Monday, Rep. Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn, said the rejection “perpetuates systemic racism.” She questioned whether the no votes stemmed from a “desire to keep the first Black woman ever elected Gwinnett chairwoman severely underpaid.”
Both Democrats and Republicans in the county were in support of the raise. Hendrickson’s pay lags her peers.
The other bills would have dissolved and reconstituted Gwinnett’s elections board, requiring the leadership of local political parties to make nominations for commissioners to choose from. Commissioners would have been able to select a fifth member without regard to party.
Republican lawmakers expressed concern that the Democratic commission would have too much control over the elections board. Democratic legislators said they were hypocritical, after approving other proposals that Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville and chair of the local delegation, called “hyper-partisan, undemocratic power grabs.”
Park did not respond to a text message seeking comment about the rejection while the session was ongoing. A spokesperson for the county did not have a comment on the fate of the bills.