May 19, 2017 Radio Commentary

Governor Deal explained His Vetoes

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, May 19, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Governor Deal’s 40 days to sign or veto bills ended at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, May 9th.  On that day he went by state helicopter to Macon where hesigned several bills, including three about law enforcement.  He signed S.B. 174 to focus state probation system resources at the front-end of prison terms and reform the parole process.

He signed S.B. 175 to reduce juvenile delinquency and protect the public when a juvenile is deemed incompetent to go forward in the judicial process and to mandate parental accountability and parental involvement, as a strategy for reducing further delinquent conduct.

He signed S.B. 176 requiring notification of violators before bench warrants are issued for failing to go to court.  Also, it changes terms for handling Habitual Violator driving licenses.

On May 9th, the governor’s explanations for his nine vetoes were posted online.  For example:  H.B. 425 would have authorized local school systems to allow students to take assessments with paper-and-pencil, which the governor thinks would slow down the return of data and increase the possibility of cheating.  So, he vetoed H.B. 425.As he vetoed the two bills about annexing land from Atlanta to Sandy Springs, he suggested a more thorough discussion of the issue in next year’s legislature.

S.B. 125 would have allowed physicians’ assistants to issue prescriptions for hydrocodone products.  Governor Deal explained that his veto of S.B. 125 would prevent several thousand more healthcare prescribers who could, potentially, issue hundreds of thousands more opioid prescriptions, which could hinder plans to stop the state’s opioid abuse epidemic.

S.B. 222 would have created a Local Government 9-1-1 Authority and significantly change the fee collection and disbursement process for local 9-1-1 answering services.  If 9-1-1 had become a local/state entity, the governor feared it would have little oversight from or coordination with the state.  He explained that a local/state arrangement could hamper local and state joint responses in emergencies and, also, mentioned the two-year gap between creating a local 9-1-1 in 2017 and the fee-collection date that wouldn’t have kicked in to pay for it until 2019.

At the time the governor vetoed S.B. 222, he announced his intention to issue an executive order to create a Local Government 9-1-1 Authority to be housed at the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.  Staff for the new authority will be hired by the governor, who, also, suggested that the 2018 legislature pass a bill to incorporate into law the executive order he promised to issue.

For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.