LISTEN: GPB's Sarah Kallis reports from the Georgia Capitol.

Lawmakers started Day 12 with sad and shocking news. 

House Rules Chairman Richard Smith had died overnight Monday after battling the flu. He was 78.

Speaker of the House Jon Burns paid an emotional tribute to Smith, who served in the Georgia House for nearly 20 years. 

Gov. Brian Kemp also addressed the chamber to mourn Smith.

Smith's colleagues including Rep. Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus) and House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration (R–Auburn) remembered him as a leader and a friend.

The House decided to shorten its day as members dealt with the loss of Smith.

The business of the day continued in the Senate, but it was also a day of remembrance. While Chairman Smith was never part of their chamber, that didn't stop Sens. Ed Harbison (D–Columbus) and Randy Robertson (R–Cataula) from remembering his legacy and his influence.

Following a moment of silence for Smith, a second influential Georgian was remembered as former state Sen. Jason Carter read a proclamation to celebrate the life and legacy of his grandmother, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, and to speak to her contributions spotlighting mental health issues.

Next, another of the three Georgian soldiers who were killed during a drone attack in Jordan over the weekend was also honored by Sen. Derek Mallow.  Breonna Moffett was a specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve who grew up in Savannah. Mallow spoke with Moffett's ROTC mentor about pushing the young soldier to be her best.  


U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) addressed the Georgia Senate today, imploring bipartisan cooperation in agreeing to accept $1.2 billion in Medicaid funds for working class Georgians.

And finally, the Georgia Senate received a visit from U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who brought a bipartisan message to the floor to speak about Medicaid and the success of the American Rescue Plan. 

Then, the Senate got busy passing five bills — from expanding veteran pensions to creating an annual "First Responders Remembrance Day" on Sept. 11 each year.

Later in the day, the United Campus Workers visited the Capitol to push for better wages, collective bargaining and academic freedom.

Plans for Smith’s memorial service have yet to be announced. On legislative Day 13, Gov. Kemp is expected to sign the antisemitism bill in a public event. 

Join host Donna Lowry and capitol reporter Sarah Kallis at 7 p.m. on GPB-TV for the 54th season of GPB's Lawmakers.