[UPDATE]: Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s office just released the following statement:
The Constitution clearly sets up the Senate as the deliberative chamber of the legislature, and we have an obligation to the voters who put their trust in us to act with care on all issues, but particularly constitutional matters. The Rules Committee will fully examine these votes by the House and recommend a course of action to the Senate.
“At this time, no schedule has been set for a floor vote, although that is also a matter to which we will devote some attention. The bottom line is that these bills have broad statutory and budgetary impact, and we need to fully weigh the perspectives of the Governor and the House prior to a floor vote,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.
The Lt. Governor’s office also stated that “The Constitution provides that veto overrides originating in one house “shall be immediately considered” by the other house. The Senate Rules set Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure as the authoritative source on procedural matters. According to Mason’s, “consideration” in the context of an executive veto can include an immediate vote, or the matter may be “returned to committee or laid on the table.”
In what seemed to be a resumption of the 2007 legislative session difficulties between House Speaker Glenn Richardson, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Gov. Sonny Perdue, the Georgia House over-rode 12 vetoes including House Bills 549, 229, 451, and 218.
On the votes on the overrides, there were only a handful of votes against with most Democrats and Republicans voting in favor. After each vote, the House immediately transmitted the veto messages to the Senate where Lt. Governor Cagle announced that it was the “intent” to put the veto overrides in the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate Majority Leader, Tommie Williams of Lyons, Georgia, then formally made the motion to send all of the veto overrides to the Rules Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Don Balfour.
This moved earned the consternation of Speaker Richardson who, after each vote, said the Senate was “required under their oath of office to immediately consider” the veto overrides.
When asked, State Sen. Balfour said he felt there was no need to rush to the vetoes.
“We’re going to look at them,” Balfour said. “We need to make sure we know what they are before we send them to the floor.”
When asked about the Georgia constitutional requirement that “If two-thirds of the members to which such house is entitled vote to override the veto of the Governor, the same shall be immediately transmitted to the other houses where it shall be immediately considered.”, Sen. Balfour said that by sending the veto overrides to the Rules Committee, the Senate did immediately consider the action taken by the House.
NOTE: Cross-posted at Georgia Legislative Watch