Georgia Senate still debating power shift

 Editor's note: An earlier version of this story did not accurately quote Sen. Jackson.

 

ATLANTA -- A day after the Senate voted 42-12 to give Casey Cagle, the Republican lieutenant governor, power to control committees, senators were still fighting the battle Tuesday.

Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, addressed his colleagues and told them he would bring up the matter each of the remaining 38 days in the legislative session.

“Do you think freedom is at the helm of this body?” He asked.

Crane objects to restoring to Cagle the ability to pick who sits on and chairs committees and which bills they consider, effectively controlling what the full Senate gets to vote on. For the last two years, the Senate rules took that power from the lieutenant governor and placed them with a committee of eight senators.

After Crane’s comments, Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, expressed exasperation with his fellow sophomore. Both were elected in special elections to complete terms of men Gov. Nathan Deal appointed to state jobs.

“I think we need to decide if we’re more interested in getting things done or in making a point,” he said, noting that the rule empowering Cagle had already been voted on and was settled.

Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, stood up to add, “I just wanted to say ‘amen’ to Sen. Wilkinson for what he said.”

When the Senate adjourned for the day, Crane noted that many senators would not make eye contact while he was criticizing the power-shifting rule. But as he walked through the Capitol to his office, members of the public approached him and thanked him for speaking out.

 

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