My AJC collegue Kristina Torres reports that Thursday’s Senate debate over Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed new Medicaid funding plan will likely be lively. And necessarily bipartisan.
The chamber’s Republican leaders, who fast-tracked the bill through their usual process in these early days of the legislative session, now need help from the chamber’s Democratic minority to waive their normal rules and allow Senate Bill 24 to hit the floor.
That’s because the chamber requires a two-thirds majority – or 38 votes – to amend the rules. The Republicans hold 37 seats, at least until a special election Feb. 5 to fill the District 11 seat of former Sen. John Bulloch. And at least one Republican, Josh McKoon of Columbus, voted against SB 24 in committee on Tuesday.
The expected trade-off for Democratic cooperation is a full discussion before the vote – unlike a vote Monday on the chamber’s new rules, which returned power back to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle over things like the Senate’s committee appointments.
Cagle’s resurgence has angered some in the Republican caucus. To avoid an ugly back-and-forth, leaders moved to engross debate on the rules and prevent any discussion. The move, however, also angered Democrats, who do not want the move repeated Thursday.
“The caucus will keep an open mind” about SB 24, said Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, who was one of the no votes in committee. “I have deep concerns about the process. What’s the rush?”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider