Tue April 29, 2014
Governor Deal Vetoes Private Probation Bill, Signs Others
Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a state House bill that critics say would make it easier to lock up those who are poor for low-level offenses.
The bill would allow private probation companies to shield details from the public about how much they’re charging in extra fees and how many people they supervise. The companies are hired by local governments.
Deal also told reporters the fate of a number of other controversial bills. Tuesday was the last day for him to sign or veto legislation.
Governor Deal vetoed the private probation bill after reading a recently released state audit. The audit found courts are not providing enough oversight of private probation companies and the companies are not keeping a close enough eye on the low-level offenders.
“There are a lot of red flags that were raised in the audit, with regard to the process, the procedures, the reporting mechanism, and quite frankly the failure to follow existing protocols that are established both through the office of the courts, that has oversight over it, as well as some of the statutory requirements.”
Deal went on to say, “This issue is before our Supreme Court. We will see whether or not an earlier ruling, I believe in Augusta Superior Court, whether or not that ruling is going to be sustained by our appellate courts. It’s appropriate to find out I think from the courts if possible what their view is of our existing statute.”
But supporters say the companies are better equipped to supervise low-level offenders than some court systems.
Deal also signed a bill that would make some food stamp and welfare recipients undergo drug testing.
The bill, which was opposed by many Democrats, would require recipients to take drug tests and pay for them with their own money if caseworkers believe there is a reasonable suspicion.
Georgia lawmakers passed a similar bill in the past but it was never implemented because a federal court struck down a Florida law requiring mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.
We have posted Gov. Deal's complete statement regarding his vetoes.