Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Perdue Vetoes Fewer Bills This Session; This Year, the Governor Worked More Closely with Lawmakers, but Shot Down Almost as Many Bills from the GOP as from Democrats

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Perdue Vetoes Fewer Bills This Session; This Year, the Governor Worked More Closely with Lawmakers, but Shot Down Almost as Many Bills from the GOP as from Democrats

Article excerpt

Byline: WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA -- The General Assembly passed more than 400 bills this year, and Gov. Sonny Perdue disagreed with only 15 of them.

That's fewer than he quibbled with in past years.

The state's first Republican governor in 13 decades had given his veto pen a workout in previous years, nixing 21 bills in 2003 and 19 in 2004. Compare that to his predecessor, Roy Barnes, who vetoed eight bills in 2000.

Perdue is gradually reducing the number of bills he finds disfavor with. He told reporters he is working in concert with lawmakers during the session to head off vetoes, a departure from previous sessions when he tried hard not to be the meddlesome governor he didn't like when he was in the legislature.

In that sense, he's like a new mother-in-law who vows not to annoy her children as much as her husband's mother bugged her. Naturally, such promises are eventually broken.

Republicans took nearly as many hits as Democrats in the veto sweepstakes this year, unlike in the past.

Seven Republicans -- six of them committee chairmen -- had their bills shot down.

One difference is that because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature, they passed more bills and increased their chances of sending Perdue something he didn't like. Still, it does say something about Perdue that he's not shy about angering powerful lawmakers of his own party.

The vetoed bills weren't signature legislation that their authors would have staked re-election upon. Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, wasn't hoping to be remembered for reshaping the Georgia Board of Real Estate Appraisers, for instance.

Nevertheless, Perdue did win praise for standing up against two bills he thought were less innocuous than the others.

-- One was by Sen. Ralph Hudgens, R-Comer, which would have allowed the members of local school boards to piggyback on the benefits available to full-time school employees.

Although serving on a school board requires long hours, opening the door to such benefits would make board members essentially full-time officials. In vetoing the bill, Perdue said, "These wide-ranging benefits are beyond the scope of what is appropriate. …

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