The Highway Patrol’s purchase of a $5.6-million dollar airplane without legislative approval in December has produced retaliatory legislation. The Patrol bought the new plane with money from its revolving fund and didn’t consult with legislative appropriations committees that determine how state money will be spent.
The Patrol took some heavy heat when lawmakers returned to the Capitol in January. Now the state senate has approved a requirement that the Patrol consult with the legislature on any individual purchase of $100,000 or more. Savannah Senator Brad Lager tacked the requirement onto another bill.. “What this situation did was hurt their credibility and with their credibility means we’re not going to give them the flexibility we once gave, ” he says.
The bill says the revolving fund can be used to buy and maintain vehicles, watercraft, and airplanes as long as costs are less than 100-thousand dollars.
Lager says it’s not a partisan issue–that gubernatorial administrations of both parties have abused revolving funds in the past. The Senate is expected to send the bill to the House before wrapping up its work this week.