First day gives rookies a taste of legislating

By Walter C. Jones
Morris News Service
ATLANTA – The 37 new members of the House of Representatives and five new senators found themselves in the middle of a multi-ring circus of activity as they took the oath of office Monday.
Most, like Rep. Spencer Frye, D-Athens, brought their spouse and children, adding to the crowd and noise in the legislative chambers. 
They got plenty of advice of the old hands.
Rep. Chuck Williams, R-Watkinsville, said that after one session he’s learned to expect surprises regarding what’s controversial.
“The veterans tell me it’s not the issues you talk about before the session. It’s the things that pop up after it starts,” he said.
Rep. Alex Atwood, R-Brunswick, is starting his third session, and recalled how his work on a bill to restrict vicious dogs and a separate bill opposed by the Garden Clubs of America that allowed the cutting of trees around billboards seemed routine until he was swamped in messages from voters. Another seemingly unremarkable bill – out of the 1,500 introduced each year – was one allowing the hunting of deer over baited fields.
“I got more emails about that than I did on the budget,” he said.
Freshman Sen. Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla, got to experience a heated debate within minutes of taking the oath of office. While the House merely renewed its past rules and re-elected its officers without opposition, the Senate clashed over rules that give the lieutenant governor broad power to appoint senators to committees and assign bills to the committees that will consider them first.
Harper didn’t know the hour-long battle was coming, but he took it in stride like the political junkies who wind up in elective office.
“It was pretty interesting,” he said. “I enjoyed that.”


More Local

John Winters

Why we named a witness

There has been a lot of outrage and indignation over our publishing the name of a high school student who notified authorities that another ... Read More


Local gas cheaper than nat’l average

Gasoline prices in Coweta fell below the national average this week. The average price of gas in Coweta is $2.44 per gallon, compared to the ... Read More


UPDATE

Results pending in dead infant case

Authorities with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office are still awaiting results from the Georg ... Read More


Recognition Program

Vietnam veterans can sign up at Newnan game

Vietnam veterans can sign up for a statewide program honoring them at Newnan High School’s season opener tonight. The game starts at 7 ... Read More


Male Academy to reopen with new quilt exhibit

The Male Academy Museum in Newnan is scheduled to reopen on Labor Day weekend and will feature a new exhibit for the public to view. The mus ... Read More

Fat Boy Chronicles viewing held at local theater

Just before the start of the school year in Coweta County, approximately 200 students and their parents and families attended the showing of ... Read More