House, Senate leaders have their spat over bill calendars

[private]You can count on it happening in nearly every General Assembly session.

When there are fewer than 10 days remaining before adjournment, the House and Senate leadership will start complaining and squabbling because each side thinks the other isn’t acting on enough bills.

To show that they’re serious, each chamber will refuse to vote on the other chamber’s bills for a day or two, until the matter is finally worked out behind the scenes and the normal passage of legislation resumes.

So it is this week, with the hissy fit bursting into public view at Tuesday morning’s meeting of the House Rules Committee.

Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun), the committee chairman, unloaded on his Senate counterpart, Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), as Mullis was trying to recommend Senate bills for inclusion on the House’s Thursday calendar.

Meadows immediately let Mullis know he was in no mood to hear any requests for bills.

“Don’t think you’re gonna attach Senate bills to House bills and get them passed,” Meadows hissed. “That ain’t gonna happen.”

After reading the riot act for a while longer, Meadows said, “You probably ought to get back and hold a committee meeting so we can get some bills on the calendar. Mr. Mullis, I think it’s time for you to leave.”

Mullis left, and Meadows brought the rules committee meeting to a close with this: “After that exchange, we’re not gonna schedule any Senate bills. We got nothing, we’re gonna adjourn.”

No bills were placed on the House calendar for Thursday.

Speaker David Ralston followed up on Meadows’ comments during the House’s Tuesday session, where there were already no bills listed for consideration on the general calendar. Ralston also called for the bills on the local calendar to be sent back to committee, which the House agreed to do with two exceptions.

“Maybe they’ll get to it when they stop doing points of personal privilege (in the Senate), maybe not,” Ralston sneered.

The attitude was a little more accommodating in the Senate, as the upper chamber passed both House bills on the general calendar and all of the legislation on the local calendar as well.

When Mullis held a Senate Rules Committee meeting later, he went out of his way to be polite to House members like Howard Maxwell, Valerie Clark, Johnny Caldwell, Wendell Willard, and Sharon Cooper.

“Let me tell my House friends,” Mullis said. “We need to get Senate bills moving. See what you can do to help us.”

Mullis also allowed two House bills to be listed on Thursday’s general calendar: HB 751 (the state budget) and HB 844 (updating provisions in the Firefighters Pension Fund).

And the war of nerves continues.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report


Tags: General Assembly , votes on bills