State senator pauses movement on controversial Gwinnett County bills
State Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett) withdrew two controversial bills that would change the makeup of both the Gwinnett County Commission and school board from consideration during the special redistricting session.
Dixon asked to send the bills back to the Senate’s State and Local Governmental Operations Committee, which had approved the bills last week in a vote that fell along party lines.
One of the bills would “revise the education district boundaries” for Gwinnett County Public Schools and make them nonpartisan.
“My intent is to spend the next six weeks hearing from parents, educators and children across the state as we examine nonpartisan boards of education,” Dixon said at a press conference before both legislative chambers convened on Tuesday morning.
On the bill to add four more members to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, Dixon said he would also seek more input.
“Expanding the board of commissioners will allow for more, better, and more efficient local governance so that more Gwinnett voices are heard,” Dixon said.
Gwinnett County Democratic lawmakers had complained Dixon blindsided them by introducing the bills during the special session. They now say moving the legislation to the 2022 General Assembly is the right move.
“I greatly appreciate Sen. Dixon for not proceeding during the special session,” Sen. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville) said. “My request as chair as the state House delegation was to come to the table and work with all of his colleagues and certainly the local elected officials.”
Democratic Rep. Greg Kennard (D-Lawrenceville) said the tapestry of Gwinnett has changed, and representation by elected officials should reflect the diversity.
“It’s now 67% non-white,” Kennard said. “No matter how we draw the lines, no matter how we configure the county government, it needs to make sure those populations are represented.”
As for the redistricting maps mandated by the special session, both the House and Senate committees are both are slated to meet on Wednesday to discuss the Georgia congressional maps.