ATLANTA In the run-up to Mondays opening of the 2008 legislative session, Republican leaders talked frequently about how they had moved to patch up differences between the House, the Senate and Gov. Sonny Perdue.
So much for that.
In rapid succession, the House overrode a dozen vetoes issued by Perdue last year, a rare rebuke of the states governor. If the Senate also overrides, Perdues veto of House Bill 549, dealing with therapy for children on state-funded health care plans, would be the first successful override since the Jimmy Carter Administration.
House Republicans downplayed the likelihood the overrides would shatter the GOP solidarity displayed during a unity tour last week that included Perdue, House leaders and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
We genuinely look forward to working with the governor, and I think that will play out through the rest of the session, said House Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter, R-Johns Creek.
Weve got some work to do to get back on the unity side, Cagle said.
Perdues office blasted the overrides.
Todays actions are yet another example of House leadership insisting on making a statement rather than making the state better, Press Secretary Bert Brantley said. While Gov. Perdue respects the constitutional provision for veto overrides, he is also mindful that there has not been a groundswell of support for any of these bills from Georgians, and the concerns explained in the veto messages remain.
The overrides now move to the Senate, where their fate is uncertain. Leaders there referred any veto overrides to committee and adjourned before the House finished business. House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, pointedly noted the Georgia Constitution required the Senate to act on the veto overrides immediately.
Cagle stressed a go-slow approach to the veto overrides in the upper chamber, adding the Senate met its obligations by sending the affected bills to the Rules Committee.
Democrats largely steered clear of the fire, voting with the House GOP on what their leaders said were principled grounds.
I wound up voting to override all of them, said state Rep. Barbara Massey Reece, D-Menlo. I felt like it was the right thing to do.
The lawmaker said she felt the issues the governor took with many of the bills could have been worked out.
I didnt expect (the vote) on the first day, said Reece. I was torn about it because the governor, whoever it is, usually has a good reason (when they enact a veto). But I remembered that many of the bills didnt have any problems when they crossed the floor.
One by one, the House overrode Perdues vetoes by margins of 140 or 150 votes in the 180-member chamber.
Many Romans received a phone message from State Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, on the first day of the session, encouraging them to contact her about state issues. According to Dempsey, the message went to every voter in her district who had a listed phone number.
She said she sent the message just to be in touch with local constituents and let them know Im going to work to work for them, and I will be able to do that better if I know their concerns.
Click here for contact information for local legislators.
Click here for the General Assembly webcast.
Click here for a previous story previewing the session. Rome News-Tribune Staff Writer John Bailey contributed to this report.
HB 69: This bill allows individuals to get a copy of their driving record from the Department of Driver Services Web site, free of charge. Authored by: Rep. Bobby Franklin. Veto Override: Yeas 155, Nays 18.
HB 91: This legislation provides detail about state agency spending by requiring each agency to submit annual reports to the Legislature. Authored by: Rep. Jill Chamber. Veto Override: Yeas 157, Nays 15.
HB 162: To allow the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra a sales tax exemption in connection with construction of a performing-arts facility in Alpharetta. Authored by: Rep. Chuck Martin. Veto Override: Yeas 147, Nays: 22.
HB 218: This will require that those employees of the Georgia Ports Authority who are authorized to exercise the powers of arrest must be certified peace officers subject to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. Authored by: Rep. Burke Day. Veto Override: Yeas 159, Nays: 14.
HB 229: It will relax restrictions on how HOPE Scholarship funds are spent unless lottery reserves shrink for multiple years. Authored by: Rep. Ben Harbin. Veto Override: Yeas 162, Nays 11.
HB 413: It provides for a sales-tax exemption on property sold to or used in the construction of the Chattahoochee nature center. Authored by: Rep. Chuck Martin. Veto Override: Yeas, 152 Nays 18.
HB 441: The purpose of HB 441 is to repeal provisions of legislation passed in 2005 dealing with the tax liability computations on interest or dividends earned from U.S. obligations, interest derived from international banking, and income from off-shore banking. Authored by: Rep. Johnny Floyd. Veto Override: Yeas 155, Nays 16.
HB 451: The Georgia Tourism Development Act provides companies developing a tourism attraction with a sales-tax refund.Authored by: Rep. Jeff Lewis.Veto Override: Yeas 157, Nays 16.
HB 529: It establishes separate budget staff for both the House and Senate rather than one staff shared by the two bodies. Authored by: Rep. Richard Royal. Veto Override: Yeas 160, Nays 13.
HB 549: This bill would simplify the process of application and approval of medical therapy services for children with disabilities entitled under the Medicaid Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Program. Authored by: Rep. Mark Burkhalter. Veto Override: Yeas 161, Nays 12.
HB 559: This bill provides for teachers and employees of charter schools to be considered employees for purposes of participating in the health insurance plans. Authored by: Rep. Margaret Kaiser. Veto Override: Yeas 157, Nays 14.
HB 807: A Bill to deannex territory from the corporate limits of the City of Auburn. Authored by: Rep. Terry England. Veto Overide: Yeas 158, Nays 14.