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Sunday, May 6, 2012 - 8:10pm

Deal To Sign Last Bills Of The Year

Gov. Nathan Deal has two more days left to sign or veto bills passed this legislative session. Tuesday ends his 40-day signing window.

Gov. Deal will have reviewed about 500 bills by the end of the bill-signing period. That’s higher than the normal number because 300 of this year’s measures were new voting districts based on the once-a-decade census.

But Deal still has to sign next fiscal year’s budget. Georgia’s Governor is one of the few with line-item veto power.

That’s something even the President cannot do.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson says the Governor uses the power sparingly.

“It allows the Governor to go through and take out items that are wasteful, inefficient and not in the best interests of tax payers," he said. "It’s not something he does capriciously. It’s not something he does too much. It’s a function whose sanctity is guarded by the moderation in which it is used.”

Robinson says the Governor will veto certain expenditures.

Tom Crawford edits The Georgia Report, an online political journal.

He says since Deal is expected to line-item veto some items in the $19 billion spending plan, Crawford says it’s not surprising he left it for last.

“It makes sense because the budget is the most important thing that the legislature does every year," he said. "And legislators never tire of reminding you, ‘This is one thing we’re required to do by the Constitution.’ So I don’t think there’s any harm in taking the full 40-days and making sure you’ve got it right.”

Deal has already signed the session’s top bills, including a criminal sentencing overhaul and a tax cut measure.

He's also already vetoed some bills. Most notably, he nixed a measure that would have created a panel to review state agencies, with an eye towards abolishing any that were deemed unnecessary. Robinson said the bill would have encroached on the executive branch's power. He also said the panel would have expanded the size of the state government, and cost taxpayers money.

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