Archive for February, 2012

The Georgia House Passes Pro-Life Measure

ATLANTA – The Georgia House of Representatives today passed House Bill 954, a pro-life measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and thereby protect the lives of unborn children at the stage of development where medical evidence indicates a fetus is capable of feeling pain. (more…)

Rep. Dollar Recognizes Cobb County Schools

ATLANTA – State Representative Matt Dollar (R-Marietta) today led the Georgia House of Representatives in recognizing the accomplishments of East Cobb County schools with a series of House Resolutions. These resolutions commend the outstanding academic achievement and improvement of schools in Rep. Dollar’s district, all of which were awarded with the highest honors given by Georgia’s Single Statewide Accountability System (SASS). (more…)

Rep. Parent Introduces Government for Georgians Legislative Package

ATLANTA – State Representative Elena Parent (D-DeKalb County) today announced the introduction of the Government for Georgians Legislative Package, which includes three pieces of legislation to strengthen lobbyist registration regulations, reform state campaign contribution laws, and create an independent redistricting commission. (more…)

Rep. Pak Welcomes South Korean Consulate General to Georgia House of Representatives

ATLANTA – State Representative B.J. Pak (R-Lilburn) led the Georgia House of Representatives today in welcoming to the House Floor Consulate General He-beom Kim, the Consulate General in Atlanta for the Republic of Korea. As introduced by Rep. Pak, House Resolution 1338 recognized Kim for his many accomplishments, which include fostering outstanding trade relations between Korea and the State of Georgia. (more…)

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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