Georgia lawmakers launch session with big party

ATLANTA (AP) – The Georgia General Assembly's annual session doesn't convene until Monday. But, unofficially, it began Sunday evening - and in fine Southern style: with food, fun and, of course, more than a little informal lobbying. It's called the Wild Hog Supper. The event is a staple since 1962, and this year's version drew hundreds of lawmakers and their spouses, statewide elected officials, legislative staff members and lobbyists representing everything from big business to humanitarian nonprofits. Sponsored by a group called Friends of Agriculture Foundation Inc., the party raises money for the Georgia Food Bank Association. But the foundation is essentially a collection of lobbyists who will spend the next three months asking lawmakers for votes.
Lawmakers convene Monday morning at 10 a.m. The House and Senate will welcome dozens of new members elected in November and in a handful of special elections since. The two chambers also will adopt new rules and new leaders. The House is set to re-elect Rep. David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, as speaker. In the Senate, David Shafer of Duluth is in line to be elected president pro tempore, the top job among senators. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle presides over the upper chamber. The session isn't expected to get into full swing until Thursday, when Gov. Nathan Deal is scheduled to present his 2014 budget proposal and address a joint session. © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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