A very late jolt: Tommie Williams on the Senate leadership fight

In the waning minutes of the winter session of the Legislature, Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, sat down in his office and quietly explained why Senate Republicans couldn’t accept Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s proposal to resume command of the chamber.

Williams produced his copy of Cagle’s letter – you can read it here – and went through it point by point. Williams specifically pointed to this section:

There will be a daily meeting of the Lieutenant Governor, the President Pro Tempore, and the Majority Leader to consult on the flow of legislation, bill assignments, procedure, conferees and day-to-day operations of the Senate during the legislative session….

Consulting isn’t power-sharing, Williams noted. The lawmaker from Lyons drew three silos on the back of Cagle’s letter: One was Cagle’s power to name conferees, another was the lieutenant governor’s power to assign legislation. The third silo was the Committee of Assignments – which Cagle would like to chair, voting only in case of a tie.

When Cagle presented his plan to the caucus on Wednesday, “I said, Governor, what you’re doing is asking for all the power,” Williams said. The president pro tem said the caucus couldn’t accept that.

Williams said he offered his own counter-proposal, which, in addition to a Committee on Assignments, included an executive committee of three — the lieutenant governor, the president pro tem and the majority leader. The trio would share command of the day-to-day operations of the Senate.

I asked Williams if all three members had a vote. He said they did.

“My hope is that we can still find a way to share power. But [Cagle’s] plan is just a taking of power,” Williams said. He did not say when Senate Republicans might gather again to hash things out.

Williams acknowledged that the struggle for leadership of the Senate has eaten up a great deal of time this session. But overall, he said the chamber has adapted well to a membership-led system.

“I think we’ve done fantastic if you look at what we’ve passed – the budget, the HOPE legislation, an illegal immigration bill.”

Peach Pundit has reported talk that Cagle delayed debate over HB 87, the immigration legislation, in an attempt to force the GOP caucus to take up the leadership question. We were unable to find a senator willing to go on the record with that accusation.

And Ben Fry, a spokesman for Cagle, scoffed at the idea. “It moved and passed. Obviously, you’ve got your answer,” Fry said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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52 comments Add your comment

Centrist

April 14th, 2011
10:35 pm

Only you and a few other partisans care about this issue – no matter how many times you try to highlight it.

Gary Crews

April 14th, 2011
10:37 pm

If we cut down all the bushes,, will we still have the peeing contest ???

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

April 14th, 2011
10:40 pm

I don’t give a flip for right-wingers, left-wingers or centrists. I’d prefer the Georgia Legislature simply adjourn permanently, before they can do any more harm, since they darn sure ain’t going to do anything good for anyone who doesn’t have a lobbyist on the payroll.

Gwen, a Liberal

April 14th, 2011
10:48 pm

Well done on the immigration bill!

Centrist

April 14th, 2011
11:16 pm

I don’t think this blogger likes the illegal immigration bill from his past blogs, and insistence to blog about the leadership issue instead.

I agree it is good legislation. I guess we will hear from the AJC (and other Democrats) about how Governor Deal should veto it, and how it will be overturned by liberal courts.

td

April 14th, 2011
11:26 pm

Centrist

April 14th, 2011
11:16 pm

All I have heard on GPB and the local news is all of these advocates saying Deal must veto this bill.

ralph

April 14th, 2011
11:29 pm

Another legislative session wasted again by the foolish GOP. Nothing accomplished, no creation of new jobs or initiatives for the economy, no resolving the water issues. They say the federal government has not done anything to secure our borders, etc. Why the sudden rush of illegal immigration bills now? Fact is the feds have not done much on border security since this country was founded. Where was all these Arizona style bills when Bush, Clinton, or even Bush Sr was president? What did the federal government do for 8 years that Reagan was in office on the border issue- NOTHING. Why now? if these folks were adamant about protecting our borders or making sure jobs are for citizens, then they should have done something YEARS AGO. This is nothing more than an attempt by the GOP to discredit the current administration and blame illegal immigration for the country’s problems. The truth is the GOP is the problem, previous 8 years of Bush, a war in Iraq based on lies about WMD. Where were the Tea party people when Bush signed into law the Medicare Part D expansion, adding $$$, making government even more bigger. They don’t mind that, but let a Democrat attempt health care reform, and it is suddenly bad.

You want someone that will tell it like it is, check out Jesse Ventura. He should run for president.

Ronald J

April 14th, 2011
11:38 pm

Another insightful piece by Galloway. Many thanks sir.

Southern by the grace of God

April 15th, 2011
12:18 am

Congratulations to the Georgia General Assembly for FINALLY doing their damn jobs and passing a not-as-watered down bill that cracks down on illegal immigration. VICTORY is certain in the fight to protect our borders and reclaim our nation from the invaders. I have every confidence that this bill will stand up to the legal challenges that are certain to come from the sore loser illegal immigration apologists and bleeding heart liberals that are loud and obnoxious opponents of national security and enforcement. Georgia has taken a stand in the battle to reclaim this country for its rightful legal citizens and residents. Georgia is also sending out a strong and uncompromising message that illegals, lawbreakers and foreign invaders are not welcome here and will be treated to a hellish and inhospitable atmosphere if they dare themselves or others to step foot in this state!

Road Scholar

April 15th, 2011
6:22 am

What do you mean they did nothing?! They crammed through last minute business tax breaks….again. And where are the jobs????? State unemployment @ 10.2 %!

Olderandwiser49

April 15th, 2011
6:48 am

@ ralph “The truth is the GOP is the problem, previous 8 years of Bush…”
How much longer are libs going to blame Bush for the overspending by Obama & Co. the past two years? He’s right about the fact that little has been done by either party to address illegal immigration in the past, but if you want to blame anyone for making this such an important social issue now, blame the Democrats. Their fiscal irresponsibility over the past two years has led this country to the brink of an abyss, which has caused the scrutiny of our government’s spending habits. When this occurred, the horrific level of spending on behalf of people who, legally, shouldn’t even be in this country came to the surface. It is hard to ignore a $113 billion expenditure by our government on illegal aliens while legal citizens of this country are having problems just paying their mortgages. Can you really tell me that the price of fruit and vegetables will increase by $113B because we don’t have illegal aliens to pick or harvest the crops? Will education levels go down further (a hard thing to do in Georgia, at the moment) because we are no longer giving the children of illegal aliens free education, translators, breakfasts and lunches? Sorry, but that type of speculation just doesn’t add up. Whether intended or not, Obama is responsible for bringing the “illegal” problem to the forefront of legislation for willfully ignoring the protection of our borders, and for placing anti-American activists such as Holder and Napolitano in positions of power to promote the continued “head in the sand” approach to the influx of illegals, regardless of the ultimate cost to taxpaying citizens. Arizona, Georgia, Utah, and Missouri are all following the laws of the US Constitution because the Great Obama and his followers will not.

Southern by the grace of God

April 15th, 2011
7:02 am

Well said, Olderandwiser49! Speaking of ILLEGAL, word on the street is that some certain [stuff] is getting ready to hit the fan about a certain occupant of this nation’s highest administrative office that will confirm his ineligibility to serve the American people once and for all….

Will

April 15th, 2011
7:04 am

Let’s be clear regarding anti-immigrant legislation passed by the General Assembly. Its purpose is to produce lawuits that will further inflame anti-immigrant voters and act as a wedge issue in upcoming elections.

People of certain color of skin and accent of language will need to make certain they carry their “papers” at all times so that police officers can check their citizenship status if the police officer suspects these people are not “our people”.

Maybe the General Assembly can come back next year and pass legislation requiring certain people to wear some sort of identifying symbol on their clothing at all times to identify “these type of people” as “our people”. After all, history does have a way of repeating itself.

ralph

April 15th, 2011
7:18 am

well older and wiser, but we can say that the GOP is partly to blame for not doing something on illegal immigration? I mean there was a GOP president from 1980-1988 (Reagan) 1988-1992 (Bush Sr) and Bush (2000-2008). They could have done something then, right? Heck, even Nixon, or Carter, or Ford could have done more, but they didn’t. Clinton as well. Now all of sudden it is Obama’s fault for not bringing the issue to the table and resolving it.

Southern by the grace of God

April 15th, 2011
7:22 am

@ Will, April 15th, 2011 7:04 am

If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck and walks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck, meaning if a person looks un-American and can’t speak English or talks with a heavy accent and sounds un-American, then chances are they ARE un-American and just might be here illegally. Every other nation in the world requires outsiders to carry proof of permission to be there at all times so that they can know who’s supposed to be in their country so that they can protect it. Why should the U.S. be any less secure than any other country on the face of the Earth?

Thomas

April 15th, 2011
7:25 am

I Say Again! WASTE! WASTE! WASTE! Waste of Time! Waste of Energy! Waste of Money!

Southern by the grace of God

April 15th, 2011
7:30 am

@ Will, April 15th, 2011 7:04 am

This legislation is not meant to serve as a wedge issue during an election in which the American People will have likely learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s so-called Commander-In-Chief should have never been permitted to run for office in the first place. This legislation is meant to guide the way on a national dialogue about protecting and preserving the things that make this a great country minus the invasion from Mexico which is BORDERS, LANGUAGE and CULTURE! The invasion apologists are afraid of having an honest and open dialogue about protecting our borders and national security because they know that it’s a dialogue that they won’t win.

Southern by the grace of God

April 15th, 2011
7:36 am

@ ralph April 15th, 2011 7:18 am

The illegal takeover is Obama’s fault because he is the supposed Commander-in-Chief (even though he ran for and holds the office ILLEGALLY) and the invasion is continuing on HIS “watch”. Even Obama’s aunt is an illegal immigrant for cryin’ out loud! How much more complicit in this invasion of the country by foreigners can one be?

xdog

April 15th, 2011
7:45 am

Southern by the grace of God–Your posts are an offense to Southerners, grace, and God.

Southern by the grace of God

April 15th, 2011
7:50 am

And xdog, you sound like you sir just might be an offense to the entire human and a shameful excuse to Americans. Your mother must be so proud…

Cecil aka Beth

April 15th, 2011
8:08 am

The Senator from Lyons sure thinks alot of himself…….sounds like he’s got it all figured out.

Last Man Standing

April 15th, 2011
8:15 am

Southern by the grace of God :

Never mind what xdog said: you’re doing fine. Just keep on doing what you’re doing. The bit dog always barks!

Beth aka Cecil

April 15th, 2011
8:29 am

Cecil, sit down and behave yourself. Tommie will tell us what to say.

Bill Dipstung

April 15th, 2011
8:47 am

The Pubs should surely realize this contentious infighting is damaging party image and certainly could impact the next election. Cagle should consider negative consequenses and back off. He has already dodged one bullet that likely prevented his now being Governor. Wise up.

td

April 15th, 2011
9:01 am

Bill Dipstung

April 15th, 2011
8:47 am

Now how many average voters do you think one even knows about the in fighting and two cares enough to even consider it a voting issue in the next election? This is a solid red state and the only way these in fighters will be effected is if they so not tow the party line and have a primary challenge or they decide to leave office themselves.

Bill Dipstung

April 15th, 2011
9:08 am

Interesting comment Touch Down. Thankfully, media outlets such as the AJC make it known (as they should).

td

April 15th, 2011
9:09 am

ralph

April 15th, 2011
7:18 am

Reagan did do something it was called amnesty. He gave it with the promise that Congress (democrat at the time) would follow-up and close the borders. They did not. Bush SR was still thinking Reagan’s plan was working. W sa the problem and tried to give amnesty and close the borders (build the fence and put troops on the border) but the main stream Republicans and Independents said H3ll no to a second round of amnesty and that the illegals need to go home and get in the back of the line to come legally and the Democrats defunded the fence. What has Obama done about the invasion?

R U Kidding Me?

April 15th, 2011
9:10 am

Cecil aka Beth:

What an understatement about Tommie Williams! He has the worst case of Little Man Syndrome that I have ever seen. He and Chip Rogers have made the Georgia Senate as disfunctional as the Atlanta School Board and the laughing stock of the country.
How does a midget, elected from Lyons, GA (population:37), get the idea that he is entitled to possess the powers of the Lt. Governor, who is elected statewide? If Tommie boy doesn’t like the Lt. Governor, then he should do something about it durning the next general election, or ask the voters to change the state constitution to eliminate the office. But a handful of Republican Senators should not be allowed to appoint themselves as the Supreme Commanders of the State Senate and totally ignore the statewide voters who elected the Lt. Governor.
The State Senate has become a disfunctional embarassment. It’s because a bunch of spineless GOP Senators have blindly followed the lead of a bunch of bad apples. It’s time for the rotten apples to be tossed from the barrell. Tommie Williams, Chip Rogers, Don Balfour, Cecil Staton, Jeff Mullis, Barry Loudermilk, the people of Georgia are sick of your egotistical power grab and your ultra right wing political pandering. Each one of you WILL HAVE strong candidates running against you next election. Georgia better hope each of you have served your last term.

Joe Mama

April 15th, 2011
9:44 am

Grace — “(even though he ran for and holds the office ILLEGALLY)”

If you suppose that you have evidence, sir/ma’am, then by all means, trot it on out.

td

April 15th, 2011
9:46 am

R U Kidding Me?

April 15th, 2011
9:10 am

The only problem with your constitutional argument is that if Cagle had constitutionally the power you talked about and these Senators had stripped him of them he would have (Mark Taylor would have also) marched right down to the Superior court and claimed they were breaking the constitution. Why has this not happened by Cagle or Taylor? Could it be that the Senate has the ability to make its own rules and set its own power structure?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 15th, 2011
10:04 am

Thank you, Senate and House GOP for passing HB87 and SB87 ….It was not everything I wanted but I am rational and can deal with peripheral compromise, but never core compromise.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 15th, 2011
10:07 am

@xdog, souther was accurate. Obama Auntie IS residing in the USA illegally, and the horrid woman is liviing in tax payer provided government housing. Vile family.

Mama_grizzly

April 15th, 2011
10:11 am

Casey Cagle will have more time to spend with interns/female staff members now that he hasa been neutered, Wait a minute, a thought just crossed my mind. Since cuddling Casey no longer has power, the “ladies” may not be drawn to him. Power was the only thing he had going for him. Sure was not his looks or intelligence…

Mama_grizzly

April 15th, 2011
10:15 am

RU, suggest you read the Geogia Constitution. Senate President Pro Tem is elected by Senators. It sure is fun to watch you leaches that are clinging to what used to be a very powerful man.. Cagle was driven by power and now that he does not have it, look for him to run for that Congressional seat to be drawn in Hall County..

double

April 15th, 2011
10:44 am

If Obama ran for office illegaly.Sure dosent say much for our security.If this was known,and allowed then we must have a secret groupe running our goverment.Ralph there is more spin on here than a $2 top.

Another Voice

April 15th, 2011
11:22 am

Well with the immigration bill passed we should prepare for a few things:
Lose our convention business to Orlando, Chicago or Vegas you know that boycotts are coming, this will do wonders for the hospitality industry. We were 7th in the nation in foreclosures running thousands of people out of the state should move us up a few spots, apartment companies may have to cut the rent further as they will have plenty of vacancies. Loss tax revenue as people leave the state or are kicked out should do wonders for the deficit. Legal bills will be a nice way to spend tax money specially now that we will have less of it, why do education or other important stuff when you can defend lawsuits.But on the bright side we continue with the best traditions of the SOUTH….that should be enough to counter all the bad stuff.

Another Voice

April 15th, 2011
11:25 am

If you are unemployed be happy the jobs are coming…….YAY!!! :) Georgians will enjoy the nice tan working the fields…..

yuzeyurbrane

April 15th, 2011
11:46 am

One piece of special interest legislation slipped by Senator Williams which is of special interest to all public school and university parents. For several years the State has siphoned off $50 million per yr. in quasi-vouchers to private schools. This year not only was that same amount approved but the legislature added an automatic cost of living index to increase it for many years. This is at the same time that funds for public education are being slashed under the cry of “we are broke” from Williams and others of his ilk. At the secondary school level, some school systems have reduced their school years to 150 days and many have furloughed teachers and otherwise endangered accreditation. University level allocations from the state have been reduced to 1995 levels as well as the $2000 per yr.(and increasing yearly after that) hit that will now be applied to families of HOPE students, except for HOPE recipients at private colleges who will take a lesser hit. Middle class parents, think of Senator Williams, Governor Deal and their colleagues as you write your checks and as they prance around bragging about “saving” HOPE. At a minimum, Governor Deal should save his honor and diminish the hypocrit charge by vetoing the bill that approved continued funding for the private school quasi-voucher tax direction program.

Cecil aka Beth

April 15th, 2011
11:47 am

A caucus electing a Speaker with significant tax liens? Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Chairman being sued by the Feds? Chip Rogers chased by bill collectors (along with many others on both sides of the aisle – garnish their state wages for repayment?)….half of our state congress have girlfriends on the side (who Jim ignores writing about)………total dysfunction with our two highest top leaders……where is Marvin Griffin when we need him? At least we ate free BBQ.

td

April 15th, 2011
12:10 pm

Another Voice

April 15th, 2011
11:22 am

Scare tactics is what libs do best. Let us just wait and see if this happens. Florida put a stop to their law to see what Georgia was going to do so they will have a similar law next year and no one wants to go to Chicago. What are you libs going to do when in the next few years there are 20 states with a similar law.

Why do you not just go ahead and admit that all you and your liberal friends really want is open borders so that the poor from around the world can come here, need more social services and be the reason to tax the rich more and move closer to socialism. This is your ultimate plan. I dare you to go ahead and just admit it.

Chuck Allison

April 15th, 2011
12:23 pm

Tommy Williams is the only totally honest politician that I know of. He is a good man we can all trust.

td

April 15th, 2011
12:32 pm

Deal just said he would sign HB 87. Here is a quote from the article:

“I understand their concerns,” Deal said. “I would hope that they would channel those concerns to the level of government that can do something about it, which is the federal government. States see what we have done, and other states will follow suit on it.”

That, he said, “will emphasize to members of Congress that they are going to force states to take action.”

Last Man Standing

April 15th, 2011
12:36 pm

td:

“Why do you not just go ahead and admit that all you and your liberal friends really want is open borders so that the poor from around the world can come here, need more social services and be the reason to tax the rich more and move closer to socialism. This is your ultimate plan. I dare you to go ahead and just admit it.”

They lack the intellectual honesty to say it. Besides, they look at them as voters!

Last Man Standing

April 15th, 2011
12:37 pm

td:

Can you, in your wildest imagination, see Barnes signing that legislation?

double

April 15th, 2011
12:47 pm

And spin is what conservatives do best.Just think with all these immigrants you have more diversity,more to choose from.Most are hard workers,and do want a good education.About same as ones who founded this country.

Original Thought not Necessary

April 15th, 2011
12:48 pm

I realize that everyone is on here for their own reasons and rarely do we all see eye to eye on much of anything. But something I just read in the AJC has moved me not only nearly to tears but moved me to make this post on all of the blogs here.

Regardless of our respective political positions I think we can all agree that the freedoms we enjoy are provided and protected by the brave men and women of the military. I hope and pray that we can all also agree that when a person gives their life to the service of this amazing country until they retire deserves not only our respect but also our support as much as the soldiers that currently put themselves in harm’s way.

That being said, please read this article…
http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-hs-senior-in-911162.html
Here is an example of a woman who willingly served and protected us all as a combat medic reduced to living in a supply closet at a hotel in order to be near her son. I am calling on all of us to put aside our partisan bickering for a few moments and give something, anything to show our love and appreciation to this American hero.

We are America. We can’t sit by and let this happen.

Please go to any Bank of America branch and give to something, anything to The Miguel Windley Special Needs Trust.

td

April 15th, 2011
12:53 pm

double

April 15th, 2011
12:47 pm
And spin is what conservatives do best.Just think with all these immigrants you have more diversity,more to choose from.Most are hard workers,and do want a good education.About same as ones who founded this country.

I would be willing to support today legislation that said we would accept any current illegal (no Criminal record) as long as we could ship a Welfare non productive citizen back to their country in their place.

td

April 15th, 2011
12:55 pm

Last Man Standing

April 15th, 2011
12:37 pm
td:

Can you, in your wildest imagination, see Barnes signing that legislation?

No way Barnes would have signed the bill. Have you noticed that the libs disappear from the blogs the day after good conservative gains happen (HB 87 and the 2010 elections)?

td

April 15th, 2011
12:57 pm

Original Thought not Necessary

April 15th, 2011
12:48 pm

I can agree with you on this. Thank you for posting and I will have to go by BOA on my way out this afternoon.