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Perdue Calls Special Legislative Session to Balance Budget by Addressing Indigent Defense Bill

Friday, April 23, 2004  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Lawmakers to Return to Capitol on May 3rd to Fill $57 Million Hole

Governor Sonny Perdue today issued an official call for a special session of Georgia's Legislature to commence May 3, 2004. The call is intended to correct the unbalanced budget passed by state lawmakers last month. The General Assembly is instructed to address the indigent defense bill which failed to gain final approval on the 40th day of 2004 legislative session.

"I promised the people of Georgia that I would not sign an unbalanced budget, and today I am ensuring that the Legislature will join me in keeping that promise," Perdue said. "I am calling them back to do the one thing they are required by the Constitution to do--complete a balanced budget process."

The indigent defense bill (HB 769) contained a provision that would have raised new revenue to support the Public Defenders Standards Council. The FY05 budget was left $57 million dollars out of balance on this failure alone.

"The members of the General Assembly are perfectly capable of passing a compromise bill in five days, minimizing the cost to the taxpayers," Perdue said. "I am giving them an opportunity to apply an easy fix to the unnecessary situation that they have created. One way or another, they are going to get this done."

If the General Assembly does not reach a compromise on the indigent defense bill within five days, the minimum number of days to pass the bill, Governor Perdue will veto the FY05 budget rendering the indigent defense debate moot. The General Assembly would then be able to adjourn only to be called back into a second special session the following Monday to address the entire budget and potentially other important legislation.