December 28, 2012 Radio Commentary

New Year, New Leaders, New Appointments, New Bills

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, December 28, 2012 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Good morning, Jim.  In Georgia, a brand new year means a new session of the General Assembly, new senators, new representatives, new caucus leaders and new Senate and House floor leaders to carry the governor’s legislation.  In September, Governor Deal named District 14 Representative Coomer to be his new State House floor leader to replace Representative Collins who won Georgia’s new seat in Congress in November.  

This month, Governor Deal appointed Senator Jeffares of Locust Grove and Senator Bethel of Dalton to join Senator Jackson of Appling as his Senate floor leaders in 2013.  

Of the 180 members of the Georgia House of Representatives, 119 are Republicans, leaving them one vote shy of a two-thirds majority.  Representative Kidd, who was elected as an Independent, could be the swing vote.  The Republican Caucus has already elected Representative Ralston to continue as House Speaker and Representative Jan Jones as Speaker Pro Tem.  They will, officially, resume their duties after they’re confirmed by the full House January 14th, the first day of the session. The Republican Party’s new majority leader in the Senate is Ronnie Chance of Tyrone, elected during a Republican Caucus retreat, where caucus rules were adopted and Senate rules were proposed for next session.  Senator David Shafer of Duluth was elected President Pro Tem for 2013 and will be confirmed on January 14th, along with the other Senate officers-elect. 

Democrat Caucus leaders in the House continuing in their respective offices are Representative Abrams, Minority Leader; and Representative Hugley, Minority Whip.  Representative Fludd, joins them as Minority Caucus Chairman.  Senate Democrat officers are Senators Henson, Minority Leader; Senator Fort, Minority Whip; and Senator Tate, Caucus Chairman. 

These officers form the frame-work of legislative power in the General Assembly, along with the next tier of authority – committee chairmen, 43 in the House and 29 in the Senate – who can expedite a bill or stop it in its tracks.  Our 180 representatives and 56 senators will introduce and handle some 2,500 to 3,000 bills and resolutions during the 40-day session, that could easily extend into April to accommodate recesses and committee meetings.  

We KNOW they’ll consider horse racing and pari-mutuel betting, because H.R. 1 and H.B. 14 were prefiled November 15th, along with dozens of other bills, with more to come.  For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.