S.B. 104 Impedes Regional Government
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, June 7, 2013 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Good morning, Jim. Most of us have heard Edmund Burke’s powerful statement: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing!” Switch it around and it becomes, “All that’s necessary for good to triumph is that good men do what’s right!”
Today I’ll talk about Senator Frank Ginn, an engineer and farmer from Danielsville, Georgia, a good man who’s done right. The “right” thing he did was to introduce for a second time a bill to restore constitutional government to Georgia’s municipalities and communities.
In 2011 after getting S.B. 86 passed with enough votes to override the governor’s veto, he took the governor’s suggestion and tried again later, which he did in 2013 by introducing S.B. 104 that passed the last day of the session. When the governor signed it May 7th, it became Act 341, which takes effect July 1st.I’ve already thanked Senator Ginn for doing this “right” thing, because it restores home rule in Georgia. It takes seven pages to explain home rule in the State Constitution, but this is the short definition. Home rule authorizes governing authorities in municipalities and counties to adopt ordinances, resolutions or regulations concerning local government, local property, and local affairs, unless the proposal is prohibited by the Constitution or a general law passed by the General Assembly. In other words, home rule in Georgia means self-government for municipalities and counties.
The importance of Senator Ginn’s bills cannot be over-estimated. Until July 1st, regional plans by appointed regional officials could, can and did supersede home rule in municipalities and counties. Regional government became a fact in 2009, after the word “regional” was quietly inserted before the word “government” in H.B. 1216 that amended Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia. Although that was stealthily done and quietly passed, it was a major violation of the Georgia Constitution, which requires Georgians to be governed by elected individuals … not by appointed officials.
So, contrast these three facts. (1) Regional government officials are appointed by someone, somewhere to assume power over something, someone or some location. (2) But in our representative republic, registered voters can elect officials that reflect their values and replace officials that do not reflect their values. (3) Meanwhile, regional officials answer only to the person that appointed (i.e. “hired”) them and voters cannot un-appoint (i.e. fire) them. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.