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Should Georgia Ban City Employees From Lobbying Legislators?

The Woodstock City Council will consider a resolution opposing a bill that would ban city employees from using government-owned telecommunication devices to advocate a position on any legislation.

The Woodstock City Council is set to consider a resolution denouncing a bill in the Georgia General Assembly that would prohibit city employees from using government owned computers to support or oppose any legislation.

House Bill 228 would:

  • ban public employees from using government owned computers or other devices to promote or oppose any legislation in the state legislature; 
  • ban any employee from advocating for the approval or veto of legislation by the governor's office; 
  • ensure that local school districts use email addresses of parents or guardians of students only for school related functions; 
  • prohibit school district employees from using email to promote or oppose any legislation under consideration in the Georgia General Assembly,
  • advocate for the approval or veto of any bill by the governor;
  • prohibit school district employees from advocating for or against the the ratification or approval of questions submitted to the voting public

Woodstock's resolution that will be considered on Monday expresses concern for the bill.

The city's resolution mentions the bill in its current form would prohibit city employees from reaching out to legislators to discuss the impact of legislation unless they are contacted by a lawmaker or they pay money to register as lobbyists.

The resolution also notes the bill "confuses" lobbying with communication, thus limiting local governments ability to participate in the political process.

"Without the sometimes unsolicited input of city employees who know the day to day operations of city government better than anyone, and who have discussed the affect of a particular piece of legislation with their elected officials, state legislators could be making uninformed and ill advised decisions that could prove costly for all involved," part of the resolution reads. 

Council members will also consider an annexation and rezoning request from William Pettit III for 8.03 acres at 12590 Highway 92.

About 5.7 acres of the property, currently zoned residential, is in unincorporated Cherokee County and the remaining portion is in the city limits and is zoned general commercial. 

Pettit is requesting the city annex the county portion of the property and annex the entire 8.03 acres to senior living to accommodate an assisted living and memory care facility. 

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