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Aug 25 – It’s Official: Governor Deal signs New House and Senate Redistricting Maps

SBJ Staff Report

Aug. 25, 2011 - Gov. Nathan Deal signed the state House and state Senate legislative district maps today, praising the Legislature for its “open, transparent process that produced compact districts and kept communities of interest together.”

In other General Assembly action today, the House and Senate have also affirmed Deal’s freezing of the gas tax rate, which gave the state’s motorists a $40 million tax cut.

“Georgians can be proud of what their legislators produced in these new maps,” said Deal. “After all the shenanigans we saw 10 years ago with multimember districts and outrageous gerrymandering, we have upheld our vow to keep communities together. House and Senate leaders held hearings across the state and worked individually with members of both parties.

Both bodies produced maps that obey federal laws and honor the one-person-one-vote principle, he said. “The maps also pass the ‘optics test,’ meaning that a casual viewer could look at the districts and tell they make sense. It’s a benefit to our state and a benefit to our taxpayers that we have accomplished this important part of the special session so quickly. I’m proud to sign my name to these maps which will shape our General Assembly for the next decade.”

The General Assembly is currently in Week 2 of its special session for redistricting. Legislators currently are working on the congressional district map due to Georgia gaining a 14th District.

If the rough drafts released earlier this week stick, Congressman John Barrow (GA-12), a resident of Ardsley Park in Savannah, will no longer live in his district. His staff said that he intends to move, but Barrow has not announced to where he will move his residence. Barrow moved into Savannah about 10 years to run for the seat.

On another issue, Deal reached a joint decision with House and Senate leadership Wednesday to suspend further consideration of legislation to move the date for T-SPLOST referendum.

“We’ve had a healthy debate on the T-SPLOST referendum date here at the Gold Dome,” Deal said. “I’m a supporter of the referendum, and I believe it’s important to job creation and economic development throughout Georgia. I further believe that it is a sound conservative principle to allow as many taxpayers as possible to participate in this important decision. Our time during this special session, however, is precious, and it’s now obvious that it will take too much time to reach a consensus on changing the date. It’s best for taxpayers that we not let this special session drag on. Redistricting was our priority, and we have delivered a great product.”

Translation, General Assembly members are struggling with supporting a special election and its costs to ask voters to add one cents to Georgia’s retail sales tax to pay for transportation projects.

Published by The Savannah Business Journal. www.SavannahBusinessJournal.com.  All Copyrights Reserved 2011.

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