Governor signs bill that changes Augusta Senate districts

ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal’s office announced Monday that the governor has signed into law a bill that will tilt the balance of power in the Augusta Senate delegation.

Senate Bill 430 swaps a small number of voters along the Savannah River in south Augusta from the district represented by Sen. Jesse Stone to the one held by Sen. Bill Jackson. Both men are Republicans.

By adding Jackson to the delegation, it shifts from one Republican and one Democrat to two GOP senators and one Democrat, Sen. Hardie Davis.

Davis had opposed the change, saying he had not been consulted before the Senate Reapportionment Committee approved the bill. He also argues it is unfair to Augusta’s voters who are mostly Democrats.

While the power switched to the GOP in the Senate side of the delegation, the House delegation remains overwhelmingly Democratic. That means neither party has enough power to pass local legislation without the other.

In the legislative session that ended last month, Democrats favored one design of the election districts for the Augusta Commission and local school board while Republicans favored another. Their disagreement resulted in one map passing the House and one passing the Senate but neither passing both and becoming law. The standoff prompted the commission to ask a court to draw a map.

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