Archive for the ‘Charlice Byrd’ Category

House Passes Legislation to Increase Government Oversight and Accountability

ATLANTA – The Georgia House of Representatives today passed House Bill 456 with a vote of 109 to 50, showing tremendous bipartisan support for the measure. Sponsored by State Representatives Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock), Sean Jerguson (R-Holly Springs), Calvin Hill (R-Canton), and Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming) – the entire Cherokee County House Legislative Delegation – this legislation provides an additional mechanism for government oversight and accountability.

“We have done a great deal to improve government oversight and accountability in the past few years, but this measure will give us another tool to root out any government waste,” said Rep. Jerguson. “HB 456 ensures agencies are providing quality services, while maximizing taxpayer resources.”

HB 456, also known as the Georgia Government Accountability Act, will allow the state to determine whether there is a continued need for existing state-run programs and agencies. In recent years, several states such as Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Texas have enacted similar legislation known as Sunset Reviews to evaluate the overall productivity of state agencies and entities. HB 456 establishes a comparable measure through the creation of a Joint Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee.

According to the legislation, the Joint Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee is to be composed of seven members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House and seven members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate. The members must serve two-year terms concurrent with their terms as members of the General Assembly. Co-chairpersons must be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. Additionally, the appointees must include a Governor’s floor leader in the House a Governor’s floor leader in the Senate.

Under HB 456, the Joint Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee may review all state agencies, including all boards, departments, advisory committees, authorities, bureaus, offices, and any other state entity of the executive branch of state government, regardless of its designation. In the evaluation process, the committee would first decide on a schedule of agencies to be evaluated.

Any state agency under review would be required to provide the committee with a report outlining its efficiency, productivity, and ability to utilize state resources in the best interest of the public. After receiving these materials, the committee will then complete a review of the agency, during which the committee must consider certain criteria in determining whether a public need exists for the continuation of the state agency or its function. These criteria include the efficiency with which the agency operates; the extent to which the jurisdiction of the agency and the programs administered by the agency overlap or duplicate those of other agencies and the extent to which the programs administered by the agency can be consolidated with the programs of other agencies; and the extent to which the agency accurately reports performance measures used to justify state spending on each of its activities, services, and programs.

The committee may also request additional information and hold hearings to examine the relevance of government priorities and consider ways to help the agency become more efficient.

As part of its functions, the Joint Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee can only recommend legislative action, which may include privatization, consolidation or elimination of a state program or agency. The committee could not actually abolish a state entity, because abolishment of a state entity can only be issued through a Joint Resolution by the Georgia General Assembly. However, any agency that has not held an open public meeting for a period of more than 12 months would be considered automatically abolished without the need for further agency review. Should this occur, the committee would be responsible for presenting legislation to repeal existing statutory provisions relating to the abolished agency.

After receiving the committee’s recommendation, the General Assembly will then assess whether the laws the agency is responsible for implementing or enforcing have been repealed, revised, or reassigned to another remaining agency.

If approved by the Senate, HB 456 will become effective upon the governor’s signature. For more information on HB 456, please click here.

Representative Sean Jerguson represents the citizens of District 22, which includes portions of Cherokee County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2006, and is currently the Vice-Chairman of Regulated Industries Committee and the Secretary of State Institutions & Property Committee. He also serves on the Health & Human Services, Reapportionment, and Small Business Development & Job Creation committees.

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House Legislative Delegation Releases Statement on Cherokee County Reapportionment & Redistricting

ATLANTA – The Cherokee County House Legislative Delegation issued the following statement today regarding reapportionment and redistricting in Cherokee County:

“The State of Georgia requires local delegations to review census information for the reapportionment and redistricting of all local governing bodies. The delegation is charged with ensuring all districts are represented fairly and equitably. Cherokee County has grown dramatically in the last ten years, shifting the population much more into the northern portions of the county. Hence, extreme population disparities have developed in the posts of the county commissioners and school board members.

“Initially, the Cherokee County Legislative Delegation requested input from the County Commission and the School Board as to their suggestions for making necessary changes in the post districts; neither body could reach a unanimous agreement. The Delegation rules require a unanimous decision by the County Commission and School Board in their vote for future governance; therefore, we took further action to ensure the citizens of Cherokee County have fair and equal representation on the County Commission and the local School Board.

“First, an open public town hall forum was held in December 2011. This event was well attended by the public and everyone who wanted to express an opinion had an opportunity. The Delegation listened intently and made note of each and every comment by the citizens who spoke. Each comment was considered during the decision making process.

“In January 2012, a Blue Ribbon Committee was appointed to review the question of governance. It consisted of local citizens who furthered discuss and propose ideas. This citizens’ roundtable met a number of times and, within it had differing opinions on how the restructuring might be accomplished. Votes taken on two different occasions reached different outcomes.

“Additionally, the Delegation commissioned a third party poll of voters in Cherokee County. 61% of those polled were in favor of having School Districts and County Commission posts coincide. A second question asked on the poll concerned the method of electing those members – whether we would continue with our current method of electing across post lines or whether we would change our procedure to vote only for a representative within the post where you live. Again 65% of respondents were in favor of changing the method of election to allow voting only for the School Board member to represent their district.

“Citizens of all differing opinions have come forth with a myriad of ideas for redistricting and voting plans. The Delegation has listened intently to all sides of the issues, and has considered all of the information. As a result, a determination was made to include the updates addressed in House Bills 978 and 979.”

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Rep. Charlice Byrd Co-Sponsors Legislation Requiring Drug Tests for TANF

ATLANTA – State Representative Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) has co-sponsored House Bill 668, legislation pre-filed this week by Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) that would require applicants seeking cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to pass a drug test before receiving any public funds. (more…)

Rep. Jason Spencer to Introduce Legislation Requiring Drug Tests for TANF

ATLANTA – State Representative Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) today announced plans to introduce legislation that would require applicants seeking cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to pass a drug test before receiving any public funds. The proposed legislation would only affect TANF and would have no effect on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or any other public assistance programs. (more…)

Statement from the Cherokee County Legislative Delegation After the Passage of House Bill 908

ATLANTA- The Cherokee County Legislative Delegation released the following statement after the passage of House Bill 908 this week, which will give more local control of billions in Quality Basic Education (QBE) grants and funding back to local school boards by giving them more control of their QBE funds: (more…)