With Session's End In Sight, House Speaker Ralston Weighs In On Unresolved Issues

Mar 21, 2016

State House speaker David Ralston says there will be no changes to a bill allowing licensed gun owners to carry their weapons at public colleges.

Gov. Nathan Deal had concerns about guns showing up at faculty meetings and on-campus daycares. But Ralston says the General Assembly dealt with those issues when the bill was in committee.

In an interview with GPB's Lawmakers, he compared the process to a jury’s verdict in a trial

“But there is no next day to come in and say ‘well, can I argue again or can I have some more evidence?’ I consider the issue closed. I think it’s a good bill. I’m hoping it will be signed into law," he says.

Many officials in the University System, including police chiefs and Chancellor Hank Huckaby, are against the bill.

Disappointment Over Rape Kit Bill

Ralston says he’s displeased lawmakers won’t approve a bill to deal with a backlog of rape kits.

The measure passed the House unanimously, but it never got a vote on the Senate floor.

Investigations by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media outlets found backlogs of untested kits going back to the 1970s. Rep. Scott Holcomb’s bill would expedite their processing, and ensure newly-collected kits would be handled in a timely manner.

But the chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee says the backlog is cleared. Renee Unterman blocked the bill from getting a floor vote. Ralston says that unfortunate.

“I think other people’s personal agendas got in the way of being able to complete discussion on an important public policy initiative. I think that is disappointing,” he says. 

Unterman insists there’s no need for a new law.

Her stance earned attention from comedian Samantha Bee, who mocked Unterman on her TBS show.

Late Tuesday afternoon, supporters of the bill used a procedural move to revive it in the Senate. But it's not clear if the measure will get a floor vote by the end of the session on Thursday.