May 7, 2013
Gov. Nathan Deal today issued five veto statements and two signing statements. There were no line-item vetoes in the budget.
VETO No. 1
House Bill 635 changes the term of office and membership of the Dodge County-Eastman Development Authority by terminating the two members appointed by the Heart of Georgia Regional Airport Authority and allowing the Dodge County Board of Commissioners to appoint one member and the bill sponsor to appoint one member. Having reviewed the legislation and considered its necessity, I VETO HB 635.
VETO No. 2
House Bill 636 abolishes the Heart of Georgia Regional Airport Authority and transfers the Authority’s powers, duties, assets, liabilities and debts to the Dodge County-Eastman Development Authority. Having reviewed the legislation and considered its necessity, I VETO HB 636.
VETO No. 3
House Bill 193 attempts to bring back input exemptions that had previously been sunset. The 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians recommended "that all nongovernment and nonbusiness input exemptions sunset so that the Legislature may determine if economic or non-economic justifications exist for renewing these exemptions." In following their recommendation, I will request the Governor's Competitiveness Initiative taskforce to review this bill and provide an opinion on whether economic or noneconomic justifications exist for the exemptions to be renewed during the next legislative session. Accordingly, I VETO HB 193.
VETO No. 4
House Bill 240 attempts to address concerns voiced by speech language pathologists that clinical fellows are not reimbursed by Georgia Medicaid. However, Georgia Medicaid only enrolls fully licensed providers for reimbursement. On close review, this legislation would expand the number of eligible providers that could bill for Medicaid reimbursement and open the door for additional providers, who are not yet fully licensed, to pursue similar legislation. The Georgia Medicaid budget has been under tremendous financial pressure and any additional expenses will increase the financial burden. In addition, the legislation would require Georgia Medicaid to reimburse Clinical Fellows at 100 percent of the Speech Language Pathologist rate which would create an inequity among other fully licensed provider types who are reimbursed at less than 100 percent. I am vetoing this legislation because I believe HB 240 creates an inequitable system of reimbursement among provider groups. I also find that this legislation would open the door for similarly situated non-licensed providers to seek Medicaid reimbursement. Accordingly, I VETO HB 240.
VETO No. 5
Senate Bill 11 would re-establish the Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council and give that council various powers and duties to evaluate and develop data on the geospatial capabilities and needs of the State. Despite any underlying merits of the bill, this legislation would create a new state entity and add additional duties to various state agency officials without funding in the 2014 budget. Having grave concerns with adding a new council and duties for state agency officials without funding, I VETO SB 11.
SIGNING STATEMENT No. 1
I sign House Bill 276 because of the merits of Sections 1 and 2 which pertain to the extension of the Georgia Hazardous Waste Trust Fund. However, I have significant concerns with the remaining language in the bill which attempts to dedicate fees and surcharges of this fund for a specific purpose. Despite the merits of such a concept, Article 3, Section 9, Paragraph 6 of the Constitution of Georgia specifically limits any attempt to dedicate revenues in a general bill unless specifically permitted by the Constitution of Georgia. Without such specific permission in our Constitution, I would deem this language in House Bill 276 as being nonbinding on any subsequent General Assembly as it goes about its yearly duty to appropriate funds.
SIGNING STATEMENT No. 2
I sign Senate Resolution 293 but I have reservations renaming Friendship Road east of I-985.