Dick Yarbrough is the latest to weigh in on the debacle that killed Rep. Bert Reeves’ adoption law update on the last day of the 2017 session of the Georgia General Assembly. His words aren’t kind, nor should they be. I’ve seen us lose more good and necessary legislation (locally and federally) to purposefully-toxic amendments than I want to count, and here is yet another.
We’re all familiar with Senator William Ligon’s role in this process. In fact he rightfully bears the brunt of the blame for the sad end to the legislative session in which the update on Georgia’s adoption laws was sent back to committee for “further study” because a small group couldn’t have their RFRA amendment attached to it. Never mind that Governor Deal had already demanded a clean bill and seemed ready to veto any bill with the amendment attached.
But as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s political team points out this morning, Yarbrough spreads the blame and includes details of that final night in the session that look mighty unflattering for one man seeking higher office in 2018 and another who is probably going to also run for a higher office. Here are the key sentences:
But as time dwindled down to the wee moments before adjournment, Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, who is making noises about running for lieutenant governor, threatened to have Rep. Reeves thrown off the Senate floor for trying to encourage senators to pass his bill. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is obviously running for governor, seems to have taken a pass on the whole matter. As the session ended, the Senate “recommitted” the bill for more study, effectively killing two years of hard work by Rep. Reeves.
To me as someone who will vote in primaries and the general next year, Cagle comes across looking like an ineffectual leader who doesn’t care, and Shafer comes across looking like a bully. Neither image is positive, and both men will probably (read: definitely) have this brought up on the campaign trail over and over.
I’ve looked online for somewhere, anywhere, that sees Ligon’s amendment as a positive (outside of the senator himself). Instead, I’ve found everyone from Erick Erickson on the Right to Georgia Voice and Project Q on the Left angry about it. We have more than 13,000 kids in foster care in Georgia, and not enough foster care homes to take them in. If the focus isn’t on that, we’re missing the point. For his part, Reeves called the outcome “devastating.”
Ligon nonetheless defended his actions in an op-ed for the Charlton County Herald, saying, “Since the Senate had only a week and a half to consider this bill compared to the two years it has been under review in the House, I am grateful that my Senate colleagues agreed that we needed more time to study the legislation rather than trying to pass something hastily on the floor.”
To borrow from Yarbrough’s analogy: Oh, baloney, senator.