Political Rewind: Speaker Ralston on his priorities for General Assembly as election cycle looms
David Ralston — Speaker of Georgia House
Jim Galloway — Former political columnist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
1. Ralston weighs in on the state of the race for governor.
- Ralston said Gov. Brian Kemp was doing a good job managing the state through the pandemic, but did not explicitly endorse him.
- The speaker also added that the contentious GOP gubernatorial primary is unlikely unify the party.
2. "Critical race theory" as a priority for some Republican legislators during 2022 session.
- There is much confusion over what Republican lawmakers mean when they talk about so-called "critical race theory."
- The NAACP's legal defense fund defines critical race theory as, "an academic and legal framework that denotes that systemic racism is part of American society."
- State Rep. Brad Thomas filed HB 888 on the matter.
- The bill would prohibit curricula that teach people should be treated differently because of their race, ethnicity or religion.
- Last year, the Georgia Board of Education approved a resolution seeks to stop teaching what members call “divisive ideologies” in public schools.
- Meanwhile, the highest-ranked Republican woman in the General Assembly, Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones, said she will look into legislation banning books and other materials deemed "obscene."
3. The state of Buckhead cityhood
- Mayor Andre Dickens spoke on the House floor on Monday, 21 days after taking office. He also spoke briefly in the Senate.
- Dickens is an opponent of the Buckhead cityhood movement. He has attempted to address concerns from residents of Buckhead over crime by opening a new police precinct in the area.
- Earlier this month, the bill creating a referendum on Buckhead cityhood, SB 324, was moved to an all Democrat-led committee where it is likely to fail.
4. Speaker Ralston said legislation set to be introduced tomorrow tackles mental health resources.
- Ralston said mental health is one of the most important issues this session.
- He told the Gwinnett Daily Post the legislation will expand mental health resources, with funding for police de-escalation training expanded accountability courts.
- In talking about the bill, Ralston said he hopes to take mental health crisis response out of the hands of law enforcement.
Tomorrow on Political Rewind:
The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Greg Bluestein joins us.