Governor nixes new senior agency amid political turmoil

Georgia's governor went on a recent veto spree, striking down 11 separate laws, one of which would have created a separate state agency designed to serve older citizens.

House Bill 86, which was passed by an overwhelming vote in the General Assembly, would have moved the Division of Aging Services from the state's Human Services department to the Department of Community Health. The new unit would have been called the Adult and Aging Services Agency, according to published reports.

Gov. Nathan Deal (R) reportedly took issue with the fact that an agency handling seniors' “social services” didn't belong in the Community Health department, which handles healthcare issues for the state's residents and employees. The governor called the potential union too “diverse” while “failing to align elderly services to the agency whose mission and scope is to deliver human services throughout the state.”

Some speculated that Deal vetoed the measure either out of budgetary concerns or as political payback against the bill's sponsor, who opposed the governor's plan to create “opportunity school districts” to turn around failing schools in Georgia. The state's nursing home industry has been under scrutiny lately.