House Version of “Georgia Government Accountability Act” Passes Senate

ATLANTA (March 27, 2012) – The Georgia Senate passed HB 456, also known as the Georgia Government Accountability Act, by a vote of 38 to 6. The legislation provides a mechanism to determine the continued need and existence of state-run programs and agencies through the creation of the General Assembly Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee. Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) carried the bill.

“The House and Senate worked hand-in-hand to revise the Georgia Government Accountability Act into its most effective draft this session,” said Sen. Hill. “The fight to balance the state’s budget will only become harder in the coming years. However, by carefully evaluating state agency operations, we will be able to eliminate duplicative spending and increase government accountability. It is more important now than ever before that we reduce the size of government to fit revenues, rather than increasing revenues to fit the size of government.”

The legislation requires the Committee to determine a method for the routine review of all state agencies. The Committee must also establish the criteria in order to evaluate whether a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency or function, including:

  • The agency’s overall efficiency
  • If the agency’s programs overlap or duplicate those of other agencies
  • If agency consolidation is a viable solution
  • If the agency is accurately reporting performance measures used to justify state funding for activities, services and programs

As part of its functions, the Committee can only recommend legislative action, and agencies subject to review will not be automatically abolished. Any recommendation regarding agency existence or the reassignment of functions will be reported to the General Assembly along with any proposed constitutional amendments.

The 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 Committee must also include one of the Governor’s floor leaders and one member of the minority party from each Chamber.

On January 30, 2012, the Georgia Senate passed SB 223, which would have also created the Georgia Government Accountability Act. HB 456 contains the exact same language as SB 223, with the exception of including (a.) an effective date upon the Governor’s approval, and (b.) when the legislation becomes law without such approval.

HB 456 will now travel to the Governor’s desk for approval.

March 27, 2012

For Information Contact:
Natalie Dale, Director
Jennifer Yarber, Deputy Director