Yesterday, our state Senate passed SB 223, the Georgia Government Accountability Act, sponsored by Senators William Ligon (R-Waverly), Chip Rogers, Judson Hill, Frank Ginn, and John Albers. The act creates a Joint Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee that includes seven members of the House appointed by the Speaker of the House and seven members of the Senate Government Oversight Committee appointed by the President of the Senate. The Speaker and the President of the Senate appoint co-chairs.
The Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee will review all boards, departments, advisory committees, authorities, and other executive branch entities and establish a schedule for routinely reviewing state agencies.
Agencies that are not created by the Constitution are subject to automatic termination one year after a Committee decision to end the agency.
Any agency that has not held an open public meeting for more than twelve months will be automatically terminated.
In reviewing agencies, the Committee will consider the agency’s efficiency, whether its statutory objectives have been achieved or continue to exist, alternatives means of achieving the statutory objectives, the amount of overlap with other governmental entities, and the possible loss of federal funds, among other factors.
While I am generally supportive of pruning government agencies and regulations that have outlived their usefulness, I have several concerns with this legislation.
First is that while it seeks to make government smaller, it will result in a larger legislature. Or at least a significant extension of the work of fourteen members of the General Assembly.
Second is my concern that this bill may intrude into the executive functions properly exercised by the Governor and other Constitutional officers.
Finally, this bill appears to attempt to require actions by future legislatures, violating the principle of western legal systems since at least 65 BC, that no legislature can bind a future legislature.