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Friday, December 14, 2012 - 12:00pm

Casey Cagle's Comeback

Republican senators in the Georgia General Assembly will meet Saturday to set rules for the upcoming legislative session. The main task will be deciding how much power to give Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle.

The Gainesville Republican was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2006. With that job typically comes power over the state Senate.

But a group of rival GOP Senators stripped Cagle of much of his authority in 2010.

Since then, he’s been largely limited to presiding over the day-to-day operations of the Senate.

Tom Crawford, who edits the political digest Georgia Report, says the tide has turned somewhat for Cagle.

“He will get back some but probably not all of the power to appoint committee members and committee chairmen and things like that," he said. "I suspect that the new president pro-tem of the Senate, who is David Shafer, will insist on retaining a little bit of the power himself.”

Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia, echoed that assessment. He says things will be different now that new Senators are in charge.

“He’s going to be in a better position with David Shafer and Ronnie Chance leading the Republicans in the chamber as opposed to what he faced with Tommie Williams and Chip Rogers,” he said.

The power coup led some legislators, particularly in the state House, to question the Senate's ability to deliberate issues and pass legislation. Notably, House Speaker David Ralston, a Blue Ridge Republican, derided it as "an experiment" that he said bogged down his Senate colleagues and prevented the entire legislature from acting.

The legislative session begins on Jan. 14.

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