Georgia lawmakers begin work immediately

'Ceremonial' first day thing of the past
Rep. Jason Shaw, R-Lakeland, helps his 3-year-old daughter Anne Harvey Shaw vote on a resolution at his desk on the floor of the House at the Capitol.

ATLANTA -- Unlike most opening days of the General Assembly, the Senate got right to work debating substantive legislation Monday.


It took an hour to debate and pass Senate Bill 184 that removes seniority protections for teachers. The bill was a leftover from the 2011 regular session when time ran out for consideration.

The measure had originated in the Senate, but the Senate still needed to give its OK to changes made by the House last year before the final gavel fell ending that session. It wasn’t subject to a vote during the special session last year which only dealt with redistricting.

Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams said the bill would strengthen education by removing a requirement that all layoffs be done on the basis of seniority.

“They have to fire the last person they hired, even if they were the best teacher in the state,” Williams, R-Lyons, said of the existing law.

Democrats opposed the bill on the party-line vote.

Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta, asked Williams why the bill was up for a vote on the first day of the session when two senators elected last fall during special elections had not had a chance to study it.

“We’re talking about process and the way things ought to be done,” he said.

Action in the House was more routine. It passed resolutions inviting the governor and chief justice to address joint legislative sessions and a schedule for the next three weeks, including a recess all of next week for budget committee meetings.

“After that, we’re going to regroup and see what we’ll do then,” said House Republican Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire.

Another uncommon experience were demonstrations on the first day. Several hundred mothers and children crowded the hallways and chanted in support of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a state welfare program they’re hoping to be spared budget cutting.

Outside, two hundred or so supporters of Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People rallied against the death penalty. Many held posters or wore buttons with a photo of Troy Davis, a Savannah man executed last year for killing an off-duty policeman.

“If they can do it to him, they could do it to any of us,” said Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague, D-Red Oak.

As in most years, legislation is pending calling for a halt to capital punishment, but the bills never come up for a vote in committee. This year, Senate Democratic Whip Vincent Fort of Atlanta announced plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit a death sentence based solely on eyewitness testimony.

Davis supporters say seven of nine eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting backed away from all or part of their testimony by the time he was executed.

2012 Legislature Contact List


Augusta area lawmakers: (Richmond, Columbia, Burke, McDuffie, Jefferson, Glascock, Warren, Lincoln, Wilkes, Taliaferro)


STATE SENATORS                                                                                                                     

Johnny Grant (District 25)

PO Box1458

Milledgeville 31059-1458

Home Phone: (478) 452-1427

Office Phone: (404) 656-0082

110-A State Capitol


Jesse Stone (District 23)

642 Liberty Street


Home Phone: (478) 237-7029

Office Phone: (404) 463-1314



Hardie Davis (District 22)

P.O. Box6389


Home Phone: (706) 434-8553

Office Phone: (404) 656-0340



Bill Jackson (District 24)

P.O. Box528


Home Phone: (706) 863-5818

Office Phone: (404) 656-5795

109 State Capitol


House Reps

Jon Burns (District 157)

5829 Clyo-Kildare Road


Home Phone: (912) 754-3439

Office Phone: (404) 656-5099

228 State Capitol


Mickey Channell (District 116)

PO Box839


Home Phone: (706) 453-1230

Office Phone: (404) 656-5103

133 State Capitol


Earnest Smith (District 122)

253 Greene Street


Home Phone:

Office Phone: (404) 656-6372

511 Legislative Office Building


Lee Anderson (District 117)

160 Louisville Road


Home Phone: (706) 394-1812

Office Phone: (404) 656-0298

608 Coverdell Legislative Office Building


Gloria Frazier (District 123)

2717 Willis Foreman Road


Home Phone: (706) 560-9709

Office Phone: (404) 656-0265

604 Legislative Office Building


Ben Harbin (District 118)

4571-A Cox Road

Evans 30809

Home Phone: (706) 869-1953

Office Phone: (404) 656-3949

614 Coverdell Legislative Office Building


Wayne Howard (District 121)

2047BMartin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard


Home Phone: (706)722-1123

Office Phone: (404) 656-6372

511 Legislative Office Building


Sistie Hudson (District 124)

PO Box58


Home Phone: (706) 444-7247

Office Phone: (404) 656-7859

512 Legislative Office Building


Mack Jackson (District 142)

733 Evelyn Street


Home Phone:

Office Phone: (404) 656-0314

611 Legislative Office Building


QuincyMurphy (District 120)

3238 Peach Orchard Road


Home Phone: (706) 790-4600

Office Phone: (404) 656-0265

604 Legislative Office Building


Barbara Sims (District 119)

10 Retreat Road


Home Phone: (706) 481-9591

Office Phone: (404) 656-0213

508 Legislative Office Building




Savannah River Site resumes normal activity

A suspicious item was discovered Wednesday afternoon at the Savannah River National Laboratory which prompted emergency responseactivities.

... Read more