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Friday, May 24, 2019

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, MAY 24, 2019

GOVERNOR VETOES 14 BILLS

For a new Governor, vetoing 14 bills is about right, I guess. At the beginning of an administration, a Governor might not be plugged into the legislative process as closely. As successive years go by, I would expect earlier involvement in legislation by the Governor and his staff, a quicker engagement in the process and a greater reluctance to veto bills in the future.

--Veto No. 1-HB 598-was vetoed at the request of the author.

--Veto No. 2-HB 83-This was the recess bill that mandated a certain amount of recess for grades one through five on days when physical education or other structured activity was not already scheduled. Governor Kemp cited the importance of local control of schools and vetoed the bill.

--Veto No. 3-HB 187-Required the State Health Benefit Plan to pay for a three-year pilot program covering prescription drugs for the treatment and management of obesity. The Governor related that all projections of costs for the project might increase premiums and vetoed the bill.

--Veto No. 4-HB 279-This bill would have allowed the Dept. of Revenue Commissioner to authorize agency law enforcement personnel to utilize department vehicles while working second jobs involving police powers, a power now granted the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Governor Kemp asserted this action would create potential liability for the state and possibly negatively affect automobile insurance costs so he vetoed the bill.

--Veto No. 5-HB 311--Created a waiver of sovereign immunity for claims brought against the state. A similar bill was vetoed previously by Governor Deal. Governor Kemp stated that a waiver needs to be developed that would not interfere with daily operation of the state and would include those excluded in HB 311 including mental health patients in state facilities. Governor Kemp related that the State Supreme Court has outlined a pathway for suits to be brought against the state and currently, sovereign immunity is waived for state officers and employees involving cases of breach of contract and tort claims.

--Veto No. 6-HB 516-would create a new certificate of registration for a "professional structural engineer." Governor Kemp referred to the existing Georgia Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors which weighs the necessity of new occupational regulation.
This proposal did not come from the Board nor receive statutorily required review and approval so for those reasons, the Governor vetoed HB 516.

--Veto No. 7-SB 15-Outlined a program of requirements for local school systems and schools aimed at improving school safety. Governor Kemp's position was that the bill undermined local control and creates a new position of school safety coordinators that is unfunded and may increase liability for school administrators. He pointed to the $69 million dollars in the FY 19 Amended Budget for school safety grants and felt like systems should have a chance to plan and develop their own safety plans utilizing the $30,000 state grants.

--Veto No. 8-SB 53-Had to do with determining the school districts in DeKalb County and with the process of determining districts of independent school systems. Governor Kemp believes that required referendums would be subject to legislative review under this legislation so he vetoed the bill.

--Veto No. 9-SB 75--Would have increased the membership of the State Board of Veterinary Medicine and authorized the Board to create a professional health program for monitoring and rehabilitation veterinarians afflicted with physical or mental illnesses. Since this information would be shielded from the public, Governor Kemp believed that the public was not well-served. He again referred to the function of the Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council that weighs new occupational regulation. Since this proposal had not come through that process, Governor Kemp vetoed SB 75.

--Veto No.10-SB 80-would have removed prohibitions against funding for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Governor Kemp asserted that there has been no demonstrated need for state funding to resume for the Sports Hall of Fame which has been funded in recent years by local government appropriations.

--Veto No. 11-SB 103-Would have required commercial airports in Georgia to set aside two parking spaces for veterans. Governor Kemp stated this bill created an unfunded mandate on airports and pointed out that current law does not presently prohibit airports from setting aside parking spaces for veterans.

--Veto No. 12-SB 120-Would have allowed the Chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to request up to three economic analyses from the State Auditor annually involving tax credits or exemptions. Governor Kemp noted that currently fiscal notes are prepared collaboratively by the Director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) and the state Auditor. This bill would make the analysis action solely a responsibility of the State Auditor and would omit those joint actions with OPB.

--Veto No. 13-SB 153-This bill would have set up regulations for the crime and trauma scene cleaning services industry. The Governor referred once again to the Ga. Occupational Regulation Review Council that weighs the necessity of new and ongoing occupational regulation. Governor Kemp's assertion is that, once again, this legislation was not the result of any recommendation by that Board and not proven necessary.

--Veto No. 14- HR 51- Had to do with creating the Joint Georgia-North Carolina and Georgia-Tennessee Boundary Line Commission. Governor Kemp noted that the other states have not appointed similar commissions.

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