Gov. Sonny Perdue’s vetoes of legislation and of Appropriations line items were yet another message that he intends to be relevant to the end of his term.
Of the 21 pieces of general legislation he vetoed, all were passed in either body by huge majority votes. So, legislative intent was clear. For example, the 13 House bills vetoed passed the House by a total of 1,916 yeas to only 158 nays, or an average vote of 147 to 12. Those same bills passed the Senate by 578 to 28, or an average vote of 44 to 2.
The eight Senate general bills vetoed passed the Senate by a total vote of 357 to 19, or an average vote of 44 to 2. These same Senate bills passed the House by a total of 1,118 to 127 or an average of 139 to 15.
Many states routinely consider veto overrides and in fact some have a regularly scheduled post session just to consider overrides. This might be the year that that consideration gains momentum.
The governor divided some vetoes into categories. The first category is “Indemnification Bills.” He vetoed HB 827 and SB 414, which expanded coverage by the state indemnification policies which pay when certain categories of state or local employees like firemen or policemen are killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Both bills broadened the definition of “dependent.” HB 827 added state highway employees killed or injured to the list of eligible occupations covered by indemnification. SB 414 allowed parents or other close relatives to receive indemnification benefits if the member was unmarried.
The second category of vetoes was what he termed “Separation of Powers.” The governor asserted that four bills diminished the powers of the executive branch — SB 1, SB 148, SB 374 and SB 480.
SB 1 — “Zero-Based Budgeting” is a concept that has passed the Senate several times but only passed the House this year. Basically, each area of the budget on a four-year rotating basis must be rejustified. The governor asserted that this legislation “unnecessarily imposes new bureaucracy and restrictions on the Executive Branch.”
SB 148 — The governor objected to the language from HB 236 that was added during the process. The addition created the “Legislative Sunset Advisory Subcommittee” of the Legislature whose intent would be to review all state regulatory entities to determine their continued existence and provided for automatic elimination if not specifically renewed by the Legislature. The governor asserts that the Legislature already has the powers to accomplish this … but of course specific legislation would be subject to the governor’s veto as well.
SB 374 — created a “Legislative Economic Development Council” made up mostly of General Assembly members that would provide direction and oversight to the state’s economic development efforts. The governor asserted that the powers conveyed in the bill violated the Constitutional separation of powers.
SB 480 — would have created a Council of Economic Advisors to produce the revenue estimate that is the basis of the governor’s budget proposal. The main difference is that the collaborative estimate would be published and presented to the speaker of the House and lieutenant governor, who would have had appointees to the council. The governor asserted that the power to produce the revenue estimate is rooted in the state Constitution and this bill would infringe on those powers. Nationally, most states have some sort of collaborative process for producing the revenue estimate. Georgia hasn’t had an accurate estimate in three years or so.
Other vetoes included:
HB 1407 — would have required the Department of Community Health to contract with a single administrator to provide dental services to Medicaid and PeachCare recipients. The governor asserted that this bill would circumvent the managed care administration of those programs and possibly raise costs.
HB 1023 — The “Jobs” bill provided tax credits for employment of unemployed persons, tax credits for “Angel Investors” (start-up investors) and reduced the corporate and individual capital gains taxes when the state shortfall reserve reached $1 billion. The governor vetoed the bill because he stated that the Tax Reform Commission, due to produce a report this year, would provide better direction.
Next week: Part two plus May revenues
More info? Go to www.legis.ga.gov — you can enter the bill numbers. The last version of the bill reads AP (As passed).
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