was tabled and never brought to a vote.

The procedure, which is used for county stormwater funds and trash collection as well as speed humps and lighting programs in certain communities, saves the county about half-a-million in expenses in billing for the stormwater charge alone.

Plus, statistics show that taking the fees off of tax bills could cause collections to go down by 10 to 20 percent, leaving the stormwater fund alone with up to $5 million less a year.

Many leaders, including Commissioner Tommy Hunter, said they believed the law would bring clarity to how people fund government, but the county's Stormwater Authority sent letters to legislators last week stating their objections.

Like the cell tower bill, Lee said the measure's failure to cross over does not preclude it from coming up as an attachment, but it makes it less likely.

"It was a good day and we appreciate our legislators working with us," she said.

Comments

R 1 year, 5 months ago

Aw, stay tuned - more chapters to the Rabbit Hill Park cell tower and its sisters are sure to come ...

And it looks as though the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce funding has dodged another bullet, but it’s starting to run out of smoke for its cover...

(Hardened glass on backorder for the mirrors)

Storm Water infrastructure or taxpayer forced support for a private entity, sounds like a good question for yet another budget session, especially when the call to raise taxes / fees for subsidies are heard at Langley Drive. Caution: hard decisions ahead…

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

If a gun is not on you, how are you going to protect yourself in a situation? This is so stupid. A carry permit allows the gun to be anywhere in your car. There is no way I'd go to Ga Tech without carrying a gun. The Atlanta vicinity is notorious for crime. Blame Nash and her BOC for wasting our money or "private" affairs. Those that voted for her should not be complaining.

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