I’m getting word that State Senator Preston Smith gave a 20-minute speech ripping Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Senate Leadership. He spoke of how Republican leadership in the Georgia Senate has failed. He claims he was stripped of his chairmanship for voting against the Hospital bed tax.
We’ll see if we can’t get a transcript of the speech or a video up soon.
Update: The AJC’s Ernie Suggs has some excerpts from Smith’s speech:
Smith said that for his objection to the so-called “Sick Tax,” he was punished by party leaders, who stripped him of the chairmanship of the powerful judiciary committee.
Smith said as a Republican he is committed to not voting for a tax increase, which he considers HB 307 to be.
“I have been a loyal member of my team,” Smith said in a lengthy address from the well. “They handed down public punishment., I am compelled to make a public statement.”
HB 307 would impose a hospital tax to help fill a $600 million gap in Medicaid funding. The 1.45 percent tax on patient revenue could raise about $170 million.
Smith said that if he cannot vote for the people he represents, then he is useless as a lawmaker.
He specifically called out Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, and Senate President Pro Temp Tommie Williams as the chief punishers.
The best quote of all:
“Take the chairmanship and give it to a puppet,” Smith said.
Update by Chris: You can read Senator Smith’s remarks here.