Soapbox derby bill restored after Georgia senators gutted it

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Bill swap had replaced soapbox derby with sports betting

Once left for dead amid political maneuvers at the Georgia Capitol, a quaint bill honoring a soapbox derby now has new life.

The Georgia House revived the soapbox derby measure in a new bill Thursday after state senators had deleted it from legislation that they rewrote last week in a last-ditch attempt to legalize sports betting. Then the House voted unanimously, 166-0, to pass the bill and send it to the Senate.

The proposal would designate the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby in Lyons as the state’s official soapbox derby for tourism purposes.

The bill would be state Rep. Leesa Hagan’s first legislation to pass — if the Senate agrees.

“I made you a promise .... that if you would just pass it out of this chamber unanimously, I would not talk about the soapbox derby anymore,” Hagan, a Republican from Lyons, said in a House speech. “It seems I did not keep my word because I’ve had to talk about it a lot the past week.”

Her colleagues showed their support, giving Hagan a standing ovation after the bill passed.

“I’m going to be voting ‘yes’ on this because I’d never dare to take a gamble on you,” said state Rep. Steven Sainz, a Republican from St. Marys.

The latest soapbox derby measure, Senate Bill 158, revised a proposal that previously would have provided for insurance discounts for retrofitting properties so they can better resist tornados or hurricanes.

The sports betting legislation that originally dealt with the soapbox derby, House Bill 237, passed a Senate committee and could soon be scheduled for a vote in the full Senate.