Statement on Governor Deal's Vetoes of House Bills 905 and 906.


ATLANTA, April 24, 2014. Today, Governor Deal vetoed two bills that would have set the borders of Chamblee consistent with the outcome of a referendum that passed 614 to 391 last November. House Bills 905 and 906 had bipartisan support including the support of every legislator who represents the area in the Georgia General Assembly.

"I am extremely disappointed with Governor Deal's decision to veto these bills.
And I am troubled by the purported reason provided by his office. His office said that it favored allowing the litigation involving the Highwoods property owner to continue instead of affirming the will of the people. Curiously, the Governor's Office also said that it would entertain legislation similar to these bills next year if the property owner wins in court. That makes no sense since the only purpose of this legislation was to end the litigation now, enforce the people's vote and allow Chamblee and Brookhaven to move forward with planning their futures," said Representative Scott Holcomb.

The pending litigation involves a private property owner who would prefer to be in Brookhaven rather than Chamblee. This private property owner never made its position known while the legislation authorizing the referendum was being considered. Instead, the private property owner sued Chamblee. This lawsuit has wasted taxpayer dollars, and it also leaves unresolved the borders of Chamblee - despite the will of the people as reflected in the referendum. Both House Bill 905 and 906 passed unanimously in the House and Senate and these measures included language stating that it was and is the will of the General Assembly that the entire territory approved by the voters in the referendum be a part of the City of Chamblee.

"I wrote to Governor Deal weeks ago to urge him to sign House Bills 905 and 906 to prevent any further waste of taxpayer money. Governor Deal ignored this request.

"The specific, articulated intent of the General Assembly when passing House Bills 905 and 906 was to preempt the lawsuit, establish the borders for Chamblee and Brookhaven, and stop the waste of taxpayer money," added Rep. Holcomb.

"The role of the legislature is to make the law and the role of the judiciary is to interpret it. This legislation made the will of the General Assembly perfectly clear for the courts and would have ended the litigation. In the end, the governor opted to favor the lawsuit over the will of the people who live in the area. These vetoes are a triumph of frivolous litigation over sound policy."

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