In an apparent nod to state sovereignty, Senate Republicans will require members of their chamber to recite the pledge of allegiance to the state flag of Georgia every morning they gather – after a daily devotional and a pledge to the U.S. flag.
The addition to the chambers’ rituals was adopted Friday at a caucus meeting in Macon, as part of a wholesale change in state rules that included the stripping of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of most of his powers.
Both the House and Senate now include a daily sermon and a pledge to the U.S. flag as part of the beginning of each day’s business.
Afterwards, in the House, state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Cobb County) has led a small group of GOP lawmakers in a wildcat recitation of the Georgia pledge:
“I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.”
This afternoon, Franklin said the Senate was highly appropriate, “given the usurpations of Washington.”
“It’s time for the House Leadership to join the Senate and add the Pledge of Allegiance to the Georgia Flag to the House’s morning order of business,” Franklin said.
We’ve obtained copy of a draft of the rule changes, which you can see here.
(The draft does not include a notation of a daily pledge to the state flag. Neither does the draft include Cagle’s two appointments to the Committee on Assignments. Also, simply cross out Section 12.)
From the draft and other sources, we can say the following about the new eight-person Committee on Assignments, the new governing unit of the Senate:
– The Committee on Assignments will name the chairmen of all committees, and will determine the number and identity of all senators who sit on committees;
– Cagle will have two appointments to that committee. Other members will be – as stated before – the President pro tem, the majority leader, the chairman of the majority caucus, the majority caucus vice chairm, and the majority caucus secretary;
– The “hawk” provision that gave the lieutenant governor the power to pack committees with ex officio members – in order to move favored legislation — now shifts to the Committee on Assignments;
– Gubernatorial appointments that require Senate approval will be handled by the Committee on Assignments. You’ll recall that last year, Cagle was blamed for sabotaging Sonny Perdue’s appointment of longtime GOP activist Fred Cooper to a seat on the Board of Regents.
– Cagle will retain the right, as president of the Senate, to preside over the chamber. But should two or more senators rise to speak at the same time, he “shall recognize the President Pro Tempore (Tommie Williams of Lyons), the Majority Leader (Chip Rogers of Woodstock) and the Minority Leader (Robert Brown of Macon), in that order of precedence, should any of them rise to speak, prior to recognizing any other Senator.”
That’s a rule that had been in place during the GOP icing of Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, a Demcrat.
– Points of personal privilege – opportunities for senators to speak on any topic they want – will be moved to the bottom of the days business. Which could make a long day for 4H groups in the galleries, waiting for a shout-out from their senator.
– In addition to maintaining the limited power to direct legislation to individual committees, Cagle apparently retains the power to name the conference committee members who will negotiate with their House counterpoints over specific pieces of legislation. That’s not a small thing.