By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published May 22, 2008
Gov. Sonny Perdue recently authorized an education tax-credit law that could help parents pay for Catholic schools and vetoed a measure that required police officers to impound a vehicle when a driver does not have a driver’s license.
The steps were wins for the Georgia Catholic Conference.
Frank Mulcahy, the executive director for the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in Georgia, said he was pleased to have the governor’s support on the two measures.
Mulcahy said in a statement the education-related law “supports the rights of parents to care for their children, including the right to choose and direct a child’s education.”
The tax credit law was opposed by the Georgia PTA and other education interest groups.
May 14th was the deadline for the governor to veto bills passed during the spring legislative session. In the final days, Gov. Perdue inked scores of laws and axed others.
The governor and the Georgia Catholic Conference were in agreement on a bill, HB 978, that changed how police deal with vehicles driven by someone without a license.
In his veto statement, the governor said he was concerned the law might hurt newcomers to Georgia who haven’t gotten around to getting a license. Also, he said he wants police officers to have the discretion on dealing with the issue.
Instead, the governor said he authorized another bill that stiffens penalties for driving without a valid driver’s license. The bill Gov. Perdue signed was opposed by the Catholic lobbyist.
On the education measure, Mulcahy said Catholic schools benefit by allowing them to offer a Catholic education for parents who couldn’t afford the tuition.
“Our Catholic schools currently offer scholarships to students needing financial aid, but the legislation will provide additional resources so that we can expand the number of these students who can be enrolled,” he said.
The scholarships may be available by the fall. Mulcahy said that the superintendents of Catholic schools in Atlanta and Savannah are following the developments and will publicize information when it becomes available.