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31 March 2015

Rep. Ladawn Jones Blames GOP for Democrats' Objections to City of South Fulton Bill

With the end of the 2015 legislative session nearing, the rhetoric is heating up as lawmakers start realizing passage of their pet projects may not happen this year.

One legislator, state Rep. Ladawn Blackett Jones (D - Atlanta), is now demanding her constituents contact Sen. Josh McKoon (R - Columbus) in an attempt to save a bill she supports; House Bill 514, the city of South Fulton bill.

"The city bill made it through the process in the House and almost completed the process in the Senate, until it was called off the local calendar by Senator McKoon in support of his Religious Freedom and Restoration Act bill," Jones said in a statement obtained by WSB-TV reporter Lori Geary.

"The Senator can move to have it removed from the table," Jones wrote in an email, Tuesday evening, to constituents. "Call today. Thursday April 2nd is the last day this bill can be removed. If we call his office so much that his secretary can't help but to ask him to change his mind."

The problem with Rep. Jones' statements is while Sen. McKoon did make the motion to table House Bill 514, Senate Democratic Whip Vincent Fort filed the objection to the city of South Fulton bill being on the local consent calendar. It was Senator Fort's objection that led House Bill 514 being, to use Rep. Jones' own words, "called off the local calendar."

This has been verified by additional reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution [Wickert (31 March 2015). South Fulton bill may be dead for this year
. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 31 March 2015.].

When Sen. McKoon made his motion to table House Bill 514, and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle called for the vote, a majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus supported tabling the bill.

A review of the roll call vote shows that of the 18 member Democratic caucus: 9 members voted to table South Fulton; 5 members did not vote at all; and 4 Democrats voted against the motion to table.

House Bill 514 is Democrat-sponsored legislation, yet could not muster support to stay on the Senate floor from a majority of the Democrats.

Even though Senator Donzella James (D - Atlanta) says she has the votes to pass House Bill 514, the lack of support towards defeating the motion to table among members of her own party seems to suggest otherwise.