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Mar. 30- UPDATED: 12:00 p.m. - Final Day of Georgia General Assembly gets underway, the 40th Day of the 2017 Session

Category: Georgia Business News

PHOTO:  (L to R) Mrs. Carmen Berrios, Capt. Angel Berrios and Sen. Ben Watson, after Capt. Berrios led the Senate in its morning prayer and devotional message.)

By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News

March 30, 2017 – UPDATED: 12:00 pm - As the Georgia Senate gets underway today, Lt. Gov. Cagle has just ruled that amendment the House added to Senate Bill 1, late Tuesday night, was not germane, to the main bill, and will not be considered.  SB 1, therefore, goes back to the House.

The Senate has also "insisted" that the House accept its version of SB 340 and SB 329, and has objected to the House's amendment to SB 222, all of which the House amended during its session on Tuesday.  That sends the bills back to the House. 

The Georgia Senate has more than 32 bills to address today, as well as 32 House bills that were previously tabled by the Senate.  There will also, possibly be the return of bills that the Senate previously passed that were amended in the House.   

The House Calendar approved by the Rules Committee for the day lists 18 bills, plus 20 House Resolutions to be voted on today, plus two Senate Resolutions.  The controversial HR 644 – to put April back on the official State Calendar as Confederate History Month, and to put April 27, back on the Georgia’s Official State Calendar as Confederate Memorial Day, is not on the House’s calendar list of Resolutions to be voted on, as this time.

The two Senate Resolutions to be considered Thursday are: SR 290, to create a Joint Georgia-Alabama Study Committee; and SR 307, to create a Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Joint Task Force.

The 39th Day, on Tuesday, the Senate was in session until 11:30 p.m., a day that ended in controversy when the House narrowly defeated a 'Senate priority bill" supported by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (pictured right), Senate Bill 1, which he believes will strengthen Georgia’s anti-terrorism laws.  The Lt. Governor. is the presiding officer of the Senate.  

The House has also been slow to act on five other Senate bills that Cagle has supported in the session, drafted with other leading Republicans, termed 'Senate priorities.'

“Less than one week after a deadly terrorist attack struck London, and in the wake of countless acts of teriorism – at home and abroad – 83 members of House declined to approve a measure to enhance Georgia’s defense against potential terrorist threats. I will not give up on protecting our citizens, and we can never subject the safety and security of Georgians to political gamesmanship,” said the Lt. Governor, in response to a request for comment by Coastal Empire News.

One Senator rose to say that it was the "worse I've ever seen," of the House adding what he termed non-germane amendments to bills in the last days of the session. 

On the last day of the session, Savannah’s Sen. Ben Watson led the pledge and introduced the Chaplain of the Day, Capt. Angel Berrios, Chaplain in the U.S. Army from Ft. Stewart,and a resident of Midway in Liberty County, also in Sen. Watson’s district. He said, “We would all agree that this world has problems … but I’m a realist and I’m optimistic.  We see that there is evil, and as human beings, we naturally want to fix things” … but we must rely on God’s guidance and intervention.  He was joined at the Capital by his wife Carmen.

And, Sen. Lester Jackson led a Resolution to honor the life of former Sen. Steen Miles of Decatur, GA. who has just passed away. She was a former journalist, and long-time Senator from Decatur.

Editor’s Note:  Ms. Phelps will be in the Georgia Senate, the upper Chamber of the General Assembly, reporting throughout the day, for what may be a marathon session, according to many legislators. 

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