The Senate voted on new county commissioner districts for Richmond County, which includes Augusta.  

Sen. Max Burns (R-Sylvania), who introduced Senate Bill 457, said repeated attempts by Republicans within the Augusta-Richmond County delegation to propose a new map that met their three criteria to comply with legal requirements, minimize precinct splits, and keep communities of interest and neighborhoods together were ignored, and that the ad hoc committee and local commission refused to consider their input.  

Sen. Harold Jones II (D-Augusta) said that the new map did not satisfy the Voting Rights Act and ignored the local process.

“That contested district takes it from a majority African American district to a majority white district.” he said, continuing, “At some point in time, we have to start respecting African American elected officials and when they do the process. We say we’re going to respect it, and that’s what we’re going to do. This was a total disrespect. It is a total trope, quite frankly, when you talk about persons did not do work or did not take time to do things, and those are the same tropes we have seen throughout history when it comes to African American history.”

Jones also said that the ad hoc committee considered several other maps, but found they did not satisfy the Voting Rights Act.

SB 457 passed 32 to 22.

On Thursday, the Senate also passed a bill that would allow East Cobb citizens to vote for an independent East Cobb city.  

House Bill 841 is one of four bills that would allow a referendum for a vote to form four independent cities in Cobb County. Sen. Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek) expressed concern over the impact on Cobb County.  

“There are four separate cityhood movements for Cobb this session, and I have not seen any data on the financial impact on Cobb if all four of these cityhoods should pass,” she said in the Senate this morning.  

The measure ultimately passed 31 to 18. It will still need pass in the House before the end of the session. Bills to create referendums for the cities of Vinings and Lost Mountain are currently moving through the legislature.

A bill to allow citizens to vote to create the City of Mableton had a hearing in a House subcommittee Thursday, but was not voted on.