Around 6 p.m. Thursday, the final day of this year’s legislative session, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had to make a phone call.
He wasn’t phoning the speaker of the House so they could gavel the session adjourned, sine die. Rather, Cagle was asking his chief legal counsel about an amendment to a bill.
I know, I know: Government-jargon-blah-blah-blah alerts are sounding all across metro Atlanta right about now. But this story isn’t about Gold Dome process. It’s about money, power and how the two intersect in ways that can be hard to see.
For a seasoned presiding officer who wastes little time assigning bills to committees and making various other rulings from the rostrum, Cagle’s pause was unusual. Then again, the amendment was unusually delicate: Sen. Jason Carter, an Atlanta Democrat, was proposing a $100 limit on lobbyist gifts to legislators. It was the same limit proposed by Republicans and — until then — snuffed out by higher-ranking Republicans in both the Senate and the House