Republican-drawn congressional map passes Senate committee

Senate Reapportionment Committee meets on day 4 of the special session. (Credit: Tammy Joyner)

Senate Reapportionment Committee meets on day four of the special session. (Credit: Tammy Joyner)

State lawmakers are days away from a judge-imposed Dec. 8 deadline to create new electoral maps for the Georgia General Assembly and U.S. Congress, also known as redistricting. 

Our senior investigative reporters, Tammy Joyner and Jill Jordan Sieder, have been giving special attention to  the special legislative session at the Capitol. Joyner is following the Senate proceedings, while Sieder is following the House proceedings. They are your eyes and ears during the session, which means you will find a variety of stories and live updates on what's happening inside and even outside of the Capitol.  

We’d love to hear from you — our readers. If there’s something you would like us to report on during the special session or just have a question about what’s going on, shoot us an email at [email protected].

Here are some of the highlights of Monday’s session.

Quote(s) of the day:

“Don’t act in this body based on the way people treat you, act in this body because it’s right, it’s just, it’s wise.  Do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do.”

— The Rev. George Dillard, pastor of  Peachtree City Christian Church, speaking to the Georgia Senate.

“Isn’t it true that the only good thing that ever came from Alabama is I-20?”

— Majority Leader Sen. Steve Gooch, during the point of personal privilege portion of the Senate session in response to Sen. Shawn Still’s “roll tide” utterance in the well. (“Roll tide” is a University of Alabama phrase used to rally Crimson Tides fans.)

Biggest thing that happened today: 

Gov. Brian Kemp, backed by House and Senate members, announced plans to introduce a bill in the upcoming legislative session to accelerate tax cuts for Georgia taxpayers, to the tune of an estimated savings to their individual income tax of $1.1 billion.

The Senate Reapportionment & Redistricting Committee approved by a vote of 7-4 the "Proposed Congressional Districts of Georgia" map that was released Friday afternoon. The committee  also approved the House’s Republican drawn maps by a vote of 7-4.

Interesting observation inside the Capitol:

The 33rd Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony featuring the Atlanta Boy Choir and the Atlanta Boy Choir Alumni Choir.  The  25-foot red cedar tree was donated by the Roy family of Ringgold.

The Atlanta Boy Choir performed at the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2023. (Credit: Jill Jordan Sieder)

Happening while lawmakers are in session:

Lots of school  children touring the Capitol, including the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics.

What’s for lunch?

Visitors to the Capitol — and there were many on Monday due to the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony — were treated to complimentary red and green sprinkle Christmas cookies and bottles of water. 

If any senators missed lunch, they had a giant bag of Georgia peanuts waiting for them on their chamber desk for the afternoon session, compliments of Sen. Russ Goodman, R-Cogdell. 

  — Tammy Joyner

[email protected]

Quote(s) of the day:

Rep. Rob Leverett, D-Elberton, at the House Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee meeting on Dec. 4, 2023. (Credit: Jill Jordan Sieder)

“There is no way to create a brand new district or two new districts and not make changes to other districts that surround it. … Creating a new district is like dropping a rock on a still pond, and the ripples go out.”

          –  Rep. Rob Leverett, R-Elberton, House redistricting committee chair, responding to a question from Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, about why the Senate map was “changed drastically.”

“The one thing we’re missing is the thousands and thousands of lives that have been lost on all fronts, Jewish and Palestinian … This resolution needs to be a call for peace, a call that condemns the terror but also the unilateral killing of civilians on all sides.”

        – Rep. Spencer Frye, D-Athens, on HR 4EX, condemning Hamas terrorism and expressing support for the Jewish people, which passed after an hour of debate on the House floor.

Biggest thing that happened today

The House Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee voted 9-4 to approve the Senate redistricting plan passed by the Senate last week. Earlier, the committee released its proposed electoral map for the U.S. House in Congress. Public comment on the map will occur tomorrow, and can be made online here.

Interesting observation inside the Capitol:

After the Atlanta Boys Choir performed, Lane Howard spoke on behalf of Clark’s Christmas Kids and her husband, radio and tv personality Clark Howard, who she said was being prepped for heart surgery. This year the charity is collecting gifts for about 12,000 Georgia children in foster care, both online and at Walmart stores across the state.

Gov. Brian Kemp said he was not surprised that Howard’s heart needed a bit of repair, “since he works that heart hard” in his effort to bring joy to foster children.

Happening while lawmakers are in session:

Among the groups of school kids visiting today were students from the Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, who proposed a series of new laws to their district representative, Rep. Scott Hilton, while gathered in the balcony of the House. Many of their proposals would allow children to drive before age 16.

Rep. Scott Hilton, R-Peachtree Corners, met with students from the Wesleyan School in his district on Dec. 4, 2023. (Credit: Jill Jordan Sieder)

What’s for lunch?

Tables with bags of holiday snack mixes of Chex cereal, pretzels, nuts and M&Ms were available to Capitol visitors.

                                                — Jill Jordan Sieder
                              [email protected]

In case you missed it, here’s what you need to know about the special legislative session.

In case you missed it, here’s what you need to know about the special legislative session.

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We’d love to hear from you. If there’s something you would like us to report on during the special session or just have a question about what’s going on, shoot us an email at [email protected].