The Senate last night was cruising towards completing the calendar of bills when the roof fell in. The NRA showed up outside the Senate Chamber about 9pm literally demanding that the body vote on the gun bill even after the Senate had voted not to take it up earlier in the day.
Cagle told them that he would adjourn rather than take it up. They then said that they would have one of their Senate puppets ask for a roll call vote to adjourn and use that vote as the Senate score card on each Senator supporting gun rights. The Republican Senators stopped the session and went into a private meeting to discuss several options:
– There could be a recorded vote to adjourn if someone asked for it, something that’s never been done in the Senate. JB Powell from East Georgia turned out to be the Judas of the NRA and took their pieces of silver and objected to adjournment. I hear that Powell voted against the budget because of the Senate not taking up HB 89.
– The Senate could push on all night if someone objected to adjournment as it would not count as another day or it could adjourn as always on a voice vote.
In the meeting, nearly half the caucus raised their hands that they would not vote for HB 89 under the circumstances being faced…a demand that the Senate surrender its independence and dance to the tune of the NRA or else. Even some of the staunchest supporters of the bill said they would vote no at that point. One Senator told the group that if it did not exercise its independence and integrity, it would never be free of any powerful group again. The idea that the NRA would be so bold as to come and demand that the Senate vote on something that had already been passed over infuriated many of the Senators.
The group then went back out to the chamber and took up one more bill and then took the last course of action, using the traditional adjournment motion and voice vote.
It was a night like none have seen in the General Assembly. But in the end, the Senate maintained its independence and integrity and stood tall in the face of threats and intimidation.