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Legislature reconvenes Monday on transportation tax, political boundaries
Deal called for special session
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The legislature will reconvene Monday to begin redrawing the state's political boundaries and discuss a statewide referendum for a tax that would fund transportation projects across the state.

Gov. Nathan Deal made the call for a special legislative session at the Capitol Wednesday.

Deal made the announcement joined by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston. Also on the agenda for the special session is the future of the gas tax Deal suspended earlier this year and urgent local legislation that cannot wait until January's regular session.

On Monday, state lawmakers will begin the task of redrawing the state's political boundaries, creating new districts for the state Senate and House of Representatives as well as seats in the U.S. Congress.

Lawmakers must meet every 10 years to redraw congressional and legislative district lines to conform to new U.S. Census data.

Georgia is one of several states with voting practices that are subject to additional scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act to deter discrimination against minority voters.

"In this work, we are looking to move quickly to adjust our maps," said Deal, who added his goal is for the maps to pass muster with the Department of Justice. "It will be my aim to create a fair map."

Cagle and Ralston said Wednesday they expect the maps should be available for public view ahead of the session, scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Monday.

Other issues to be discussed in the session will be a transportation measure adopted by lawmakers earlier this year that would ask voters in local communities to decide whether they want to hike the sales tax by 1 cent to fund local road and infrastructure projects.

Legislators initially set the public vote for the July primary, but with no big statewide race to draw voters to the polls, there was concern the measure might not attract the desired interest.

In a statement, Deal said he wants the redistricting and reapportionment process to be fair and quick.

"Working swiftly, as our maps require preclearance from the Department of Justice, we will also work to provide candidates and voters as much time as possible to prepare for the next election cycle and to keep costs down for Georgia taxpayers," Deal said.

Ralston repeated the wish for an expeditious session.

"I want to get it done and get out," he said. "I believe the last time we did this, it lasted for six or seven weeks ... I don't plan to be here that long."

 

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