A counter-revolution brews in the state Senate

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

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28 comments Add your comment


March 31st, 2011
11:22 am

I hope they all eat their young.

Danny O

March 31st, 2011
11:32 am

12 Rs walked on this one:

The Centrist

March 31st, 2011
11:37 am

Whoa. What do you mean that “only a dozen senators to listen(ed) to the preacher of the day”?

WE have lost our way

March 31st, 2011
11:41 am

They(Legislator’s)act like children.No wonder the State is in a mess.


March 31st, 2011
11:41 am

Funny, sad, or gross. Tough to tell.

Just Wait

March 31st, 2011
11:42 am

And Republicans are supposed to run the government better,,,how?


March 31st, 2011
11:42 am

If Chip Rogers wants to run the senate, then he should offer up for the position of Lt. Governor.

Important conservative legislation has been lost this session because the state senate is without a leader. More than 1,000,000,000 voters selected Lt. Gov. to return to office and I doubt many of them did so with the understanding and approval of Chip Rogers and a handful for resentful state senators changing the duties of the Lt. Gov.

If Rogers truly thought this was a valid (not political) need, he would have announced his intention prior to the general election.

R U Kidding Me?

March 31st, 2011
11:46 am

The Georgia State Senate has digressed into the Atlanta School Board. Tommie Williams and Chip Rogers couldn’t lead a two-car funeral procession. Important legislation is no longer debated in Committee, its fate is decided in a small caucus of 5 or 6 Republican Senators. No debate, no discussion, and certainly no minority party imput. Insane bills from Barry Loudermilk and Chip Rogers waste time while the critical issues of the day like water, roads, education and tax reform go unresolved. Great Legislators from the past like Denmark Groover must be turning over in their grave.

Maybe Kasim should petition to take over the State Senate too. Tommie Williams and Chip Rogers are making the clowns in Clayton County look like statesmen.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

March 31st, 2011
11:55 am

What fun!

George Hooks gets a star on his report card for this antic.

The unlucky Padre that had to deliver a sermon should get a jewel in their crown.


March 31st, 2011
11:59 am

Your statements are very shallow and devoid of the facts. When the Senate Majority Caucus elected a new Caucus “chair” at the end of last session, Senator Cowsert said they were going to “take the power” back. At the beginning of this session, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to support the committee on assignments to oversee committee chair appointments. Clearly this demonstrated that the majority caucus and some Democrat senators were not pleased with the LG’s handling of the Senate Chamber.

This move is purely the LG’s efforts to distract from the important issues of Georgia and force his way back as the sole ruler over the Senate Chamber. It’s a selfish move by the LG and its bad for Georgia to have one person dictating what comes up for a vote or not. But then again…would we expect anything different from LG Cagel. Just look at his actions over the last few years. They’ve always been self serving. He killed a vote on Sunday Sales for years. He forced votes on the Hospital Tax and stripped Chairmanships for those against it, etc..

Southside Shawty

March 31st, 2011
12:14 pm

“Changing the rules on the 36th day when we need to be dealing with tax reform and other issues is not the proper time”

So tax “reform” wasn’t high up on the list.


March 31st, 2011
12:18 pm

There is no honor among thieves.


March 31st, 2011
12:25 pm

I miss Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard.


March 31st, 2011
12:52 pm

how bout derailing the tax package while you are at it


March 31st, 2011
12:53 pm

After being here 25 years I know they do all their best dealing and stealing on Day 40.


March 31st, 2011
1:00 pm

who cares about a hospital tax? not me. i do care about having the amount of sales taxes i pay go up. why should business and agriculture get a break? they already get subsidies out the arse and welfare from development authorities, the tobacco fund etc etc etc.

eliminate sales taxes! free ga!!

run, Forrest

March 31st, 2011
1:26 pm

Ever watch the movie, Treasure of the Sierra Madre? Greed, for money, power leads to ruin. The bright spot of this story is that one of the principal actors is leading the magic act called tax reform. Maybe this will keep them too busy to push that utterly deceptive proposal through.
When we have taxes, we know what we have. When taxes are replaced by shadowy fees and add ons at every turn, we have no idea how much “tax” we’re paying. Such is the pending tax “reform” in GA. The factions (read, lobbyists) rule.


March 31st, 2011
1:41 pm

These are the Goofs that were elected,what a sad commentary.


March 31st, 2011
1:59 pm

We have some of the absolute worst traffic in the country and North Georgia in danger of dying of thirst every time we have a drought yet all these Bozos in the House and Senate can think about is how they can give the rich a bigger tax break. Head clown Rogers sponsors such legislation as SB 234 that is designed to enable his rich buddies and supporters to circumvent cheaper means of resolving their tax issues and sue local governments, all the while, he supports and passes legislation that is designed to hamstring the county’s ability to defend their position in court. When the plaintiffs get even slight reductions in their value his legislation allows them to steal tax monies meant for public safety, roads, and schools. Bozo Rogers sets up a system that allows his crook buddies to get double, and even triple, the money they spend on their suit. He knows that the assessor and the commissioners will not lose one dime no matter the outcome so he can’t claim the provision to be punitive. The losers will be the same losers on the short end of latest sales and income tax “reform” legislation, the average taxpayer. Rogers and his kind will laugh while we pay more in taxes to offset the breaks he gives is rich buddies. When we complain, he’ll act mad about our plight, claim he’s fighting for us, and pass more legislation that will reach deeper into our pockets and allow him to give more of our money to his rich buddies.


March 31st, 2011
2:40 pm

Cagle is the biggest fraud in state government. Instead of doing something productive, he just connives and undermines his own Senate colleagues to try to get power back so he can continue his games.

He must not be getting the “attention” he wants from blond lobbyists and campaign managers now that his power is gone.

[...] We have already posted the preliminaries. Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus, introduced a resolution to change the Senate rules to allow personal points of privilege to be moved to the front of the calendar. [...]

[...] a vote on a Senate rule tomorrow that the Senate failed to “engross” earlier today.  Jim Galloway has excellent details, as [...]


March 31st, 2011
3:50 pm

DK, you are on point. Rogers looks after himself and his buddies.

[...] you may or may not already know from Jim Galloway’s reporting this morning, Sen. George Hooks (D-Americus) offered a resolution that would change when points of personal [...]

The problem is with the "committee on assignments"

March 31st, 2011
8:58 pm

Yes, we, the Senate is a joke. It’s embarrassing. Here is who runs the Senate in Georgia: David Shafer, Chip Rogers, Greg Goggans, Tommie Williams, Bill Cowsert, & Cecil Staton, there are a few more, but those are the guys calling the shots. EGO maniacs who want all the power and were embarrassed today that Senator Hooks tried to introduce the resolution that would move the points of personal privileges but also could of opened up more rules changes that they couldn’t have accepted (Lt. Govs power taken back). I truly wish the general public could see how Senator Hooks and others were treated today in the Rules committee. Not only was Sen. Hooks’ resolution voted down, but Senator Balfour spoke to members on the committee in a very rude and unprofessional way. I’ve lost all respect for him and the members of the committee on assignments. I can’t wait until the day you are all voted out and treated like regular humans. I hope someone treats you the way you have treated your fellow colleagues. There was also a personal threat made by Tommie Williams (I don’t even respect you enough to call you a Senator) to Senator Hooks telling him he would have repercussions for introducing his resolution. A personal attack and threat was made with a finger pointed to him. TOMMIE WILLIAMS: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??!!!!! You are pathetic.

DON BALFOUR: I also don’t respect you enough to call you a Senator. You owe the entire rules committee (along with everyone present) an apology. Especially Senator Henson. Your tone and words were so disrespectful and unprofessional. Again I ask YOU: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??? Why would you think it is appropriate to talk to anyone the way you did today?!! You are a joke and I hope your poor wife realizes one day what a monster you have turned into. I do hope she is paying attention and has taken into consideration the fact that you abuse your power and have had a sexual relationship with a lobbyist..We all know it. There are even pictures to prove it. Again I ask….WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? And you actually stand behind those “republican christian values??!!” WOW, that’s all I can say..

I honestly wish Speaker Ralston had the power to get involved and get rid of the comm on assignments…Someone needs to intervene!! WE are begging you..


March 31st, 2011
9:27 pm

Never ever vote for another incumbent

Tired of BS

April 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

Men flapping their feathers and bloviating….. imagine that.