The hallways of the Georgia State Capitol. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia General Assembly will take time off to work on budget

Georgia lawmakers plan to take a week and a half off so House members can continue to hash out the details of the state’s budget.

Lawmakers originally had set the calendar through Monday — which would have been the 14th day of the the 40-day legislative session. Instead, lawmakers will take the rest of this week, and all of next week, off from holding floor session in the chambers to hash out the details of meeting Gov. Brian Kemp’s request to trim the state’s budget.

In a letter to House members, Speaker David Ralston told his colleagues to suspend all scheduled committee meetings  that aren’t related to the budget over the next week and a half and focus all “time and energies on this important work.”

“Our goal remains to arrive at a conservative, balanced budget that invests wisely and moves our state forward,” Ralston said in the letter.

Kemp spokeswoman Candice Broce pushed back on Ralston’s comments.

“The Governor’s budget proposals are conservative and balanced, reflecting our values and vision as a state. His budgets fully fund public basic education and provide long overdue pay raises for teachers,” she said. “They invest in community safety with anti-gang and anti-human trafficking measures, and they fund initiatives to lower healthcare costs and improve quality of care for Georgia families.”

Lawmakers will return to the chambers Feb. 18, after the federal Presidents Day holiday.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the calendar through the 28th day, March 12 — the Legislature’s self-imposed deadline for bills to make it from one chamber to the next.

Lawmakers will again have to approve a calendar to set the end of the legislative session. Last year’s legislative session concluded April 2.

Here’s a look at the legislative calendar through day 28:

Feb. 18-21: legislative days 13-16

Feb. 24-28: legislative days 17-21

March 2-5: legislative days 22-25

March 9-10: legislative days 26-27

March 11: committee work day

March 12: legislative day 28

Staff reporter Greg Bluestein contributed to this report.

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