Editorial: Power is moving away from local control
Looking at the deliberations of the state legislature over the past two years, it is hard not to be aware of the growing efforts to transfer control of governmental authority and decision-making from elected officials working in the palaces of justice and the town halls towards those of the offices of the State.
It may be the hangover from the emergency protocols created by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the state assumed sweeping powers to intervene with emergency measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Perhaps it was fear of a change in trend that made Georgia a politically “purple” state rather than one defined as red or blue. Perhaps it’s the hangover from the agony of 2-year-old election results that some still can’t accept as valid.
Whatever the reason, there is a clear trend towards increasing the role of the state in taking over what have traditionally been local government decisions.
Pick a topic and chances are you’ll find a suitable example in recent legislation that was discussed, voted on, or passed.
Although the state has long had statewide election laws, and necessarily, compliance with those laws has traditionally been the responsibility of local election commissions and supervisors. The electoral reform law enacted last year now gives the state the power to take control of local electoral operations if it sees fit.
Covington-area officials were preparing to vote last month on rezonings sought for the development of the 2,000-acre Rivian electric vehicle factory project, billed as the largest economic development project in the history of the covington. ‘State.
Before the rezoning vote could take place, the state stepped in and took control of the process, though some details about exactly how that will happen have yet to be worked out. What is certain is that the local authorities will not decide whether the property is rezoned, which is traditionally their responsibility.
Similar steps were taken in 2006 when Kia built its plant on the Georgia-Alabama border at West Point.
Ironically, now Rivian has become a point of contention in the 2022 gubernatorial race, with Governor Brian Kemp using him as the economic centerpiece of his campaign while his GOP rival, former U.S. Senator David Perdue, s opposed to the project.