Political Notes — Plant Vogtle bill is no longer about Plant Vogtle

[private]Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) introduced legislation in January (SB 355) that was intended to stop Georgia Power’s early collection of financing fees from its customers for the construction of Plant Vogtle.

From the time Hufstetler introduced his bill, it was not expected to survive the onslaught of opposition from Georgia Power lobbyists – and it didn’t.

Hufstetler was never able to get a hearing in the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee on the original version of SB 355.

By the time the committee did vote out the bill on Thursday, all references to Vogtle had been removed. Instead, the bill will now affect only nuclear facilities that might be built in the future.

Hufstetler was still optimistic that SB 355 will serve a useful purpose by “mak(ing) sure that anything that happens in the future has to come back to the Legislature, and let’s discuss the financing method.”

In the meantime, Georgia Power will continue collecting early financing charges ($2 billion so far) on a Vogtle nuclear project that is now billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

Supplemental budget

The Senate voted 53-0 Thursday to approve its version of the $25.3 billion supplemental state budget.

If the House of Representatives accepts the minor Senate changes in the spending plan, as it has done in recent sessions, then the amended budget may soon go to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.

Republicans cross the party aisle

The Senate votes on creating a new city of Eagle’s Landing were noteworthy because they actually featured a few Republicans crossing the aisle to the vote with the Democratic minority.

Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) warned her GOP colleagues that they were setting a dangerous precedent by allowing a new city (Eagle’s Landing) to take property from an already existing city (Stockbridge), which has never been done before in creating a new city.

Unterman voted with the Democrats, as did Republicans Brandon Beach, Chuck Hufstetler, Ellis Black, P.K. Martin, and Jeff Mullis on a bill (SB 262) that barely passed, 30-25.

© 2018 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: amended budget , Chuck Hufstetler , Eagle's Landing , Plant Vogtle