Saturday, June 05, 2010

Peachtree City Golf Cart Drivers Win! Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Driver's License

Governor Perdue Vetoes Senate Bill 519

Governor Perdue today (June 4) vetoed Senate Bill 519, legislation that would have had the unintended consequence of requiring drivers’ licenses for anyone operating a motorized cart. This requirement would have had a serious impact on communities such as Peachtree City, where cart paths are used by residents to do everything from going shopping, making a trip to the grocery story and performing other routine errands. Rep. Matt Ramsey and Sen. Ronnie Chance visited Governor Perdue to express their concerns over the bill.

“The unintended consequences of this legislation would have had a detrimental impact on the citizens of Peachtree City,” said Governor Perdue. “Thanks to Rep. Ramsey and Sen. Chance, we recognized the problems with the bill and asked the sponsors to come back next year with legislation without the language in question.”

The specific language is in Section 2 of the bill: “Operators of golf carts and landscape type vehicles must possess a valid driver’s license.” The intent of the bill was for that provision to apply to motorized carts used for companies distributing packages and other seasonal deliveries. The language, however, was not specific enough to only target those vehicles, and could have been applied to all carts, including golf carts.

“Senator Chance and I, on behalf of the citizens of Peachtree City, truly appreciate Governor Perdue hearing our concerns regarding the potential legal confusion that could have been created by SB 519 and its possible impact on Peachtree City’s long standing motorized cart ordinances,” said Rep. Ramsey.

The official veto message is below:

SB 519 changes certain rules regarding golf carts and other motorized carts.  The language of a late amendment to the bill, however, has the unintended effect of requiring every person who drives a golf cart to have a drivers’ license.  Although that consequence was not intended by the legislature, the language of the bill is plain and cannot be disregarded.  As our Supreme Court has recognized, plain statutory language is “the sole evidence of the ultimate legislative intent.”  Hollowell v. Jove, 247 Ga. 678, 681 (1981); see also I.N.S. v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 452-453 (1987) (Scalia, J., concurring) (“Where the language of [a law] is clear, we are not free to replace it with an unenacted legislative intent.”).  I have discussed the devastating impact this bill would have on communities with substantial investments in golf cart paths such as Peachtree City with Rep. Matt Ramsey and Sen. Ronnie Chance.  I support the original intent of the bill and encourage legislators to revisit the issue next session without the language in question, and so I VETO SB 519.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page
Follow us on Twitter:  @GAFrontPage

No comments: