A decade-long effort to straighten out the state's finances has finally paid off for Sen. David Shafer.
The Republican from Duluth has been steadfast in his work to have the state adopt a zero-based budgeting measure, which would call for every budgeted item to be justified, instead of just new expenditures.
On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the idea into law.
"I applaud Gov. Deal, not just for signing the bill but for his leadership in voluntarily implementing zero based budgeting," Shafer said in a press release. "This tool is already being used to identify unnecessary spending and ensure that tax dollars are being used wisely."
Shafer first introduced his zero-based budgeting bill when he joined the Senate in 20003.
Currently, the state budget presented to lawmakers only details new expenditures, with other spending programs rolled over and called "continuation." But Shafer's bill now requires an eighth of the budget to be rebuilt from scratch each year, the press release said.
"The entire budget should be periodically rejustified. What was needed one year may not be needed the next year -- or the next decade," Shafer said. "Zero-based budgeting will help lawmakers be better stewards of the budget."
For their grassroots efforts in supporting the bill, Shafer also thanked members of Americans for Prosperity, Republican Liberty Caucus of Georgia, Libertarian Party of Georgia and Atlanta Tea Party.
Local elections official to review law
Gwinnett's elections director was named to a six-person committee slated to review the Georgia Election Code.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced Monday the formation of the review committee to propose clarifications and technical changes to the code, originally enacted in 1964.
Gwinnett's Lynn Ledford will work along with Kemp, Beth Kish of Cobb's elections department and Ann Hicks, former director of the State Elections Division. Also on the committee are Mike Jablonski and Anne Lewis, attorneys for the state Democratic Party and GOP, respectively.
"Georgia has taken tremendous steps to implement numerous safeguards and voting opportunities that make our elections among the most secure and accessible in the country," Kemp said in a press release. "Though we are proud of the progress we have made to secure our elections and make improvements in the process, I know there are always opportunities to improve our elections processes at all levels of government."
The committee is expected to begin its work this month, with hopes of proposed a revised code in 2013. Members will seek input from the governor's and attorney general's offices, as well as House and Senate leadership and legislative counsel, the release said.
"One of my key responsibilities as Georgia's secretary of state is to ensure the highest degrees of fairness, access, security and transparency in a non-partisan manner in all of our elections processes," Kemp said. "I look forward to working with the committee to rewrite and simplify the state election code so that everybody can have a clear understanding of the law."
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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