2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 36 - LOCAL GOVERNMENT
PROVISIONS - PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ONLY
CHAPTER 35 - HOME RULE POWERS
§ 36-35-3 - Adoption of ordinances, rules, and regulations; amendment of charters and amendment or repeal of ordinances, rules, and regulations by petition and referendum

O.C.G.A. 36-35-3 (2010)
36-35-3. Adoption of ordinances, rules, and regulations; amendment of charters and amendment or repeal of ordinances, rules, and regulations by petition and referendum


(a) The governing authority of each municipal corporation shall have legislative power to adopt clearly reasonable ordinances, resolutions, or regulations relating to its property, affairs, and local government for which no provision has been made by general law and which are not inconsistent with the Constitution or any charter provision applicable thereto. Any such charter provision shall remain in force and effect until amended or repealed as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section. This Code section, however, shall not restrict the authority of the General Assembly, by general law, to define this home rule power further or to broaden, limit, or otherwise regulate the exercise thereof. The General Assembly shall not pass any local law to repeal, modify, or supersede any action taken by a municipal governing authority under this Code section, except as authorized under Code Section 36-35-6.

(b) Except as provided in Code Section 36-35-6, a municipal corporation may, as an incident of its home rule power, amend its charter by following either of the following procedures:

(1) Municipal charters may be amended by ordinances duly adopted at two regular consecutive meetings of the municipal governing authority, not less than seven nor more than 60 days apart. A notice containing a synopsis of the proposed amendment shall be published in the official organ of the county of the legal situs of the municipal corporation or in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipal corporation once a week for three weeks within a period of 60 days immediately preceding its final adoption. The notice shall state that a copy of the proposed amendment is on file in the office of the clerk or the recording officer of the municipal governing authority and in the office of the clerk of the superior court of the county of the legal situs of the municipal corporation for the purpose of examination and inspection by the public. The recording officer of the municipal governing authority shall furnish anyone, upon written request, a copy of the proposed amendment. No amendment under this paragraph shall be valid to change or repeal an amendment adopted pursuant to a referendum as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection or to change or repeal a local Act of the General Assembly ratified in a referendum as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection or to change or repeal a local Act of the General Assembly ratified in a referendum by the electors of the municipal corporation unless at least 12 months have elapsed after such referendums. No amendment under this paragraph shall be valid if provision has been made therefor by general law; or

(2) (A) Amendments to charters or amendments to or repeals of ordinances, resolutions, or regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section may be initiated by a petition, filed with the governing authority of the municipal corporation, containing, in cases of municipal corporations with a population of 5,000 or less, the signatures of at least 25 percent of the electors registered to vote in the last general municipal election; in cases of municipal corporations with a population of more than 5,000 but not more than 100,000, at least 20 percent of the electors registered to vote in the last general municipal election; and in cases of municipal corporations with a population of more than 100,000, at least 15 percent of the electors registered to vote in the last general municipal election. The petition shall specifically set forth the exact language of the proposed amendment or repeal. The governing authority shall determine the validity of such petition within 50 days of its filing with the governing authority. In the event that the governing authority determines that such petition is valid, it shall be the duty of such authority to issue the call for an election for the purpose of submitting such amendment or repeal to the registered electors of the municipal corporation for their approval or rejection. Such call shall be issued within one week after the determination of the validity of the petition. The governing authority shall set the date of the election as provided in Code Section 21-2-540. The governing authority shall cause a notice of the date of the election to be published in the official organ of the county of the legal situs of the municipal corporation or in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipal corporation once a week for two weeks immediately preceding such date. The notice shall also contain a synopsis of the proposed amendment or repeal and shall state that a copy thereof is on file in the office of the clerk or the recording officer of the municipal governing authority and in the office of the clerk of the superior court of the county of the legal situs of the municipal corporation, for the purpose of examination and inspection by the public. The recording officer of the municipal governing authority shall furnish anyone, upon written request, a copy of the proposed amendment. If more than one-half of the votes cast on the question are for approval of the amendment or the repeal, the same shall become of full force and effect; otherwise it shall be void and of no force and effect. The expense of the election shall be borne by the municipal corporation. It shall be the duty of the governing authority to hold and conduct such election. The election shall be held under the same laws and rules and regulations as govern special elections of the municipal corporation, except as otherwise provided in this subparagraph. It shall be the duty of the governing authority to canvass the returns and to declare and certify the result of the election. It shall be the further duty of the governing authority to certify the result thereof to the Secretary of State. A referendum on any such amendment or repeal shall not be held more often than once each year. No amendment under this subparagraph shall be valid if provision has been made therefor by general law.

(B) In the event that the governing authority determines that the petition is not valid, it shall publish in explicit detail the reasons why such petition is not valid. Such publication shall be in the official organ of the county of the legal situs of the municipal corporation or in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipal corporation, in the week immediately following the date on which the petition is declared to be not valid. In any proceeding in which the validity of the petition is at issue, the tribunal considering such issue shall not be limited by the reasons assigned.

(C) The sponsor of a petition authorized by this paragraph shall obtain copies of all official petitions from the clerk of the governing authority. The clerk of the governing authority shall approve all petitions as to form. The clerk of the governing authority shall provide a place on each form for the person collecting signatures to provide his or her name, street address, city, county, state, ZIP Code, and telephone number and to swear that he or she is a resident of the municipality affected by the petition and that the signatures were collected inside the boundaries of the affected municipality. The collection of signatures for the petition shall begin on the day the clerk of the governing authority provides official copies to the sponsor of the petition. A petition authorized by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall not be accepted by the governing authority for verification if more than 60 days have elapsed since the date the sponsor of the petition first obtained copies of the petition from the clerk of the governing authority. Any petition being circulated pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph on July 1, 1989, shall be filed with the clerk of the governing authority by not later than July 11, 1989. The clerk of the governing authority shall, within seven days, provide the sponsor with official petitions. The sponsor shall have 60 additional days after obtaining official petitions to collect the remaining number of required signatures. Nothing in this subparagraph shall invalidate otherwise valid signatures collected on or before July 1, 1989.

(c) Any other provisions of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to any city-county consolidated government in existence on January 1, 1976, and any such city-county consolidated government shall not be authorized to amend its consolidated government charter pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section.
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