Senate pushes House for negotiations on transportation issues

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. 

Here is what it did:

The House sent over a bill that had originated in the Senate (Senate Bill 39) and had called for a regional penny sales tax to pay for transportation improvements. 

But, before sending it over, the House had stripped the entire thing and replaced it with a bill setting rules for how MARTA can spend its budget. 

The Senate Wednesday took the bill, and stripped it again, 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 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. 

“If they don’t say anything, then there’s no conference committee,” said Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna).

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