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The final night of the Georgia General Assembly always has something of a party atmosphere. After a dinner break during which senators, House members, Gold Dome staffers and lobbyists sit at communal tables in the soaring lobby of the state Capitol and feast on donated barbecue and sweet tea, everyone goes back upstairs and gets down to business—more or less.
"We should just change the name of this body from the Georgia State Senate to the Fulton County Commission because we're getting into the business of running this county," announced a frustrated state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, minutes before the chamber approved four GOP-penned bills affecting the beleaguered county.
State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, says he's still trying to get his controversial MARTA legislation passed this year, but he isn't counting on any help from the state Senate, where his bill has languished for a solid month.
The state Senate this afternoon passed the first few House bills designed to overhaul the political structure and finances of Georgia's largest county, despite objections that doing so meant moving backwards in terms of racial politics.
A state House bill to force MARTA to hire private contractors to run many of its functions is scheduled to be considered by the state Senate on Wednesday and at least one member of the committee taking up the measure is hopeful the upper chamber will put the brakes on the privatization-at-all-costs train.
Just to follow up on yesterday's posts regarding legislation facing the Crossover Day deadline at the General Assembly, here are a couple of recaps.
Crossover Day at the state Capitol began a little more than seven hours ago, and we’re likely only about half-way through. The House just passed a contentious gun bill, but there are other pieces of legislation that have been flagged as controversial by virtue of the fact that the leadership has pre-emptively limited debate to an hour apiece.
It’s the so-called Crossover Day at the state capitol, the thirtieth day of the forty-day General Assembly and the day by which bills must pass out of at least one chamber of the legislature into the other in order to be enacted during that year’s session.
When Republicans in the General Assembly redrew district lines in 2011 to give themselves majority control over local legislation in Fulton County, they made no secret of their intent to rein in a county government they believed was bloated, profligate, and unresponsive to the residents of its northern end—while brushing aside the racially fraught image of white politicians disciplining black elected officials.