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

10 Things to Know for Today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. NORTHEAST HUNKERS DOWN AS STORM T ... Read More


Breakdown: Grantville clerks leave town

It's a one-two punch that could put Grantville on the ropes. The recent resignations of longstanding city clerks Tonya Wheelus and Tracey To ... Read More


NPD arrests two shooting suspects

Authorities with the Newnan Police Department arrested two men suspected of being involved in recent shootings over the weekend. On Sunday, ... Read More


Newnan’s sole soup kitchen needs help

Perpetual Praise Community Resource Center in Newnan has plenty of food to continue feeding hot meals through its soup kitchen, called Savan ... Read More


Edgerton reads, sings, engages at local gathering

Clyde Edgerton read aloud, sang, laughed and clearly enjoyed being the second novelist to be part of the Anne Quinn Powell Authors’ Se ... Read More

Grantville mayor pro-tem

Gomez makes Georgia history

When Grantville Councilman Leonard Gomez was elected to serve as mayor pro-tem, he quietly made Georgia history. The appointment is a signif ... Read More