Lawmakers vote for Georgia to join growing condemnation of Russia

The Georgia Legislature on Wednesday unanimously passed two pieces of legislation to make clear the state’s condemnation of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

With a unanimous vote and a standing ovation, the Georgia House harshly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, declaring it an act of “senseless, barbaric violence.” Earlier in the day, the Senate unanimously approved legislation to prohibit companies owned by the Russian government from bidding on state contracts.

House Speaker David Ralston said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions have made clear his intentions.

“He is a bloodthirsty tyrant who deserves condemnation and not words of praise or cheers,” said Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. “This invasion is the fault of a despotic, deranged and fickle circle of Russian leaders who are bringing shame on their own flag.”

The House voted 166-0 to approve the anti-Russia measure, House Resolution 920. Senate Democratic Leader Gloria Butler of Stone Mountain has introduced a similar resolution in the Senate that has not yet made it to the floor.

In the Senate, Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis said he introduced Senate Bill 562 to send a message to Russia.

“As you know, all the horrendous activities going on over there and killing innocent women and children and men,” said Mullis, a Republican from Chickamauga. “This has to stop. If we can send a message, this is one of them that we need to send.”

SB 562 would require companies seeking to bid on Georgia contracts to submit documentation saying they are not owned or operated by the Russian government. If a company falsifies that document, it could face a fine up to $250,000.

Senators amended the bill to place the same restrictions on companies owned by the government of Belarus.

“The nation of Belarus allowed its territory to be used by the Russian army in the staging grounds and launching pads for the unprovoked attack on the Ukraine,” said state Sen. Marty Harbin, a Tyrone Republican who sponsored the amendment. “While we cannot dictate foreign policy in this chamber, we do have the authority to ensure that taxpayer dollars in this state did not go to fund this Belarusian oligarchy.”

SB 562 passed 53-0.

Ralston said he’s praying that the war ends quickly and peacefully, saying “we are all Ukrainians.”

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” Ralston said. “At this point politics stops at the water’s edge and we unite as Americans. Our nation has stood up to tyrants before, and we do so again today.”