State lawmakers marked the 30th day of the legislative session Thursday, and it’s usually a day when they debate late into the night. That wasn’t the case this year, and it wasn’t a coincidence.
Day 30, or Crossover Day, is the deadline by which a bill must clear at least one chamber to have a chance at final passage this year.
Lawmakers typically vote on the last bills just before midnight.
This year, state Senators went home at 7 p.m., and their colleagues in the House left at 10 p.m.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, says that measured approach comes from the top.
“Are you seeing fewer bills being discussed? Well, yes that’s by design," he said in an interview Friday. "It also means you’re going to have fewer being vetoed. It does no good to have all the sound and the fury, if it has no substance.”
The GOP controls all of state government. And Robinson said Gov. Deal works hard to resolve any differences of opinion behind the scenes, and tells lawmakers what bills he will and will not sign.
Environmental lobbyist Neill Herring says the difference is noticeable.
"They don't want controversy," he said of the leadership at the Capitol.
Herring said lawmakers know that public opinion of politicians is low, and he said they don't want to do anything to raise Georgians' ire.
But the slimmer agenda also signals the state’s budget woes.
Robinson says these are leaner years.
“We’re having to continue to cut state government," he said. "So we’re not having the fights about who gets what and when. It’s a different dynamic at this juncture as we’re downsizing state government.”
Ten days remain in the 2013 legislative session.