A counter-revolution may have just started in the state Senate.
George Hooks, D-Americus, this morning introduced SR 526, a resolution to change the Senate rules so that points of personal privilege – those five-minute speeches allotted to senators on any topic they choose – are moved back to the beginning of each day’s session.
PPPs are often an occasion for Democrats to vent.
In the November revolt that stripped Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of his powers, the Senate Republican caucus had decided to place the PPPs at the end of daily business – when far fewer people are paying attention.
Upon this morning’s introduction of Hooks’ bill to reverse that decision, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, immediately jumped up and made a motion to engross the measure – so that other amendments to the measure, perhaps restoring Cagle’s authority, could not be attached.
In the ensuing debate, Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, who assumed leadership of the chamber after Cagle was deposed, argued that he had agreed — at the first of the session — to suspend the rules to allow PPPs on any day that anyone requested. He urged support for the engrossment motion.
“Changing the rules on the 36th day when we need to be dealing with tax reform and other issues is not the proper time,” Williams said, according to my AJC colleague Christopher Quinn — who offers these other details:
Casey called for the vote. State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, literally dashed out of an anteroom, yelling, “Mr. President! Mr. President!” and raising his hand to speak.
Seabaugh grabbed his microphone and held it in the air just as the clock began ticking. The lieutenant governor ignored him.
Rogers, the majority leader and No. 2 leader in the Senate, pressed a button at his desk that activates a light, indicating he wanted to speak. Cagle, who is required to recognize the majority leader when he rises, failed to turn Rogers’ mike on.
“I m sorry, I didn’t see it,” Casey responded.
The engrossment motion failed 23-19. Click here for the roll call. The GOP senators who declined to vote are the key to understanding it.
SR 526 now moves to the Senate Rules Committee, which must immediately take up the measure upon adjournment today. The floor fight would come tomorrow.
Immediately after the vote, the chamber emptied as senators retreated to their factional corners, leaving only a dozen senators to listen to the preacher of the day.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider