[private]When the General Assembly session adjourned March 24, the two biggest questions about the bill signing period concerned the fates of the “religious liberty” bill and the “campus carry” bill.
Gov. Nathan Deal disposed of one issue very quickly, vetoing the religious freedom bill on March 28, just four days into the 40-day period in which a governor can act on legislation.
In four weeks since that, Deal has given no hints as to what he’ll do, keeping his cards very close to the vest. He has, of course, received many exhortations from people on both sides of the issue to either sign or kill the bill.
At a bill signing ceremony on Wednesday, Deal didn’t do anything to clear up the mystery, telling reporters he will announce his decision next week.
“Well, I’m listening to both sides of the argument,” he said. “I pretty well heard most of them already.”
“I think that’s one of the things that the governor’s supposed to do is make the hard choices, to not necessarily play the political game that may be associated with issues like this, but to do what’s in the best interest of as many Georgians as possible,” he added.
The deadline for signing bills is Tuesday, May 3. That looks more and more like the day when the decision is announced.
Savannah House runoff
Carl Gilliard won the special runoff election Tuesday in Savannah’s House District 162 to serve out the remaining eight months of the late Bob Bryant’s term in the Legislature.
Gilliard, a minister, defeated Alicia Blakely, a longshorewoman, by garnering 76.5 percent of the vote.
It’s only one in a series of campaigns, however.
Gilliard, Blakely, and Josey M. Sheppard, another candidate in the special election, are all on the May 24 Democratic primary ballot running for a full term as the legislator from House District 162.
Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody), undeterred by his DUI arrest three weeks ago in Rabun County, is running hard to try to retain his House seat in the face of GOP primary opposition from Tom Owens.
Taylor wrote this letter to the voters that was published in the Dunwoody Crier:
The past several weeks have been among the most difficult in my life. I made a serious error in judgment, and I will face the consequences of that decision. I feel guilt and regret, and these feelings are magnified by public exposure that comes with holding an elected office. To put it mildly, this is a challenge, and challenges require new thinking, change and perseverance.
I’ve experienced an abrupt wake-up call, and it’s certainly brought to the forefront an issue that I needed to confront for some time, for the sake of my family, my constituents, my colleagues and, last but not least, myself.
I have sought an evaluation of my issue that has guided me to enter a treatment path that best meets my needs.
Throughout this process, many of you have reached out to me to express your support and concern. Please know how much I’ve appreciated that. I’m humbled. My father used to say you don’t know who really cares about you until your funeral. I’ve discovered he wasn’t totally right. Many of you have shown me you’re not only constituents and supporters, but very dear and concerned friends as well.
Moving forward, I plan for you all to remain both friends and constituents that I serve as I have in several public roles over the past decade.
I’m committed to my re-election and continuing to serve you on behalf of our great state and our community. My entire adult life has centered around public service, serving my nation for over two decades in the Navy, my state in the General Assembly and my community on City Council and as a volunteer for many charitable endeavors. Giving back is one of the ways I’ll keep my focus as I begin the process of getting healthy.
There is still much good work to accomplish, and I plan to attack it with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
© 2016 by The Georgia Report