Speaker Ralston firms up June 11 return date for Georgia House

  • The Georgia House of Representatives is set to resume its 2020 legislative session.
    The Georgia House of Representatives is set to resume its 2020 legislative session.
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By Dave Williams
Bureau Chief
Capitol Beat News Service
 
ATLANTA - The Georgia House of Representatives will resume a 2020 legislative session interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, June 11, Speaker David Ralston announced Tuesday.


In a memo to House members and staff, Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, reiterated a starting date he had previously announced late last month.

However, the speaker also delayed the resumption of in-person committee meetings at the Georgia Capitol. Under the new schedule, the House staff will return to their offices on June 1, instead of May 18, and in-person committee meetings will begin on June 2 instead of May 19.

Until then, committee meetings will be held online.
When lawmakers reconvene under the Gold Dome, it will be under safety guidelines recommended by the Georgia Building Authority and a bipartisan committee of House leaders the speaker formed to develop plans for reopening the Capitol.

“As you can imagine, the nature of the legislative session which, by design, is meant to bring together hundreds of people from across the state under one roof to craft legislation and debate policy poses some unique challenges with regard to preventing the spread of the virus,” Ralston wrote.

“I support these [guidelines] and will ensure that sound policies and procedures are put in place in order to protect members, staff and public participants in the legislative process.”

When the Senate plans to gavel back into session remains uncertain. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, the Senate’s presiding officer, has previously expressed a preference for returning at some point in May.

The General Assembly suspended the 2020 session indefinitely in mid-March as the pandemic was taking hold in Georgia. When lawmakers return to the Capitol, it will be for Day 30 of their annual 40-day session.