The Legislature sometimes speaks in signals and non-verbal ways.
Today the Senate again tried to coax the House into a conference meeting to talk about state transportation issues. The House responded in its own way.
Here is what each chamber did:
The House changed one of its bills, House Bill 277, calling for a state-wide penny sales tax for transportation improvements. It added a concession to the Senate. The new version of House Bill 277 would ask voters to approve a statewide penny sales tax. If that failed, the legislation would then allow contiguous counties to band together and tax themselves for transportation projects, something the Senate favors.
“If it succeeds, the voters have spoken,” said House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons). He said the Senate should agree to the House compromise and put Georgia towards a solution to gridlock and other transportation problems.
It will be up to the Senate to agree or disagree Thursday. If no agreement is made, each chamber could then appoint representatives to a conference committee to work out a deal as soon as Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the Senate took a bill that had come over from the House, and stripped it, putting in its place a bill to remake the entire Department of Transportation.
“We’re trying to get a conference committee on the DOT governance,” said Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and sponsor of the Senate’s regional penny sales tax legislation.
“Even though there’s many fine people over at DOT, the system is still broken,” Mullis said.
If the House responds in any manner to what the Senate has done — by agreeing or disagreeing — it will send the issue to a conference committee where the real deals will be worked out. The House took no action on that bill Wednesday.