Georgia Briefs - Oct. 2, 2013

Boat owners may face registration fines

SOCIAL CIRCLE —Wildlife officials in Georgia are reminding boat owners to renew expired boat decals before a new law goes into effect Oct. 24 that will impose a penalty on delinquent registrations.

After that date, a $10 late will be assessed on boat decal renewals for expired stickers.

“The 2013 Legislature passed a new law that encourages timely registration,” Dan Forster, director of the Wildlife Resources Division, said Tuesday. “Often, boat owners put off registration until just before July Fourth or other major summer holidays, and the resulting rush create a backlog for all wishing to renew their registrations and for persons trying to register a new boat to use for the holidays.

“This new law will help encourage boat owners to register throughout the year, resulting in better service for all.”

Boat registrations are good for three years, and expire on the last day of the owner’s birth month in the third year of registration. The new law adds a $10 fee if the registration renewal is mailed or completed by telephone or using the online registration after the expiration date.

The new law also allows new owners of used boats that have an existing Georgia registration to receive three full years of registration at transfer and eliminates the transfer fee. “This new transfer provision giving three full years of registration at transfer will save money for most boat owners,” Forster said.

Shutdown impact limited for GDOL

ATLANTA — The federal government shutdown should have only limited impact on the Georgia Department of Labor, Labor officials said Tuesday.

All GDOL career centers will maintain their normal operating schedule of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Customers are encouraged to keep appointments with Labor staff and attend all workshops for which they are scheduled, state officials said.

Labor officials said the shutdown will not affect the payments of regular state unemployment insurance benefits or federal Emergency Unemployment Insurance Compensation. While a large number of federal employees might file claims for UI benefits during the closure, most of the claims are expected to be filed online and should not result in large crowds at career centers, officials said.

The shutdown of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), however, will preclude the Georgia Labor Department’s Division of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research from publishing new labor force data during the shutdown. State offices are required to submit labor force data to BLS for its approval before they can be published, which means the release of Georgia’s state and local area unemployment rates may be delayed.

Corps of Engineers shuts down rec areas

MOBILE, Ala. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District, which includes the ACF Basin, prepared Tuesday for today’s closing of USACE-operated campgrounds and day-use parks because of the shutdown of the federal government for lack of fiscal 2014 funding legislation.

The ACF basin includes the Apalachicola, Flint and Chattahoochee rivers. Affected recreation areas will not reopen until after the shutdown is lifted, Corps officials said.

“USACE understands the impacts that these actions will have on the American recreating public if we are required to close our recreation areas,” said Lisa Parker, deputy public affairs officer for the Mobile District. “We know that this is a time of year when many vacationing families are using or planning to use USACE recreation facilities, and we will reopen them for public use and enjoyment as quickly as possible once the government shutdown is lifted.”

Campers who are on site will be required to vacate campgrounds not later than 3 p.m. today. These campers may elect to leave their campsite reservations open for possible use after the shutdown is lifted. Campers will receive a refund for any unused portion of their reservations.

Customers may cancel their reservations for a full refund, or they can leave their reservations open for possible use after the shutdown is lifted and request a refund for any unused portion of their reservation caused by the shutdown. To request a refund, contact reservation customer service at 1 (888) 448-1474. The reservation service will automatically cancel reservations after a customer’s scheduled departure date during the shutdown period if the park is closed and the customer chooses to do nothing.