State Rep. Steve Davis (R-McDonough)
A state lawmaker from Henry County is responding to media reports of his billing the state for travel and other expenses.
State Rep. Steve Davis (R-McDonough) maintains that he was conducting business on various legislative committees, when the expenses were incurred.
“You have somebody from Henry County who is doing their job,” said Davis. “It shouldn’t be taken as a negative thing.”
The Associated Press (AP), on Sunday, reported that Davis, and other state legislators, collectively billed the state for more than $1.3 million this year for travel and expenses, while the legislature was not in session.
“Even as lawmakers have cut the state budget and eliminated thousands of government jobs, they have continued a long-standing practice that pays some more than $15,000 a year in expense money, on top of their $17,000 annual salary,” the AP article said.
Davis said his expenditures reflect a busy year for state politics, and for himself as a legislator. He serves on six committees in the General Assembly, including as chairman of the Information & Audits Committee, which reviews the legislators’ per diem and expense reports.
“I take my duties and responsibilities very seriously, and I am working hard to help find ways to make government more efficient and responsive, for the citizens of Georgia,” said Davis. “It is a great honor for me to serve the constituents of my district, and I never take my duties and responsibilities for granted.”
He is also on the Appropriations, Insurance, Transportation, State Planning & Community Affairs, and State Institutions and Property committees.
“This year, I have reorganized the Audits Committee, by appointing sub committees that mirror that of the Appropriations Sub Committees to more efficiently review the financial statements, forensic audits, and budget and compliance reports by departments, so that we can identify more places for savings for the taxpayers of Georgia,” Davis continued.
He added that, during 2011, he led a special committee for redistricting of the Atlanta Regional Commission citizen member districts.
“This redistricting was done prior to, and outside of, our special session this year for redistricting,” said Davis. “During the special session, we were one of the few counties able to pass out all of our local redistricting for both our BOC [Board of Commissioners] and BOE [Board of Education], which I carried for my county.”
Davis said during this year’s legislative session, he carried a major piece of insurance legislation — the Insurance Delivery Enhancement Act of 2011, also known as HB 167 — which enacts protections and support for small practices (businesses), as well as insured individuals.
“Additionally,” Davis said, “I co-authored with another representative an education reform bill, HB 186 ... that I worked on for over three years, that among other things, develops career clusters for more career and technical opportunities for our high school students, and will drastically improve moral, and eventually, the graduation rates ...”
Other state representatives who received sizable payouts this year, the AP reported, were: Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), and House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge.)
State senators listed in the report are: Deputy State Treasurer, Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg); Rules Chairman, Don Balfour (R-Snellville); and Transportation Chairman Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga.)
— The Associated Press contributed to this article.