The 53-92 vote killed House Bill 1235, submitted by Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta. He said when he introduced it that he was concerned about the city’s finances and thought the audits would give the public more confidence in the government.
It would have required audits of contractors that make more than $500,000 annually from the city. Murphy said it was aimed at contractors that perform services for the public on behalf of the city, such as the firms that operate the bus line and golf course. He said the bill also included audits of departments and authorities with budgets above $500,000.
Its defeat was a little unusual because it was a bill that concerned only one city. Normally, such local legislation is voted on unanimously along with all other local bills up for consideration that day.
HB 1235 was pulled out of the list and voted on separately. The rest of the list dealing with other individual cities and counties passed with just four “no” votes.
Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles said he wasn’t surprised the Democrat-sponsored local bill was defeated.
“I think most people saw it as an attempt to make it financially difficult for private management companies to bid on government contracts,” Bowles said.
The chairman of the Augusta legislative delegation, Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, said he will ask the House on Monday to reconsider its action.
Rep. Barbara Sims, the lone Republican in the House delegation, objected to the bill.
Local bills aren’t debated on the House floor.
Staff Writer Susan McCord contributed to this article.