There are many federal, state, and local laws that apply to county government. As such, it is important to know the various resources that are available for use in researching these laws. The information on this page will provide an overview of resources that can be used to research and track federal, state and local laws in a statewide manner.
There are many state and local laws that apply to county government. As such, it is important to know the various resources that are available for use in researching these laws. The information on this page will provide an overview of resources that can be used to research and track state laws and local laws in a statewide manner.
See State ResourcesAccess to Local Laws and Ordinances
Local Constitutional Amendments : ACCG maintains an overview of Local Constitutional Amendments for each county. This guide not only references current local constitutional amendments but also references local constitutional amendments that were discontinued.
MuniCode : One of the best search engines to utilize in researching local ordinances is MuniCode. This search engine allows the user to search ordinances for single jurisdictions as well as for multiple jurisdictions. There is no cost to search single jurisdictions but there is a subscription fee necessary to search multiple jurisdictions.
Population Acts : Although population acts can no longer be created, those population acts which were grandfathered into law need to be monitored in order to determine when your county may become subject. ACCG maintains an overview of all the Population Acts that are in effect. Through this guide, your county can track these acts to determine how they may apply to your county.Access to State Laws
Georgia Constitution :The Georgia Constitution can also be accessed as a pdf through the Secretary of State's website here or through the General Assembly’s website, free of charge here. There are several sections of the constitution that impact county government. Below you will find the most popular sections that you may need to consult.
- Home Rule: Art. IX, Sec. II
- Gratuities Clause: Art. III, Sec. VI Para. VI
- Supplementary Powers: Art. IX, Sec. II, Para. III
- Taxation Power of County and Municipal Government: Art. IX, Sec. IV
Official Code of Georgia Annotated: The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) is the best resource for researching state laws. This code can be accessed free of cost through the General Assembly’s website here. Searches can be made by topic or by code section.
State Court ResourcesSupreme Court of Georgia
The Supreme Court of Georgia first convened in 1845 and is comprised of seven justices. This court has original jurisdiction over cases involving constitutional and election contests questions, and general jurisdiction over cases involving land title disputes, the construction of wills, murder, habeas corpus, extraordinary remedies, divorce and alimony and all cases certified to it by the Court of Appeals. Through the court website, the user can access opinions and petitions from 2010 through the present, search the court docket, and view the court calendar.
The Georgia Court of Appeals first convened in 1907 and is comprised of twelve judges. This court has statewide appellate jurisdiction of all cases except for those preempted by the Supreme Court of Georgia. Through the court website, the user can access opinions, search the court docket, and view the court calendar.State Administrative Resources
The Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts provides comprehensive information on all classes of court in Georgia. Through their website, the user can access court directories, data, and maps, court councils and administrative agencies, court commissions and committees and caseload data. As a consolidated court website, it further allows the user to access court forms and rules for all levels of court.
The Georgia Accountability Courts website provides information and resources for Adult/Felony Drug Courts, DUI Courts, Juvenile Drug Courts, Family Dependency Treatment Courts, and Mental Health Courts.
There are many federal laws that apply to county government. As such, it is important to know the various resources that are available for use in researching these laws. The information on this page will provide an overview of resources that can be used to research and track federal laws in a statewide manner.
See Federal Resources
Access to Federal LawsCode of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations, i.e. administrative law published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States. The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.United States Code
The Code of Laws of the United States of America, commonly referred to as the U.S. Code and cited as the U.S.C., is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal laws of the United States. It also contains 50 titles. The main edition is published every six years by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives, and cumulative supplements are published annually.
There are a number of online resources currently available for tracking court dockets and schedules on the federal and appellate level. These resources also allow the user to search for opinions, access court rules and forms, find caseload data and locate pertinent records. In addition to the resources provided through each court’s website, there are also federal and state administrative agency websites that provide useful information on the court system.
Federal Court ResourcesSupreme Court of the United States
Each year, the Supreme Court of the United States begins its term on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October of the next year. Through the SCOTUS website the user can find recent decisions, slip opinions, court rules, docket information and additional assistance on how to navigate the court system. Although the SCOTUS website only provides access to the most recent decisions, the Legal Information Institute and FindLaw allow the user to access older opinions by party name or citation, free of charge.United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
The United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over federal cases originating in the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The circuit includes nine district courts with each state divided into Northern, Middle and Southern Districts. Through their website, the user can find published and unpublished opinions, en banc issues, briefing and filing instructions, and form and free information.
The United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia consists of forty-six counties in the northwestern part of Georgia. The district, which includes the Atlanta metropolitan area, has four divisions: Atlanta, Gainesville, Newnan and Rome.
The United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia is comprised of five divisions located in Athens, Albany, Columbus, Macon and Valdosta and encompasses seventy counties.
The United States District Court, Southern District of Georgia consists of forty-three counties and has six divisions located in Augusta, Brunswick, Dublin, Savannah, Waycross and Statesboro.
Federal Administrative Resources
The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) website provides online access to U.S. Appellate, District and Bankruptcy court records and documents and is maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. In order to use PACER, you will need to register through their system. Although there is no registration fee, a user fee is charged in order to utilize the case locator search engine.
The United States Courts website is maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary. It is a consolidated court site that provides a wealth of information on federal court rules, fees and forms and statistics.
Legal Databases and Search Engines
There are a variety of legal databases and search engines available online that provide free access to state and federal laws, local ordinances, law journals and proposed federal and state legislation. A number of the websites listed allow searches to be conducted directly through their site, while others provide outside links to individual websites.
It should be noted that while these sites do provide resources that can be utilized by the legal community, it is up to the user to verify both the source and validity of the information provided. Addresses for websites change constantly so links within a website that may be active today may not be active in the future.
See Legal Research Resources
General Legal Research Resources
The Legal Information Institute is a not for profit organization housed at the Cornell Law School. Their website allows the public to access a large number of legal collections free of charge including the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Uniform Commercial Code, and federal and state statutes.
The United States Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (GPO’s FD sys) provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the federal government. Through FDsys, the user is able to search for documents and publications, browse by collection, Congressional committee, or date, access metadata about documents and publications and download documents and publications in multiple renditions or file formats.
The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to legal information in a variety of areas.
The FindLaw website provides both consumer and professional information on legal issues. The professional website provides free access to statutes and caselaw from a number of jurisdictions. It also provides legal news and forums.
The USA.gov website offers in depth information on a number of topics that are of interest to local government staff. Each topic area provides links to agencies, government regulations, best practices, model forms and other useful documents.
The University Law Review Project provides access to law journals by topic and by school on a national basis. While some of the websites listed provide only partial access, others allow the user to search journal archives.
Legislative Research Resources
THOMAS was launched in 1995 by the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. Since that time THOMAS has expanded the scope of its offerings to include bills and resolutions, activity in Congress including the Congressional record, schedules and calendars, committee information, and government resources.
The Georgia General Assembly provides free access to state legislative information through their website. Their tracking database allows the user to track any bill or resolution that has been introduced by year, legislator, committee, bill number or by keyword search. In addition to tracking legislation, the General Assembly’s website also allows the user to view legislative calendars, floor votes, committee schedules, and legislator contact information. It further allows the user free access to LexisNexis for code searches and provides general statute summaries.
Local Ordinance Research Resource
The Municode website allows the user to search county and city ordinances individually or on a statewide basis. There is no cost to search individual county and city ordinances, however to access the statewide or multi-state search feature, a subscription is required.
Attorney General Opinions
The Office of the Attorney General issues official opinions to the Governor and the heads of executive departments and issues unofficial opinions to other state officers, such as legislators, judges or district attorneys. The Attorney General does not generally provide legal advice or opinions to county or municipal governments or officials, but will on request review written legal opinions and conclusions of counsel for local governments. Official and unofficial opinions published from1994 to the present can be searched through the Attorney General’s website.