School Zone Cameras, Moratorium Bill Fail to Finish at Session

Photo of Henry County School buses arriving at school (Henry County Schools photo).

The general assembly adjourned its annual session on Wednesday night, March 29. Two bills MHF News was following — changes to school zone cameras and the use of moratoriums — didn’t make it across the finish line.

Several major topics — mental health care, sports betting and school choice — also didn’t pass. As coined by the AJC, ”this year’s legislative session might be remembered more for what didn’t pass than what did cross the finish line.”

School Zone Cameras

MHF News shared on Tuesday about proposed revisions to the school zone speed cameras. The state house adopted a bill on Monday incorporating the language. It did not receive a vote on Wednesday in the state senate.

Right now, state law allows the school zone cameras to operate beginning one hour before the school day, during the school day, until one hour after the school day ends. The changes would have limited this to morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up only. The all-school day timing will remain in effect for now.

Changes to the school zone cameras, as well as all other bills, will be eligible for re-consideration next year. The 2024 legislative session will begin next January.

Moratorium Limits

House Bill 514 had proposed revisions to the use of moratoriums by county and city governments. The original bill would prohibit repetitive moratoriums on the same topic. It passed the state house on March 6.

Proponents contend local governments are over-using moratoriums to stop new development, thus reducing new housing supply and causing price increases. By comparison, moratoriums are traditionally a short-term tool for a few months — usually no more than six months — so local staff can draft a zoning code update.

The state house version of the bill would prohibit moratoriums longer than six months, nor allow the local government to re-issue the same moratorium for one year. The state senate revised the bill to add exemptions to this time length. Most notably, a moratorium could be longer than six months if the local government had engaged a third-party consultant or in-house staff to prepare technical studies. In such case, the moratorium could then extend the expected timeframe to complete the study.

It looked like house bill 514 would pass when the senate voted on it before lunch on Wednesday. But, the house disagreed to the senate substitute at 6 pm. The night ended before the two sides worked out a compromise.

For now, counties and cities can continue to issue moratoriums. At the time of writing, three out of the five local zoning jurisdictions in Henry County have an apartments moratorium in place.

Featured image shows school buses at a local school. Henry County Schools photo.

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About Clayton 1505 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.