November 2, 2012 Radio Commentary

Proposed Constitutional Amendments 1 & 2

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, November 2, 2012 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Good morning, Jim.  Next Tuesday, Georgia voters will be asked to ratify two
proposed constitutional amendments – one about charter schools and another about
rental agreements entered into by state agencies.  The charter school Amendment
One, should be defeated and the proposed Amendment Two should be delayed and
reintroduced when the economy is more stable.

On January 31, 2011 Senator Carter introduced S.R. 84 authorizing the
referendum, which was held for passage until March 29th this year.  It would
authorize new laws governing real estate lease agreements by state agencies.
S.B. 37, also introduced in 2011 and passed in 2012, is the enabling law that
would govern the constitutional change, if it gets a majority vote Tuesday.

Currently, three state agencies manage nearly 600 real estate properties that
are leased by the state.  Those agencies sign leases on behalf of the state,
totaling an annual rent over $350 million.  Under current law, each lease is for
a year, each property is rented without public competitive bidding and each
tenant must pay at least $250 per year.If Amendment Two passes, the State Properties Commission would be authorized to
enter into multiyear leases or rental agreements for terms up to 20 years and
would manage the use of any state agency’s leased administrative space.  The
only two exceptions to that are the University System Board of Regents and the
Georgia Department of Labor.  They could manage their own space if the lease is
for a year or less.

Currently, reassigned administrative rental charges are required for space
leased or rented by one state agency to another state agency, but that
requirement would go away if Amendment Two passes.  Meaning, state agencies
using leased space may pay the $250 per year, but would not be required to do

A major change in lease management authorizes the Commission to establish fiscal
policies to govern the extended leases and serve as the sole authority for
terminating state leases or rental agreements.  The Commission’s decisions about
funding multiyear leases would be conclusive and binding on all parties.  These
changes would be effective January 1, 2013, if Amendment Two passes.  Fiscal
decisions such as this should be made AFTER this election, AFTER the country
learns whether the free enterprise system remains healthy in the U.S.  For
Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.