November 9, 2017 10:15 AM
Following the special elections on Tuesday, November 7, State Senator and candidate for Governor Michael Williams issued a press release condemning former Senator Hunter Hill, also running for Governor, for vacating his seat to seek higher office. His frustration stemmed from election results leading to two Democrats in a runoff for a seat formerly held by a Republican. (The seat was held by Democrat Doug Stoner before Hill)
In his press release Wednesday, Williams blamed Hill’s voting record as the cause for the loss of the seat in the 6th Senate District.
“Rather than following through with his commitment to serve out the remainder of his term, Hunter Hill abandoned his Senate seat so that he could continue receiving contributions from Atlanta donors while seeking higher office. His decision to put himself, and his political career, ahead of his constituents has harmed the conservative cause in Georgia. Because of this defeat, Georgia Republicans have lost the Senate Super Majority.
“Hunter Hill’s voting record did little to help the Republicans running for his seat. From his legislation (SB 68) to expand Common Core into private schools, to championing eminent domain that would allow big corporate to take property from lawful owners for the “good” of the community (HB 434), to expanding government by forcing women who serve as private lactation consultants to new mothers to register with the state and pay a fee (HB 649), to voting against recording of votes in Senate committee meetings (SR 24 Committee vote) Hunter has only emboldened Democratic candidates with his liberal voting record. Voters in Senate District 6 saw little difference between left-wing candidates and Hunter Hill.”
So I spent a little time this morning comparing the three years the two served together. Here’s a comparison:
In the 2017, the Senate cast 389 votes, of which 40 were ‘roll call’ or attendance. That leaves 349 votes. Of those, Williams and Hill voted differently on legislation 30 times, or 8.5% of the time. The other 91.5% of the time, the two voted the same. The two differed on justice reform, tax credits for corporations, and rural issues, but both Williams and Hill, in those conflicting votes, had instances where they voted for bigger government. In two other instances relating to Senate procedural rules, the pair voted opposite. In one instance, Williams voted in favor of reconsidering a bill he cast a NO vote for on the next vote. On the other occasion, Williams voted to suspend the Senate rules at one point on Day 40.
In 2016, the Senate cast 413 votes, of which 40 were ‘roll call’ or attendance. That leaves 373 votes. Of those, Williams and Hill, again, voted differently 30 times, but the percentage is different because of the increased number of votes. In 2016, the pair voted opposite 8.04% of the time. Together, they voted 91.96% of the time.
Also of note, in 2016, Williams voted in favor of dissolving the Judicial Qualifications Committee, the issue placed on the ballot in November 2016, then voted against it when it came through the Senate a second time, but voted against fixing issues with the 2016 legislation during the 2017 session. Hill was opposite, voting against dissolving the judicial watchdog agency, then in favor on the second round, and in favor of voting amending the new provisions the following year.
In Williams’ first year, 2015, the Senate cast 411 votes, less the 40 roll calls. Of the remaining 371, Hill and Williams voted differently 26 times, or 7% of the time. The remaining 93% of the time, the pair voted together. Their noticeable differences in 2015 include Williams’ vote in favor of the $900 million gas tax increase while Hill was opposed.
In his press release, Williams slammed Hill for ‘championing eminent domain’ legislation, but according to the Georgia General Assembly website, while Hill did vote in favor of eminent domain legislation, he was not a sponsor. It was Senator Jack Hill, from Tattnall County in southeast Georgia, that was a co-signer on a different eminent domain bill, but HB 434 in the 2017 session was not sponsored or co-sponsored by Hill. It was not from a previous year, either, however, because 2015-16, HB 434 was ‘Cooper’s Law’ on tort reform, and in 2013-14, Hill’s first session, HB 434 dealt with liens.
Williams’ reference to Hill’s SB 68 and ‘expanding Common Core into private schools’ isn’t in line with the legislation that establishes individual student education accounts.
It is true that Hill voted in favor of legislation to regulation lactation consultants for breast feeding mothers and voted against the filming and recording of Senate committee hearings in 2017.