House Speaker David Ralston just called on the state Senate to resolve a fight over leadership that has paralyzed the chamber and jeopardized agreements over several major issues facing the Legislature in its final three business days.
Twice Ralston called on the Senate to end its “experiment” of sidelining Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is formally the presiding officer of the chamber.
Ralston spoke after the Legislature adjourned a day early for the week, to try and reach an agreement over a tax overhaul bill.
This afternoon, the Senate was adjourned for three hours while Republicans tried to sort out an attempt to restore Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s authority over the Senate – removed by the GOP caucus in a coup last November.
Here’s what Ralston told reporters:
”I have tried this session to avoid meddling in the business of the Senate. But we have come perilously close to their little experiment over there harming the people of Georgia.
“I’m at a point where I think I have to say that they need to resolve their leadership issues – and they need to do it quickly, or the people of Georgia are going to be the ones that suffer. Not just the insiders around this Capitol.”
Ralston was asked if he had a preference. Right now, Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams chairs a Committee on Assignments that rules the chamber. The speaker replied:
“That’s their business. But the choice is – we can’t have 36 different leaders or however many they have on any particular day. I think the people of Georgia voted in November in the race for lieutenant governor.
“I’m not telling them who to pick. I’m just saying that when their leadership divisions and their internal problems over leadership get in the way of important issues, then I think I have an obligation – not only to this House but the state of Georgia – to say they need to fix their problems.
“They have the right to do an experiment, but I think that it’s time the experiment ends.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider