Georgia Legislature Likely To Return June 11

Apr 30, 2020

The Georgia General Assembly appears likely to return to action June 11, according to a pair of memos sent to House and Senate members Thursday.

Lawmakers have been in limbo since the session was suspended indefinitely March 13 after legislative day 29 because of the coronavirus.

The decision is not final and is not unanimous: in the letter to senators, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan's office said their position was to return mid-May to begin work on the fiscal year 2021 budget that begins July 1 and will likely see drastic revisions because of the state's economic decline from the virus.

"Our teachers and state agencies are desperately counting on us to get them a budget so they can start planning for the future," it reads. "At the end of the day both the Speaker and Lieutenant Governor must agree on the date of return ... unfortunately for us, time is not on our side. The House can simply withhold consent of our proposed May 14 start date and force us to agree to their June 11 date."

The Senate memo also said Gov. Brian Kemp's shelter-in-place order would expire tonight as planned, but the governor's office would not comment on that remark.

In a letter to the state House, Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) outlined a plan for his chamber to begin conducting digital committee meetings as early as Monday.

"While we continue to deal with the virus and resulting public health needs, we have turned our attention to resuming our legislative session as we still have several pressing public policy issues, and, most importantly, a revised FY21 state budget on which to work," he wrote. "We remain mindful that the coronavirus still poses a risk and we will alter our policies and procedures accordingly."

Ralston said that in addition to the virtual committee meetings beginning May 4, House staff would likely return to the Capitol May 18, and in-person meetings could resume May 19, with public health directives being followed.

He noted that none of these decisions were final, and the House and Senate were continuing to work to finalize a date to resume the final 10 days of the legislative session.