Breaking update VII: Meeting adjourned, elections to be Thursday

Update 1:23 p.m.: The House caucus confab has broken up and members made for the door fairly quickly. The headlines: The caucus will meet next Thursday to vote for their choice of speaker and speaker pro tem and will elect majority whip.

The choices for speaker and speaker pro tem will go before the full House in January.

Also, an effort from Rep. John Lunsford (R-McDonough), one of the candidates for majority whip to open up all the caucus officer positions for election apparently fell short. Lunsford’s motion would also put the caucus chair and majority leader up for a vote next week. Lunsford, however, said his effort isn’t dead and he’ll keep trying to get the necessary votes.

Update 12:59 p.m.: Well, Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter managed to sneak past the media to get into the meeting and he’s now apparently managed to sneak back out again. Reporters had all the obvious doors staked out, but security at the Tech conference center wouldn’t let us access to all of them.

Update 12:44 p.m.: They’re still going in there, and save for the occasional member making for the bathroom, very little movement in and out. Once little piece of news: Rep. John Lunsford (R-McDonough) came out and told a few us that he has resigned his position as senior hawk.

The hawks are a team of members appointed by Speaker Richardson who have the power to sit and vote on any committee at any time. They are used to stack committee decks in favor of the speaker’s position. It’s a system that mightily upsets many rank-and-file members and certainly minority Democrats.

Lunsford, who is running for speaker, might be reading the caucus’ mood. Many members have said they want the next speaker to end the hawk system.

Meanwhile, all we can really pick up from out in the hallway is occasional bouts of applause, a few raised voices — something about “families” or “family values,” not sure which.

Update 11:20 a.m.: Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter is said to be inside the closed caucus meeting, although he must have slipped in through a back door because he certainly didn’t pass through the scrum of media outside the main entrance — like everyone else.

Update 10:51 a.m.: Gov. Sonny Perdue just emerged from the closed caucus meeting and while he did not divulge what he told the gathered Republican  lawmakers, he defended their right to meet in private and said the caucus will recover.

“Representative government is not all that neat sometimes,” Perdue said. “The decision they’ll make over the next few days are very critical. They’re a little unsteady right now, but they’ll regain that confidence.”

As for the decision to close the meeting to the public, Perdue said that was to be expected.

“I don’t invite the media when we’re having a family discussion in my home, either,” he said. “That’s their decision.”

Moving forward, Perdue said, the party will not suffer for these episode.

“We don’t understand the degree to how people out there are worried about their kids’ education, health care,” he said. “These internal battles, as long as they’re able to go forward … I don’t think there’s any damage.”

Update 10:20 a.m.: The House caucus is now meeting behind closed doors after a secret-ballot vote to kick the media out of their meeting.

The House Republican Caucus is governed by its own set of rules, which say that all meetings must be open to the public and the press unless a two-thirds of the caucus votes to close the meeting.

However, the rules also allow for a majority of the caucus leadership to vote to close the meeting and go into executive session. Still, the rules say that a majority vote of the caucus can overturn that decision. Reps. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) and Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta) made the motion to keep the meeting open and ballots were handed out to the members.

Caucus chairwoman Rep. Donna Sheldon (R-Dacula) did not announce the actual vote count but said the caucus had voted to ban the public.

It’s worth noting that the only members of the caucus leadership in attendance are Sheldon, Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simon’s Island) and Majority Whip Rep. Jan Jones (R-Atlanta). Not present are Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) and Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek).

Update 9:50 a.m.: Gov. Sonny Perdue has arrived by caucus invitation and said he plans to address the Republican caucus. Meanwhile, Caucus Chairwoman Donna Sheldon just told the press we’re getting kicked out.

It’s 9:30 a.m. and House Republicans are beginning to gather at the Georgia Tech Research Center on 14th Street in Atlanta.

Thus far we’re inside the meeting room. Several House members have pointed out that Republican caucus rules require all caucus meetings to open to the public and press, unless a motion is made to close it. But that requires a two-thirds vote.

As long as we’re allowed inside the room, we’ll provide updates. It should be an interesting session. If you need the background, check out today’s story on ajc.com.

For instant updates, follow us on Twitter.

32 comments Add your comment

mikey

December 11th, 2009
10:00 am

Hang in there

uberVU - social comments

December 11th, 2009
10:12 am

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJCGeorgia: House caucus gathers, we’re still inside: http://bit.ly/6hw6yQ http://bit.ly/73WR3s…

YellowJacket2

December 11th, 2009
11:51 am

The bees swirling outside the room tell me Burke got a standing ovation. Aaron, what was that about?

Aaron Gould Sheinin

December 11th, 2009
12:04 pm

YellowJacket2, unfortunately no idea. We have heard occasional bursts of applause from the room. But what was said exactly isn’t clear.

[...] My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has details at Gold Dome Live. [...]

Feats of Strength on Tuesday — Peach Pundit

December 11th, 2009
12:20 pm

[...] My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has details at Gold Dome Live. [...]

Feats of Strength on Tuesday — Peach Pundit

December 11th, 2009
12:20 pm

[...] My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has details at Gold Dome Live. [...]

Fred Hood

December 11th, 2009
12:23 pm

I want to know when we can expect to see a prosection in this case. We jail 1.6 million ever year using the war on drugs as an excuse to enslave mainly blacks. Now it is used to feed the greed of corporations that profit from this racist war. But our so called leaders are committing the most hanis crimes agains the ones they are sworn to represent. Yet they are above the law and we wonder why? If their is no way to punish these traitors they will continue to follow the money. This guy used his enflunince to further his girl friends position. He should be put under the jail way head of a poor black person looking for some relief from reality. Using a natural substance proven less addictive than caffeine and less dangerous than over the counter aspirin……they are far worse criminals………

B. Sabo

December 11th, 2009
12:38 pm

Come on Aaron, get us some updates!

A native Georgian

December 11th, 2009
12:42 pm

Ah, just throw them all out and start over. Most of them have deep dark skeletons in the closet–and they know it and they are deathly afriad of what may happen if “the public” finds out. Time for a reboot.

Aaron Gould Sheinin

December 11th, 2009
12:44 pm

tc

December 11th, 2009
12:50 pm

when are they going to select the wcc director? at the same time as speaker?

Aaron Gould Sheinin

December 11th, 2009
12:53 pm

tc, unclear. That is completely up to the WCC Authority, not the caucus.

tc

December 11th, 2009
12:58 pm

if burkhalter gets the job, then i think you are incorrect. who are the other candidates for this job?

when did wcc say they will decide? me thinks the fix is in.

Facts Are Stuborn Things

December 11th, 2009
1:10 pm

Lunsford is running for Majority Whip, not Speaker. And Hawks are simply ex-officio members, just like the Democrats had when they were in charge, and like Senate Republicans still use. They are rarely used to “stack committee decks”, they are usually used to obtain a quorum because Democrats so rarely bother to attend committee meetings.

tc

December 11th, 2009
1:18 pm

so if the dems jumped off a bridge so would the repubs

Georgia on my mind

December 11th, 2009
1:30 pm

Will the next speaker be required to produce proof that their marriage is not in trouble before they are given the oath of office?

Jim

December 11th, 2009
1:40 pm

Hey ‘Facts’…you might want to change your name to ‘Wrong Facts’…as the Hawks are an invention of the Republican leadership and did not exist under the Democratic House. You might want to recognize the Hawks for what they are (as most members of the Rep. House Caucus apparently have)….a means of leadership controlling what comes out of committees and stamping out the voices of rank and file House members, both Republican and Democratic. Petty partisan false attacks don’t persuade anyone with a brain. Grow up and distinguish thine arse from a hole in the ground!

tc

December 11th, 2009
1:45 pm

oh yea…

hang in there Aaron..good to know someone is covering this crowd

by the way do you know whatever became of the $21m loan to the guv? when was it due and how the heck did he pay it off?

Keen survives? — Peach Pundit

December 11th, 2009
2:14 pm

[...] the AJC’s Aaron Gould Sheinin: Update 1:23 p.m.: The House caucus confab has broken up and members made for the door fairly [...]

Aaron Gould Sheinin

December 11th, 2009
2:23 pm

FAST– just fixed that. thanks

Steve

December 11th, 2009
2:29 pm

“Moving forward, Perdue said, the party will not suffer for these episode.”

Yeah, it’s hard to believe the party could sink much further.

mg

December 11th, 2009
3:13 pm

It’s not hard to believe that the AJC reporters will stoop so low. Isn’t stalking against the law?

Aaron Gould Sheinin

December 11th, 2009
4:00 pm

MG, who were we allegedly stalking?

Base

December 11th, 2009
4:47 pm

What a bunch of idiots.

[...] rest is here:  Breaking update VII: Meeting adjourned, elections to be Thursday … By admin | category: broken gold | tags: aaron-gould, door, fashion-harmony, [...]

An accelerated race for House speaker

December 12th, 2009
7:26 am

[...] My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has details at Gold Dome Live. [...]

Mr. Grumpy

December 12th, 2009
10:47 am

What was the press/media supposed to do when the Republican caucus called a meeting of its members, not try to find out what it was going to be about? There were plenty of Republicans in that meeting who wanted to open it up to the press, but the so-called “leadership” wouldn’t permit it. Why? Technically speaking, caucus meetings — whether they’re by Republicans or Democrats — are not official meetings falling under the open meetings laws of the state. However, this one could have been an exception to show the public they’re trying to deal with their problems, and boy, oh boy, do they have problems. That meeting won’t fix those problems, nor will the election of their officers. After all the chatter about how Republicans finally had a chance to govern after 130 years of Democrat control, what they’ve proven in the last 5 to 8 years is that they can’t govern. The chickens are coming home to roost.

SpaceyG on Twitter

December 12th, 2009
2:12 pm

The only fight Georgia Republicans in positions of great leadership ever had was a fiery debate, behind closed doors of course, over who had the best boob job over at the Pink Pony: Crystal or Tiffany.

tc

December 13th, 2009
10:27 am

aaron, i hope you read some of the posts on peach pundit and pursue them to determine their veracity. if true, then anyone current house leadership positions should be expelled.

Aaron Gould Sheinin

December 13th, 2009
4:21 pm

tc, just getting to read these. trust that we are checking into many, many things.

[...] My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has details at Gold Dome Live. [...]