As the Legislature Turns

The growing spat between Speaker Ralston and Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus got a bit more tense today. To review, on Thursday, as the House was preparing to pass the Pastor Protection Act, Senator McKoon took to the well to lament that the Pastor Protection Act was in reality a Politician Protection Act. As the bill was being debated in the House, Sen. McKoon tweeted his thoughts:

As Jessica noted, Sen. McKoon got into a spat with the Speaker’s Legal Counsel, Terry Chastain, which was well documented on WSB-TV.

This morning, Sen. McKoon took to the well again. His speech is below:

Just before a lunchtime recess of the House, the Speaker had this to say regarding Mckoon’s speech about firing the speaker’s legal counsel:

I have really been busy over here trying to do the work that the people sent us down to do, and I really haven’t had time to listen to what he or any other member of that chamber has to say. I understand that some people are driven by their need for publicity and attention. I’m not, and I’m just going to continue to do the work of the people here.

Much of McKoon’s angst is over the prospect of passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which McKoon initially introduced during the 2014 session, and which sits stalled in the House Rules committee. After today’s Rules Committee meeting, in which a substitute bill combining the Pastor Protection Act with the Senate’s First Amendment Defense Act, McKoon had no comment on the combined bill, other than a desire to eventually pass a RFRA. The Speaker’s office had no further comment.


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