Senate committee says no to transparency measure

The Rules Committee of the Georgia Senate this week struck down a proposal that would allow a single senator to request a recorded vote on amendments made from the chamber floor.

Committee members said Senate Resolution 24, sponsored by Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, would slow down work and allow the minority Democrats to control the agenda by requesting a recorded vote on amendments. Under the current rules, it takes five members of the Senate to request a recorded vote on amendments, which starts a 60-second tally clock.

“What this will do is allow the minority of the people in the Senate to drive the clock and drive the agenda,” Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Atlanta, told McKoon in a hearing Monday. “If you and I agree that being Republican and conservative is a good thing, which I think we do, then why would we want to cede the process to people who … disagree with us?”

McKoon denied that it gave Democrats control and defended the resolution as an issue of transparency. Under current rules, voters don’t know how individual senators vote on amendments made from the floor.

Conservative activists who attended the hearing wanted the new rules so they could hold senators accountable for their votes and were angry at the Republican-controlled committee for turning it down.

“These groups are such insular bodies, they don’t care what the public desires,” said Steve Brown, a Fayette County commissioner and tea party activist.

For more on the the resolution and McKoon’s plans to press the issue, read this week’s AJC Watchdog column here.

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