On Monday, March 29, the state house convened for its 39th legislative day. Two Henry County bills passed during the local calendar. The bills — SB 285 & SB 286 — now head to the governor’s desk to await his signature.
Update: SB 306 passed the state house on Wednesday, March 31. Governor Kemp signed the bill on Friday, April 2.
Senate Bills 285 & 286
Senate Bills 285 and 286 provide the county commission chair with a board appointee to the Henry County Water Authority and Development Authority, respectively. Presently, the boards consist of five members appointed one each by the district commissioners.
Senator Emanuel Jones introduced both bills on Monday, March 8. SB 286 — related to the development authority — passed the state senate on March 18. SB 285 for the water authority passed the senate on March 22.
Senate Bill 22 provided the county commission chair with an appointee to all county boards; however, it did not apply to either authority. Since state acts established the authorities, SB 285 and 286 amend the acts to include a chair appointee.
Senate Bill 306
Another Henry County bill, senate bill 306, is waiting for its vote in the state house. The bill allows the Henry County chair to appoint an interim commissioner if the BOC fails to make an appointment within fourteen days following a vacancy. The district three seat is presently vacant following the passing of Commissioner Gary Barham.
Both Henry County state senators, Emanuel Jones and Brian Strickland, are sponsoring the bill. In a Facebook post by Senator Strickland, he shared the following:
I am proud to sponsor SB 306 which addresses the refusal of the Henry County Board of Commissioners to fill the vacancy in District 3 while we wait for a special election. The citizens of District 3 deserve representation and I am proud of my colleagues in the Henry County Legislative Delegation for putting the people of Henry County over politics.
The last day of the legislative session, commonly referred to as Sine Die, is Wednesday, March 31. The bill has until Wednesday night for the house to consider it. If the house passes it and Governor Kemp signs the bill, then Chair Harrell will immediately be able to appoint an interim district III commissioner. The Henry County Republican Party submitted three nominees from which the board can choose.
The special election for district III will take place on June 15, 2021. A runoff (if needed) will occur on July 13. Special election dates are pre-determined annually by the Secretary of State.
Featured image shows Georgia State Capitol. Credit to Wikimedia Commons.