Georgia Democrats have little power these days. They hold no statewide offices, and have forceless minorities in both chambers of the state legislature. So when House and Senate Democrats rolled out their agendas in separate press conferences Thursday, it’s not an exaggeration to say little of what they proposed will come to pass. Much of it will fail to even garner a committee vote, much less make it to the floor of either chamber for a vote.
State lawmakers will be back at the Capitol in two weeks to start the 2014 General Assembly session and advocates have already been working on their legislative agendas. “We are also expecting it to be a very fast session—gavel in, gavel out—and that just means we have to be ready to hit the ground running,” said Liz Coyle, deputy director of Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy group.
Voters across Georgia went to the polls Tuesday for municipal elections. In two special elections, they were there to elect two new state lawmakers. Both Representative Donna Sheldon, R-Dacula, and Senator Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, stepped down from their positions earlier this fall to run for U.S. Congress.
State Senator Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, is considering drafting legislation that would require members of the General Assembly to pay for special elections if they resign to run for higher office. Officials say special elections cost anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000.
Legislators return to the state Capitol Monday for a special session to re-draw legislative maps. It will determine the lines of both state legislative and congressional districts. The process will affect how Georgians vote for the next ten years.
Gov. Nathan Deal says he will support a proposed state constitutional amendment that would permit a state commission to approve the formation of charter schools. Deal said Friday in Savannah that the future of charter schools will be a major legislative issue next year.
The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Authority has voted to extend its negotiations with Halls of Fame Inc. of Macon until July 31. The authority is negotiating to transfer the operations of the museum to Halls of Fame Inc., the lone group to submit a bid to take over the museum.
Gov. Nathan Deal will sign at least one bill every day this week, making stops in Milledgeville, Augusta and Tifton to do so. He is steadily addressing the nearly 300 bills the legislature passed this year, and soon he'll have to act on the session’s most important legislation.